Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kohima Orphanage V

Kohima Orphanage IV

Zaputuo with the kids. (and below) Zaputuo and her daughter Nebanuo at the Kohima Orphanage and Destitute Home.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kohima Orphanage III

"For every Naga born in his generation and the subsequent generation, fear, anger, frustration, persecution and the sound of gunfire have been his/her companion for their entire lives"---Nagaland and India: The Blood And The Tears. Kaka D Iralu.

Kohima Orphanage II

This is Zaputuo Angami with a 11-day old baby abandoned by her parents.

Kohima Orphanage

This is the first post on the Kohima Orphange. More to follow.
Kevizenuo, is a member of the Kohima Orphanage Home. (photograph)

The orphanage was started by Mrs Zaputuo Angami in 1973.
Zaputuo Angami, who was the widow of an army jawan, and a mother to a year old baby girl, took a decision, that changed the whole course of their life. Today, Zaputuo is 85.
The home has about 80 children. The home does not have any monthly income. Funds are almost zero. They survive on donations. They wear borrowed clothes, cheap shoes. Daily meals are rice and dal, (that people donate) and two cups of tea. Because of no funds work on weaving of Naga shawls and Mekhlas, dry flower arrangements, that the inmates used to learn/do, have stopped.
The Home has established a Govt primary school upto class IV. Three teachers are also employed. But after school the children have to study on their own. During school session every year it becomes extremly difficult for Zaputuo and her daughter Nebanuo. With little money they have to buy books, shoes, uniform( if possible).
Day starts at 5 o'clock in the morning, that includes prayer, lunch, dinner and study. "Unfortunately,there is no structured playtime in the routine as there are no playgrounds or play items".

If you want to help them, please leave a message with your contact on the blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Off to Nagaland on 18th. The photograph was taken during the assembly elections in the state earlier this year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mizoram III

Mizoram II

There are 3 lakh 8 thousand women voters in Mizoram. Six thousand more votes than men. Yet out of the 205 candidates there are only 9 women candidates contesting the polls.

Mizoram Elections

The Mizo National Front faces a huge anti-incumbency wave this year as Mizoram goes to polls on December 2. In power for ten years, allegedly, MNF has just promised development. MNF also faces allegations of corruption.

Cheap Sunglass Moment

Back from Mizoram. This is my cheap sunglass moment in Aizawl city. Despite friends disowning me this had to happen.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Memorial Service

Guwahati, Assam, November 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Remembering the Dead

People getting together every evening in different corners of Assam, remembering people killed in the horrific October 30 blasts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Coming back from a shoot in Nalbari, Assam. Photograph taken while crossing the bridge on the Bramhaputra

Friday, October 17, 2008

Electric Cool

Durga puja madness in Assam courtesy the magicians/electricians from Chandannagore, West Bengal

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Relief camps

Two photographs taken at the relief camp in Udalguri district of Assam. From a distance , this boy and the young woman was observing us. Observing what we were trying to do with the camera. The condition of the relief camps are really bad. Inadequate food, little water. In these temporary relief camps with basic facilities ( in absolute discomfort) the women and the children are still waiting for the violence to end.


Mob violence/communal violence/rioting is something that we often read about. When we witness that madness it's something that beats all imagination. It's horrifying, nauseating . People killing people is not the best thing to watch. Assam witnessed the worst form of communal violence just few days back. At least 40 people were killed in the districts of Udalguri, Darrang and Baksa. No one knows what sparked off this violence. I was there in Udalguri and there were many versions doing the rounds. No one knew what was the reason for organised hatred among thousands of people and what led them to hack each other to death in these districts. I have read many times, many accounts of the India-Pakistan partition riots ( probably the worst in history) on both sides of the border, in Punjab and in Bengal. I have read stories by Manto, by Manik Bandopadhyay, by Khuswant Singh. I have also read about the infamous Nellie massacre that took place in Assam in 1983 when more than 2,000 people were killed in one night of communal frenzy. But nothing comes close to what you witness. On assignment in Assam's Udalguri district, these are photographs that captured the hatred for me. An assignment that has also put questions in my mind about the (ir)responsibility of television. The first photograph is of a pair of black sandals in a pool of blood. I was told that it belonged to a man from another community who was hacked to death. His body was dragged away. Rest, no one knows.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Assam 2008

Floods hit Assam again this year. Photograph taken inside the flooded Pobitora National Park in Assam.


So from Makaibari to Calcutta and then to Delhi. And this is part of F-1207, CR Park, first floor, Delhi: 19. And (below) the late night Golden Dragon revisit after many years.


Makaibari is an exception. Across India, most tea gardens are not doing well. And the government's policy just doesn't seem to work. Tea is not going through its best time. The workers are not paid well enough and the idea of profit distribution seems to have just flown out the window in the tea industry. Not a nice brew to sip, this one. This photograph was taken during the Makaibari shoot.

Hamro Makaibari ( Our Makaibari)

Women are the main workforce in Makaibari.

Makaibari shoot

The King of Tea

Rajah Banerjee, is the soul of organic tea and Makaibari's green song. Almost 70 % of Makaibari is forest land. It produces the best tea in the world.


