Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – India chapter Gujarat has to say about salt production in the Great Rann of Kachchh:
"“The barren, salt-tinted land of the Little Rann is nature at its harshest and most compelling. The Little Rann is punctuated by desolate, illegal salt farms, where people eke out a meagre living by pumping up groundwater and extracting the salt; the excellent Swedish documentary by Farida Pacha, My Name Is Salt, captures their plight.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
If you look at a map of Gujarat, you will see that the portion of the Great Rann of Kachchh, referred to as the Little Rann, is the most accessible and highways and secondary roads make it possible for industrial scale collection of salt. The region is very stark, and we were happy to get though it after leaving the very green agricultural region of eastern Gujarat.
I do enjoy seeing the deserts of the world, but this area has a great deal of scrub brush and small trees, vegetation that allows small, scattered villages to exist. The people in the region live very simple lives and more and more they are beginning to rely on tourism giving them an opportunity to produce and sell the handicrafts that their forebearers have been making for their own use for centuries.
There has been a real explosion of interest in regional handicrafts, and it appears that now that Indians from all over the country are starting to explore their own country instead of travelling abroad. This has grown exponentially with the development of a middle class, for the first time in India’s history. In the past, people generally travelled only to meet with extended family members, for weddings, births and funeral rites.
Historically, Gujarat has been bypassed by foreign travellers who skip over the region as they move from Mumbai to the more popular cities in Rajasthan, and of course, the world-famous Taj Mahal. Things are changing a little as Gujarat develops its tourism industry, and it doesn’t hurt that the current Prime Minister hails from the state.
The morning we were leaving to tour Gujarat, President Trump came to Ahmedabad for a short 36-hour visit, the main focus was to inaugurate a new cricket stadium, the largest in the world, bumping the Melbourne Cricket Grounds to second place. I can’t imagine that any other US President ever visited Gujarat, this was an event that had thousands of citizens in the streets; excited to finally have their day in the spotlight.