The dark side of India

by Luca Catalano Gonzaga

They are called “Dalits” and amount to 160 million across India. They belong to the lowest caste of the Hindu social and religious system and this local tradition relegates Dalits to the most infamous places in the country to do the most degrading and odious jobs. Dalits’ caste is apparently considered a caste like any other one, but reality tells differently. Marginalization condemns these people to accept poverty and misery. In Varanasi, the Indian city lying on the banks of the Ganges river, operate furnaces where these new slaves, guilty of belonging to the “caste of the impure”, manufacture and carry bricks on their back or head for a salary pay barely allowing them to survive. Women, young adults and often children work ceaselessly for hours, surrounded by highly harmful dust, and under the sun that chokes throughout South Asia. There is no fresh air among the stones of Varanasi, and mostly there’s a complete lack of a health protection system or hygiene and safety conditions. Everyone is aware of it, but there are very few who fight against this injustice. The dark side of India is a photo-reportage by Luca Catalano Gonzaga, funded by the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation in collaboration with the NGO PVCHRaiming to tell about the slavery of the “Dalit” in what is thought to be the most populous democracy in the world: India. (text by Sebastiano Caputo).


A selection of photos from the archive of Luca Catalano Gonzaga is available as collector’s prints. The goal of print selling is to contribute to the realization of the photographic projects of Witness Image that narrate the great transformations of our time.