Saturday, March 20, 2010

Foreign obsession for Indian Poverty

It was 15th of March 2010. My family and myself were coming back from Haridwar after attending the “Shaahi Snaan” in the Maha-Kumbh of 2010. We were very tired and had a very good trip with the dip in the holy ganges. We had to catch the Shatabdi Express to New-Delhi from Haridwar and so we came to the railway station. Needless to say that the railway station was crowded to the full and there was no place to stand. Among the crowd of many Indians like me and like others there were some Foreigners also. Our story begins over here.
How the western world still treats us:
The guys from the west come to India to record the live shots of our crowd and poverty in their SLR cameras. What a waste of technology. I saw few guys in the railway station doing the same. Taking out their hi-tech cameras and taking snaps of the crowded general compartments of the trains. They were gazing people as if they had found extra-terestrial life and this was some kind of a discovery. They wanted to show the west that India is still a poor country despite the fact that it has leapfrogged into the technology era and is a key player. Americans, Europeans feel that this country is a godown of poverty where you can only find poor people begging for money and snake-charmers doing the rope trick. They are still in a denial mode that the country of snake-charmers has now grown to be a technology super-power with industrialists taking over their own business.
I saw a European (British) taking snaps and another guy from America doing the same. I wanted to teach these guys a lesson in their own language. I did not have a SLR but I felt that the compact DSC that I had was enough to make these guys aware that SLRs have a much better purpose than to just take snaps of poverty. The moment the guy was clicking the pictures I took a picture of the guy with my camera so that he feels, what it is to be like an object of curiosity. The guy was not aware initially but then when he realized that someone else is taking his photo he stopped taking the snaps.
Moral of the story: We can all talk about racism, poverty glorification and misrepresentation of our country I blogs, but if we really want to do something we have to equip ourselves. So friends take your cameras, whatever they may be, a soapbox, mobile camera, SLR or camcorder. Whenever you see such people taking memories of our poverty to ridicule us in the west just take a snap or video of those guys to make them aware, what it is to be like a model to the Indian Photographer. Take the snaps of such people openly and show them that Indian people are no more the photographic pleasure of the west but the tables have turned and now the westerners with their SLRs can also be a soft target for us.

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