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Ethical question

Balarka Brahma | Other sides of the convention

Barrackpur, India – August, 2013. A little boy is waiting for friday prayer at a local mosque.
[M]uslims constitutes 13.4% of total population in India, the highest minority in this country. The number is hugely sizable. But it does not give a brighter picture if we consider them in education and job. According to union ministry of human resource and development, eleven out of hundred Muslims in India take up higher education – the lowest as regards religion-based enrollment in higher education. The situation is worse in rural India – only 6.7% Muslims take up higher education.

The reasons are plenty. Sometime it is because of their poor economical situation, sometime it is because of their own community and sometime the inability of several government agencies to implement effective policies. Few years back Indian Government set up a high level committee under the supervision of a former chief justice to review the economical and educational situation of Muslims. But the recommendations have not been implemented so far in most of the areas. Even opposition parties accused this report a politically motivated one and they identified several flaws in it. In this way the actual needs are lost and become irrelevant in due course of time.
But things are being changed very slowly in some areas. Though it is in small scales as compared to the problems, but somehow it gives a little hope. Government have introduced modern education in Madrasa board curriculum. In some areas several NGOs are campaigning with help of some scholars of the locality to spread the importance of education and encouraging the parents to send their kids to school. But these are certainly not enough. A serious action needs to be taken immediately; otherwise education will be confined within few people who can afford it or who have the mind set to afford it. A community needs a serious revamp in their thought process as well to bring them above the conventional vote bank.

Kolkata, India – November, 2013 – Two boys along with their parents are mourning on the day of ashura
Kolkata, India – August, 2013. Children are learning holy Qurran at a local madrasa
Kolkata, India – January, 2013. Sk. Ramzan Ali is migrant worker who works in different construction sites in Kolkata.
Kolkata, India – December, 2013 – Kayenat, a commerce graduate with her mother at home. She struggled a lot to complete her study and now she is working as a teacher at a local school
Kolkata, India – September, 2013 – Shabia khatun is having a good time at a community school at Mominpur area in Kolkata.
Kolkata, India – September, 2013 – Danish, a physically challenged boy studies at a community school. His parents do not have financial strength to send him to a special school
Murshidabad, India – April, 2014 – A student is learning modern geography at a rural school under madrasa board of education
Kalyani,India – December, 2013 – Students gathered at corridor at a university hostel during lunch time.
Kolkata, India – September, 2013 – Girls are learning different physical education activities at a community school at Ekbalpur area in Kolkata
Kolkata, India – September, 2013 – A map of India is being used by a student at a community school

Q&A with Balarka Brahma

Photography is…

Photography is to capture the history and I am witnessing and keeping the history with me. It should not be aimless. Each and every image should be captured for a cause irrespective of the magnitude.

Photography and writing…

Writing is tremendously important for a photographer, especially in documentary photography. I would also add reading as well for a successful work.

Who left the biggest impression on you?

First and foremost is my mother. She taught me how to fight in difficult situation without saying a single word. In photography perspective, I would like to specify three names that left biggest impression on me. I am not only moved by their photographs, but also their approach towards life. They are W. Eugene Smith, James Nachtwey and Sebastiao Salgado.

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born on 22 April, 1983. I am an independent documentary photographer from Kolkata, India. I started my photography journey in 2010. Initially I started experiment everything from landscape to street, but after attending a workshop on documentary photography in 2012, I permanently shifted to documentary photography and photojournalism. Since then I concentrated rigorously on social and thematic stories. I have always had a strong fascination with visual story-telling and its power in shaping our collective consciousness.
I worked with many Kolkata based NGOs, like Institute of Social Work, We Help Others and Jagaran for their different activities in areas like, Education, health and mental care.
My works have been published in major national and international magazines like, National Geographic, Invisible Photographers Asia, Fotoritim, Life force magazine, Social documentary network and many more.
I am a member of Pentaprism Creation, a Kolkata based picture collective.

BalarkaBrahmaBalarka Brahma (http://www.balarkabrahma.com) is an independent documentary photographer from Kolkata, India. He has been doing photography since 2010. Initially he started experiment everything, but after attending a workshop on Documentary Photography in 2012 he permanently shifted to documentary photography and photojournalism. Since then he has concentrated rigorously on social and thematic stories. His works have been published in different national and international magazines.

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