[A]mong themselves they feel free. Independent but still in a boundary, vulnerable and not sure of a tomorrow. Children are those while you watch them in your most baleful of moods, they still make you smile. However, the essential human truth, pitted against modernity – is invincible. There is a child in the man wanting to go back to the womb. The shadows of a festering burden of the next crop of humans, the unclaimed, unborn, and the just born.
In India, there are 55 million young souls living alone. They are worst affected in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and West Bengal. Having lost either a member or their whole family in bombings, attacks, riots, their amalgam is plagued by continuing terrorism in various forms. India stands first in the world for the rate of the children who are orphaned, affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. The percentage is expected to double in the next five years.
There were times when i was abused and lashed at for making images of the orphaned kids, at times getting allowance on the conditions of not revealing the face, the identity of the kids. I know this photo-essay might not make any difference to the lives of the kids I met but I hope that at least someone somewhere might start thinking to help an abandoned child out around him. These images are a journey into the isolated alleyways that exist between the past and the present and articulate a dreary silence. They are an attempt to paint, sans the romantic moods and character of our globalized imagination. These photographs were taken on offered teaching assignments I undertook in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and West Bengal. This is the void, articulated visually.