Photo Essay of Life in India
Through these photographs I want to show the contradictions as well as the diversity of life in India. Multiple aspects and lives in one frame…
Although the pictures have been taken in Mumbai (one in Pune), this photo essay is not related to Mumbai as such, but the whole of India.
The photograph below is ordinary enough – but revealing all the same:
For one thing, it shows a working class boy busy with his cell-phone, something unheard of in India a few years ago. In the same frame is a preoccupied office worker hurrying to his destination, rubbing shoulders with the ‘other.’ Neither of the two notice anyone else…this is typical of modern day India. Life is becoming faster, people more indifferent. As for the lady on the pavement, she represents the India which is frozen in time. This was a sight you would have seen even a hundred years ago…
In the following scene I see a glaring contrast between ancient and modern leaders:
When I say ancient, I mean ancient! The statue in the background is that of Rani Lakshmibai, the queen of Jhansi. She became queen after marriage to the Maharaja of Jhansi in 1842. She never ruled Maharashtra, the state she was originally from, but her statue has always been a landmark in Pune, one that I have grown up seeing. She was my hero when I was just 12 or 13. As a kid, I used to be goggle-eyed at the fact that she as a woman had fought a war and she had done it inspite of having a small child. She was a brave woman who gave her life defending her land.
What can I say of today’s politicians? I guess its futile to hope that they will give their life for their nation. Why, rupees are more important to them than national interest! Mind you, I am not referring to the politicians in the poster – they are simply symbols for most of the politicians we see in India today.
The picture below speaks to me of two things: the old and the new, the old and the young.
What do I mean exactly? Well, old buildings are being abandoned and replaced, in keeping with the changes sweeping India. But our values aren’t being replaced, no not as fast! The young are not abandoning the old…
The following photograph is of a building too…but I see something different here:
A homeless man staring vacantly at a new construction. Poverty and development, side by side.
The well-to-do gentleman in the picture below is feeding monkeys on the expressway:
The irony is that there is a huge sign (the green sign in the background) just a few feet away which says : Do not stop on the expressway. These signs are all over the place but the fact is that people regularly stop on the expressway for various reasons (we have done it too) even though it is expressly forbidden. This is typical of Indian life, where rules are not given too much thought! Education has not taught us to obey traffic rules and the man above could well represent the thousands of Indians who break rules with impunity.
The following picture represents to me the middle class India that everyone talks about:
Its these millions who will be the life-blood of our economy in the years to come. For them the rich will always remain faceless…but they will learn to co-exist with them. The middle-classes may not be in the driver’s seat, but without them the engines will stall.
This is a beggar boy in front of MacDonalds restaurant:
A beggar boy he may be, and someone who has been deprived of the fruits of our growing economy, but he had on a brilliant smile. No, this picture was not as depressing as it could have been because there was light and hope in the boy’s eyes …
And what exactly is this?
Well, dressed up vehicles are not uncommon in India, and are often used during festival time. Celebrating festivals is very important and they are at times celebrated on the streets. Some Indians are becoming too busy or too modern to celebrate festivals with the enthusiasm of yore and do not always participate in community festivities. But while they are moving away from traditional festivities…they are not doing so in large enough numbers. It’s the traditional folk who still lead the way and will do so for some years to come…
(All pictures under my copyright)