Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are seeing the Heart-wrenching poverty in Mumbai, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Heart-wrenching photograph of a poor woman in India involving great sadness or distress. In the she state of being isolated, kept apart or withdrawn into solitude, the photographer feels a pain everytime he takes a photograph of poverty, but he also sees the importance of the photographs during the heart-wrenching times.
Heart-wrenching photograph of a poor woman in India involving great sadness or distress. In the she state of being isolated, kept apart or withdrawn into solitude, the photographer feels a pain everytime he takes a photograph of poverty, but he also sees the importance of the photographs during the heart-wrenching times.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 22, 2024

Heart-wrenching poverty in India

Reports of hunger in Asia's third-biggest economy often give the impression that they are appalling exceptions to a principled success story. But as a traveling photographer he can prove that the opposite is the case. During the economic boom, the Indian elites did not invest in the country's future, in education and social progress.

How many people in India are poor?

80 million people out of 1.2 billion people in India, roughly equal to 7 percent of India's population, lives below the poverty line.

The causes and consequences of poverty in India are complex and interrelated
India is a country of contrasts, where the rich and the poor live side by side. While the country has made remarkable progress in economic growth, social development and technological innovation, it also faces the challenge of widespread poverty, inequality and deprivation. According to the World Bank, about 22 percent of India’s population or 270 million people, live below the international poverty line of $1.90 dollars per day. This means that they struggle to meet their basic needs of food, water, shelter, health and education.

Some of the factors that contribute to poverty include:

Lack of opportunities
Many poor people in India lack access to quality education, skills training, and decent employment opportunities. They are often trapped in low-productivity, informal and vulnerable jobs that offer little security, income and benefits. They also face discrimination and exclusion based on their caste, gender, religion or ethnicity.

Lack of resources
Many poor people in India lack access to adequate and affordable resources such as land, water, energy, credit and social protection. They are often dependent on natural resources that are degraded, scarce, or contested. They also face high costs and risks of borrowing, saving and investing. They are often excluded from social protection schemes that could cushion them from shocks and stresses.

Lack of voice and agency
Many poor people in India lack the ability to influence the decisions and policies that affect their lives. They are often marginalized and powerless in the political, economic and social spheres. They also face barriers to access justice, information and public services. They are often subject to corruption, exploitation and violence.

"The impact of poverty in India is devastating and multidimensional. Poverty not only affects the material well-being of the poor, but also their physical, mental and social well-being. Poverty in India is a heart-wrenching reality that needs to be addressed with compassion and commitment. By working together, we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people who deserve a better future"

Some of the effects of poverty include:

Hunger and malnutrition
India has the highest number of undernourished people in the world, with about 189 million people suffering from chronic hunger. About 38 percent of children under 5 years of age are stunted, 21 percent are wasted and 36 percent are underweight. Malnutrition leads to increased susceptibility to diseases, impaired cognitive development and reduced productivity and income.

Illness and mortality
India has a high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, especially among the poor. About 1.5 million children die every year before reaching their 5th birthday, mostly due to preventable causes such as 'Pneumonia', 'Diarrhea', 'Malaria' and 'Measles'. About 63 million people are pushed into poverty every year due to health expenditures. Poor health also affects the quality of life, education and work of the poor.

Illiteracy and ignorance
India has the largest number of illiterate adults in the world, with about 287 million people unable to read and write. About 47 million children are out of school and many more drop out or perform poorly. Illiteracy and ignorance limit the opportunities, awareness and empowerment of the poor. They also perpetuate the cycle of poverty and inequality across generations. The fight against poverty in India is a daunting and urgent task. It requires the concerted efforts of the government, civil society, private sector and international community. It also requires the participation and empowerment of the poor themselves.

Some of the strategies and interventions that could help reduce poverty in India include:

Promoting inclusive and sustainable growth
India needs to create more and better jobs for the poor, especially in the rural and informal sectors. It also needs to invest more in human capital, such as education, health and nutrition. It also needs to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and diversify its economy. It also needs to protect the environment and natural resources and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Expanding and improving social protection
India needs to provide more and better social protection for the poor, such as cash transfers, food subsidies, health insurance and pensions. It also needs to improve the coverage, targeting, delivery and accountability of these schemes. It also needs to complement social protection with social services, such as water, sanitation, electricity and transport.

Strengthening governance and institutions
India needs to enhance the voice and agency of the poor and ensure their participation and representation in the political, economic and social spheres. It also needs to improve the transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the government and public institutions. It also needs to combat corruption, discrimination and violence and uphold the rule of law and human rights.

