SIYANI, India (Reuters) – Nearly two dozen men building a temple in this remote farming village lay down their tools at midday and walk through the dusty streets to a shed where they are joined by another group of men — and start eating a meal cooked by a man.
They live, eat and sleep together, sharing mattresses on the bare floor of an empty room the way a married couple usually would. All but a handful are unmarried — a living example of India’s rapidly worsening gender imbalance.
By Vivek Prakash
With the world’s population set to hit 7 billion on October 31, photographers in India have been on the move to tell stories that talk about what those numbers really mean in a country as large as India – with 1.2 billion people and counting, this is supposed to be the world’s largest democracy.
When you take a closer look at the statistics, you find some surprising and scary figures – the ratio of female children to males born actually declined here over the last 10 years – from 933 females for every thousand males in the 2001 census, to just 914 in 2011. The combination of cheap portable ultrasound technology and a decades-old preference for male babies — who are seen as breadwinners — has enabled sex-selective abortions and made worse female infanticide. In a place as wide and as vast as India, these are things that are hard to control, no matter how illegal.
The environment hasn’t been spared in India’s headlong rush towards development and consumerism. With it came mounds of garbage, piles of waste that had nowhere to go, industrial pollutants that were fed straight back into the rivers and lakes that supply drinking water to millions. Walking around the streets of any town in India, you don’t get the feeling that care for the environment is on the top of anyone’s list of priorities.
So it was with a little skepticism that I read about a school which claimed to be completely environmentally friendly. I made a plan to travel to Pune, about 190km (118 miles) from Mumbai, to take a look at the Aman Setu school, which means “bridge to peace”. They claimed fantastic things – the buildings were environmentally friendly made entirely out of recycled and natural bits and pieces – they had their own vegetable garden for children – kids were allowed to run around barefoot.
The second quarter-final of the cricket world cup was a clash between two huge teams. India, the world’s no. 1 team with its power batting lineup. Australia, three-time world champions who have reigned supreme over the game for 12 years. Whoever won, it would be a huge story. Whoever lost, it would be a huge story.
We headed to the stadium at around 10am, well before the 2.30pm start. Traffic was backed up a long way. There was only one road leading to it and we weren’t sure if it was fans waving flags and blowing horns, buses and four wheel drives, scooters or the cops that were in charge. Fellow photographer Andrew Caballero-Reynolds got nervous because on his last 3 trips to stadiums, the vehicle he’s been in has blown a tire. Lucky we made it in one piece. There were thousands of fans queuing in the searing heat to get into the ground, watched over by the usual stick-wielding police in khaki suits.
We’re into March, and the ICC Cricket World Cup is well under way. Just 32 more days to go (yes, thirty-two!) until the tournament comes to a close with a final showdown in Mumbai on April 2.
Reuters’ lean mean team of photographers have fanned out across three countries in the subcontinent – India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – as we get stuck into covering the first round of the tournament. Photographers Adnan Abidi, Andrew Biraj, Amit Dave, Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, Dinuka Liyanawatte, Rupak De Chowdhury, Danish Siddiqui and myself have started crisscrossing our territories. Philip Brown, who is on an “embed” with the English cricket team, has already covered two cities. Altaf Bhat in New Delhi is anchoring the operation as the main editor for the tournament with me lending a hand on days when I’m not on the move, shooting training or covering a match.
The sleepy Indian village of Ond comes alive for a week every year when trucks loaded with tents and projectors reach its outskirts. The tents are pitched in open fields, converting the trucks into projection rooms for screening the latest Indian blockbusters to exuberant villagers, who otherwise have few chances to see a film at all.
Photographer Danish Siddiqui travels to these “talkies” to document the decades-old tradition. View the multimedia below for an in-depth look or click here to read the full story.
Reuters Photographer Parivartan Sharma takes us to the town of Meerut, north of Delhi, where cricket balls are still being made the old-fashioned way – by hand. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup starting on February 19.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – It was a typical German soccer display that could be a form guide for the World Cup — industrious, no-nonsense and victorious.
But England, who face Germany in a knockout match in South Africa on Sunday, need not worry yet — this was a four-a-side tournament, some of the players looked like vacuum cleaners, and half-time was really used for recharging batteries.
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Security forces in Thailand threatened to dislodge anti-government protesters on Sunday from one of the areas they have occupied in central Bangkok, using force if necessary.
Army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd told reporters late on Saturday the government had ordered police to regain the area around Chulalongkorn Hospital, near the Silom business district, to ensure safety for the public there.
Bangkok’s retail and commercial heart has been under occupation for 7 weeks. Anti-government “red shirt” protesters have occupied the Rajprasong intersection, which is bound by glitzy high-end shopping malls and five star hotels, many of which have been forced to close. But inside the stronghold of the red shirts, business continues in a strange but usual way.
I’ve been in Bangkok for just on 3 weeks, part of the multimedia team covering everything from anti-government and pro-government rallies to bloody clashes and grenade attacks right in the commercial district. Pictures and video show Bangkok out of control and in chaos. I want to provide an insight into ‘Red Bangkok’, a square mile self-sustained area that the “red shirts” have taken over and promise to stay in indefinitely.