Thursday 14 April 2016

Photojournalist entrancing precarious world. The recipient of highest civilian honour Padma Shri 2016 - Pankaja JK

Sudharak Olwe is a Mumbai-based photojournalist since 1988 and has worked as a press photographer with some of the leading newspapers in India. He is presently the Photo Editor of the country's largest read Marathi Newspaper, Lokmat.

His manual efforts to capture the disparity in the society, ambiguity of identity as scavenger (literally picking and cleaning garbage, forcing them to adapt to unhygienic conditions of living or playing a literally physical host to clear away the lust) or a simple identity of being a human being, has been recognised as a voice of downtrodden, dissed, maltreated communities from all over India, has fetched him highest civilian honour ‘Padma Shri’ of 2016.

 Sudharak Olwe, receiving his more than well-deserved Padma Shri from the President in Rashtrapati Bhawan

(Photo : Delhi Photo Festival/ facebook )

Personally I feel applauding only for prestigious civilian honour Padma Shri is not an enough appreciation. I heartily appreciate his passionate guts to venture and probe into the lives which are completely ignored and neglected and remembers by us for mean intensions only. He has made an attempt to bring their life stories in front of the society by personally interacting with them, visiting their dull, dingy rooms called home, hearing the bitter sweet survival attempts in those pathetic conditions all the while capturing their physical living conditions, emotional outburst and pitiful survival instinct.   Because of his visual and textual records many sensitive hearts are bound to become empathetic. Truly, his photography is empathetic in nature. Otherwise, the only time when we remember these people are when their absence leaves our surrounding filled with rotting smell and garbage heaps around, the time when the physical desire escalates to be a lust, to slake off this desire people hunt the lanes of these maltreated ‘human beings’. 

There is always a reason behind every action that we take. So also SudharakOlwe recalls his days on the streets of Hyderabad when he had ran away from his home in Mumbai. The poverty and hardships that he saw and experienced among the roadside dwellers made him understand and probe into the lives and feelings. His personal experience worked wonders than his educational qualification and today he has established himself as a voice of ignored and belittled ones.

Photo : Sudharak Owle 
His works also include the life stories of people from rural areas who are downtrodden, poverty stricken, completely under the sway of orthodoxy and yet in some areas of India people are coming out of their conventional beliefs.
Presently along with being the Photo Editor of newspaper Lokmat, he heads the Photography promotion Trust, which aims to spread the knowledge of photography in young adults not only in urban areas but in the rural side too. He has a Diploma in Photography from the Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art (1986), Mumbai and also a Diploma in Film and Video Production (1992) from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.

Heartiest thanks to Shri. Sudharak Owle to bring into limelight the lives living in dark and Congratulations for the recognition of your work! 

By Pankaja JK (Art

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Thanks for comment JK