Documentary Photography – Daily Life In An Indian Slum

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

This documentary photography was submitted to Edge of Humanity Magazine by documentary photographer Tui Sigman.

 

From project “The Slums Of Dehu Road” by Tui Sigman.

 

Click on any image to see Tui’s gallery of documentary and travel photography.

 

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

 

The Slums of Dehu Road

The Slums of Dehu Road home to a few thousand people, is located within the cantonment area of the Indian Army near Pune city. Also known as ‘Chhota India’ (‘Little India’), due to the diversity of it’s people settled here, from almost every corner of the country.
Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

The British rule brought this community to Dehu Road in the early 1900’s as labourers, to build the cantonment. After its completion the migrant workers stayed on, finding jobs as household help as well as service jobs in the Army. Generations have settled here since and lived in these slums under abject conditions. Most people here have ration cards and have only very recently been granted their voting rights.

The State Government denies this community aid on the pretext that they live within the cantonment area, which legally falls under the jurisdiction of the Indian Army.
The laws of the ‘Cantonment Board Act for Civilians’ were framed in 1932 by the British rule, and have not yet been amended by the Indian Army. This law enables the Army to shirk any responsibility to these individuals. Termed as ‘civilians’ residing in an Indian Army cantonment, they are not entitled to the same rights as ‘citizens’ would outside the cantonment area. This encroaches upon the fundamental human right to basic amenities, further perpetuating a stale mate for this community with the Indian Army and the Government both turning a blind eye to a humanitarian issue in favour of the bureaucratic law.
This community has no access to clean water or sanitation. The main form of this community’s livelihood is to make brooms and work as household help. An open sewage drain runs right through the front yard of these tiny homes where you would see children running about.
Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

The only provision by the State Government for the education of children born in Dehu Road, are Municipal schools from Grade 1 through 7. Although under the ICDS, Integrated Child Development Scheme, which was set up to combat malnutrition, provide basic health care and pre-school activities at ‘Anganwadis’ (‘courtyard shelters’) for free.

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

According to this scheme, ‘Anganwadis’ are for children below 6 years of age. This is where they would first learn the alphabet, however due to the absence of Anganwadis here, they don’t go to pre-school. So when children join the Municipal schools going directly into the 1st grade, not having learnt the alphabet they feel lost and unable to cope with the curriculum. Despite this they get promoted to the next grade without instruction on the alphabet, continuing to feel lost, causing the majority to eventually drop out of school. These children spend their days completing household chores, helping make brooms, playing carom and tag for fun.
Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India

The State laws do not have any provision to protect the rights and needs of these people, hence orphaned by the state. Having tried approaching the state and the army, the people here feel abandoned, with the only hope coming in the form of an NGO called ‘Sadhana’.This NGO is tirelessly pro-active in advancing their cause by using their resources to make sure the voices and needs of this community are heard and eventually met. ‘Sadhana’ is working in tandem with the Indian Army and the State Government to mediate a solution, attempting to put forth bills in order to amend prejudiced laws, that would ensure maximum accountability on all fronts to the people living here, in hope of empowering these individuals with their fundamental ‘human’ right to basic amenities.

 

 

See also”

Fly Over The Children

India

By Tui Sigman


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