Disappearing Trades: Portraits of India’s Obsolete Professions – LightBox

“They never changed, they never updated themselves, and then suddenly you had this juncture when globalization is going to hit so bad, everything is changing,” 

I have reproduced just a few of the great photographs here:

Broom maker and seller, earning $20 per week, 2011Sugarcane juice seller, earning $24 per week, 2012Potter, earning $25 per week, 2013Iron grill fabricators, earning $100 per week, 2012




Read more: Disappearing Trades: Portraits of India’s Obsolete Professions – LightBox.


12 Replies to “Disappearing Trades: Portraits of India’s Obsolete Professions – LightBox”

    1. I had faced this loss physically while searching for a black earthen pot for the summer. The urban, neo-order societies have refrigerators, plastic bottles and metal containers to quench your thirst.

  1. Ashokji,
    Reminds me of the disappearance of the street ‘khilonewala’ which attracted the kids like a magnet. A poet friend of mine says something like, “Ab bachche bhi sayane ho gaye hain/ Ab galiyon mein khilonewala nahi aata/ Bachche ab computer par baithane lagey hain”.

    And the street ‘pheriwala’ who would sell utensils on barter of old clothes! Everything is not on account of globalisation. Some things are Gone With The Wind. Times change, just as the music has changed. You do not get piano songs now. Nor do you have romantic love triangles.

    A famous Hindi poet said, “Gaon ab gaon nahi rahey”. What a poignant statement. A generation ago we used to have a native place, where you reached the last mile on a bullock cart after getting off at a train station. Our children do not know the meaning of ‘native place’.

    You lose some and you gain some. Isn’t there some inevitability about it?


  2. very good photos. Yes it is change. Change is the only constant. Now I remember the sweet, earthy smell of cold water from earthen ghada during hot afternoons. The fridge can never reproduce that. But I see kumhar is surviving somehow as the demand of earthen pot etc is catching up among the elite.

    1. Trade and industry stem form the human needs of the society. Advances in technology and human innovation may bring in changes that may replace some products, but by and large the human needs do continue to exist.
      Hence, of-late trend of coming back more natural way of living should certainly give fillip to trades like earthen-pot making etc.
      We may not dispute the advances of technology, but moving away too far from the natural way of living is certainly a less desirable option.

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