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Thanks For Visit, Begampur

Begampur (Begumpur) is a small community on the South side of Delhi, a kilometre from Hauz Khas Metro Station. The areas surrounding it are some of the wealthiest in Delhi. Hidden from the general view of the area, next to an ancient fort, is the community of Vilmiki.

Vilmiki Camp is one of the many communities foreigners like to call, rather disparigingly, a ‘slum’ and all the conotations that word has on instigating thoughts on poor living conditions. It is true that the lack of easy access to drinkable water, electricity and a working, hygienic, sewer system is not available. But this does not make the inhabitants incapable of making the most of the room they call home, or the village as a source of communal support.

The conditions are cramped to those who do not know what is like to exist on such a low, and unpredictable, income. But the ‘villagers’ are proud of the space they have. The area outside their home in Vilmiki is spotless, as is the inside. Often they come from conditions even more harsh in order to make a living or educate their children for the future that promises to be better than a past they have escaped from.

If people from ‘outside’ would take a minute to immerse themselves in the community culture they would find a vibrant social fabric. An atmosphere of laughter and energy. A real dignity from the inhabitants. And an unrivaled hospitality!

 
 
 
 
 
 

And the children play and laugh like no others!

Around the people, their homes and their lives, exist symbols of hope and creativity…

And their neighbours are wonderful too…

So, next time you hear the word ‘slum’ look at your own preconceived ideas and what this means to you. I’ll bet you think mainly in the negative.

Then look at these images.

Does what you think, or perceive, match my own experiences of the place, the people, the creativity and the nature in what you call a ‘slum’ and what I know as a community?

…a wonderful vibrant and welcoming community. Full of people looking to better their lives.

They bettered mine for sharing their time with me.

All photos and content © Rob Thomas & http://www.robthomasphotography.com

2 Comments »

  1. Saw the link via Tim's comments. I can totally identify with you Rob – I have photographed very similar scenes myself in India. It truly is incredible and they are such wonderfully warm and genunie people. Thanks for the share, Jo

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