South India – Coast to coast
India is all about contrasts, diversity and heterogeneity. A well mixed melting pot of various religions, political beliefs, birth castes, ethnicities and social classes. For what it is, it works pretty well. I couldn’t imagine other country pulling this off and still manage to be a nation and a democracy, in spite of all the imperfections. So, even with its extreme pockets of poverty and the ongoing ecological disasters, I admire the peculiar way Indian nation encompasses its diversity.
On top of this, a large amount of the population, takes religion very seriously, be it Hinduism, Islamism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity… you name it. It all adds a spiritual aspect to life, long lost in the materialistic West or in the pragmatic Far East. It was astounding for me to see the Christian churches of Fort Kochi, founded by the Portuguese five centuries ago, full of devoted people – old and young – when churches in Portugal are pretty much empty, these days…
Family values are still strong and intergenerational support is visible.
The last thing that I think is worth mentioning is the sheer demonstration of human energy present in the – often chaotic, noisy and polluted – south Indian cities. Masses of people moving around in a lively way, not in a robotized way like in most Western or Asian metropolis. People live and work in the streets, turning cities into living, pulsating organisms.
So, that’s it. There is something primordial about India, that – like a magnet – makes me want to return…
All photographs by António Marques – © António Marques Photography, 2015