Photo Exhibition on flood affected Karnataka
By Nishal Lama | Published: January 11 2010
Action Aid recently had a photo exhibition , showcasing the work of Esha, on the flood affected areas of Karnataka the rehabilitation work by the Government.
All is not well in the districts of Karnataka that were hit by the massive flood in the October of last year. The districts affected by the flood water, still, seem to be reeling under the deluge with not much of rehabilitation work done so far. “The authorities have spoken a lot about the rehabilitation work, but a lot of them are just a gimmick that has been done in the city. We know the truth, for we have been there, amidst the people who still are living a life of helplessness and nothing has been done to rehabilitate them,” said Kshithij Urs, the Regional Manager of Action Aid. He added, “The photo exhibition is our way to bring some kind of awareness amongst the people in the city, and show them the real plight of these people who are living in these flood affected areas. Also, we want to make the Government to pull up their socks and to seriously do something towards rehabilitating these people who have lost everything in the flood.”
The three-day-exhibition, which kicked started on January 7, was inaugurated by the former Chief Justice of Chattisgarh and the Chairperson of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission, Honourable Justice S.R. Nayak. From portraits to wide angle shots, the exhibition had it all, giving a candid view at the plight of the people affected by flood. With more than a month-long shoot, and traversing to almost every nook and corner of the State, the photographer had captured almost everything, and the photographs that were exhibited during the exhibition gave the testimony for that. “I have spent close to a month, just for the shoot, and more than four months travelling to these areas, living amidst the people affected with the flood and seeing what they were really going through. It was such piteousness to see the people’s condition there. There is no just no sign of any kinds of rehabilitation; they are all stories,” said Esha. He adds, “Through the photographs exhibited here, I want to show the people in the city as to what’s really going on in the name of rehabilitation. All that has been said and told here are a bunch of lies.”
The pictures in the exhibition were captured over three months in five worst affected districts and chronicle the lives of the traditionally marginalized people and how they are coping with a multitude of new challenges brought in by the untimely floods. Neglect in relief and rehabilitation have led to lives being lost even after the waters receded. “In the last few days, almost 35 people have taken ill, with deaths tolling to two numbers. Because of no sanitation and proper drinking water facilities, there have been a lot of water-borne diseases that have surfaced in these areas, and the people are just too helpless to do anything. They have lost everything they had,” said Kshithij Urs. He adds: “After my last visit to the Bijapur District, when I came back to the city, I was astounded to see how people were so unaware of everything there. They even don’t realize that there are hundreds of these people, living in a condition, which they don’t deserve. It was pitiful,” said Kshithij.
Action Aid, now, plans to take the exhibition to few colleges in the city, and exhibiting them in some of the demonstrating areas in the city. “It is very important to sensationalize people in the city as to what really is happening in these districts that were affected by flood. We will exhibit the photographs in all the public areas that we can, may be bus stations, railway stations and other demonstration areas,” said Kshithij. He adds: “We should not live our life in such blindness that we are just not able to see as to what’s happening in places that are just few hundred’s away from the city.”
The photo exhibition comes a full 100 days after the unfortunate disaster that almost shook the whole of the country. Esha is an activist engaged in modern visual art on development issues for many years. He recently co-directed “Destructive Creation – portraits of people who are giving way for a new Bangalore” which was a pictorial argumentation against the iniquitous and often destructive priorities inherent in the making of the ‘modern cities of India’. He is the co-founder of Ant’s Eye View, a media center that works on improving the social content in mainstream media in the country. Esha is a fellowship holder of ActionAid.