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May 20, 2018
Being poor!!

Life in the slums…a series of environmental portraits

What should we call it disparity in income, economic inequality or unequal distribution of wealth………..would like to quote Dr. B.R Ambedkar who drafted our constitution:

” We must begin by acknowledging that there is a complete absence of two things in Indian Society. One of these is equality. On the social plane we have an India based on the principles of graded inequality, which means elevation for some and degradation for others. On the economic plane we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against many who live in abject poverty.”

After 70 years of independence can we dare to expect a change…..??

Life is a challenge, a curse, a fight every day for those who survive in these inhumane conditions !!
Not enough space for a family of 4, someone has to sleep out even when the mercury falls to 1 degree!!
Irony/Inequality..Slums in developed cities
Welcome to our home said the man
A family of 7 in a shack of 7 by 7.
Amenities…..1 freshwater tap next to a gutter supplies potable water to 500 slum dwellers!! A deprived childhood …….. no home, no education, no dreams & “hope” seems like a far flung thought !!
A child sleeping in a cigarette vendors cart
A child sitting on his fathers fruit juice cart.
uncertainty ………..!!
dirt…?? my play ground!
Can we dare to dream ?? Coping with the elements of nature….
A boy tries to light up a Choolah (earthen stove) to keep warm.
A father and son burn cardboard boxes and waste paper to keep warm.
Labourers burn cycle tyre’s to keep warm when mercury falls!!
An old man burns sticks and cow dung to cope with the winters. Means of sustenance!
You call it child labour I call it helping my family – A girl wraps fruit baskets to aid her family’s income
A man sells Pakoras(batter fried vegetables) to make a living. The child is crying because he doesn’t get any to eat they are strictly for sale.
A construction labourer breaking bricks that will be used for flooring.
A construction labourer makes less than Rs.100 a day.
We call them city makers but the irony is that a fancy name doesn’t put a roof on their heads !!
Sometimes nothing seems to work or make sense – a drunk who was first beaten to senses, then counselled by his friends, well does that really work???
Amidst our predicaments and hardships we still manage to steal a few smiles – slum children light a fire to keep warm and chit chat around it with friends.

Is poverty a curse or a sin or the absence of care?? Nothing sums it better than these lines from Mother Teresa: “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

Being poor!!