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“Marginal Trades” project documents endangered jobs in India


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Photographer Supranav Dash is the author of an impressive photo project, aimed at documenting the dying professions in India, his home country.

Born in Kolkata, India, Supranav Dash has grown to get a diploma in Fine Arts. He had worked for four years as an assistant for photographer Gautam Sengupta before taking the life as a professional photographer into his own hands.

holy-brahmin "Marginal Trades" project documents endangered jobs in India Exposure

A Holy Brahmin and his deformed cow in one of India’s lower castes. Credits: Supranav Dash.

Supranav Dash aims to document India’s dying professions through photography

Dash is now living in New York City, where he is enjoying life as a photographer. However, he has not forgotten his home country. In fact, he is actually doing something to “preserve” the endangered jobs in India.

As the whole world is evolving at a fast pace, a lot of traditions are dying and India certainly has its fair share of interesting practices. This is why Supranav has decided to document these professions which are at risk of extinction.

broom-maker "Marginal Trades" project documents endangered jobs in India Exposure

Broom maker who is earning only $20 / week from selling brooms on the street. Credits: Supranav Dash.

“Marginal Trades” to replace caste system in India

The project has been named Marginal Trades. For those who are unaware, the name is coming from economics. Marginal trading describes an investor buying securities with money loaned from a broker, terms unfamiliar to people living in the lower ranks of India’s caste system.

Since India is going through a changing economic environment, it seems like the caste system in the country is finally falling apart. Labor and power have been divided for centuries in India, forcing people to live in poverty and in swamps.

The world’s technological advancements are preventing the “modern society” from thinking that some professions still exist. However, one of India’s dying jobs is broom making which pays only$20 per week. Such amount is nowhere nearly enough to support an entire family.

As stated above, the globe is now dominated by consumerism and ancients jobs are slowly fading away in India, where poor people will have to face terms like “marginal trading”.

ear-cleaner "Marginal Trades" project documents endangered jobs in India Exposure

An ear cleaner and perfumer still doing his job on the streets of India. He is earning about $28 per week. Credits: Supranav Dash.

Without “Marginal Trades” the beauty of ancient practices may be gone forever

Photographer Supranav Dash has created a series of portrait photos documenting these dying jobs. The list of endangered professions include broom making, ear cleaning, knife grinding, cooking, and typing – all of them done on the streets.

Plenty of these jobs have been performed by the ancestors of current workers. They have learned these “arts” from their fathers, who learned them from their fathers, and so on.

As these jobs are disappearing, Dash is aiming to capture the “beauty” of these practices before it is too late. The full work is available at the photographer’s website.

rickshaw-puller "Marginal Trades" project documents endangered jobs in India Exposure

A hand-rickshaw puller is making only $12 / week. This is one of India’s dying jobs. This photo is also interesting as the subject is sleeping undisturbed in an uncomfortable position as well as location. Credits: Supranav Dash.

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