Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are meeting a Village boy on the outskirts of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
By the latest counting it is shown that 77 percent of the Indian population lives in villages and that these people live in 640,000 communities throughout India. Of these villages, 50 percent also show that they have less than 500 residents. For comparison, there are only 1,600 cities with more than 20,000 people in India. In this photograph a boy is portrayed outside a village clay house near Varanasi.
By the latest counting it is shown that 77 percent of the Indian population lives in villages and that these people live in 640,000 communities throughout India. Of these villages, 50 percent also show that they have less than 500 residents. For comparison, there are only 1,600 cities with more than 20,000 people in India. In this photograph a boy is portrayed outside a village clay house near Varanasi.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 22, 2024

Boy in a village portraiture

Villages in India are shaped by the caste system that strongly shapes the village structure and mostly every caste lives in its own quarter, the photographer learned. Members of higher castes have their farms and fields in good locations such as fertile soil, easy access to water by for instance with wells. People from lower castes often have to settle for worse living conditions and villages can also be broken down by occupational group, but this almost always coincides with the caste. But this is just a rough model for an Indian village. 75 percent of rural households have an income below the national average and an average village has 1,025 inhabitants, who are between 15 and 20 different castes.

How many people in India live in villages?

77 percent of the Indian population lives in villages and that these people live in 640,000 communities throughout India. Of these villages, 50 percent also show that they have less than 500 residents.

Indian villages
In themselves, they are as different as the villages of Europe. Depending on the landscape, climatic zone, tribal or religious affiliation and type of farming their appearance is different. In the Himalayas, for instance, individual farms and hamlets are to be found. Large communities, which consist of many individual parts of the village, are mainly in southern India. Many villages are not a closed unit and a visit to the neighboring village is often necessary because there is only one particular craftsman or the next school. Villages in India are linked by family relationships, as is rarely married within a village.

Most villagers also have to travel to the next town every now and then. On market days they sell their agricultural or craft products there. Here are post office, school, hospital, offices, shops, police, cinema, bank and bus or train station. The city is also on the radio and television, which there are more and more, in the village. Meanwhile, 50 percent of the villages are connected to the power grid and in agriculture with wheat and rice cultivation and in crafts, there is not enough work due to the large population growth. The big farmers and rice mills need less and less daily laborers through the use of machines. Because of the great poverty many people, especially men, move to the cities and hope to find work there. Since most are illiterate and have no vocational training, they often have a hard time and have to live in Urban slums in India.

Village life in India
India is home to some of the most beautiful villages in the world. While many people may think of India as a rapidly developing nation, the country is still home to many traditional villages. Village life in India is full of culture and tradition and it is an important part of the Indian lifestyle.
Villages in India tend to be tightly knit communities. People living in the same village will often be related to each other and will have strong ties to the village. People in the village will often come together to help each other, whether it be with farming, childcare or other tasks. There is a strong sense of community in Indian villages and people often rely on each other for support.

Traditional customs and beliefs
The villages of India remain a vital part of the country's identity and culture. Despite the challenges that rural India faces, its unique culture and way of life remain an integral part of the Indian experience. V
illages in India are characterized by low levels of literacy, poor infrastructure and limited access to basic services. However, they are also home to vibrant local cultures, with festivals and ceremonies that bring the community together.

The traditional way of life in Indian villages is also an important part of village life and people living in the village will often follow traditional customs and beliefs. Families will often live in small homes and many people will still practice traditional farming methods. People will also often wear traditional clothing and practice traditional customs and people will often gather together to celebrate festivals, births and other special occasions. Many villages also have traditional music and dance, which are an important part of village life. People in the village will often gather together to perform traditional songs and dances.

"Village life in India is an important part of Indian culture and it is a great way to experience traditional life in India. Villages in India are largely self-sufficient, with the majority of the population engaged in agricultural and related activities like fishing and animal husbandry. Villagers depend on local resources for their livelihood. They grow their own food and sell the surplus in local markets and have their own unique culture, customs and traditions. Each village has a particular pattern of social organization, with families and clans forming the basis of the village community, where they have their own language, dialects and customs"

Improvements to the quality of life in rural India
The Indian government has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve the quality of life in rural India. These include schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, which provides roads and connectivity to remote villages and the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', which aims to improve sanitation and hygiene and the 'Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana', which provides electricity to rural areas.

Village life in India is very different to that in Denmark, where the Photographer is from. People live there in very simple relationships and work hard to earn money to earn and many find work in their own fields, others practice skilled occupations, such as in pottery, blacksmith or joinery. Some families also have their own business with which they finance themselves. Not only adults need a lot of hard work but also the children often have to help for several hours at a young age. Your tasks are often to guard one's own cows and goats. In spite of all that, there is a lot of poverty in the villages in India, as can be seen from the fact that most houses consist exclusively of clay and the inhabitants have only the bare essentials.

The photographer was allowed to do this experience personally, because he had the possibility of a whole day in an Indian village, far away from a big city of Varanasi to spend some time in a village as the Photographer says:

"A big difference to the city fell on namely, that there is much less noise and bustle gave and also the air was much more pleasant. The people were all very friendly and were showing me around"

Land ownership and land distribution
Owing land and wealth are very unevenly distributed in India where 70 percent of agricultural holdings are smaller than two soccer fields. Together they manage 20 percent of the acreage, where the remaining 80 percent are processed by a few large companies. Big landowners, called 'Landlords', do not farm their land themselves. They employ stewards who take care of the land. Most large agricultural enterprises are doing well economically. They produce for the food market and thus have easier access to credit and government support programs and small farmers are self-sufficient who order their land without foreign labour. Tenants of patches of medium and large farmers are landless and farmers whose income is not sufficient to survive. You pay your lease in kind or in cash. Many landless find erratic work only as casual or day labourers, for instance during the sowing or harvesting season, a farmer's income is low.

See this video about village life in Uttar Pradesh made by Real Life India.

Health care in the countryside of India
In most villages there is no doctor ant the nearest hospital is often far away. Before patients are taken for medical treatment, they often feel very sick. Therefore, rural hospitals are also considered as death homes and the fear of them is correspondingly large. In order to improve the health care of the rural population and to detect infectious diseases more quickly, the Government of India has developed various support programs, which has been assigned a leprosy and tuberculosis control area.

A basic health service has been set up, for instance that medical helpers have regular office hours in the villages, often in the open air and they provide medical help, give advice on hygiene, do educational work on leprosy and tuberculosis, explain their early detection and healing options and refer sick people to hospitals. Already cured people are being cared for by them, as they often suffer from disabilities. In addition, through extensive home visits to the old men of the villages.

Read also:  Colorful India

Colorful India

Read also:  Colorful 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 a village boy in Varanasi. 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.