Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Shankar Laxman: The Beedi Factory

Photo © Shankar Laxman-All Rights Reserved

Shankar Laxman describes himself as a "multimedia journalist working towards helping socially conscious organization visually illustrate their causes" but his biography is rather sparse, except for telling us that he seeks to make an impact and foment understanding through the use of new media techniques. He has been traveling throughout India documenting social issues pertaining to the lives of rural and urban population.

I chose to feature Shankar's photo story The Beedi Factory , which was photographed in Mysore, Karnataka. Beedis are thin cigarettes, filled with tobacco flake and tied with a string in one end. They are considered the poor man's cigarettes, and tend to be associated with a lower social standing and account for about half of India's tobacco consumption.

According to Wikipedia, workers in the industry roll an average of 500-1000 beedies per day, handling 225-450 grams of tobacco flake, and inhaling tobacco dust and other volatile components...causing a high degree of respiratory and other ailments.