India, Photographic Stories, Social Documentary Projects
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Where the Children go

Among themselves they feel free. Independent yet in a boundary, vulnerable and not sure about tomorrow. Kids are those whom, while you watch them in your most baleful of moods they still make you smile. The essential human truth, pitted against modernity – is invincible. There is a child in a man wanting to go back to the womb. The shadows of a festering burden of the next crop of humans, the unclaimed, unborn, and the just born.

The Indian state perceives the child parent relationship to be a legacy of tribute to a social order, more than a right of the child. When a child is separated from his/her parent, it is not viewed as the duty of the state to provide that child with a family environment. Adoption is supervised by the state, but India does not have a long term foster care or alternate care system outside of institutionalization. A study estimates that there are about 44 million destitute children and yet only 5000 are adopted each year.

A countless number of children go missing every day in India. The category of missing children include a number of problems, run-away children or those forced to run away by family and surrounding circumstances. Children who are live in difficult or aggressive environment, trafficked or lost. Often cases are not reported to the police.


Children who go missing may be exploited and abused for various purposes from camel jockeys in the Gulf countries to victims of organ trade and even grotesque cannibalism as reported at Nithari village in Noida. There might be many happening, who knows ! There are also a large number of children who run away from homes after dropping out of school or who face difficulties at home. They usually run away to the glamorous big cities where they fall prey to exploiters and are employed in tea stalls, brothels, beggary, etc. Most of the children come from poorer families who do not have access to police services or whose reports are not taken seriously.

It cannot be said on an average how many children go missing every year in India. Some reports suggested that it was around 44,500 per annum and another published in an english daily said 10 lac. So, actually no body knows. But it is sure that a child will go missing in our country in ever eight minutes. And it is on the rise, also in untraced cases. The report states that children are often kidnapped or trafficked for prostitution, organ donations, employment, and in rare cases for sacrifice.

“Where the childen go” is a long term personal photographic-interview based project that i started working on in 2011, under the name of “Home and the Sky”-It was then funded by the NAZ foundation. I travelled for two months in three Indian states where the average number of orphans were high, amongst many getting infected by HIV+.

Somehow it was always at the back of my mind, also because i am around children at my school whenever i am home or even otherwise when you see children wandering, roaming on the streets playing, begging, collecting garbage. I realized that i should take it up again now, work harder towards bringing some sane-ness, and try to find some footings if nothing, at least it will make people around me aware through my work, my involvement.

I feel we have to be considerate towards these children who are bereft of all the comfort that we got while growing up in our early unconcious years. Its a hard life and we all should try to make each life better for a loving society and earth.


In 2014, Where the children go was published in PRIVATE MAGAZINE as Home, Sky


Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

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