My engagements as a photographer and social activist have been an important part of my life. However this particular intense journey with people who eke a living as migrant laborers, was initiated through a collaboration with Jan Breman (co-author of the book) in 1997.

I met them at close quarters, over a period of two and a half years, in the countryside of South Gujarat (near the city of Surat), and documented their lives in the village, on the road and in the city, Lives, which I found to be always revolving around ‘work’. As I found myself in the company of some of the most politically and economically marginalized people, the process left me personally transformed at many levels. At one level was a sharing of the experience of their very quiet dignity and uprightedness despite a very sparce material existence. At another, I could not but interrogate and negotiate my own position as a photographer trying to represent another, especially where I was clearly privileged in many ways. All this has left me with several ongoing questions.

The ‘project’ which was meant to follow a script, however quickly found its own metaphor. As I developed numerous relationships over that period, I came to understand and see an assertion of life itself, which played out within the interstices of human politics and human survival.

(Selection of photos on CD as well on