Kamzori: Aging, Care, and Alienation in the Post‐pastoral Himalaya


As the Gaddi community of Himalayan India transition from agro–pastoralism to waged labor, configurations of kinship and care have shifted. Such shifts have introduced relational tensions, especially between elderly women, who have labored in the house and fields, expecting care in old age, and younger generations, who experience their own pressures of class aspiration. This article examines how the myriad tensions of the post-pastoral economy are experienced in the bodies of elderly women. It presents insights on kamzori, bodily weakness that is experienced by women who feel that their contribution of labor and care is unreciprocated by their kin or wider milieu. It recuperates alienation as a concept that captures distressed social relations. Alienation might be used by anthropologists studying aging, care, and debility to envisage the body in scalar relation to people, things and places, and illness or distress as disruption of such relations. [weakness, aging, care, gender, alienation]

A Gaddi woman tends to her fields. Photo credit: Nikita Simpson