Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are meeting an Indian boy on the street in Pushkar, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
In the bustling streets of Pushkar, India, where the vibrant colors of tradition collide with the harsh realities of poverty, the photographer found himself face-to-face with a poignant moment of human struggle. As a photographer with a deep-seated humanitarian focus, this encounter would become a poignant reminder of the stories often hidden beneath the surface of a society in transition.
In the bustling streets of Pushkar, India, where the vibrant colors of tradition collide with the harsh realities of poverty, the photographer found himself face-to-face with a poignant moment of human struggle. As a photographer with a deep-seated humanitarian focus, this encounter would become a poignant reminder of the stories often hidden beneath the surface of a society in transition.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on June 10, 2024

A boy's portrait

India, a land of rich cultural heritage and vibrant traditions, is also a place where the stark realities of poverty cast a long shadow over the innocence of childhood. For millions of children across the country, the harsh grip of poverty shapes every aspect of their lives, robbing them of the carefree joys that should define this precious stage of development.

How many children live in poverty in India?

The number of children living in poverty in India is unfortunately quite high. Roughly 30 percent of India's population lives below the poverty line. This translates to millions of children living in impoverished conditions.

Echoes of struggle in Pushkar, India
"- It was a scorching afternoon, the sun beating down mercilessly on the dusty streets. Amidst the whirlwind of activity, my lens caught sight of a boy, no more than 12 years old, his face etched with the weariness of a life far beyond his years. His clothes were tattered and a dirty cap sat precariously on his head, shielding his eyes from the harsh glare of the sun. Approaching me with timid steps, his outstretched hand held a quiet plea for help a plea for something to eat, perhaps or a few coins to alleviate the gnawing hunger in his belly. His eyes, however, told a story of resilience amidst adversity, a tale of survival in the face of overwhelming odds", the Photographer says.

"- In that moment, I knew that his story deserved to be told. With a gentle nod, I motioned for him to pause, allowing my camera to capture the essence of his being. The click of the shutter seemed to echo through the narrow alleyways, freezing this fleeting moment in time for eternity", the Photographer says again.

"- As I looked through the lens, I saw more than just a boy in need. I saw a symbol of the countless children across India and indeed, the world, who navigate the unforgiving terrain of poverty with unwavering courage. His dirty cap became a metaphor for the burdens he carried, while his outstretched hand spoke volumes about the resilience of the human spirit. Through his portrait, I hoped to shine a light on the harsh realities faced by so many, yet also to capture the flicker of hope that refuses to be extinguished. It is a reminder that behind the statistics and the headlines, there are individuals with stories waiting to be heard, voices longing to be acknowledged"
, the Photographer says again.

"In this portrait I invite you to delve deeper into this poignant encounter. May his silent plea serve as a call to action, a reminder that the journey towards a more compassionate world begins with acknowledging the humanity that binds us all"

The effects of poverty on childhood
From the crowded slums of Delhi to the remote villages of Bihar, the effects of poverty on childhood are profound and far-reaching. One of the most devastating consequences is the lack of access to education. In a country such as India where education is often seen as the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, many children are denied this fundamental right. Forced to work in hazardous conditions or beg on the streets to support their families, their dreams of a brighter future are dashed before they can even take flight.

Malnutrition is another cruel companion of poverty, with nearly half of India's children under the age of 5 suffering from stunted growth due to lack of proper nutrition. The inability to afford nutritious food leaves them vulnerable to a host of health problems, robbing them of the vitality that should define their early years. Beyond the physical hardships, the emotional toll of poverty on children is profound. Many grow up in environments marked by violence, substance abuse and neglect, leading to a loss of innocence that no child should have to endure. The constant struggle for survival leaves little room for the simple joys of childhood – playing with friends, exploring the world with wide-eyed wonder or dreaming of what they might become.

The burden of poverty
For girls, the burden of poverty is often compounded by gender discrimination, with many forced into early marriages or denied the opportunity to pursue an education. This perpetuates a cycle of poverty that spans generations, trapping families in a cycle of despair from which escape seems impossible. Yet, amidst these harsh realities, there are glimmers of hope. Organizations and individuals across India are working tirelessly to provide support and resources to children living in poverty Kristian Bertel | Photography learned. Schools are being established in slum areas, providing free education and meals to those who need it most. Healthcare initiatives are reaching remote villages, ensuring that children receive the medical care they need to thrive.

The definition of poverty can vary, but it often refers to those living on less than a certain amount of income per day. For India, this might be defined as those living on less than $1.90 dollars per day, which is the international poverty line set by the World Bank. It is important to note that efforts are continuously made by the Indian government and various organizations to address poverty and improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations, including children. However, the sheer size of India's population means that even small percentages can represent millions of individuals, including children, living in poverty.

"Empowering communities is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. By providing parents with the tools and resources to support their families, we can create a more hopeful future for the next generation. Microfinance programs, vocational training and access to clean water and sanitation are just some of the ways in which communities are being uplifted"

See this video about child poverty in India made by My India Official.

The photographer's own experience of seeing poverty in India
"- As I walked away, the echoes of his quiet presence lingered in my heart. I knew that his portrait, with all its raw vulnerability and silent resilience, would forever be etched in my memory – a testament to the power of photography to illuminate the hidden corners of our shared humanity. This story aims to capture the essence of the encounter with the boy in Pushkar, India, focusing on his struggle with poverty and the resilience that shines through. It also reflects the photographer's perspective as a humanitarian, using photography as a medium to shed light on social issues and evoke empathy", the Photographer says again.

"- As we reflect on the impact of poverty on childhood in India, it is a sobering reminder of the work that still needs to be done. Every child deserves the chance to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment, free from the burdens of poverty. It is up to all of us governments, organizations and individuals to come together and create a brighter, more equitable future for India's children", the Photographer says again.

"- This archive story sheds light on the multifaceted impact of poverty on childhood in India, highlighting the challenges faced by millions of children and the efforts being made to create a more hopeful future. It calls for collective action to break the cycle of poverty and create a brighter, more equitable society for India's youth. Let us not allow poverty to steal the innocence of childhood any longer. Let us stand together in solidarity, ensuring that every child in India has the opportunity to thrive, learn and dream of a better tomorrow", the Photographer says again.

Read also:  The school system in India

The school system in India

Read also:  The school system in India

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of an Indian boy in Pushkar. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.