Black flags, Azad Kashmir flags, Pakistan flags and pro-Khalistan flags filled the streets around the Indian High Commissioner in London shortly after the flag hoisting on India's Independence day 2019. Several Pakistani and Kashmiri groups organised this protest which saw thousands of people taking to streets to protest against Indian government's stance on Jammu and Kashmir. The "black day" protests went out of hand when counter protests were started by a small Indian group. The armed police officers who were trying to maintain peace were hit by water bottles and eggs. The unrest between the neighbouring countries has caused a state of chaos in the land of their former colonisers. I wonder who is having the last laugh.
The bustling and congested streets of Shahjahanabad, famously known as Chandni Chowk, hold evidence of Delhi's rich heritage. The havelis, made years ago, have the power to teleport anyone into history. But, somehow the people who live on these streets do not appear to have the faintest idea about its history.
Panic spread in slaughterhouses across Uttar Pradesh soon after Yogi Adityanath took charge as the Chief Minister of the state. One of the first orders he passed was that to shut down the illegal slaughterhouses in the state. The illegal slaughterhouses did get shut but the legal ones also faced the brunt of the order.
I visited one such slaughterhouse in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal. It had about 50-60 buffaloes but it couldn't function because to break-even, they need to have at least 250 animals. I met families living on the campus, who had no work for over a week and thus didn't have money to buy grocery. The people there told me that this is the only thing that they could do.
On June 13, 1997, 59 people went to watch the movie Border in Delhi's Uphaar Cinema and could never make it back home. The incident took place in Delhi's Green Park area. The criminal case against the owners dragged on for several years with survivors and people who lost their loved ones waiting for justice.
20 years later, I got a chance to visit the place and capture the remains with my camera. While the place still had some old Pepsi bottles from the 1990s, some beer bottles were a sign that the cinema had become a hangout for vandals. Although everything around the place has substantially changed, this building remains the same, holding on to the memories of the those who lost their lives.
Before the Delhi municipality body elections of 2017, I decided to take stock of the dumping situation in the city. I visited the Ghazipur landfill in east Delhi, which is the oldest functional landfill in the city. Having started in 1984, the mountain-like landfill spreads across 70 acres and contains over 12 million tonnes of waste.
Most people living in the vicinity of the dumping yard make their living from the garbage. Selling scraps and plastic materials that can be recyled.
I interacted with one the residents, Abdullah, a 22-year-old boy who has been collecting garbage for years now. I asked his why didn't go to school and study. “My brother went to school. He has completed his 10th standard and has been trying to find a job. But no one gives him a job because he is from a low caste,” he said.
When you only have garbage, you make the best out of it.
On the morning of 25th April 2017, India woke up to find one of its best architectural marvels reduced to ruins. And its heritage gone up in smoke and dust.
The iconic Hall of Nations and Hall of Industries in Pragati Maidan in Delhi, a landmark of modern architecture in India, was demolished by the Indian Trade Promoters Organisation (ITPO). Four days earlier, the Delhi HC had dismissed a writ petition by architect Raj Rewal to preserve the buildings as ‘heritage.’
The IPTO carried out the demolition to make way for an Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) as a part of a larger redevelopment plan in Pragati Maidan.
The Halls were built to celebrate 25 years of the country’s Independence in 1972 and were inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Kumartuli is a neighborhood in Kolkata which has a long tradition of clay idol-making for various ocassions, speicially for the most important festival of Bengal – Durga Puja. It is located in north Kolkata along the river of Hooghly.
There were only a few days left for Durga Puja when I visited the place and the workers were toiling hard in the narrow lanes and cramped workshops to make sure that the 10-armed Goddess and her children reach the pandals on time. The workers are often interrupted by photo-hungry journalists and tourists.
The preparation of the idol makers starts from July and continue till February – the time of Saraswati puja. However, sometimes buyers place orders as early as October or November.
Fighting fire is a 24x7 job, but a motley bunch of firemen at Noida’s Sector 2 police fire station stride on with an easy smile on their faces.
On International Firefighter’s Day, I and a friend took a glimpse into their lives.
A heat map.