Vivekanand and Pandharinath learnt photography from some British engineers
– Rishikesh Bahadur Desai
BIDAR: Vivekanand and Pandharinath’s story sounds like something straight out of a movie.
Two friends go to the lake behind the Papnash temple to graze goats. Some British engineers stationed at the Bidar Air Force Base, who have a passion for photography, come to the lake for bird-watching. The boys point out different bird species to the,. The engineers, in turn, teach them about birds, photography and English.
It has been three years since the boys’ journey began..
They shared an informal “guru-shishya” relationship with Ian Asplen and the other engineers, accompanying them whenever they were in Bidar.
Armed with two simple cameras gifted by the engineers, Vivekanand Baburao Hallikhedkar and Pandharinath Kashinath Bhute wandered the jungles of Bidar and spent nights on “machans” erected on trees near water bodies clicking pictures of various birds, insects, flowers, and small animals.
They had shot over 900 photographs in this period.
However, they could not afford to print out even a single photograph.
But thanks to donations by hotelier Ajay Shetty and others, they printed around 50 photographs that were displayed at the exhibition organised by the Information Department during the Bidar Utsav.
According to photography enthusiast P. K. Panda: “They have produced great pictures with a basic camera. It shows you don’t need technology but creative instincts to be a great photographer. Secondly, unlike other boys of their age, they have followed their passion and found success”, he said.
The boys come from deprived backgrounds. Vivekanand’s father died when he was young and Pandharinath’s father who was working as an attendant in a temple lost his job when the management changed. Both quit studies after high school as their families could not afford to send them to college.
While Pandharinath grazes his family’s goats, Vivekanand works as an assistant in an Internet cafe.
MLA Bandeppa Kashempur, who visited the exhibition on Saturday, promised to help them get new equipment and formal training in photography.
Source: The Hindu, 20 February 2011