The Spirit of India – a photo essay
IIM graduates earning dollar salaries and industrialists like the Ambanis, Aziz Premji and Narayan Murthy may have brought India on to the world map, but the people on the streets toiling day in and day out in the scorching sun also embody the spirit of India. They earn an honest living, as best as they can. I guess dishonest people are never in the majority…good, honest people are. They are what make the world go round.
These pictures are taken in Mumbai…and in a way Mumbai embodies the spirit of India best because it is on Mumbai’s streets that people converge from almost every part of India, knowing that someone, somewhere, will buy their wares. In the decade ending in 2001, 55 percent of those who entered Mumbai were migrants from other states, and in fact 37 percent of Mumbai’s population is the migrant population. It is said that 40-50 families enter Mumbai everyday. The city is populated with around 20 million people today, and is projected the world’s second most populous metropolis by 2015, after Tokyo. Mumbai meri jaan, you are India.
This woman sits patiently on a hot dusty road, painstakingly arranging her wares on old newspaper.
This young fella could be a student and probably is because he tries to converse in broken English. He carries with him a tall stack of books and smiles as he tries to sell me a book.
These guys at the next traffic signal grin and wave to me as I take their pictures. They are selling an assorted number of things, mostly for cars. Finally, I buy a duster.
These two young men are construction labourers, and toil all day in the hot sun, but their smiles are intact as they take a break. Sometimes I feel they are far happier than urban kids who sit all day long and play video games.
This woman was so absorbed in curing the concrete that she did not notice my camera.
I got this picture at Mumbai Central railway station.
Now that one was a licensed porter. There are any number of unlicensed porters who try to grab a slice of the pie. In fact at times they are at loggerheads with each other. I caught this tussle outside the station.
There are grape sellers
And cloth sellers
And omlette makers
And ofcourse, the rag pickers.
As I mused over these pictures, I realised how little I did compared to these people.