The Faces of Poverty On City Streets

Every year, there are some new set of statistics from some government department telling us everything that we know about the poor in our country — that they do not get two square meals a day, that their children die of malnutrition, that many commit suicide because they can’t pay their loans, they sell their young ones… These stories hardly make headlines of our national dailies.

As the country sees another wave of price hikes and deals with rising inflation, it is the poor in our country whose condition is spiralling out of control. Ambuj Dixit could give figures here along with his photos, but chose not to. At least once, in an article about poverty, he wanted to show the faces behind the numbers, which say much more than mere statistics.

Poverty in India

They are the faceless, nameless entities walking the streets of every city in India. Their faces are gaunt, creased and their lives scarred by a lifetime of hard work. This man is just one of the 400 million people living below the poverty line in India.

There are 400 million people in India who can be 'officially' called 'poor'.

Mr PM, these are the hands of a man who cannot feed his family two meals a day. The Planning Commission, which formulates India's economic strategy, recently told the Supreme Court that a person spending more than Rs 32 a day in an urban area or Rs 26 in a rural area will no longer be counted as poor that makes him eligible for benefits under several Central and state government schemes for BPL people. This man in this photo cannot afford to but half a kilogram of onions with that amount.


Man made Poverty

Is the government a mere puppet in the hands of hoarders? While farmers get peanuts for their production, middlemen and hoarders make millions at their expense.

Cooking for the masses

The poor eat food to quench their hunger, not for taste and not for vanity. While millions die of hunger, tonnes of food grain gets wasted in storehouses or in transit to market, where it often rots.

similng face

Yes, she smiles at my obvious efforts to click her with her wares -- a bunch of mirchi tied in a thread which will probably get her Rs 10 per bunch at the end of the day. Which means she will probably have a meal of chillies and rice at home for dinner. But she smiles for me, as I click.


While our MP's get subsidised food in Parliament canteen, these men wait for their turn for alms. Yes, they probably spend Rs 32 a day and hence they do not fall under the government's new poverty line. But the question is what can they afford to buy for that money?


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Ambuj Dixit

About Ambuj Dixit

A Mumbai-based communication professional, Ambuj has discovered the beauty of life through his lens. As he looks at the world through his camera, and frames the various moods of the city and its people, the end product is something that is real and full of life. He calls his images 'photography sans photoshop' and that is what his photos portray -- the stark realism, as it really is, undiluted by technology. For more of his pictures, take a peek in his Facebook photography page.

hi ambuj,

Can i use the palms u've photographed for an art contest?

I'll draw the pic and mention your name for copyrights of the photo.

The constest is for a social cause.


Surya Facebook page to see my artworks -


@Tazeen Hussain I did not understand your comment. What do you mean when you talk about the genuine factor.


  1. [...] or not, you will automatically become Anna and will have to go on an indefinite fast.Pray that, minimum daily wages of Rs 10, instead of the ridiculous amount of Rs 32, becomes the benchmark for deciding who comes under the [...]