Ridhima Gupta

The Presence of Absence

Mandi Gobindgarh, a small town in Punjab, is unfortunately dying a slow death. It has always been famous as a steel hub. My family owned a furnace, however to survive we too had to shift to the trading business. The furnaces and mills are at the heart of this town. With the crashing of the steel market, everyone in my town is in a state of fear. The idea of having to change their occupation, or to have to migrate to another city highlights the unpredictability and temporariness of life. I have captured both abandoned as well as working factories. The working furnaces are a portrayal of anxiousness and hope, with also a focus on the workers who make the place. Whereas in the closed furnaces, the little things like the one odd show, the forgotten piece of cloth, or the dilapidating shrine left behind are a constant reminder of how lively the past was. This photo essay aims to document the change that my hometown is going through. The struggle of the residents of Mandi Gobindgrah to sustain their homes in these testing times is a testimony of their courage and resilence.