20-year-old student Kashish Parpiani's book, Sons in Exile, captures lives of young lamas at the Von Ngari Monastery in Manali, Himachal Pradesh
“I’ll be honest with you; Lamas make for interesting subjects for photography with their red and yellow robes. Initially, I was planning to take their pictures too, but when I learnt of the stories of child monks, I decided to pursue them,” admits 20-year-old Kashish Parpiani, a student of Jai Hind College.
Parpiani was selected from applicants across 31 countries for a photography workshop in Manali by photographer Sam Harris. The photo documentary is a result of him capturing the daily lives of monks for almost eight hours a day for five days.
Through his self published book, Parpiani has captured the child monks in their most earthy settings: “They are children of Tibetan refugees. Many have to sacrifice one child to the monasteries, as they can’t feed the entire family. There are several such children in different monasteries in India,” shares Parpiani. “Everyone is bothered about the FDI, no one will want to talk about this issue, as there is no vote bank involved and no one wants to stand up against China’s policies. These refugees have to renew a yellow card by the government every year. Imagine having to renew one’s identity, annually,” he questions.
Parpiani says that they are like other children, fighting over TV remote, “They are removed from the world, one of them, very innocently, asked me if Sonia Gandhi will give them Tibet back?” He lists some of his favourite shots.
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A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli