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Photo Essay: Life After a Fire

Ajay Jaiman documents residents of a basti near Gurgaon that was devastated after a fire in May this year.

Just off Sunset Boulevard, not far from the gleaming glass and steel offices of Gurgaon, is a little shanty town. It is mostly inhabited by migrant labourers, who call small boxes made of tin, cardboard, thatch and flex (those once adorned larger-than-life hoardings) their home.

That flammable eyesore was burnt to the ground in the early morning hours of May 29 – a devastation significant enough to make it to mainline news.

When I heard that my partner, associated with The Restoring Force (an NGO), was going to attend the NGO Agrasar’s inauguration of a non-formal school for the children of this basti as part of its long term rehabilitation program, I decided to tag along.

This is what l saw barely a month after the fire had ravaged through these people’s homes, belongings and savings (most don’t have bank accounts).

Ajay Jaiman makes photographs and films professionally. He works almost exclusively with not-for-profit organisations/causes.