For the photographer, photographs are not so much about art as about telling a story or holding on to a memory about the way things used to be. For him, creating photographs is a straightforward matter. In this photo a young mother with a child on her shoulder in the Mumbai, India.
An overwhelming majority of children found begging on the streets of Mumbai are pushed into the task by their own parents the photographer Kristian Bertel was seeing during his latest stay in India. To discourage people from forcing children into begging, the Mumbai Police's social service branch has started arresting them under child labour prevention laws.
Children's rights in India
It has been found that many of the parents are missusing the fundamentals of the children's right to education. They would enroll their wards in schools and avail facilities offered by the government, but the children were not allowed to attend classes. Some families survive entirely on money made by the children. Some parents have invested in houses on the outskirts of the city, complete with televisions, refrigerators and phones. Street children rescued from begging are produced before were then sent to shelters. But it has been observed that their parents would locate the shelters, claim the child and push him or her back into begging. In India today it is not allow parents, booked under child labour prevention laws, to claim their children from shelters. Child welfare groups look into the rehabilitation of these children and ensure they get a good education. To accelerate the campaign this year, a child welfare officer was appointed at each police station to look into cases of child labour, children pushed into begging as well as child sexual abuse. Local police stations know exact locations where children are forced to beg.
"- Only way to stop such things is we should stop giving beggars. If we really want to do some thing for them we should give that money to good institutes which will give the boys shelter and education", the photographer says.
Photographing in the Mumbai streets
What he finds interesting is the ability to communicate the subject's inner feelings, the area where he or she spends the majority of their time, inside and personal. He has taken photos of people in a variety of locations like streets and in factories and so on. Even though Indians have accepted modern means of living, improved their lifestyle, their values and beliefs still remain unchanged. A person can change his way of clothing, way of eating and living but the rich values in a person always remains unchanged because they are deeply rooted within their hearts, mind, body and soul which they receive from their culture.
Mumbai, India's largest city
The megalopolitan monster, India's largest city was originally an island archipelago, inhabited by fishermen and Buddhist monks. The islands were acquired by the Portuguese who gavethem to Charles II as a dowry for marrying Catherine de Braganza. In 1668, the Crown offered the lease to the British East India Company for a mere 10 pounds per annum. They rapidly established their west coast headquarters here, carried out massive land reclamation and building projects, and transformed seven muddy islands into the colonial city of Bombay. Since then the city, which changed its name to Mumbai in 1995, has never stop growing. Mumbai city is known as the business capital of India, it being the country's principal financial and communications centre. The city has the largest and the busiest port handling India's foreign trade and a major Interntional airport. India's largest Stock Exchange which ranks as the third largest in the world, is situated in Mumbai. Here, trading of stocks is carried out in billions of rupees everyday. The photographer's photos reveal what it was like to have been there, in that moment, with that person all in that poetry of colors that India is consisting of. The total population of Mumbai is about 10 millions. It is still growing.
Humanitarian photographs of Mumbai in India
Traditionally, the first thing a visitor to Mumbai is shown is the Gateway of India, an Indo-Saracenic monument on the waterfront. The last British troops left India via this gateway in 1948 in a symbolic gesture of renunciation of this great city that had been the trading hub of their Empire. Mumbai is the most westernised, cosmopolitan and frenetic city in India. Day and night, its streets teem with people of all complexions, cultures and creeds. It is a city of contradictions and extremes, where phenomenal wealth rubs shoulders with heart-wrenching poverty. The story of Mumbai can not be complete without the mention of Bollywood, the biggest Indian film industry which churns out hundreds of Hindi block-busters every year. Mumbai provides umpteen opportunities to realize one's dreams. Hence, people from all over India, belonging to different cultures come here to realize their dreams. Mumbai has become the melting pot of all Indian cultures. This is the reason Mumbai has a truly cosmopolitan population bustling with activity. It's film industry Bollywood also draws a number of youths with tinsel dreams to Mumbai.
Drawn by India in each photograph
The photographer had been a keen amateur photographer for many years. However, he had a long-held ambition to travel more and had enjoyed photography, and especially travel photography. Travel photos can be the most memorable photographs and travel photography is one of the most popular activities for those who travel, and also for Kristian Bertel. Once visting India for the first time he was fascinated by this startlingly beautiful country from the beginning. He is a freelance photographer who has been traveling in several provinces of India taking travel photos with a humanitarian eye and he is regular travel blogger with his India photographs and you can write to him here:
Contact the photographer
More photographs from India
If you are interested to see more photos and imagery from India, you can see one of the slideshows which also appears on the photographer's website.
See the slideshow | press here