Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are photographing a man sleeping on a stairway at Arakashan Rd in Delhi, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
People with low wages and homeless are often been seen sleeping in the streets for the night. Lack of love and many other things can be the reasons for homelessness in India, which for centuries has caused families in India to have an average of 5 generations being homeless. In this photograph a man is sleeping on a stairway at Arakashan Rd in Delhi.
People with low wages and homeless are often been seen sleeping in the streets for the night. Lack of love and many other things can be the reasons for homelessness in India, which for centuries has caused families in India to have an average of 5 generations being homeless. In this photograph a man is sleeping on a stairway at Arakashan Rd in Delhi.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 17, 2024

Arakashan Rd portraiture

Homelessness is a situation in which people have no permanent place of residence and spend the night in public spaces, outdoors or in emergency shelters. The majority of the homeless in industrialized countries are male, with men accounting for around 80 percent of the single homeless. Long-term homeless people are present in most large cities today. Disparaging terms or equating them with beggars are widespread in everyday urban life.

How many homeless people are there in Delhi?

In the capital city of Delhi alone it is estimated place the number of homeless at around 150,000-200,000, of which at least 10,000 are women.

Street sleeping in India is a major problem
It is estimated that there are over 3 million street sleepers in India, making up one of the largest homeless populations in the world. Street sleepers are people who live on the streets, with no access to shelter, food or basic necessities. Street sleepers in India face a variety of challenges. They are often denied basic human rights, including the right to education, healthcare and employment and they are also vulnerable to violence and exploitation, as well as a lack of access to basic necessities such as food, water and sanitation.

In addition, street sleepers are often victims of discrimination and social stigma, as they are viewed as a burden on society. The prevalence of street sleepers in India can be attributed to a variety of factors. These include Poverty, displacement due to natural disasters, lack of access to education and employment opportunities and cultural norms which discourage people from seeking help and in order to address the issue of street sleepers in India, it is important to understand the causes behind the problem. It is also essential to provide street sleepers with access to basic necessities such as food, water and shelter.

Individuals with rights
Furthermore, it is important to provide them with access to education, employment opportunities and social support systems. Additionally, it is important to raise awareness about the issue of street sleepers in India and to ensure that they are included in policy making and decision making processes. Ultimately, addressing the issue of street sleepers in India is essential for achieving a more equitable and just society.

"It is important to ensure that street sleepers are not treated as a burden, but rather as individuals with rights and to ensure that they have access to the same opportunities as other members of society. Only then can we begin to see a reduction in the number of street sleepers in India"

How is it to live on the streets?
Living on the streets is a hard reality for many people around the world. Street sleepers are individuals who are homeless and do not have access to safe and secure housing and street sleepers experience a myriad of difficult challenges each day. They are often exposed to the elements, such as cold weather, rain and wind and may have to sleep in the same clothes for days at a time and furthermore, street sleepers have limited access to food, which can lead to malnutrition and other health issues and they are also vulnerable to violence and exploitation from strangers.

The causes of street sleeping
The causes are often complex and varied and many street sleepers have experienced difficult life events, such as family breakdown, job loss, mental health issues and substance abuse and these factors can all contribute to an individual becoming homeless. There are a number of ways to help street sleepers. Local governments and nonprofits can provide support services, such as housing and employment programs. Charities can also provide food and clothing to those in need. Additionally, people can volunteer with organizations that provide direct assistance to street sleepers.

Street sleepers are an often overlooked and vulnerable part of our society. It is important to recognize their struggles and offer support where possible. Only then can we help to reduce the number of individuals who are forced to live on the streets. As a photographer it is a common sight to see many people sleeping in the streets in Delhi, India and a distinction must be made between Homelessness.

Primary homelessness or rooflessness
This category includes persons living in the streets without a shelter that would fall within the scope of living quarters.

Secondary homelessness
This category may include persons with no place of usual residence who move frequently between various types of accommodations including dwellings, shelters and institutions for the homeless or other living quarters. This category includes persons living in private dwellings but reporting no usual address on their census form.

