A little girl is complaining: The interpretation of a photograph

A few days back I was chatting with Ayush Dinker, my senior in college and a talented photographer. We were chatting after a gap of about a month, and naturally had a lot of things to talk about. Amidst these discussions, Ayush bhaiya, sent me a photograph he had recently clicked. He had thought about a caption for the same and wanted my advice on it.

As you can see, in the photograph, a little girl, probably the daughter of some poor roadside vendor selling cheap food, is sitting on the pavement and trying to draw the attention of someone (probably her mother, as the photographer tells me) towards the ugly black irreverent crows continuously flying towards the unwashed pans and plates kept near her, and poking their dirty beaks into them.

In search for a proper caption for the photograph, we began elaborating on what we both thought about the feelings of the little girl- sitting and getting irritated at the crows and wanting some help from someone. As I began to interpret the photograph, trying to give it a meaning more than what simply appears to the eyes, my first reaction was that the child in the picture being a little girl, she is pointing a finger not just to the crows but also at the dirtiness, injustice, violence against women and society’s apathy towards it. And the most striking part in the photograph is that you can’t see the girl’s face- she could be your sister, your daughter, your lover, your cousin, anyone- what you see is her finger, a finger that points, a finger that jostles you out of your peaceful slumber and throws you at the face of the realities of today’s torn India. The girl’s complain is not only that the crows are putting their dirty, greedy beaks into the pans and plates, but perhaps she wants to scream out against the everyday occurring outrageous incidents stretching from eve-teasing to rapes, honour killing to dowry deaths, workplace harassment to custodial violence, or perhaps a brutal murder in broad day light because the girl had rejected a proposal from the murdered few months earlier, or worst, a girl beheaded cause of that.

While we were discussing these things, bhaiya came up with a brilliant caption for his photograph, which read as:

She finally decided to complain to her mother after letting the crows poke into her plate a number of times. How many times do you think can one allow such irresponsible poking? A lot happened in June 2011. When the state government was fast asleep, Uttar Pradesh was being raped by the crows. Girls were being chopped, slit and raped even by the policemen of the state.In Fatehpur, 16-year-old girl was seriously injured when three youths chopped off her nose, ear and a part of her hand after she resisted a rape attempt. 14-year old Sonam was raped and murdered inside a police station premises in Lakhimpur-Kheri district. Another 14-year-old girl was stabbed in the eye while resisting rape in Kannauj. One more rape and murder was reported from Varanasi – the girl was found with her throat slit. Should we just thank God that she can complain to her mother? Would it be right if her mother just called a press conference, condemned and promised action against the crows?

Even as a section of urban India grows up into sprawling glamorously lit financial hubs, and a section of our fellow countrymen become unaccountably rich, there is a very major percentage of the population which doesn’t have a voice, for whom it’s very difficult to make ends meet, and it’s they who get killed in blasts, raped by anti-social morons, fight the endless trials and tribulations of corruption in the country, and as a whole live their lives as if they were a herd of sheep being led by an irresponsible herdsman. And the striking irony is that on one hand we have feminists fighting for women’s rights and posing for fancy photographs after any seminar, numerous posh international brands selling women’s wear and accessories are setting up their exclusive showrooms in the country, and the attitude and appearance of a certain class of urban Indian women giving such an impression that India has became a completely rational, liberated and modern nation while on the other hand numerous cases of female foeticide, child prostitution, molestation, rape and domestic violence crop up in the national dailies and TV channels, and statistics say that

A case of violence against a woman is registered in India every three minutes and every 29 minutes a woman is raped”

To add a pinch of salt to the wound, you can also get from records that crimes have also particularly increased on the women belonging to lower castes especially in Northern India. And imagining what happened in Uttar Pradesh last month, as Ayush Dinker correctly pointed out in his caption, can easily give any thoughtful individual sleepless nights.

As far as crimes on woman are concerned it’s very difficult to ascertain, where the world has gone wrong. But I think it’s easy to understand as well. Rape or sexual subjugation has nothing to do with sex or seduction. It’s a pure form of violence and domination of a financially, socially or physically strong creature on a weaker one. And that’s why you have world famous intellectuals (read Strauss-Kahn), established Bollywood actor (read Shiney Ahuja), or frustrated immoral policeman in rural UP all caught up with the same disease. And as long as the people who think don’t come out from the comfort zone of their drawing rooms against such issues contaminating the society every second, the world can’t change.

(Ayush Dinker is a final year student of Mechanical engineering at BIT Mesra, Ranchi. His Facebook photography page link is: http://www.facebook.com/AyushDinkerPhotography )

One thought on “A little girl is complaining: The interpretation of a photograph

  1. Khan says:

    a fresh point of view on this subject… I am tired of hearing that men are lusty and hungry dogs who drool as soon as they see some flesh… cant agree more on your point that its not about seduction or sexiness, its just the force domination of a stronger creature on a weaker one…

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