Hunger in their Bellies

by Baya Agarwal


Net of death for some and life for some.

Picture 1 of 15

Net of death for some and life for some.

It is the same story across the length and breadth of India. A nation that today plays a key role in changing world markets, has not given enough money to its own people to run their homes.

Of the many marginalized people categorized as BPL (Below Poverty Line), fishermen dotting the coastline of Gujarat’s Narmada delta, feel they are the worst affected. They are caught in a tussle between Region and Religion.

The Hindu dominated (major Jain population) state has an iota sized domestic fish market and hence most of its produce is sent to Maharashtra and Kolkata. The fishermen allege that the state government is hardly affected by the ups and downs in their lives mainly due to the eating patterns of the State.

Since the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam, the unpredictable levels of Narmada have swallowed homes of many fishermen but the government has paid little heed to it. The number of catches each day has declined drastically and forced the fishermen to either die of starvation or fight hunger everyday.

These fishermen have a hunger in their belly both literally and in reality. They want to break away from this trade and explore other opportunities where their skill sets can be used. They intend to bring about a change within their community and to satiate the many quietly roaring hungry bellies of their family members…

About Baya Agarwal
Baya Agarwal is an empanelled freelance photojournalist with UNICEF. She is currently working with a NGO in rural areas of Rajasthan. Besides photography, she has ten social documentaries to her credit. She believes in the power of visuals and hopes to bring social change by using them wisely.



  • Reply August 13, 2010



    Nice work. Good insight to the plight of downtrodden.

  • Reply August 17, 2010


    facts of ground reality shown powerfully,matter of serious concern for govt.& society

  • Reply October 4, 2010

    Jayakumar M

    Great photos, captions and article

  • Reply April 28, 2011


    Excellent photo documentary. The pictures depict the plight of the people effectively.

    The Narmada reservoir has brought respite to thirsty northern and western parts of Gujarat benefiting millions of people but at the cost of thousands living in the catchment area. What the govt. needs to do is tax the people who have been benefited on one side and utilize these funds for better education, health care and housing for the people who have been displaced or affected. Better education and vocational training will make the people employable, providing them long term benefits and not look for ‘help’ from NGOs and the govt always and forever!

    The other possibilities are, develop eco and wild life tourism and provide alternate employment. Learn from Kerala , Goa and Rajasthan govts. where tourism has provided excellent alternate employment opportunities to the people in the absence of ‘regular’ job opportunities.

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