Monday, June 29, 2009

Banjara Girl, Rajasthan, India, 2008

The truck stops at a crossroad, we step out and start walking across the street. This young girl, without a shirt, walks past us with some older women, all with vessels of water balanced on their heads. We continue to a small row of tents across the street, to photograph the children of a school arranged by Humana People to People India. The good people of Nirvanavan Foundation have made this day possible, driving me to Behror from Alwar, even taking along our guide from Humana for this photographic session. 

We find a place and arrange the children, girls first and then the boys, as is my custom. We begin the photography and proceed according the height, taller girls first so as to make the adjustments easier and the photography smoother. Then she walks to us, the young girl from the street, dressed in this fantastic pattern, with a broad smile and eyes glistening in the sun. She is also wearing a sweater, a far shift from my first view of her on the street. She steps up onto the chair, elevated from the surroundings. Her presence is natural, she knows why she is there. We make a few exposures, then ask her to remove the sweater. 

She does so without question and allows us to make a few more exposures with this beautiful pattern. Then she allows us to have her necklaces hidden for another series of exposures. She allows all of this, like a queen allowing her subjects their day in court. She is as elegant as when she walked by us with the vessel of water on her head. Her print as well as others are available for sale through my website. All proceeds will go to benefit the subjects of my photography. 


  1. The Humana people dont have a school in this camp anymore. The Banjara dont own the land they camp upon. They dont have ration cards, election I-cards or access to running water and electricity. They usually work on construction sites. The beautiful children of this camp certainly need a school.

  2. Nirvana's insightful comment above shows us the delicate nature of these beautiful people's lives. One day they have very limited access to a school and then the next they lack even that limited access. They live in tents and cook over open fire pits. Their children are sent into the streets of the small town, fending for themselves and scraping along for a living. They are indeed beautiful, their presentation having attracted me to their story for life. We will be working for them and their extended tribe in the future, such is my obligation and my purpose.

  3. I had visited one of their camps to get a feel of their place and find out ways to open a school. I had already shared this with Halim. We will be certainly working for them and their extended tribe in the future,such is our obligation and our purpose. Thank you Halim.

  4. Nirvanavan Foundation is in the process of establishing ten schools in ten villages, having uncovered a few more to perhaps include as well under their mission. These beautiful people have caught our mutual attention, since our collaboration three years ago. There is much to do, much to plan. We hope to do more for them. Getting the word out is the first step, we hope others will feel the same and include themselves in this discussion.

  5. Dear Surbhi
    I have come to know that there are some Kanjar communities who still involved in prostitution and girls are trafficked in Bundi District of Rajasthan state.
    We are planning to work with them to prevent the girls trafficking. in this reference i need to interact with you.
    this is my email id:
    please contact if you can