Nov 05, 2012
Renowned photographer Raghu Rai, in collaboration with Save the Children India, has launched his photo book- ‘Outside the Margins’ along with a four-day long photo exhibition in Delhi which captures the deplorable condition of health among women and children in slums of Delhi, India.
New Delhi: Delhi slums are mostly a precarious sprawl of slipshod brickwork and corrugated roofing; how it all stays up is anyone's guess. Every square inch of space is eked out by the people in which they live – neighbors are often separated from each other by nothing but a curtain. There is no running water and no toilets. The cramped environment and unhygienic surroundings put them at a greater risk of diseases. A major part of Delhi is encompassed by slum areas. According to a recent survey (May 2011) conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation, one out of five people in Delhi is a slum-dweller.
According to latest figures, 16.5 lakhs children die every year in India due to easily preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. Malnutrition is the single biggest underlying cause contributing to one third of these deaths.
Raghu Rai’s photo book, ‘Outside the Margins’ seeks to make this ‘invisible’ reality ‘visible’. What began as an initial probe in the slums of Delhi to capture the deplorable condition of health among women and children has now grown into a full-fledged photo book on the issue.
Raghu Rai launched the book along with a four-day long photo exhibition in Delhi on Friday evening, in the presence of Economist Prof. AK Shiva Kumar, Designer Rajiv Sethi, Actor Nassar Abdullah, Save The Children Chairman Harpal Singh and Save The Children CEO Thomas Chandy. The occasion was also graced by a visit of Ambassador of the United State to India – Nancy Jo Powell.
“I have no illusions about changing the world through these pictures, but by sharing them with sensitivity and responsibility. I hope they will touch people to some extent, and create an environment where people are more aware of, and sensitive to the glaring disparities and contradictions that mark everyday life in India, especially the children who are the future of the nation,” says Raghu Rai.
“It is indeed a shame that we continue to lose 16.5 lakh children every year, which is one child every 17 seconds in India - a country of abundance and an emerging superpower. If that was not all, women in India have only a 50-50 chance of having anyone skilled to help them during child birth, and in most cases they pay with their lives. These are not merely statistics but a reflection on us, as a nation and society, on how we treat our women and children,” says Thomas Chandy, CEO of Save the Children.
The book has a candid foreword by socio-political activist, Aruna Roy. She writes, “Raghu’s photographs of children on the fringes of an affluent society provoke a whole gamut of emotions. These photographs focus on the reality of millions of children, placing them squarely in the middle of the lens; mocking the claims of a shining tinsel India. Young children look you in the eye, with a confidence which defies their emaciated bodies and difficult conditions. These pictures show dire conditions, but in the middle of these circumstances, they capture the dignity of their persona.”