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Arindam Mukherjee May 9, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in India.

Bhagawan Das, New Delhi, India 2009

Arindam Mukherjee (b.1974, India) is a freelance photojournalist based in Kolkata. He began as an advertising photographer but from the very beginning was more interested in street photography; which later brought him  to photojournalism. He has worked with The Times of India and as the chief photographer and assignment director for EyePress photo agency based in Hong Kong. His photographs have been published in: Le Figaro, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Sunday Telegraph, Le Monde, Liberation, Le point, De Volkskrant, Forbes, Traveler Magazine (UK), Marie Claire among others. His awards include: National Media Fellowship in 2003 for his work on India coal miners and the B. Bangoor Endowment Fellowship for his work on Indian Sex workers in 2006. Arindam is represented by Sipa Press , Landov Llc  and OTN Reportages.

About the Photograph:

This picture is a part of a story called Alley of Magic in the Kathputli colony, a slum in New Delhi. Though underdeveloped and overpopulated like any other Indian slums, Kathputli colony is different. All its residents are traditional folk artists and magicians. Some of them have traveled throughout the world to perform in concerts and festivals. A few artists in this disadvantaged community have enough money to move out to a better place with better living conditions but don’t want to. They feel that this slum is a part of their identity. The children of the slum community also want to carry forward their lineage as artists. One of the main things that separate the colony residents from dwellers of other slums is their emotional attachment and dedication towards their art form. I was traveling through one of the narrow alleys inside the slum and I heard a song coming from one of the small houses. After going inside I found singer Bhagawan Das and his group practicing. They were friendly people and gladly accepted my intrusion. I stayed for more than three hours listening to the songs, spell bound.”