In this fourty-eight archive story by Kristian Bertel, we meet a Mumbai street child at the PJ Ramchandani Marg in Mumbai, Maharashtra in India. Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Street children in the classical sense are found in India almost without exception in the cities with a population of approximately 50,000 inhabitants. The photographer had to get use to begging street children everywhere in Mumbai. At the PJ Ramchandani Marg in Mumbai just near the prestigious The Taj Mahal Palace this Mumbai street child was photographed.
Street children in the classical sense are found in India almost without exception in the cities with a population of approximately 50,000 inhabitants. The photographer had to get use to begging street children everywhere in Mumbai. At the PJ Ramchandani Marg in Mumbai just near the prestigious The Taj Mahal Palace this Mumbai street child was photographed.

Mumbai street child in India

During his photographic journeys in India, the photographer encountered numerous encounters with street children. Especially in the big cities it was a common sight. In its 11th five-year plan, the Indian government also distinguishes itself from homeless children and street children. It is important, however, to point out that both children on the street and street children live in a very unfair situation and the transition from life as a child on the street to a street child is fluid.

Street children in the big cities of India
In India, all efforts by governments and aid organizations are taking place under the prevailing poverty and the millions of people from the country who are pushing for jobs in the cities. Two million children under the age of five die every year, more than 20 million do not attend elementary school, children's events are the order of the day. In India, some street cihldren who are only three years old and with siblings in the tow are begging on the street., just as the photographer saw in the street of PJ Ramchandani Marg in the southern part of Mumbai. Just near to the famous and prestigious The Taj Mahal Palace. Other street children are constantly moving around, living on the construction sites where their parents work and never seeing a school from within. Many outliers land on the street and fight with begging, stealing or prostitution. From the village to the slum. More than 800 million people are also considered poor in India. Most of them live in the countryside and are overpopulated with casual jobs. The lack of livelihoods in rural areas drives many Indians to the rapidly growing metropolitan regions like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or Calcutta. There, most of them expect a life characterized by poverty and despair in the mega slums, consisting of millions of corrugated huts, without adequate drinking water supply, without garbage disposal and in many cases also without electricity. The poor hygiene conditions are the cause of diseases such as cholera, typhus and dysentery, in which street children are mainly suffering and dying.

Number of street children in India
The Indian government is only very cautious about the situation of street children. There is an official estimate from twenty years ago, after which there will be 11 million street children. 420,000 are believed to live in the six largest cities in the country. Most of these children are said to be between eight and twelve years old. On the government side, no attempt has been made since 1997 to update and differentiate these figures. According to estimates by Unicef, Human Rights Watch and other organizations, the number of Indian street children aged between six and fifteen is around 18 to 20 million. In addition, there are estimates of 40 million street children. However, these should be too high.

"- I had to get used to begging street children everywhere in Mumbai", the photographer says. "- At red traffic lights they scratch the windows of the cars. They pull at the shirts of the passersby. At first I often asked myself whether I should give them a little money. 30 Indian rupees, which are like 50 cents, would be a lot of money for street children just like the Mumbai street child. But can I ease the hardship of a single street child? I also doubt that. To give food instead of money seems to me better. But both are not a selfless act. With a donation, I do something good for myself. I feel better at this moment. The belief that something has been done against poverty makes it easier. The question of conscience, why the child has to live on the street, falls into the background. I hardly helped the girl. In most cases, I unfornately did not manage to stick to my principle and did not ignore the begging children. Once a street child came up to me. From her face spoke the pure despair, she gurgled for a bite of food. I ignored her, but she did not leave. At that moment, my rational views staggered. Despite acute doubts, I did not give anything. But the seconds in which the girl begged me to let go and remain, became eternity. She burned in my memory. A mixture of doubts and helplessness has remained to this day", the photographer says.

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 Mumbai street child 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.