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India through a lens

Friday 19 December 2014 - Behind the image


Rajeev Goswami, a 20-year-old student, sets himself on fire during a protest in Kalkaji near Delhi on September 19, 1990. (AFP PHOTO /RAVEENDRAN)

(AFP Photo / Raveendran)


India through a lens


When the 20-year-old Rajeev Goswami set himself on fire at a student protest in 1990, R. Raveendran was there to capture the desperate act. His shot triggered a surging wave of demonstrations, and indirectly brought down the Indian government. Ravee, as he is universally known, has hung up his camera after a staggering career of more than 40 years at AFP's Delhi office. "It's been a fascinating four decades," he says of his journey. "I wouldn't change it for anything."

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A Bhopal steam bath

Tuesday 2 December 2014 - Behind the image


Bhopal gas disaster survivor Akbar Khan, 70, sits inside a steam box as part of rehabilitation using traditional Ayurvedic treatment at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic on December 1, 2014  (AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)

Akbar Khan survived the Bhopal gas disaster 30 years ago -- but it left him with acute breathing, heart and joint problems. Steam baths are one of the Ayurvedic methods used to treat thousands like him, at a clinic in the Indian city. "It's difficult to photograph a tragedy after so many years," writes AFP's Indranil Mukherjee. "You’re trying to find an original angle and the best lighting to bring out the survivors’ emotions. But at the same time, you have to be extremely sensitive. After all, they’re having to relive the trauma of an event in which they lost a part of their life."


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A new life for baby Roona

Thursday 16 May 2013 - Eye witness

In this photograph taken on April 17, 2013, fifteen month old Roona Begum is tended to by doctors and family at a local hospital in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi.

In April, AFP distributed heart-rending photographs of 15-month-old Roona Begum, her head so swollen due to an untreated condition that she couldn’t even sit up. Offers of help poured in, and within days a fund had been created and a top surgeon in New Delhi offered to take her on as a patient without charge. AFP followed Roona into surgery on Wednesday, and the results are very promising (AFP Photo/R. Schmidt).

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When pictures save lives

Tuesday 23 April 2013 - Eye witness

Fatima Khatun 25,  kisses the head of her eighteen month old daughter, Roona Begum, suffering from Hydrocephalus,  at their hut in Jirania village on the outskirts of Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura on April 13, 2013.

It happens all the time: a newspaper publishes a photo of a child living in hard-scrabble poverty who is stricken by a disfiguring, possibly life-threatening condition or injury. The image is heart-rending, and people around the world ask: “How can I help?” CORRESPONDENT editor Marlowe Hood looks at recent photos from the AFP archives that have made a difference. 

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No turning back: India rape case a watershed

Friday 25 January 2013 - Decoding

In this photograph taken on December 23, 2012 an Indian demonstrator (C) taunts the police during a protest calling for better safety for women following the rape of a student last week, in front the India Gate monument in New Delhi.

The vicious gang rape in India’s capital in December of a 23-year old woman, who later died of her injuries, sparked revulsion and mass protests in a country where rampant sex attacks had, up to then, received scant notice from the justice system or the media. AFP New Delhi correspondent Rupam Jain Nair reflects on why this case has become a watershed, and how it has changed her approach to the issue and, perhaps, her job.(AFP PHOTO/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

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The big gulp: Fishy medicine

Tuesday 12 June 2012 - Behind the image

A member of the Bathini Goud family administers 'fish medicine' to a patient at the Katedan stadium in Hyderabad, on June 9, 2012.

(AFP Photo/Noa Seelam)

The big gulp: Fishy medicine


For the last 161 years, members of the Bathini Goud family in Hyderabad, India have administered a unique, squirming “fish medicine” to an ever-larger throng on a couple of auspicious days in June. The medicine, which supposedly cures to asthma and other breathing disorders, is based on a secret herb formula, and the event draws thousands of people from all over the country. A small wad of the yellowish paste is placed in the mouth of a live murrel fish, which is then slipped down the throat of the patient. The quasi-ritual practice falls on Mrigasira Karti, the day marking the onset of the annual monsoon. AFP photographer Noah Seelam covered the story. But did he swallow the fish?  

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Venus revealed

Wednesday 6 June 2012 - Behind the image

Planet Venus, pictured as a black dot (at L), is seen in transit across the Sun in New Delhi on June 6, 2012.
(AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

Venus revealed


"I got up at 5 a.m. to shoot a major astronomical event that will only happen once this century: the Venus transit in front of the Sun," reports New Delhi-based AFP photographer Manan Vatsyayana . "Armed with my 600mm telephoto lens and must-use solar film, my idea was to shoot the transit with some old Delhi architecture and monuments in the foreground. I visited almost all the monuments I could think of trying to find the perfect spot, but it was a cloudy morning and I found myself fast running out of ideas..." 

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