Had an opportunity to visit a photo exhibition oraganised by the Indian photography fest in my city. The works of various photographers from around the world were showcased and we spent over two hours mesmerized by their extensive range of work. Stunning visual landscapes, black and white portraits, exotic wildlife, the wrestlers of Senegal, glimpses of the platform of New York’s subway, local festival celebrations, Philippines drug war, the slums of Dharavi, many postcard pictures from everyday life and much more were put up.
But what caught my attention and ripped my heart apart were the pictures by the Mumbai based photographer Sudharak Olwe. The pictures were crying out in agony, shattering the silence of the room. Some of his works covered the images from the lives of the conservancy workers working in unimaginable conditions, the prostitutes of the red light area, jarring pictures of the deep caste prejudices among the Dalits in Maharashtra. Each picture narrated a heart wrenching morbid tale of life. Be it a new born baby still with its umbilical cord dumped in a garbage bin, or the prostitutes playing Holi* but with colours of pain and sadness, a man cleaning a sewage canal buried till his neck in pit filled with filth , hanging of a Dalit for trying to speak up for his rights and many more such pictures which jolt your very being. I could do nothing to contain the tears flowing from my eyes.
Staring into their lifeless eyes
the piercing wails echo
despair and anguish
the soul drenched in sorrow
when the tormented heart cries out,
their plea for help, unheard
nobody to feel, nobody to heal
from the dead frames hang
something which resembled a human
life in an abyss enclosed by
gloom, filth, poverty and misery
their grieving hands probe in the perennial darkness
for a glimmer of hope to brighten their spirit!
*Holi is a festival of colours played in India.