Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are learning about the Homeless people living and sleeping in Pavan Nagar in Nashik.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
More than 90 million people in India make less than $1 dollar per day, thus setting them below the global poverty threshold. The ability of the Government of India to tackle urban homelessness and poverty may be affected in the future by both external and internal factors. People can be categorized as homeless if they are living on the streets moving between temporary shelters, including houses of friends, family and emergency accommodation, living in private boarding houses without a private bathroom or security of tenure.
More than 90 million people in India make less than $1 dollar per day, thus setting them below the global poverty threshold. The ability of the Government of India to tackle urban homelessness and poverty may be affected in the future by both external and internal factors. People can be categorized as homeless if they are living on the streets moving between temporary shelters, including houses of friends, family and emergency accommodation, living in private boarding houses without a private bathroom or security of tenure.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on May 2, 2024

Homelessness in India

The definition of homeless varies from country to country or among different jurisdictions in the same country or region. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing due to income that is inconsistent or lacking altogether. Homelessness and poverty are interrelated and there is no methodological consent on counting the homeless and identifying their special needs, thus in most cities only estimated homeless populations are known such as with the photograph of a sleeping man in the area of Pavan Nagar in Nashik, India.

Why do the homeless people not sleep in shelters in India?

One challenge the homeless face is the inaccessibility to shelters. Although shelters are available for the homeless in certain cities, many homeless people choose to not utilize them and live on the streets instead due to various different reasons. One reason is that homeless individuals who are affected by mobility issues cannot access them and are unsure about how shelters function.

Homelessness is a major issue in India

With an estimated 100 million homeless people in the country as of 2017. According to the United Nations, India is one of the most populous countries in the world, but it also has one of the highest rates of homelessness.
The effects of homelessness in India are also wide-ranging and severe. Homeless people in India are more likely to experience hunger, illness, lack of access to basic hygiene and sanitation and lack of access to education and work opportunities. Additionally, homeless people in India are at a greater risk of exploitation, abuse and violence.

The harsh realities of living on the streets in India are far from ideal. People living in the streets are often subject to extreme weather conditions and are exposed to the dangers of being on the streets, such as violence, exploitation and even death.

n order to address the problem of homelessness in India, the government has implemented several initiatives. These include the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana also known as 'PMAY', a housing scheme aimed at providing affordable housing to low-income families, as well as the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana also known as 'DAY', which is a program aimed at providing employment and vocational training to the homeless. Additionally, the government has also implemented the 'Madad' scheme, which provides financial assistance to homeless people.

Overall, homelessness is a major issue in India, one that requires a comprehensive approach to address. While the government has implemented several initiatives to help the homeless, there is still much work to be done. It is important that the government, NGOs and the public come together to tackle this issue and to ensure that all homeless people in India have access to the services and support they need.

"India is home to the world's largest population of homeless people, with an estimated 1.77 million people living without access to basic needs such as food, water and shelter. These individuals are some of the most vulnerable members of society, facing daily struggles to survive and make ends meet"

Causes for homelessness

The causes of homelessness in India are complex and varied. Poverty is a major contributing factor, as many of the homeless in India live in abject poverty. Inadequate access to housing is another major cause of homelessness, as many people are unable to afford adequate housing due to their low incomes. Additionally, India's caste system has also been linked to increased rates of homelessness, as it can prevent some of the most disadvantaged members of society from accessing services and support.

When compared to the general population, people who are homeless experience higher rates of adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Chronic disease severity, respiratory conditions, rates of mental health illnesses and substance use are all often greater in homeless populations than the general Population in India. Homelessness is also associated with a high risk of suicide attempts and people experiencing homelessness have limited access to resources and are often disengaged from health services, making them that much more susceptible to extreme weather events for instance extreme cold or heat and ozone levels and these disparities often result in increased morbidity and mortality in the homeless population.

Conditions such as alcoholism and mental illness are often associated with homelessness. Many people fear the homeless due to the stigma surrounding the homeless community and surveys have revealed that before spending time with the homeless, most people fear them, but after spending time with the homeless, that fear is lessened or is no longer there.

