The Kalbeliya live without permanent homes, sleeping beneath the stars at the outskirts of towns and share the bad reputation of gypsies the world over.
Once sought after as dances and snake charmers by kings and maharajahs, they lost their livelihood when their royal audiences disappeared. Since then they have been subsisting as semi-nomadic street performers, traveling between fairs and festivals that draw large crowds.
Outcasts in their own land they remain determined for survival. Through time, economic and social forces have moulded them into opportunists— leveraging on tourist empathy and desperation to make a living.
The efforts of Indian authorities, to protect and assist them, are ineffective.