January 22, 2007

Who needs words when you’ve a picture?

The caption of this Page One photo in The Hindu reads: AMITY: Even as the violence-affected areas in Bangalore Cantonment were returning to normal, these two women walk hand-in-hand to procure their daily needs on Seppings Road, symbolizing communal harmony – Photo – K Gopinathan

After reading this I didn’t bother to go through the story. The caption says it all. The photo, however, appeared to convey a different story. It showed two women, one in head-to-toe burkha, and the other, sari-clad with her eyes to the ground, walking holding hands in the middle of a deserted street. The caption explained they were out to procure their daily needs. The women in photo were carrying no shopping bags. Nor was their evidence of any shops being open.

The women in the picture may well be friends, and good neighbours. But do they have to be shown walking down a street, hand in hand? The woman in sari seems not too comfortable facing the camera. Or could there be any other reason why she is seen with her eyes to the ground ?

A photograph, they say, is worth a thousand words (the wrong ones, perhaps).

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