The other Side of Bengaluru – India’s IT capital

Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) has become synonymous with a booming technology sector that has created vast wealth for many. Yet the rapid growth of the technology industry in the city known as ‘India’s Silicon Valley’ has barely touched the lives of the 2 million people who live in poverty. Simon Murphy documented their daily experiences.

A boy cycles past a shrine to the Virgin Mary on his way to school in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore). According to the country’s official census, just 2.3% of India’s population is Christian, compared with 80.5% Hindu and 13.4% Muslim.

A slum dweller hangs out her laundry. Last year’s census showed the city’s population rose by 47% in just 10 years, making it the second fastest growing city in India, after Delhi. The reason for the rapid growth is the booming information technology sector: the Indian Institute of Science estimates that 30% of the IT workforce live in Bengaluru. Around a quarter of its 8.4 million people live in slums.

Children during a prayer ritual in a Hindu temple in a Bengaluru slum.

A family travels by scooter in the city. As India’s growing middle class buy more cars and scooters, traffic congestion is a serious problem in many urban areas.

Cows roam the public garbage belt in the slums. The rubbish dumps across the city are a breeding ground for diseases.

A mother carries her son, who is affected by polio, to fetch water. In February, India was finally removed from the WHO’s list of countries plagued by polio after decades of battling to eradicate the disease. But for the thousands of young people who have already been affected by the disease, it will determine their future. According to the UK-supported charity APD, an estimated 17 million people with disabilities in India do not receive support such as mobility aids.

A child works in an iron workshop in a slum. Despite government efforts to provide schooling, many slum kids have to work to help provide income for their families.

Children cling to a crowded bus as they make their way to school in the rush hour.

A woman sells fish in a slum. Informal labour still is the only means of income for the majority of the city’s residents.

A Muslim woman and her son beg in the rush-hour traffic. In its latest country overview of India, the World Bank warned: ‘India’s integration into the global economy has been accompanied by impressive economic growth that has brought significant economic and social benefits to the country. Nevertheless, disparities in income and human development are on the rise’.

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