"Comparable events in developing countries such as in India tend to have a stronger impact than in more affluent countries due to fewer resources and are often causing that people here are without shelter for at least some time and the status of homeless people is not immediately apparent. Many of those affected want to hide their homelessness from the public out of shame. That is why we often speak of hidden or hidden homelessness in this manner"

Street sleeping in India
When photographing the sleeping people in Arakashan Rd one can oneself what the quality of the sleep they are actually getting in the bustling and noisy streets of India and the quality of sleep may be evaluated from an objective and a subjective point of view. Objective sleep quality refers to how difficult it is for a person to fall asleep and remain in a sleeping state and how many times they wake up during a single night. Poor sleep quality disrupts the cycle of transition between the different stages of sleep. Subjective sleep quality in turn refers to a sense of being rested and regenerated after awaking from sleep.

A study found that insomniacs were more demanding in their evaluations of sleep quality than individuals who had no sleep problems. Human sleep-needs vary by age and amongst individuals and sleep is considered to be adequate when there is no daytime sleepiness or dysfunction. Moreover, self-reported sleep duration is only moderately correlated with actual sleep time as measured by actigraphy and those affected with sleep state misperception may typically report having slept only 4 hours despite having slept a full 8 hours.

Portraited in Paharganj
Paharganj has been a hub for backpackers and hippies starting from the 1970s. However, the area now is noted for having high amount of crime, poverty, drugs, sexual assaults and scams. The tourism authorities are encouraging tourists, both local and international, to stay in the newer part of the city, particularly South Delhi. Paharganj has seen a rise in sexual assaults of women, both Indian tourists and especially international tourists. Although the area still remains popular by many foreign tourists for cheap hostels and restaurants, most domestic Indian tourists are moving to South Delhi for a safer and cleaner environment, including upscale modern amenities. But South Delhi is also seeing many foreign tourists, who move away from Paharganj, since the area is witnessing a spike in sexual assaults on international travelers.

See this video about homelessness in Delhi made by The Indian Express.

"- As a photographer, I felt a deep need to capture the plight of street sleepers in India and showcase their struggle in a way that would be meaningful and powerful. Taking up this task felt both humbling and overwhelming at the same time. My journey began in some of the most impoverished neighborhoods, in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, where I was awestruck by the immense poverty and the lack of basic necessities.I was shocked by the sight of children and adults alike sleeping on the bare ground, using any cover or meager possessions to shelter themselves from the elements. Walking around, I came across adult beggars, young street children, migrant labourers and the disabled, all of them at the mercy of the wind and rain. Seeing them made me realize how severely forgetting our fellow citizens in distress can affect lives", the Photographer says.

"- I decided to start photographing these street sleepers and highlighting their story. My portraits depicted the resilience and strength of life despite the tremendous difficulty these people endured. I wanted to honor their spirit and bring recognition to their stories"
, the Photographer says again.

"- My camera lens was my voice to share these powerful stories. I wanted to shatter the invisibility wall that occurs in places like India, which hide the realities of poverty from the public eye. I reached out to the locals, acted as a silent witness of these moments and slowly gained trust and confidence to remain close to the subject. I documented their day-to-day life full of struggle and perseverance, attempting to remain neutral and impartial yet able to capture the raw emotion of the people", the Photographer says again.

"- Among the images, I captured several smiles. These were expressions of hope and courage, of humans determined to carry on and survive in spite of their missionary conditions. Every photograph I took served as reminder, that though the street sleepers situation in India is bleak, they still cling to a glimmer of hope, keeping alive through whatever little they have. Through my photographs, I hope to bring recognition to the street sleepers plight in India. My wish is to honor their resilience with a respectful and non-judgmental narrative that conveys their daily struggles and celebrates their courage"
, the Photographer says again.

Read also:  An Indian portrait

Read also:  An Indian portrait

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 a man in Delhi. 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.