If not all the comfort of the world, give them their learning time, their time to love and this .
I generally refrain from photographying destitute street side children. People accuse me of finding glamour in street photograpy. To be true, I have made a separate world for myself, where I make myself believe all is fine with this entire world at large, no bad can ever happen. But for a moment, let me come out of that world to face reality.
I see a 6 year old boy fanning the coal oven, emerging out of the smoke the burning coal made. He smiles and is happy, for he does that for his father who makes him sit in the peanut shop. He recieves no schooling, and he believes all is fine with the world he lives in, no bad can ever happen.
I saw the infant, naked on streets. The other siblings skinny and barely dressed. The auto drivers beside in their own world thinking everything is fine in their world, happy.
Then I see few children finding one alley near the Armenian ghaat, and managing to play football there. They smile. They are happy in their own world. No bad can ever happen to them. So thinks the coconut seller, while deep down worrying about the next day’s daily earning. The girl who smiles, with her sibling on her lap makes sure she smiles. Some one was just smiling at her and shot for her a photograph.
They are not labours, not trafficked. They work for their parents, who in their role is happily ignorant.
For a moment, I feel it is not just Kolkata, perhaps the rest of India.. then I feel, why at all in Kolkata? Is it not the place for the know-all intellectuals? That makes me sad. I get back to the world I have created for myself, where I make myself believe all is fine with this entire world at large, no bad can ever happen.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) last year pointed at the growing rates of child labour in West Bengal, and asked for families to be put under the ambit of labour laws. You can check TOI’s 2013 report.
Shot: 17 March 2012
Shot: 13 April 2012
Date: 26 August 2011