The neglected people of shining India

While I’m still waiting for more opinions on my last post (What is God?), I am here with a new post that has been building up in me over the last couple of weeks.

A while ago, I started posting a daily photo on Flickr.  The concept was to get an eye looking for new ideas on a daily basis.  I had a hard time for the first few days to find something new to click.  I had already shared about 100 photos from literally every corner of the city, so it was very difficult to find new places everyday.  Also, one cannot go on a photo-shoot daily, we have our own jobs etc., so I had to find something new at the very same places day to day, and I turned towards people.  After all, we can always find new people on the same streets forever.

He lashes himself with a whipcord in the name of God to earn his living. These people build our roads, and they can't afford warm clothes for the winter.
Sadhu: Victim of a philosophy that handicaps. A boy at the main market in the city.  He should have been in a school.

But what I started as a leisure activity turned out to be a disheartening thing for me.  We are a booming economy.  People are getting salaries that they never believed they would.  Roads are getting poured with more cars and more bikes.  India is shining.  And as I turn my camera on roads, I find people living at the lowest brink of poverty, at the depth of human dignity.  And the socioeconomic system, the religion have deep-sown a philosophy in them to be satisfied in what they are.  They neither aspire something higher, nor are they conscious of what destitute life they are living.  I am standing between the two extremes of India, and I’m awed with those both.

And this family; shall I say anything else?

I wish someone of them grows up to sue me for publishing their pictures in such inhumane state without their consent.

Note:  Hover over the photos for the alt text.  Click on the photos for the respective Flickr page.  All photos are CC-BY-SA.

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10 Responses to “The neglected people of shining India”

  1. earthdrifter Says:

    I was going through what you are, and tried to help here and there but there’s only so much you can do. I remember my first night in Delhi first night in Hindustan and noticing all the people sleeping outside on cots. I thought: At least it’s warm outside but right now it’s probably chilly in Delhi at night.

    Then I visited Indian tourist spots like Chandigarth and Shimla and met so many well to do Indians. I thought: Oh what a contrast!

    The desperation isn’t just an Indian thing, it’s a world problem. It’s everywhere and from an econonomic standpoint, it’s no secret that the rich/poor gap’s widening worldwide. It takes money to make money. In India you notice more poverty than in other places. A big reason for that is the huge population.

    Maybe if Hindustan ends up producing the 1,000 Rupee Tablet computer then the people in your photos might have a chance to get online and see the pictures you took of them :-). That computer has the chance to greatly abate the current digital divide.

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Mike, I can imagine how you might have felt. I have read your post about the people in Boondi and others of your posts when you were here in India; you were concerned about the children not having shoes to wear.

      Indeed, there is a huge contrast in the Indian economy, but as far as Maharashtra (my home state) is concerned, I think the contrast is more prevalent in the cities than in the villages. In the villages, even poorest of the poor can send their children to schools. We have government schools and free education, and people do send their children to school at least to a certain age. Here in the cities, I see the people who don’t even have homes to live. They are not even settled, so going to school is almost out of concern. And their biggest problem is they don’t even feel the need for education that is something different from villages. In such case, the 1000-Rupee computer can do nothing for them; they might even replace it for a sack-full of wheat.

      This people need something to happen between themselves; there need to grow a consciousness of what they are going through; something like what happened with the dalits in Maharashtra under the leadership of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Whatever help we may give them, we will still be outsiders. There need to be someone grow up from themselves to lead them, IHOP!

  2. risingbharat Says:

    I can understand what you are going through. This is the problem of excessive population and ever increasing urban-village divide. Hope it bridges soon for us to see India shining with each and everyone

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      In my opinion, excessive population is only a part of the question. The main problem is these people, who have been pruned down for generations, do not believe that they can grow up; and our socioeconomic conditions and our religion is a culprit here. These people are always imbibed to live with what they have; they were never told that they can protest.

