Photo of a sleeping boy at the Bandra Fort in Mumbai in India.</
Sleeping boy at the Bandra Fort in Mumbai, India. The photograph is representing many of the latest photos by the photographer whose photos depict the life conditions of living in Mumbai, a city of millions.

In broad daylight and with a great view towards the bridge of Bandra-Worli Sea Link a harrowing poverty sight of a boy sleeping at the Bandra Fort was encountered by Kristian Bertel, a photographer documenting the life in Mumbai, India.

Photographing at the Bandra Fort
Not so long ago, Bandra, pronounced Baahndra was not so full of restaurants, designer boutiques and the ooze of urban coolness. But it has always been a laidback suburb. Dotted with crosses and churches, its streets held a largely Christian community that dwelled between small former fishing villages. So modest and sleepy was this place, at one time even taxis found it difficult to ply Bandra's narrow lanes. While the photographer was documenting the place he encountered a boy sleeping at the Bandra Fort.

Portrait photo of a boy sleeping in India.
Portrait photo of a boy sleeping in India. The photographer often spends many minutes at a photographic scene, in order to get the expression the way that he wants in his subjects.

Dalits, photos of poverty in India
The boy portrayed at the Bandra Fort might be one of the many people belonging to the Dalit caste in India. When reflecting on poverty in India there is the problem of huge segments of the population that are not included in the official poverty count, namely the Dalits, the untouchables, women and minority ethnic tribes. They are groups that are marginalized in the society and these groups are marginalized in society and it is more convenient for politicians to announce massive reductions in poverty by simply not including them in a census. It is easier to pretend they do not exist at all. However, it is obviously difficult to change the way an entire country and its society functions. India is a country with huge contrasts.

Poverty, from the village to the slum in the cities in India
More than 800 million people are considered poor in India. Most of them live in the country and keep afloat with odd jobs. The lack of living jobs in rural areas drives many Indians to the rapidly growing metropolitan regions such as Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore or Calcutta. There most of them can expect a life of poverty and despair in the mega-slums consisting of millions of corrugated iron huts, without sufficient drinking water supply, without garbage disposal and in many cases without electricity. The poor hygiene conditions are the cause of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery, from which children in particular suffer and die.

Causes of poverty in India
High population growth rate is one of major reasons of poverty in India. This further leads to high level of illiteracy, poor health care facilities and lack of access to financial resources. Also, high population growth affects the per capita income and makes per capita income even lower. It is expected that population in India will reach 1.5 billion by 2026 and then India will be the largest nation in the world. But India's economy is not growing at the same pace. This means shortage of jobs. For this much population, near about 20 million new jobs would be required. Number of poor will keep on increasing if such a big number of jobs will not be created. Ever increasing prices of even basic commodities is another reason of poverty. A person below the poverty line finds it difficult to survive. Caste system and unequal distribution of income and resources is another reason of poverty in India.

Unorganised sector in India
Apart from all these, unskilled workers are paid very low in spite of hard work they put daily and the problem lies with the unorganised sector as owners do not bother the way their workers live and the amount they earn. Their area of concern is just cost-cutting and more profit. Because of the number of workers looking for a job is higher than the jobs available, unskilled workers have no other option but to work for less money. The government should really find a way to impose minimum wage standards for these workers. At the same time, the government should ensure that this is implemented well and poverty must be eradicated from India as every person has the right to live a healthy life.

Photo of poverty in India.
Photo of poverty in India, where a boy is crunching down at the Bandra Fort in Mumbai, India. Despite that Mumbai is the financial capital of India, and that the country has a growing economy with a more wealthy middle class, the sights of poverty are visible many places, like here in this photo taken at the Bandra Fort.

