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© 2019 by AKHIL KADIDAL

| India & Asia

I am also a writer/journalist and World War II expert. Find my other work here. The art displayed on this site can be downloaded from my blog.

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ORDINARY PEOPLE

To try to photograph Indians as a homogeneous whole is akin to the folly of trying to capture uniformity among inhabitants of thirty different nations. As the late British novelist and soldier, John Masters, said in 1960: "These were a people from every caste and race — Sikhs, Dorgras, Pathans, Madrassis, Mahrattas, Rajputs, Assamese, Kumaonis, Punjabis, Garhwalis, Naga head-hunters—and, from Nepal, the Gurkhas in all their tribes and subtribes... These men wore turbans, and steel helmets, and slouch hats, and berets, and tank helmets, and khaki shakos inherited from the eighteenth century. There were companies that averaged five feet one inch in height and companies that averaged six feet three inches. There were men as purple black as the West Africans, and men as pale and gold-wheat of skin as a lightly sun-tanned blond. They worshiped God according to the rites of the Mahayana and Hinayana, of Sunni and of Shia, of Rome and Canterbury and Geneva, of the Vedas and the sages and the Mahabharatas, of the ten Gurus, of the secret shrines of the jungle. There were vegetarians and meat-eaters and fish-eaters, and men who ate only rice, and men who ate only wheat; and men who had four wives, men who shared one wife with four …There were men who had never seen snow and men who seldom saw anything else. And Brahmins and Untouchables, both with rifle and tommy gun."

To try and photograph Indians through a prism of economic uniformity is no less of a fallacy. Never has a country existed since the Middle Ages where there is such disparity between the rich and the poor.