Seasoned photojournalist Sipra Das paints a realistic portrayal of the specially-abled in her new book.
As real as they can get, Sipra Das’ images give a glimpse of the lives of the specially-abled. In the environs they belong to, they go on performing their regular chores. The black and white frames in Sipra Das’ “The Light Within” (Niyogi Books) don’t evoke sympathy or pity but admiration and awe. While visually impaired Riyazuddin of Bhopal has a solution for every possible technical snag in your motorcycle who has engineers from major motorcycle companies seeking his assistance, little Batista, who was abandoned in a dustbin (and watched over by three dogs till she was rescued by some passersby) teaches yoga to other kids, congenitally blind Vishal Rao, a graduate in Political Science, plays the flute and the violin and is also adept at weaving a fisherman’s net. Das’ book — replete with many such stories of resilience and struggle — is a result of a long-time engagement with the subject. And a subject which is indeed difficult to shoot but her excellence in the craft doesn’t don’t let any hindrances come in the way. The photojournalist — who has worked with Anandabazar Patrika, PTI and India Today in the past — documents the lives of the people at their most natural moment.
The book, released late last year becomes relevant as the passage of disability rights bills has had to wait while all the attention in our Parliament has been on the Telangana bill and other political issues. Sipra’s photos speak a silent language, leave an indelible imprint.