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Anita Khemka

Mental Health

Anita Khemka

I am a New Delhi-based photographer. The pictures I take are rooted in my experience as an Indian woman. I have been documenting the lives of eunuchs, male sex workers, the mentally challenged, people living with HIV/AIDS. Why do I choose these subjects? Well, maybe it has something to do with the people I interact with and my own sensibility.

This particular image was taken about three years ago. When this man was in his late twenties he travelled to Agra by train without a ticket. The cops caught him and he was beaten up and put in jail. He suffered a head injury and as a result could not talk coherently. He was declared mad and put in a mental hospital. When he came to his senses he tried talking his way out and was brought to this Delhi hospital. Nobody listened to him. That was about 30 years ago. Today he actually has lost his sanity. I saw him pressing his nose against the wall, and I took this picture. It was only later I realized that he spends most of his time doing this, with a lot of concentration.

India Picture

New Internationalist issue 334 magazine cover This article is from the May 2001 issue of New Internationalist.
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