Bandra Fort originates from Portuguese
Castella de Aguada from Portuguese which means Fort of the Waterpoint, also known as the Bandra Fort, is a fort located in Bandra, Mumbai. 'Castella' is a misspelling for Portuguese 'Castelo' which means castle. Properly, it should be called Castelo da Aguada, although it seems its Portuguese builders actually called it Forte de BandorĂ¡ or Bandra Fort. It is located at Land's End in Bandra. It was built by the Portuguese in 1640 as a watchtower overlooking Mahim Bay, the Arabian Sea and the southern island of Mahim. The strategic value of the fort was enhanced in 1661 after the Portuguese ceded the seven islands of Bombay that lay to the immediate south of Bandra to the English. The name indicates its origin as a place where fresh water was available in the form of a fountain 'Aguada' for Portuguese ships cruising the coasts in the initial period of Portuguese presence.

From the middle of the tweentieth century the west-side, called Bandra West, evolved into something considerably more trendy. Popular and quality restaurants began to spring up. Together with those churches, they became the iconic landmarks that now guide locals and visitors, that hop in and out of the many bee-colored rickshaws swarming the area. The name 'Bandra' is possibly an adaptation of the Persian and also Urdu word bandar, which defines a city as an emporium, a port, harbour, a trading town to which numbers of foreign merchants resort. In Marathi, Bandra is known as 'Vandre', which also means port and is possibly derived from the same Urdu and Persian word.

Photo of the bridge of Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai in India.
Panoramic scene with a photo of a bridge, which is the bridge of Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai, India. This Indian bridge is a part of the proposed Western Freeway that will link the western suburbs to Nariman Point in Mumbai's main business district.

Bandra-Worli Sea Link
From the Bandra Fort the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, officially called Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, is a cable-stayed bridge with pre-stressed concrete-steel viaducts on either side that links Bandra in the western suburbs of Mumbai with Worli in south Mumbai. The bridge is a part of the proposed Western Freeway that will link the western suburbs to Nariman Point in Mumbai's main business district. The fort lies over several levels, from sea level to an altitude of twentyfour metres Castella de Aguada has been featured in several Hindi films, such as Dil Chahta Hai and Buddha Mil Gaya. The Portuguese, who had established a base in the area in 1534 after defeating Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, built several sea forts along the western Indian coastline. Castella de Aguada was one such strategically located fort, overlooking the Mahim Bay to the south, the Arabian Sea to the west, the islands of Worli to the south and the town of Mahim to the south west.

The fort also guarded the northern sea route into Mumbai Harbour. This sea route, a large estuary, was later reclaimed from the sea in the nineteenth century. During the Portuguese rule, it was armed with seven cannons and other smaller guns as defence. A freshwater spring in the vicinity supplied potable water to passing ships, thus lending the fort its name.

Photo of people at the waterfront near the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai in India.
People at the waterfront near the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai, India. This is a Bandra West photo which is depicting a bridge and people at a waterfront.

Bandra West photos of daily life in India
Kristian's selection of photos are reflecting over the human conditions for people in India. Especially the people, who live in the big cities of India such as Mumbai. "- When I ventured through the many streets of Mumbai in Maharashtra, India, my eyes were caught by this sleeping boy sitting on the ground at the Bandra Fort in Mumbai, India. For me portrait photography or portraiture is photography of a person that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject", the photographer says.

Photographing scenes in India
The Bandra West series of photographs are part of the photographer Kristian Bertel's travel pictures taken on his India travel journeys. Photos that capture the adventure through the lens into Mumbai, India. The travel pictures are often hightlighting portraits of people and cityscapes of sceneries that the photographer was seing. Pictures that give the advantage of showing the city through different neighborhoods. What unfolds is a city of amazing diversity. There are few pictures without people, because Bombay is people. Kristian Bertel is working as a travel photographer and he is available for editorial and travel assignments all over Europe, Asia, Africa and in the Middle East. For further information and inquiries please:
Contact the photographer

More photographs from India
If you are interested to see more photos and imagery from India, you can see one of the slideshows, which also appears on the photographer's website.
See the slideshow | press here