In Nepal and India's traditional families, sons follow in their father’s steps and adopt their line of work. Panch Anand hails from a small village in Southern Nepal, near the Indian border. At fourteen, he was sent to India for training, and on his return found work in Katmandu. There is no work in the village, and most men who are not agricultural based either join the army, look for work abroad or migrate to the capital. They send money back to their families, the more successful among them build large houses and educate their children, returning at most once a year.
There are few opportunities for weavers outside of Nepal, and India already has a pool large enough to fill their needs. Panch Anand has been working at Norlha for the last eleven years. There are Nepalese workers on the Tibetan plateau, mostly in the restaurant business in Lhasa, Shigatse and even Gyatse, but in faraway Amdo, they can be counted on a single hand. Life may be lonely, but Panch Anand managed to learn the basics of Amdo dialect and took great pride in training the Norlha artisans.
Panch Anand’s family remained in their village. Over the years, his daughter got married and he sent his son to learn weaving in India. He built his family a new house and became the "man who works abroad” in his village. One day, two years ago, he let us know of his future plans. His son, Ganesh was learning jacquard, which we had expressed an interest in, and he hoped that he could also work at Norlha. Panch Anand would continue to come for a couple of years, and eventually leave his job to his son. Ganesh came last year for the first time. He was everything his father could have hoped for; resourceful, hard working and proficient at what he was trained for. His father beamed with pride; he had achieved his goal. He could retire in comfort while his son follows in his steps.