10 June 2013
The photo (Sanjeev Gupta) above is from an issue of the Guardian Weekly and can be found on their website here. Is it the "saddest photo" of the year? Probably not. I'm sure images from Syria or Iraq or Egypt or Pakistan or poor communities here in the U.S. or scenes of domestic violence from anywhere could be contenders for "saddest photo" but this is the photo I saw and it continues to haunt me.
The scene is from a group wedding at the Akshaya Tritiya festival. Look at the faces of every woman in this photo. There are no smiles, no signs of joy or happiness at what - ideally - should be a happy day. Instead all I see is resignation and even fear in some.
I hope the lives of these women* turn out reasonably well. That their husbands (and in-laws) treat them with respect and compassion, and that they find a measure of fulfillment.
* Women? Just how old is that child in the middle of the first row? She doesn't look much older than my 12-year-old niece.