Migration from rural to urban cities
Homelessness is in part a direct result of families migrating from rural to urban cities and urbanization. Migration to urban areas can occur for a variety of reasons ranging from loss of land, need for sustainable employment, lack of clean water and other resources and in some cases loss of all property and complete displacement. Once reaching cities, homeless attempt to create shelters out of tin, cardboard, wood and plastic. Slums can provide an escape, yet individuals often cannot afford them. Homeless individuals may experience abuse, maltreatment and lack of access to schools and healthcare.

"In addition to government initiatives, there are also several non-governmental organizations the so-called 'NGOs' working to help the homeless in India. These organizations provide food, shelter, medical care and other services to the homeless. Additionally, some NGOs also work to raise awareness about homelessness and to advocate for improved access to social services"

Some other problems leading to homelessness include disability either mental, physical or both, lack of affordable housing, which is a basic apartment in India, unemployment either seasonal or through economic hardships and changes in industry. Desertion of the old, mentally ill, unmarried pregnant women, helpless divorced women and girl children also are some of the main causes of homelessness in India.

Primary reasons:
• Urbanization
• Mentally illness
• Unemployment

What is happiness?

Whether being homeless or not, people have agonized over the happiness question for centuries, but only recently has science begun to weigh in on the debate. Before the photographer gets into what the science has concluded, let him start by giving some answers to a somewhat easier question such as what is not happiness? And such as homelessness, happiness is not feeling good all the time. If feeling good all the time were our only requirement, then the answer would be yes. However, recent research suggests that an even-keeled mood is more psychologically healthy than a mood in which you achieve great heights of happiness regularly after all, what goes up must come down.

Furthermore, when you ask people what makes their lives worth living, they rarely say anything about their mood and they are more likely to cite things that they find meaningful, such as their work or relationships. Recent research even suggests that if you focus too much on trying to feel good all the time, you will actually undermine your ability to feel good at all in other words, no amount of feeling good will be satisfying to you, since what you expect all the time is not physically possible for most people.

"Happiness is not being rich or affording everything you want. While living below the poverty line certainly makes it hard to be happy, beyond that, money does not appear to buy happiness. While you would certainly be excited in the short term, it would only be a matter of time before your expectations change to fit your new budget. Before you know it, you are just as happy as you were before the raise! This holds true for new houses, new cars, new gadgets and all of the other material goods that people spend so much time pining for"

Satisfaction and meaning
Happiness is not a final destination. The old adage, 'Are we there yet?' is often applied to discussions of happiness, as if a person works towards happiness and one day arrives. Contrary to popular belief, however, unless you are one of the few who won the genetic lottery and are naturally happy, it takes regular effort to maintain happiness. Most established techniques for becoming happier keeping a gratitude journal, for instance are habits, not one-shot events and most life events that make us happy in the short-term, like getting married or being promoted, fade over time as we adapt to them.

So, what is happiness you could ask yourself. The research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life for instance, finding meaning in your work and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. Both of these are relatively stable that is, our life changes and our mood fluctuates, but our general happiness is more genetically determined than anything else and with consistent effort, this can be offset. So it goes, too, with happiness. In other words, you have the ability to control how you feel and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

See this video about homelessness in India made by India Today.

"- As a photographer, I was recently afforded the unique opportunity to go out and photograph homeless people in India. My experience was both eye-opening and humbling. India has the world's second largest population and although the government works hard to provide for its citizens, homelessness is a huge issue. Lower caste individuals, single mothers, stray children and illness can all leave people without a home"
, the Photographer says.

"- Throughout my journey, I encountered countless individuals and families who had limited shelter and little access to basic necessities like warm clothing and fresh food. Shelters, while they existed, were often too crowded to provide refuge. It was heartbreaking to see the living conditions of the people I encountered. They were remarkably friendly and open, despite the fact that they often had very little. The experience of photographing the homeless in India was an immense privilege. It was made even more special by the people I met and photographs I was able to capture. Each portrait I produced revealed a unique story and brought awareness to the issues that vulnerable people around the world face. Most importantly, it reminded me that no matter how difficult our own circumstances are, we must never forget those who are less fortunate",
the Photographer says again.

Læs også:  Gadefotografering i Indien

Gadefotografering i Indien

Læs også:  Gadefotografering i Indien

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 sleeping man in Nashik. 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.