In a district called Darah in south Khorasan located on the borderline between Iran and Afghanistan- one of the most deprived areas in Iran- live the villagers and the nomadic people who sustained the absolute poverty and calamitous life conditions. Yet, the life still goes on there and the people pertain to unique traditions and beliefs. Within and in the vicinity of the village and the nomadic districts there can be seen blocks of stones piled in various amounts, which seems that someone has tried to leave a sign behind or to demarcate a borderline. In an inquiry made into the matter, it was revealed that the stones were the villagers’ properties in the form of land with no title deed and document. Lands as small as one square meter. The villagers claim that the properties are inherited from their fathers and ancestors. There were; however, some young villagers who claim to possess land, but no one confirms their being landowners. The landowners in the area have a complete knowledge of the exact borders and area of their own as well as those of their neighbours; the owners of these some- centimetre- square lands are also aware of the fact that their possession over these small properties is a word of mouths and has no title and document. Each young man needs to have at least a one-square metre land to be able to get married. To do this fictionally, some of them occupy an imaginary land.
Shokrollah, 20, a nomadic man from Chahzard in south Khorasan. He is a herdsman. Standing on a piece of symbolically marked stone, he says that he wishes he were a landowner since the nomadic people cannot own a land as they migrate from time to time.
Abdolghani, 38, is a stockman from Chahzard’s nomadic people in south Khorasan. He has migrated into Khorasan from Baluchistan after his land became useless as a result of drought. He is standing on block of stone demarcating his land.
Ibrahim from Lojang ,a village in south Khorasan, due to his being illiterate, he does not know how old he is; he just says he is over 30. There is no gas, electricity, and water in this village. Ibrahim together with other villagers have demarcated their lands along the river in case the drought may be over to enable them to practice agriculture. He has lost his job for years and lives on the aids received from NGOs and Imdad Committee (a charity organization that help poor people financially).
Jalil from the Golney village in South Khorasan. He suffers from a skin disease and cannot speak very well. It is not clear what his illness is as people close to him either keep talking contradictorily about it, or they are unaware of the situation, or they think that if they showed that his condition is serious, he might receive some financial aid. The area of Jalil’s land is larger than that of anyone else. He has inherited the land from his ancestors and this has made him the richest man in the village of 65 residents. Because of his illness and the deformed appearance of his face, no woman is willing to marry him.
Abdurrahman Mahmoud, 20, from Kafas, a village from South Khorasan. He receives religious training in the Makhunik religious school in the vicinity of their village and is a student now. His inherited land is about two square meter and lies along the dirt road. He wishes that his land was located along the road so that he could sell it to The Transport and Road Organization to get a good amount of money.It has to be noted that his demarcated lands do not have any official title deed.
Abdurrahman Mahmoud, 20, from Kafas, a village from South Khorasan. He receives religious training in the Makhunik religious school in the vicinity of their village and is a student now. He owns a one-square meter-land and is to marry in a short time period. He says that he wishes his would - be wife stays close to him forever. The photographer asked him what he would do if his future wife were there at that moment. Raising his hand, he answered that he would take a snapshot with her.
Rahman, 19, from Kafas, a village from South Khorasan. He receives religious training in the Makhunik religious school in the vicinity of their village and is a student now. Taking a piece of stone in his hands, he says that those stones are no longer of any value since the lands are useless after the river has been dried.
Shah Mohammad, 57, from Tajmir village in south Khorasan. He is a stockman and has three children from his two wives. He said nothing, but he has three pieces of three – square meter lands.
Sheikh, 70, from Tajmir village in south Khorasan. He is a stockman and has two wives of whom he has 8 daughters. He possesses large amount of lands. However, in their tradition the single and unmarried daughters receive no inheritance from their father. He says that his lands are of no use for him due to the drought, adding that he has no son to hand down the lands to. The villagers know this fact and that is why they move the stones Sheikh has demarcated his lands with for their own uses.
According to the tradition in this area, the land of a married man is the Mahr* or dower of his wife hence belonging to her. One of the migrant women from Kalateh-e- Baluch, a village in Baluchistan, into South Khorasan has taken the possession of these lands after her husband death. Yet, because of a strong gender bigotry in the villages in this region, women are not allowed to be photographed. The photographer could not manage to take a photo of the landowner.