In this archive story we are meeting a sleeping man in the Nawab Ganj area of Delhi in India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Almost everyone suffers a cultural shock in India. Because of the differentness of the country is not surprising. But whoever is serious about understanding and at least knows some of the most important differences, will also be able to more easily discover the beauty of India behind superficial chaos. Despite many problems and negative headlines, the country is still a very popular destination.
Almost everyone suffers a cultural shock in India. Because of the "differentness" of the country is not surprising. But whoever is serious about understanding and at least knows some of the most important differences, will also be able to more easily discover the beauty of India behind superficial chaos. Despite many problems and negative headlines, the country is still a very popular destination.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 1, 2024

Nawab Ganj portraiture

India is popular which is not only related to the fact that you can travel very cheaply in India. In hardly any other country can you experience such incredible stories as in the huge improvisational theater in India. India is also crazy, colorful spectrum of different religions, cultures and traditions. Traveling in India has many faces but unfortunately also shadows.

Do people sleep on the streets in India?

Yes, thousands of people sleep at night on the streets in India because sleeping in the open saves them the cost of renting a place. It is difficult for most of them to afford accommodation with their low wages even in a city where rents are relatively cheap.

Street sleeping is a way of life
The number of street sleepers in India is a growing problem, with estimates suggesting that there are now over 18 million people sleeping on the streets of India. Street sleeping is a way of life for many people in India, with a lack of affordable housing, employment opportunities and other resources leading to an increasing number of people without a safe and secure place to sleep at night. Street sleepers in India face a range of issues, including a lack of access to basic amenities such as sanitation, food, water and medical care. They also face the threat of violence and exploitation.

In addition, street sleepers are often subject to discrimination and stigma and there is a general lack of understanding of their needs and circumstances. The Government of India has implemented various initiatives to address the issue of street sleeping, that provides financial and technical assistance to urban poor and homeless people, allowing them to set up a range of businesses and find employment and to provide shelter and other services to street sleepers that provides housing and other basic services to street sleepers in selected cities, including Mumbai and Delhi.

However, there is still much more to be done to address the issue of street sleeping in India. The government must continue to provide financial and technical assistance to street sleepers, as well as implement programmes to improve their access to basic amenities and health care. In addition, it is important for members of the public to be more aware of the plight of street sleepers and to show more empathy and understanding. Only by doing this can we hope to reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets of India and ultimately improve their lives.

Suffering and love, curiosity and pride

This India, in all its contrast, with all its contradictions, has also been experienced and felt by Kristian Bertel. In 2008 the photographer was there for the first time in Delhi and he was so overwhelmed that he had traveled to the country again in the coming years to push the camera button in in more cities. The result is a highly unusual performance called 'India', which relies entirely on the power of his photos and therefore with the his photographs from India. From the snake charms and grandmother portraits with the radiant eyes, from which sorrow and love, curiosity and pride spray.

"From street scenes, which show the plentiful Indian life, garbage and misery included, without however deter. From deserted cities and landscapes, which, with their soft coloring, look like paintings and yet are anything but a picture perfect. From piles of fire and public toilets, where one would like to keep a nasal reflex and going around in the Nawab Ganj area of Delhi was a task for all the senses"

Contradictions are the theme in India
As a photographer and traveler in Delhi you will see people sleeping in the streets. Rarely has sceneries of such power and magic been seen across India. They may disturb the traveler on one hand and yet, on the other hand, they are marvelously beautiful. Because the photographs by the photographer are ruthlessly direct, but on the other always respectful, because they do not expose the person concerned. Which would lead one to the opposite topic of the theme. The photographs as the one portrayed above are a common thread not only throughout India, but also through the all his slideshows. And interestingly also by the photographer's travel behavior.

In contrast to his usual travel practice, he regularly took to the juice bottle in India. Before and after each meal he took a sip of mango juice, which was a somewhat habituation-needy procedure, since otherwise it does not occur that we to start our day with juice at 5 o'clock in the morning, according to which each coin has two sides – for dogs in front of a thousand mirrors as well as for photographers with respect to Indian bacteria. Contradictions are the main theme. Taking the attention of the Indians is impossible.

Being a foreigner in India is always the focus of interest
You will be gazed at, and you will be laughed and whispered and, of course, photographed. What is understood in Europe as an unpleasant encroachment on privacy is completely normal in India. In the vast majority of cases, it does not remain in the distance from observation, but you are also overwhelmed with questions. While you are being plagued at a point with nerve-racking selling tactics, you have to shake off a particularly stubborn persecutor at the next street corner. "- Where are you from?" , "- How do you?", "- Please take a look?", "- One rupee please!", "- Hello, Sir!", "- Which country?".

"This undivided attention can be very exhausting for the traveler, especially if you really want to have your peace and how you react depends on the situation and a friendly response is often seen as an invitation to insist even further. Ignoring is actually countering our sense of courtesy and requires a bit of practice as well as a sufficiently thick coat but often proves to be the best strategy to make its way"

See this video about street sleeping in Delhi made by Wilderness Films India.

The photographer's own experience with the street sleepers in Delhi
"- My experience with the street sleepers in Delhi made me question the stark reality of inequality and poverty in the world. It made me realize how fortunate I'm to have a roof over my head and access to basic necessities. But most importantly, it taught me the power of empathy and the importance of giving back to those in need. India is as diverse as I've never seen it before in another country. Although the experience of living in Delhi will remain unique, I still have some experiences with the country of India. Ambivalence, enthusiasm, color diversity, chaos and street cows", the Photographer says.

"- As I bid farewell to Delhi, I couldn't help but feel a sense of heaviness in my heart. My encounter with the street sleepers had left a profound impact on me and I vowed to use my privilege to raise awareness and make a positive difference in their lives. In conclusion, my trip to Delhi was not just a journey of sightseeing, but also a journey of self-discovery. It made me realize that as travelers, it is our responsibility to not only explore different cultures but also to be mindful and empathetic towards the less fortunate"
, the Photographer says again.

Read also:  Azad Market Rd portraiture

Read also:  Azad Market Rd 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 a sleeping man in the Nawab Ganj are of 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.