Photo by @williamalbertallard | India, 2002. I got to work in India for the first time in what was kind of the twilight of my career that dates back to 1964. I was assigned by @natgeo to photograph the Dalits, also known as the Untouchables, those people who exist on the lowest rung of the India caste system. This man has just emerged from cleaning out a sewer filled with filth by using only a bucket and a rope. After finishing and closing the concrete cover, he had to go to several nearby homes before gaining permission to wash himself off with a garden hose. Because he is an Untouchable he is destined to do what his father, his grandfather, and all the men in his family's past did, to clean waste from sewers. There are Untouchables generations destined to a tradition of washing clothes, or tanning leather hides, or other tasks members of the upper castes refuse to do. Despite his situation, this man who sits covered in sewage, wears a thin gold chain around his neck and I was struck by how it seemed to match the glint of pride in his eyes as I made his portrait. He may be a collector of other people's wastes, but he does so with self esteem.
#followme @williamalbertallard for more images of India and other @natgeo assignments spanning five-decades.
@thephotosociety #india #Dalit #castes #onassignment #untouchable"