My Work in Kolkata
Everywhere I go, the first order of work is to find out about life in that part of the world. Here I have been walking along a railroad slum in central Kolkata where thousands of people live in shanties on both sides of the railroad. These kids took an interest and began to congregate. Photo by my friend Julie with whom I was walking.
Much of the life of Kolkata goes on on the streets. These women have a "restaurant" business that involves cooking and using these pans. But everything is done on the street -- cooking, washing, selling, and eating. There are no chairs and there is no private location for this "restaurant."
The city of Kolkata provides spigots for water here and there on the streets (since there are hundreds of thousands to live on the streets). Here is the morning bath for these men at one of these public spigots.
Many third world cities lack efficient garbage collection and accumulate huge piles of garbage in many places throughout the city. Here in central Kolkata, women comb through the garbage looking for anything they can find to help them survive on the streets.
Contrast the above photos of the streets with the elegance of the proceedings of the "World Peace Thinkers Meet" that I attended in Kolkata in January 2000. International Philosophers for Peace (of which I am President) was one of the sponsoring organizations. It was organized by Dr. Santi Nath Chattopadyay (dark suit in the cener) and included many spiritual and political dignitaries (hence the elegant chairs and flowers which are very typically Indian). I am on the stage at the far left (which, politically speaking, is where I prefer to be).
Here are some of my colleagues from the "World Peace Thinkers Meet" events.
The event included a huge peace march involving hundreds of students from local schools wearing their colorful school uniforms.
Speaking at the mass rally at the end of the Peace March.