Fazal Sheikh is an American photographer. He became famous for his pictures of people living in displaced communities in Africa, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Cuba and Afghanistan. One of his most interesting and moving projects called Ladli was executed in India. Sheikh was interested in the problem of status of women in modern India. The situation is pretty difficult over there. The number of abortions is extremely high in the country. Usually they have abortions when it is known that a woman is expecting a girl. “In the past, it was common for female babies to be killed at birth – often part of a midwife’s duties”. Children are kidnapped, raped and killed. Many of them are forced to prostitute. Slavery is also a common curse of the modern Indian society.
Sheikh took pictures of Indian baby girls and women. In fact women are treated in India like the lowest creatures. They are humiliated and rarely respected. Sheikh not only depicts how life of Indian women is terrible and unbearable. In fact he is also an activist. He talks a lot to women, listens to them, he includes their stories in his books. So it is fair to say that his project has social and critical implication. Sheikh’s aim is to attract attention to the situation in India, to severe traditions and humiliating treatment of women in the country. What is supposed to be traditional and common in India in fact is abnormal. All these facts are ignored. Some pictures of women were taken from the back as they were afraid of showing their faces.
Sheikh wonders what would happen to India in some 50 years. The country is developing rapidly, but the price is too high. “Under traditional Hindu, a married woman is the property of her husband’s family. She must bear him sons, who will inherit his wealth, rather than daughters, who need protection in adolescence and a dowry when they marry”.