Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Young Woman + Ragpicker Community, Humana People to People India, Gurgaon, India, November of 2013

Next month I will visit this young woman and her community once again, and hope to document their story even more so. They live on the outskirts of society, in shacks along the side of the road. Their daily routine includes walking through mountains of rubbish, sorting the plastic from the metal from the glass and so on.

They are barely visible to those around them, struggle for their daily existence yet live in one of the richest cities in Asia. Visible from a distance are the high-rises which dot the landscape, evidence of a wealth truly alien to them. They belong to a section of society which is assigned this role, and know little about other options.

Around them they see huge billboards of Bollywood stars, for whom they have a deep sense of admiration. While to an outsider the contrast in skin tones is striking, it does little to diminish this relationship even though they endure unimaginable conditions, and live a life in severe contrast to those on the billboards.

They exist in a society which prizes a foreign language over their own, making it almost impossible for them to advance. As such the vicious cycle of landlessness continues. Without access to the most basic of human rights, they are forced to live hand to mouth.

Yet she allows me to make her portrait with such serenity. Her beauty inspires me more so than those being advertised in the skies, for it is pure and unadulterated. She is supreme, and resolute. In her composure I see our future, and hope that I for one can live up to my responsibilities in lessening the inequalities for those in her place.

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