This photo essay shines light upon on the laborious process of making bricks in India. It is often a family affair, in the sense that every member, regardless of his age and gender, contributes his bit to the process. Each person is assigned a role based on his ability and they all toil together as one entity.

The men dig the ground for soft clay, suitable for making bricks, and the children then carry the clay on wooden sledges to the women folk. Cows and buffaloes can be often seen helping the people in these processes. In the next step of the long and tiresome process, some of the women shape the clay into bricks and brand them, while others carry those bricks to the kiln. The kiln is an underground furnace where the bricks are baked until they harden up. Safety measures are nowhere to be found and the workers are exposed to extreme levels of heat, unprotected. The workers are used to this hazardous way of life and have adapted themselves accordingly. Not all bricks can withstand the intense heat of the kiln. Some crack and are rejected, only to be reused later for other purposes. The children are full of enthusiasm and love to roam about the area. They are, thus, entrusted with the role of guarding the bricks that have been laid out for drying under the sun. For them, it is their playground; where they keep themselves entertained while their parents work hard to earn their daily bread. The parents, too, can work without worrying much about the welfare of their children. For them, it is a win-win situation. Holding the final product in hand brings smile to everyone’s faces, as they see their long hard work bear fruit. For them, that rock-hard brick is what brings food on their plates every night.

About the authors:

Words by  Chadrima Ghosh

Akash Ganguly was born in 1994. He lives in India. He is a student at the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (India) and is a freelance photographer. He has been published by Private magazine. Also, his work has been featured twice in the National Geography Daily Shot and his photographs have received acceptance in The Sun and Life Force magazines.

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