BANGALORE: “We believe in seeing children from a rural mileu and ourselves in the cities through the lens of a camera which allows us to recognise our similarities and embrace our differences, thereby, leading to a deeper understanding and respect for all world communities,” says Bangalore boy and renowned explorer, conservationist, writer and photographer, DK Bhaskar who was in the city along with a group of motivated individuals to educate and empower children in America and India by sharing their cultures and daily lives through photography.
A group of students from the University Lake School high school, New York have travelled all the way to Nagarhole to meet and interact with the children of mahouts in Nagarhole, the elephant country. The children’s lifestyle, their sustainability, their complex web of life in a rural setting will be studied intimately as well as captured on camera for posterity highlighting the need for deeper understanding of one another’s cultural diversities.
In the past three years, this group under the banner of CLIC Abroad has taken up a few projects in Assam, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka where children are taught basic photography techniques, assigned a specific topic, touching all aspects of daily life, such as school, environment, rituals and religion, home and family, health and hygiene, bazaar and shops, and children, which they document with their cameras.
“Many children in rural India do not have a choice on what they want to do as they have to follow their traditions and therefore, their destiny is pre-destined,” says Lori Sra, who is the main coordinator and handles all the logistics for such a visit to the interiors of Nagarhole forests.
17-year-old, Rachel Mara who is pretty excited and enthusiastic about the project opines frankly, “It is a big shock compared to New York; people here are very different and open minded. I am interested in knowing about different lifestyles of an entirely different culture as there is more to life than what we lead in New York and when I go back home, I am going to talk about this through different forums.”
The six-day project at the Nagarhole National Park which began this Monday is expected to bring in a new understanding about a section of children never studied before, says Bhaskar and adds, “The excitement of the group is palpable as we will be very close to Mother nature out in the wilds.”