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Photographer's Note

The title is neither exciting nor witty, but I couldn't think of any better, and it is really true. It shows a group of widows (recognized by their white saris) begging outside one of the temples in Puri on the Indian east coast.

When I took this photo in October 1987 I had recently at my office read an article in India Today, a news magazine similar to Newsweek, about the desperate plight of many Indian widows. That was the reason why I paid attention to these women.

In India a woman usually marries into her husband's household. If she is lucky, all is well. If not so lucky she may be treated not much better than a household slave, never really accepted as a member of the family. After her husband dies, she may be regarded as a burden to the family, not even respected by her own sons. She may not be allowed proper rations of food, or may have the jewellery given to her by her husband taken away. Her only hope of survival could be to beg, or retire to a religious hostel, an ashram, where the conditions may also be tough.

During this journey in 1987 I watched widows with a fresh pair of eyes and was deeply moved by the desperation I saw on their faces. I don't think these cruel habits have changed much in recent years, but hopefully they are limited to a relatively small part of Indian society.

Today's WS shows a number of male beggars near a temple in Puri...

Both photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12402 W: 572 N: 23804] (101880)
  • Genre: 人物
  • Medium: 彩色
  • Date Taken: 1987-10-00
  • Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2021-01-04 0:45
Viewed: 0
Points: 48
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