The car that decided to fly. At Cochrane Place in Darjeeling. The magic of the mountains just let the car fly one day. Photograph taken during the Makaibari shoot in Darjeeling district, North Bengal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tracing tea

Just back from Makaibari tea estate. Off to Delhi tomorrow. More about tracing tea later.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bimal Gurung

Bimal Gurung's first interview with CNN-IBN. After repeated requests we managed to make him stand in the rain ( please note: my cameraman is mad about lights, a bit more than anyone else ). Bimal Gurung is the President of the Gorkha JanMukti Morcha, the party that is leading the demand for Gorkhaland. Now in July everything seems to have returned to a past-equilibrium. We are travelling for another shoot to Makaibari at Kurseong in the Darjeeling district. Makaibari makes the best tea in the world.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Darjeeling III

One of my favourite Darjeeling photographs

Darjeeling II

It was drizzling throughout our shoot. Initially the drizzle seems like fun and then follows irritation, lost equipment and fever. This is on our way up to Darjeeling. Photo taken by Vinayak. Will be uploading some more Darjeeling pictures. Was on leave in Calcutta. Back in Assam, now. Will be in Delhi end of this month and then we hit the road again for stories.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gorkhaland 2.0

On shoot in Darjeeling, once again back with the demand for Gorkhaland.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Boat on the river

Photograph taken by Vinayak Dasgupta. Assam, June, 2008.

Balancing Act

Taken by who else but Vinayak Dasgupta on his "decisive moment capturing drive" in Assam, in some corner of the river.

Untitled Colours Of The River

On the daily Guwahati to Umananda Bramhaputra boat service.


Adda in Assam. Bilu and I on a cha and adda session near Umananda temple complex on the Bramhaputra. Again the genius of Gobindo.

Boat on the Bramhaputra

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi says that this state has to live forever with ULFA and floods. Two things that many other than him have accepted to be an integral part of life. This photograph taken by our man on the wheels, the one and only Gobindo Das. A classic, unknown Japanese film poster-ish shot of this boat on the Bramhaputra.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pangs of Adoption

This is a photograph , I took, in a school in Dimapur. We were travelling in Nagaland, for a 30 minutes on the state before the elections. Dimapur, now, wears the look of a dead town. Continous factional clashes between the NSCN(IM) and NSCN(unification) have turned the town in one of the most dangerous places to live in. ( more on Dimapur and the Naga factional clashes later)
One of the most respected journalists of the country, Patricia Mukhim has written an excellent article titled: Pangs of Adoption in The Telegraph, Guwahati edition. Ms Mukhim writes in Northeast India's tribal societies the death of one or both parents does not necessarily make a child an orphan. She says, members of the extended family quickly take the child or children under their wings and life goes on an usual. But she points out, how times are changing. "The pressure to conform to modern value systems where church marriages are sacrosanct and those who do not meet up to those standards and fall by the wayside are actually ex-communicated is forcing deviants to go for abortion or disown and abandon a child born out of wedlock. Hence the growing number of abandoned kids.."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Agatha Sangma

Agatha Sangma is a lawyer, an environmentalist, an amateur photographer and at 27, she is also India's youngest Member of Parliament. Agatha has just won the Tura Lok Sabha seat in a by-election after it was vacated by her father, former Lok Sabha speaker, Purno Sangma — also a nine-time winner from the constituency who is returning to state politics — even though the Opposition alleges Agatha is just riding her father's luck.
But Agatha ignores these jibes saying, "At the end of the day, even if I get a ticket from a national party or anywhere, it's the people who will elect me. I will not win with one vote or four votes from my family. I will win with the votes of the people of Garo Hills."
And a lot of voters — despite the criticism from the Opposition — have put their faith in Agatha.
They say she is a courageous girl and will do well. They also believe that she will fight for Garo Hills. This photograph was taken on the day of the byelection in Tura

Saturday, May 24, 2008


First rains in Tura, Meghalaya. We had gone to cover the Tura Lok Sabha byelections. This is on our way back.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mizoram Colours

Cricket in Mizoram

Last day of shoot, we got this story on the little masters of the game in Mizoram. Yet to be recognised by the BCCI, the Mizoram Cricket Association and its members are slowely but surely getting ready to make their mark in the game.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mizoram II

On our way back from Lawngtlai district in Mizoram

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Miles In A Corner

Just when we were coming out of David's Kitchen , I saw this Miles Davis poster in a corner. David's Kitchen is supposed to be a "cool" hangout in Aizwal, coffees and conversations. Half-dead after our shoot, we were having tea.

Friday, May 16, 2008


The bamboo fruit

Mizoram Famine

On our way to Saikhawthlir village (meaning Sai = Elephant, Khaw = town/village, thlir = seeing/looking/sighting. A town/village where an Elephant is sighted or spotted). Following Phodoti, who walks 6-8 hours to collect a sack of rice. This was our shoot. We were dead by the time we reached her village on the top of a hill. In the photograph, also at the background is Rauta, our friend, without whose help it would have been impossible to carry our equipment. Phodoti's story is pretty much the story of most villagers in Mizoram. More so for the marginalised poor. This includes the Bru s and the Chakma s. Within the poor Mizos, they are treated differently. Almost a million people in Mizoram are surviving on one meal a day. That's because of bamboo flowering that happens every 48 years. It attracts rats, that wipe away acres of crops. This report was on Phodoti's village near the Myanmar border

Happy Mizoram

On our way back from the Mamit district in Mizoram. Mizoram has a very high literacy rate . Second highest in India.