Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Under the table


Sunil and Arvind Parmar, owners of a tea stall in Surendranagar, Gujarat, break
for lunch while their servant Mangal, an 11-year-old Dalit boy is made to sit under the table.

This picture was taken by my friend Ritesh Uttamchandani, who is a brilliant photographer as far as I am concerned. He lives in Mumbai. My friend Neelesh Misra told me about him two years ago - Neelesh has earlier done some assignments with him. Now, Ritesh and I are colleagues. But he is in Mumbai, while I am based in Delhi.

I look forward to work with him, preferably in Jharkhand and Orissa (I don't know why!) Meanwhile, you can see some of his work here.

26 comments:

Srishti said...

I wonder how much you mean to us, the readers. I mean, the world would be so dark without you. Thanks, as always.

Rochak Chauhan said...

Its a shame, we are educated and advanced enough to send Satellites in the space, but still infected my this Caste-ism.

I feel sorry for them, not the dalits, but bunch of morons who thinks they are better race as they were born in a particular family / caste/ religion. Two words for them..

no no not those two words... I mean GROW UP ! :)

Piyush said...

What a shame. A very powerful pic.

Rajiv Mathew said...

A really powerful picture!

Anonymous said...

I don't think this picture is real. First of all it would take lot of effort on part of the boy and two owners to be seated like this. Given the owners own the place, there would be other nook/corner for the boy to eat (in case the owners don't want dalit to eat with them). I am sure this is a made up picture. Reaeders: don't take anything you see as real.

NOTE: I don't encourage castesim in any form, so don't get me wrong. And if this is a real picture than shame on all of us.

Anonymous said...

I think this is rubbish and fake. Think about it, would you want someone between your feet when you have your lunch, or would you just order them to sit outside or in the backyard and eat??? I guess this pic is just to sensationalize the story. Common guys, dont take info from unknown sources or tabloid journalists as the "gospel truth".

Nikhil Srivastava said...

For last few days I could not get to see your blog. But after reading it today I'm feeling quite energetic.
I want to contact you. Can you please give me your number.
My mail id is snikhil.hindustantimes@gmail.com

Nikhil Srivastava said...

And this pic really provokes an action...

shagufta said...

absolutely deplorable....

Ritesh said...

Dear anonymous,
Am sure you have reasons to doubt me and the integrity of my work...
This picture is not part of a story, our reporter was meeting someone for a story on cotton farming in a nearby building, and I came to this lil shack to buy a smoke and have some tea, I took this photo fm a table that was parallel to theirs...
And am not an unknown source, or a tabloid journalist, or someone who is into sensationalizing stuff, get your facts correct before you even think of defaming me...

Ritesh said...

Dear anonymous,
Am sure you have reasons to doubt me and the integrity of my work...
This picture is not part of a story, our reporter was meeting someone for a story on cotton farming in a nearby building, and I came to this lil shack to buy a smoke and have some tea, I took this photo fm a table that was parallel to theirs...
And am not an unknown source, or a tabloid journalist, or someone who is into sensationalizing stuff, get your facts correct before you even think of defaming me...

Anonymous said...

Bravo Ritesh, so you took the picture and did your duty as a reporter, uh! Did you asked those guy why this behavior? did you ask the boy why he was eating like this or if has any other choice? did you ask the boy why doesn't he go to school? did you educate the owners on how deplorable their behavior is and did you tell them that you will complain about it to NHRC? If not, then what right you have to post such a picture? I guess it's just your job to take pictures and not do anything about it.

Ritesh said...

oh c'mon now, everyone has a purpose and a job, i spoke, i asked and that's how i know why he was made to sit there or what his name is and what not, i had the courage to take this picture on the sly, without letting them know, and i sincerely hoped that my editors would publish it, i am not an activist, i am a journalist incase u forgot, by butting in, i would have surely managed to either sway the owner's mind for a day or be thrown out of the place and would have never managed to know the truth, but if the photo would have been published and if there was some sort of an outcry, it would have led to more permanent results, had i interfered then, it would have been temporary relief for the kid, had i spoken then, the owners would have been alert and would probably teach the kid what to say when the NHRC champs come to question them...
you are free to allege me for being dispassionate, unlike you i won't question your rights, i know i wasn't and am not, there are just too many things one has to think of when taking pictures, we aren't just mere button pushers you see!
it's not too recent, but, there was a report in a vernacular daily about a school near khairlanji, where dalit kids have to spray cow's urine on their heads before entering the class, and are made to sit in the darkest corner, why don't YOU do something about it, or you could sit and accuse that journalist too, for doing his job.
P.S. its best if we do the mud slinging on our personal email id's, here's mine, baskya@gmail.com,
cheers!

Anonymous said...

The picture is good but by adding Dalit to the context (and pray did you try to find out the caste of the boy?) it is sensationalizing a not too uncommon event in most of India. Not necessarily eating under the table but anywhere. Have you seen road workers eat?

Karan said...

Curiously, "Anonymous" - if you really wanted to speak up and question Ritesh's integrity, why do you post as Anonymous? Or are you just one of those cowardly fools with no balls who sits in the comforts of his house and needlessly ranting, accusing and criticizing people who are at least trying their best to change the society we live in.

Ritesh: Keep up the great work. Your pictures do stir some of us to get up and do something.

Dev said...

All I can say after looking at this photo is "Hey Bhagwaan..." Sometimes I feel whether I really know India even if I am an Indian.

skiradz said...

Its extremely sad to see this happens in todays India too....

Anonymous said...

I have seen Dalits being ill-treated not just in the North but in Good old God's Own Country. No need to mention names, but take it from me, that even in 1967(TWENTY YEARS AFTER INDEPENDENCE)the Untouchables in MY ancestral family
were given food by asking them to dig a hole in the ground. Then stuff a Plantain leaf in the hole and the Kanchi or Meal was poured into that. They(the Dalits) made spoons from Jackfruit leaves and used them to have their meal. I have witnessed this with my two eyes. By the time I was doing PLUS TWO (1972 - 1974) I had joined the S.F.I in college. S.F.I stands for Students Federation of India. It was the student wing of the Marxist
party.If a person like me hailing from an ancestral Royal Family can turn to the Marxist side, then consider the feelings of the less prieviledged. Thank you, Friend.

Rahul Pandita said...

Hi Nikhil, my email id is rahulpandita1@gmail.com

Rahul Pandita said...

Anonymous, Before you accuse Ritesh of faking this pic, I suggest you have a look at his other work. For God sake.

Anonymous said...

There is a old saying: trust not what you here and only trust half of what you see. In this world of internet and photoshop, this saying can't be more true.

sudo.inttelecual said...

what is harm if 3 people r eating together
on table there is less space
may b boy believe in hindu old culture where we sit on floor while eating
boy may b eating veg and they eating non veg or vice versa

sudo.inttelecual said...

what is harm if 3 people r eating together
on table there is less space
may b boy believe in hindu old culture where we sit on floor while eating
boy may b eating veg and they eating non veg or vice versa

Anonymous said...

No harm, but spinning it as a dalit being forced to eat like this does a lot of harm.

Ritesh said...

hey anonymous spinner, its trust not what you HEAR, and not HERE...

Shalu Sharma said...

Indeed, a good photograph.