October 13, 2008

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE is currently featuring on its website a 30-minute multimedia piece, India’s Fast Lane to the Future, featuring photographs by Ed Kashi and produced by Talking Eyes Media. This 5-part film documents India’s new 3,633-mile national expressway, The Golden Quadrilateral, and its effects on the country’s diverse population. The film accompanies the article Fast Lane to the Future featured in the October edition of National Geographic Magazine, authored by National Geographic correspondent Don Belt and photographed by Ed Kashi.

Follow the link above to see the multimedia piece. In addition to the link at National Geographic, you can visit Ed’s website to see two portfolios of work, in both color and b&w; by visiting: EDKASHI.COM

Altogether, the multimedia piece is divided into 5 sections. Here are highlights of each section:

Full Speed Ahead –

India’s car culture is booming. With the introduction of the world’s cheapest car into the Indian market, the possibility of the world’s second most populous country reaching similar levels of car ownership as the West places a great strain on the environment and India’s underdeveloped infrastructure. As the growing middle class embraces a more western style of consumerism, the social divides become even greater when the lower classes are left behind.

A Luxurious Life –

India’s growing industrialization is providing opportunities many never thought would exist. Two lives are followed as they become economically independent due to the rise in new factories. With the companies realization that this new generation has no preconceived notions of how industry should run, they are willing to work and work hard for the new factories. With the rise in wages comes an advance in desires to, where once a worker would have settled for a scooter, now they strive for a car.

The Human Toll –

All of this brand new industry has to come at a cost. The government pushes for more industrialization into poorer areas, farmers and other lower class individuals are being swept aside in the process. The government takes land from the people and grants it to corporations. The result is a clash echoing India’s cultural divide, the more western and modernizing arm of the government pitted against the lower class arm of the poor.

Life on the Road –

Showing the necessity to advance India’s lack of infrastructure, Life on the Road follows truck drivers on their delivery runs around India, learning about their lifestyle, and how the new highway and modernization of India is affecting them. From brothels to drum circles, the average citizen views truckers with contempt and a level of jealousy for their “prosperous” jobs, while the truckers themselves live far from the life of luxury that their fellow citizens envy them for.

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