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Yasir Iqbal | Hundred yards of democracy

A placard conveys (The march towards Jantar Mantar) lying on the street.Picture taken in New Delhi on 13/jan/2013

Democracy these days denotes the right to protest without any foreseeable results.
It’s been two years since I have been working as a Photographer for one of the newspapers in Delhi. In these two years I have had the opportunity to cover various news events, demonstration, protests etc.in different parts of Delhi.

However the main hub of these protests happen to be in central part of Delhi in a specific area called Jantar Mantar. Jantar Mantar is basically an astronomical observatory constructed back in 18th century and attracts a passable amount of domestic and foreign tourists. Other than the observatory this place is famous for certain other reasons and I won’t be wrong if I call this place synonymous to protests. Almost all the protests in Delhi big or small take place on the 100 yard stretch of the road adjacent to Jantar Mantar.
Over the period of time while covering all these demonstrations, protests , dharnas and occupations at this place I have come across a diverse range of people and their manifold activities. All these happenings and activities compelled me to think and observe the state of the people protesting on this road. This led me on a quest to try and find out the significance of these demonstrations and the meaning of democracy which defines the rights of these people.
Do these protesters and demonstrators know what they are protesting for or are they just sheep following other sheep. Are these protests leading the people to any significant result… is always a question mark?

Democracy plays a major role in such events, by giving a sense of right to freedom of expression to the people who thoroughly enjoy these picnic like events which often take place on this 100 yard stretch. This right is being exercised in various forms and shapes from individuals to small groups going on to the grand political parties. However it’s a matter of curiosity who gets the benefit out of these exercises, is it the big powerful political parties who fight for their seats in the Parliament or the small group or that particular individual who fights for his own rights or any genuine social cause. which have been violated time and yet again.

It’s interesting to see how the grand political parties are able to mobilise huge directionless crowds in order to get their speeches heard, no matter whether the people understand it or not. Especially when there is a parliamentary session, the hustle and bustle of the crowd creates a feeling of a mela (carnival) a sort of festival that attracts the hawkers to sell their stuff, praising these political parties for their bread and butter. On the other side those individuals or any other small group protesting there for days sometime for months do not even get heard, neither they enjoy the crowd nor the media, their protests keep going on with no ending.

A young boy sells the caps a symbol of a politician on the street of Jantar Mantar. Picture taken in New Delhion 26/july/2012
A man past by the chairs for the upcoming political campaign at Jantar Mantar. Picture taken in New Delhi on 12/Aug/2013
A man settles his cellophane while other person holds it to protect themselves from rain.Picture taken in New Delhi on 06/Aug/2013
A protester holds a national flag while protesting on the street of Jantar Mantar.Picture taken in New Delhi on 30/jan/2013
People listing a political speech at Jantar Mantar .Picture taken in New Delhi on 06/Aug/2013
Protesters protest at Jantar Mantar. Picture taken in New Delhi on 13/jan/2013
A man fixes the loud speaker for the upcoming demonstration. Picture taken in New Delhi on 20/July/2013
Protester taking picture while holding a placard fixed on his head in a demonstration.Picture taken in New Delhi on 29/April/2013
Women protesters take part in a political rally at Jantar Mantar.Picture taken in New Delhi on 01/Oct/2012
A man lying on the stage prepared for the demonstration.Picture taken in New Delhi on 23/sep/2013
A view of Jantar Mantar.Picture Picture taken in New Delhi on 06/Aug/2013

Yasir-IqbalYasir Iqbal (www.yasir.photoshelter.com), born and brought up in Kashmir, India.
“I am graduating in tourism studies, I took up all odd jobs for living in early period of my career. My passion for photography always revolved in my head and heart since childhood; though i never hold a camera in my hand until i was 29. I would always observe my surroundings and try to compose the imaginary frames, I would always love to express my thoughts and ideas visually as i strongly believes in visual medium.”

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