Kamat's Potpourri Interviews with Poverty .

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Interviews with Poverty

First Online: August 15, 1997
Last Updated: January 04, 2018

List of Pictures

"Poverty is but the worst form of violence."
-- Mahatma Gandhi

Introduction to Poverty in India

While much of our site's content involves past glories of a great land, the Kamats also have done considerable work on contemporary India, of whom the poverty remains a Himalayan problem.

Poverty of Indians must be studied with a slightly different perspective (than the poverty of other societies) due to the deep religious faiths of  her people. Sadhus such as Nagas may be poor by Western definitions, but for them, it is a chosen (and infinitely richer) way of life. Many of the beggars in India do so to follow family traditions, and to fulfill vows made to a deity. My grandmother (the grandma Kamat, "Kaki" for those who know her), is named Bhikki or beggar after one such vow. The first steps of  becoming a Hindu monk (brahmachari) would be to beg (for the teacher and for self).

This is not to say all beggars do it by choice. Please do read Krishna's article on types of begging. The poverty in India takes many a forms and degenerates to the utmost kind known to mankind. The statistics portray a ghastly picture: over 50% living in poverty with two hundred million of them in extreme poverty (must earn during the day to eat dinner).

I have always liked what Mark Tully said about the poor in India. "The least thing you can do is to respect their condition"-- many a times, mere sympathy is counter-productive and typically not good enough. In the following pictures, articles, and views we have tried to share our studies of  India's poor and their poverty. The subjects of the pictures were not paid to pose (although Kamat found that as he took the photographs, more and more people wanted to patronize the beggars) and it is in the honor of  India's poor that we have kept this page free of advertisements (so that we do not benefit from their condition).

Indians for long have criticized the western media for sensationalizing the poverty in India, and the reader may feel the same way by looking at this section at Kamat's Potpourri, although I humbly assure you that that is not what we set out to do.

-- Vikas Kamat
Last updated : January 04, 2018

Some of the following pictures depict utter poverty and can be disturbing. At times, you may not agree with our definition of poverty, which includes working professionals and religious ascetics (poor by choice).

Pictures of Begging and of Poor People

See Also:

Poverty in India
Poverty in India

Destitute MusicansA blind street beggar plays flute through his nose, BangaloreWho said the poor can not be happy?A beggar at the Mangeshi temple, GoaWhat is Nuclear Testing?Born in poverty, raised in poverty….
The capital of her business does not buy a meal, so imagine her profitsA carpenter hardly needs to wear clothesA handicap beggar on the streetA barefooted Brahmin offers alms to a beggarA destitute woman takes to begging as a last resortThe face of poverty
A patient of Leprosy takes to begging as his means of livingBeggar by choice: A Sufi fakir seeks alms on the streetBegging as a devotion to GodBegging as a devotion to GodWhen man has to fight scavengers for a living.…A rag-picker boy
Recycler of a different kindHe blows his sacred conch and seeks assistance Siddi Boy in Torn ShirtQuilted Shirt of a Fakir, PlasseyBeggar Outside of a Bangalore ChurchTribal women balancing work, errands and children
A Patient of LeprosyAn ascetic (Sadhu) performing rituals


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