      Two of the photos above (the sadhu and the family) were taken yesterday at a Ramkatha discourse arranged here by some Bapu. Most of the audience there came through luxurious cars. These people were outside: sadhu for alms and the family selling petty things. The security guards at the Ramkatha literally threw away an old sadhu, because he was too ill and was falling asleep in there. Why didn’t that sadhu feel like pelting a stone on that Bapu who kept on his discourse undeterred? Why can’t the parents of those children dream of their children owning a car? Because they are told lifelong that all people are not equal. Those white-collared people are different and we are different. We can never be what they are.

      I think here lies the problem. No one can help those poor people unless they chose to help themselves and ask for their dignity.

      • risingbharat Says:

        My friend, I really respect you and your thoughts on the issue., Absolutely true as you mentioned nobody can help these people unless they chose to help themselves. But somehow these people have been resigned to their fate and keep thinking religion or god will help them out . Somebody needs to shake them out of this belief and make them realize that god only helps people who help themselves and thus they need to take the reins of their life in their own hands.

      • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

        Truly Sir, no one can help them unless they chose to help themselves.

        I was pondering over the word somehow in your comment:

        But somehow these people have been resigned to their fate and keep thinking religion or god will help them out .

        That “somehow” is the reason of why they have been such. They must find that answer within themselves, and the biggest help we can do is to help them to get to that “somehow.”

  3. pradnya Says:

    why blame socio-economic conditions and religion..we are responsible for what we get in life..we get what we deserve. we cant chose circumstances but we can chose whether to stay in or come out with all strength.we can realise its a problem and act upon it or chose not to realize.its a mentality problem n nothing else.mumbai ,where i live,is a city of contrasts.u can see big towers
    and big slums too(asea’s largest slum-dharavi).but people work hard here,they really do.they come out of the miserable life they live.all it requires is a will,lot of courage and sincerety to live a life of your dreams,to transform miraculously.
    our religion actually teaches us that there is nothing in life which we cant get,if we really put our mind to it.thats actually the mentality of village people,they see dreams and they work hard to see their children become doctor and engineer.my grandmother never went to school herself,living a life of poverty.but she saw a dream and she
    educated her sons to become doctor,engineer,teacher.she even went one step ahead and financed for her daugher-in-law’s education too..what a proud life she lived!a life of dignity and achievement..whenever i go to my village i see numerous such examples.
    those living miserable life,should really need to look within,coz all answers are there n nowhere else!!

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Thanks Pradnya! I really like the comments that make me think hard, and sometimes even to change my perspective.

      My father Shri. Mugutrao Patil You’re quite right to point out we get what we deserve. I myself come from a family where my parents (both with just primary education) dreamed of educating their children well. My father, who had to leave out school in 5th standard because of family problems, made me a doctor. Whatever good is in me, it is because of him.

      As far as this post, I pointed it now after your comment, the people in all the above photos don’t even have permanent homes to settle over the year. There life goes on from places to places. Life does not even allow them to have dreams.

      But it is true that no one can help these people until they chose to help themselves. They need to get conscious about their situation, which I see almost impossible in the near future.

  4. Versa Kay Says:

    I am inclined to agree with Pradnya. Why blame ur religion? Is there any religion which is perfect? And even if its tenets were to be perfect do the adherents follow them equitably and truthfully. And what of their behaviour towards other religions or those who do not follow verbatim, its teachings.
    One needs to bootstrap one’s self and try to be of help to his fellowmen. And when I say fellowmen, I mean fellowmwn, across creed, caste, religion, race or country.

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      I have already written in my above reply to Pradnya that, like you, I too tend to agree with her opinion. My opinion was a direct result of what I saw at the Ram Katha program that very day where I took a couple of above photos. There were a lot of people who came for the program and they were utterly apathetic towards, if not disgusted with, these people.

      And still I hold my opinion for its essence. As far as Hinduism, my religion, goes, people hardly think out of their caste, class, and ideology. And even if they think, it is for charity and not for making those people self-sufficient. If something needs to happen, it must happen within them and I see no signs of it happening in the near future.

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