INDIA-10214, Bombay, India

Mother and Child at Car Window, Bombay/Mumbai, India, 1993

A mother and child beg for alms through a taxi window during the monsoon.

Bombay is the capital of India’s business, movie, music, and fashion worlds. A city of wealth, but everywhere, within a few steps, is the greater India. Poverty, for both its victims and those who only witness it, is inescapable. Refugees from India’s rural poverty and people seeking opportunities for a better life arrive each day in the thousands to swell a city which already seems to burst at the seams. Over time, you learn of the complex economics of Bombay’s beggars. Street corners can be “inherited” or subject to leasing arrangements; a spot on one intersection busy with taxis is prime real estate. Begging is a way of life. An overwhelming number of the city’s inhabitants live on the streets in intricate hierarchies-those that have shelter are better off than those on open ground. They in turn have risen above those who live on the streets themselves.

(2000) South SouthEast. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 43.
National Geographic, March 1995, Bombay: India’s Capital of Hope

Magnum Photos, NYC5919, MCS1996002 K097 ..Phaidon, 55, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic, final print_milan

Jam-packed and alive with commerce, India’s richest country allures new corners by the hundreds each day. Arriving with little more than dreams, some hit it big. Others remain on the outside looking in: half of Bombay’s 13 million people live on the streets or in ramshackle huts, and thousands-like this woman and child-survive only by begging.
National Geographic: John McCarry (March 1995) Bombay: India’s Capital of Hope, National Geographic. (vol.187 (3)) pp.42-67

*See caption in book.
Iconic Photographs