A set of 5 greeting cards with black and white photographs that give you a glimpse of life in the basti: devotees paying homage to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, pilgrims lighting incense in the dargah, children playing among the tombstones, a conference of children on the streets, a widow gazing out of her window overlooking the 14th century baoli. Each card tells a unique story and captures the beauty of the basti.
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Bringing the voices and smiles of these children back to France, we realized how much the survival of this holy place threatened by bulldozers depended upon the care and affection that these young people could give back to their birthplace.
Marc, Aela, Edouard,
The school curriculum at the Hope Project encourages students to discover themselves in relation to their basti and explore the ways that they and their environment are inter-connected with the universe that makes up the web of life. One of the ways students discovered the basti and their relationship to it was through a camera lens. They photographed, developed and printed pictures of the basti focussing on different themes, such as spirituality, their family, living conditions, occupations, and social problems of the basti. Each student told a different story through his or her pictures, a story that is unique. The stories speak about the faith of the devotees paying homage to Nizamuddin Auliya, the power of prayer, the passion of the qawwals, the zeal of the students learning to read in the madarsas and the age-old tradition of feeding the poor. They also speak of the daily lives of the basti residents, as petty shop keepers, vendors, cooks and cobblers. Finally they give us a glimpse of the lives of the children in the basti and their playground amidst the tombstones.
The students comprised of girls and boys between the ages of 11 to 21. Many of them were handling the camera for the first time. The excitement of seeing their pictures taking shape in the darkroom and analyzing contact prints, selecting the ones they wanted to print and discussing the reasons for the selection all contributed to a deeper understanding of their basti.
The greeting cards illustrate some of the photographs taken by the students during this workshop.