An emotion that can be difficult to put into words
Heart-wrenching is an emotion that can be difficult to put into words. It is an overwhelming feeling of sadness and grief that can often leave you feeling helpless and devastated. It is different from feeling merely 'Sad' or 'Down' as the intensity of these emotions can be paralyzing. Heart-wrenching can be felt in a variety of scenarios and can be triggered by different events. It can be caused by a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job and it can also be caused by a disappointment, such as an unrequited love or a failed attempt at achieving a goal.

The physical symptoms of heart-wrenching can be intense. It can cause severe chest pain, a rapid heartbeat and difficulty breathing. It can also lead to a 'Lack of energy', 'Fatigue' and 'Insomnia'. These symptoms can be exacerbated by the emotional distress of heart-wrenching, as it can be difficult to focus on anything else. Despite the intense emotions, there are ways to cope with heart-wrenching. It is important to find healthy outlets to express your emotions, such as journaling, art or talking to a friend. It is also important to take care of your physical health by eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep.

"It is important to remember that although poverty can be intense, there are ways to cope with it. With the right support, you can get through this difficult emotion and come out stronger on the other side. When one thinks of the social ills in India, the caste system usually comes to mind, which is often seen as one of the causes of poverty"

Degrading living conditions in poverty

The result are degrading living conditions in poverty which is the order of the day, especially for women and children. Exploitation, corruption, neglect and poor planning characterize everyday life. Full of sympathy for the country and the people and at the same time full of anger at the unnecessary suffering, Kristian Bertel | Photography raises his voice, because too many people suffer from poverty needlessly. Not only the Indian elite, but also the West is partly to blame for the desperate situation.

Politics, business and civil society must exert their influence on their international partners. Because India deserves our critical attention because in India the photographer is seeing poverty, discrimination, enrichment and indifference, especially women and children. India has had an amazing economic and political track record over the past 70 years.

Social inequality and great misery in the lower classes
At the same time, social inequality and great misery in the lower classes continue to prevail in the largest democracy on Earth. In their brilliant analysis, the photographer is trying to get to the bottom of the causes of these contradictions. This thoroughly critical observation deals with the general economic, political and social development of India from its independence to the present day. Particular attention is paid to the role that the introduction of a democratic system played on the economy and the social fabric of the former developing country. Using numerous examples and comparisons with other countries, the authors show how neglecting social problems could ultimately have serious effects on the country's economic and political system.

Measuring poverty in his photography
'Poverty' is a term because it is politically normative, emotionally charged and morally charged. The photographer is photographing the concept of poverty, takes a look at the history of poverty and conveys the theoretical foundations. He presents the main directions of poverty research, explains the common methods of Measuring poverty and scrutinizes the statistical data as documented in the federal government's poverty and wealth reports. In addition to the different manifestations and the consequences of poverty for those affected and society, he is concerned with the causes and the unconvincing explanations of the media in public. It is about the fight against poverty and the question of which measures promise success and whether the unconditional basic income is a 'Panacea'.

India poses many mysteries. It is great as a tourist destination and many countries are fighting for greater influence in a country that is already beating all growth and development records. But the complexity of India is a sociey of ideas and a non-uniform religious dogma also made the procedure and research more difficult. For instance, paradoxes and contradictions are not uncommon in Hinduism and are usually accepted as given and not set aside as incorrect knowledge. This elusive logic comes to the fore again and again in India and constantly leaves unanswered questions.

See this video about poverty in Mumbai made by Best Documentary.

"- I have personally been faced with the challenging task of taking photos of areas in India where people are living in extreme poverty. This is a sensitive subject and my responsibility as a photographer is to document what I see while at the same time, being mindful of how my photos may be used and perceived. As I take photos of the destitute conditions, I attempt to portray the humanity in the images rather than merely showcasing the poverty", the Photographer says

One of the most difficult aspects of taking poverty photos in India is seeing the living conditions that some people endure. Be it overcrowded and unclean homes, limited resources for basic necessities and insufficient healthcare services, the reality of poverty is plain to see. The sights and smells can be overwhelming, while the conversations of the people in the community can be heart-wrenching to hear. While some would think of poverty photos in India as depressing or even gloomy, the truth is that I find those captured scenes to be inspiring and uplifting. I try to document how people are coping and striving to make the best of the situations they are in. I try to capture the originality in how the people are making do with the limited resources available to them, as well as their strength and resilience in the face of adversity",
the Photographer says again

Read also:  Boy in a village portraiture

Boy in a village portraiture

Read also:  Boy in a village portraiture

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 woman in Mumbai. 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.