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Leprosy Colony

Prem Nivas is a leprosy colony that stretches along the railway tracks in northern Kolkata (Calcutta) The centre provides medical care for patients, but also offers new perspectives for their renewed lives. The colorful centre is almost entirely run by ex-patients who work in the different sections.

 

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This man has been taking care of the garden all by himself and here poses with a proud that by years of sigmatising keeps the middle between hesitation and fimness

 

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Most people work in the extended building where the weaving-looms are. Clothes and other textile for the order of mother Theresa around the world are made here. The arm on the right is replacing the spools as soon as they run out of thread

 

A boy and a girl work at the handloom after having been treated in time, so their mutilations are not very much visible

 

people whose leg is amputated get in Prem Nivas an artificial leg. Footwear is also being adapted to the changing needs of the leper. As nervs get insensitive limbs get damaged and deformed if these do not get the right protection

 

A man cleans the dishes after lunch. from the sick-bay a few men look on. Untill today prejudices on leprosy remain while the knowledge about the disease is optimal. Nevertheless the leper cannot transmit the disease three days after the intake of medicine. But society keeps on stigmatising. Once a leper it is difficult to get rid of the label. And for many of them the mutilations do not lie

 

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Before he goes to school a boy looks for his mother who is busy weaving. The uninterrupted noise of the handlooms is to be heard in the vicinity

 

Prem Nivas offers the children of the lepers education in preparation of school outside the colony

 

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The Sunderbans

The Sunderbans spread out in the bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh. Part of the islands are protected mangroves and the land of roaming tigers. The others are inhabited by people. Initially farmers from Bihar state were located here by the British to work and protect the land from ‘dangers lying in the sea’.

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Once the kingdom of Tripura, now a forgotten state in India

Tripura was a thriving kingdom with many ethnic tribes for a long stretch of time ; after India’s independence it got sandwiched in the far-east  between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Recently I found myself on a long busride in northwest India and got into a conversation with a man who seemd very learned. I told him of my journeys through India, from the downtrodden to the very remote and I said I was In the state of Tripura for a while upon which he exclaimed: ‘there is no such a state in india!’ But I insisted, I still do. Let my pictures -who came back from Tripura with me- be my testimony.

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