Book: The Light Within: A Different Vision of Life
Author: Sipra Das
Publisher: Niyogi Books
When photographer Sipra Das came up with the idea of capturing the lives of the visually-impaired with her book The Light Within – A Different Vision of Life, she did not want the usual reaction of sympathy and pity.
She wanted to represent images that would generate both empathy and awe, and she succeeds admirably in this new book. On her first day at the All-India Confederation of the Blind school in Delhi, she was stumped by not finding a mirror in her room. The penny dropped when the school’s principal, himself sightless, said: “We cannot see with our eyes but we can see with our hearts. You can see with you eyes but you cannot see with your hearts.”
The book opens with a photograph of a group of blind children walking in a file, on a winter morning, en route to their school in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, each pair of tiny hands leading the other.
The book contains images and stories of extraordinary individuals, such as motorcycle mechanic Riyazuddin from Bhopal, beautician Reshmi Sonawane who runs a beauty parlour and the sightless fisherman Misri Sahani in Bihar, who never returns home empty-handed. Through them, Das narrates tales of hope, struggle and survival.