Since the government's demonetisation move of Nov 8, 2016, India has become a perpetual country of unending queues. Bengaluru photo-journalist K Venkatesh captured this phenomenon by spending a month on the streets of urban and rural parts of the city.
Built in the heart of Bengaluru, Chitrakala Parishat is a paradise for every art lover. With colonial architecture and canopied stretches, this popular exhibition centre welcomes you to a different world. As I step into the room that is lit with bright yellow lampshades, the white walls spin an engaging tale of what we have all been seeing around lately. Pictures of urban and rural Bengaluru affected by the recent demonetisation pepper the walls, bearing witness to the ways in which people have suffered the last part of 2016.
Beautifully captured by 51-year-old veteran photographer K. Venkatesh, these pictures display the flipside of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to curb black money. Citizens woke up to long queues at banks and post offices. With 85 percent of the country’s population being dependent on the lower denominations of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, this sudden ban has curtailed basic transactions for the common man. Daily wage labourers, farmers, migrants, shopkeepers, small-scale merchants, pensioners, physically challenged persons were some of the people worst affected.
Venkatesh, who has been a photojournalist for the past 33 years, is associated with India’s leading media houses and, like most of us, was disturbed by Modi’s announcement and its shoddy execution.
Starting from November 10, he decided to capture the essence of the struggles the common man has been facing using his camera. For the next month, he went around Bengaluru, creating a repository of emotions that now recite a heart-wrenching tale of the common man grappling with the situation that demonetisation has presented.
Speaking to YourStory, he shares,
When the news was announced, I had mixed emotions about its execution. So I decide to take a stroll on the urban and rural parts of Bangalore and the results are right in front of you. Though each one of us is hopeful about the black money being eradicated, the shoddy implementation of the same is something that cannot be ignored.
Venkatesh today has a collection of over 1,000 pictures of which 60 were showcased at the three-day photo exhibition at Chitrakala Parishat. It was eventually extended to six days, owing to its huge success. While 'digital payments', and 'e-wallets' are the trending words in today’s world, let’s take a moment to see the other side of the story.
The feet tell the story of the struggles of the common man.