I thoroughly enjoy the people of India. To be more accurate, I enjoy most of the people of India.
I’ve tried to photograph, respectfully, many of the Indians I encounter. It is a challenge to capture in a split-second a photograph which evokes a personality. It is also a challenge to suggest that some individuals’ photographs suggest a more general Indian trait. Yet, maybe some of the following photos do evoke and suggest something of an “Indian spirit.”
These photos show the sociable nature of Indians. The photo may capture a driver talking with the driver next to him while waiting for the police to allow traffic to proceed ; the photo may show two women laughing as they sell roasted corn; or, a photo may show railroad porters enjoying each others’ company before they lug 50 pounds of luggage to the next platform. For Indians, the more folks together the better. I know that I appear strange to them as I eat by myself, travel by myself, tour sites by myself.
In reviewing my photos, I realize how many times the Indians were smiling! Although they may stare at me with a blankless look at first, an Indian inevitably breaks out in a smile if I acknowledge their presence in some manner.
As a professor, I took photo after photo of students. Many Indians, but not all, value education. To achieve the Indian equivalent of the American dream, a house with reliable electricity and water, many Indians know that they need an education. I remember Kul our Jaipur host proudly saying, but not in a boasting manner, that his daughter qualified for one of the 3000 medical school positions out of some 300,000 who took the exam.
By and large, I find that Indians are gentle and humble. While I recognize that a woman may have a different opinion, I have rarely observed Indians fighting or pushing one another. I may be over generalizing, but this trait may contribute to Indians not initiating a war since Independence.
I tried to capture what Varmas described as the resilience of Indian people. When confronting massive indignities of pollution, poverty, or corruption, many Indians simply endure the difficulties.
I like everybody else am overwhelmed by the diversity of Indian people.The diversity is ethnic, linguistic, age and more.
I can’t say that I totally love India. Who can? I can say though that India and its people have an attraction unmatched by few other places and people.