Venkatesh's photographs capture the poignant struggles of daily wage workers, pensioners and the poor.

In photos Photographer captures plight of people as they struggle with demonetisation Photo by K Venkatesh
news Demonetisation Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 16:15

Since demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was announced, there has been plenty of debate on who the move has really benefited. Amidst this discussions, it was pointed out several times how the lack of foresight and shoddy implementation ensured that it was the common person who was most inconvenienced.

K Venkatesh, a Bengaluru-based photographer, took a series of photographs between November 10 and December 10 in and around the city, wanting to chronicle how common men and women were affected by demonetisation's shoddy implementation.

On his website Beyond Focus, Venkatesh posted some of the pictures under the title "Cash Crunch". 

The intriguing thing about this series is how some of the photos are shots of people's feet, which poignantly capture privilege and class divide, differentiating their suffering.

The photographs were recently displayed in an exhibition at Chitra Kala Parishat as well. In an interview to The New Indian Express, Venkatesh said that he had not seen a single rich person standing in the lines. 

“By rich I mean anyone wearing expensive shoes or clothes... or anyone who got out of fancy cars. Most of the people I saw were people who wore slippers that must have cost 50 (rupees),” he clarified, adding that he wasn't against demonetisation per se.

Venkatesh also found that the poor who were getting less money. For instance, he once came across a woman who hadn't eaten for three days but could not get money from the bank as they weren't accepting her ID card.

He also points out that pensioners and daily wage workers were the worst hit. The latter suffered because their ID proofs would have their villages listed in the addresses which the banks in the city wouldn't accept.   

Over 90 people have died so far, according to a Catch News report. Some died standing in lines, others of shock and a few committed suicide due to various reasons triggered by demonetisation.

 

All photos by K Venkatesh, reproduced here with permission.

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