Girls of RajasthanAminah, 9, lives on a plot of arid farm land with her large extended family in the Thar Desert near the Pakistani border. In her remote community, quality education is difficult to access, especially for girls.
Her local school is an overcrowded one-room schoolhouse, with a single teacher serving 150 students. The next option is a charter school in the town about 90km away, which is expensive and without suitable transport options for unaccompanied minors. So on most days she stays home to play with her sisters in the field and help her mother with housework instead.
Girls of RajasthanRisa, 10, loves learning and in her free time when she's not helping out in the house, she digs out her school workbooks and practices writing and reading.
Given her duties caring for her sisters and young cousins, she rarely has the time to dedicate to studying or going to school. Her intermittent attendance is not enough to build a sound foundation in most subjects, therefore school is not really seen as a good investment for girls, who are expected to help care for the household.
In families that cannot afford to send all their children to school, boys are given priority over girls.
Girls of RajasthanAt only 11 years old, Naseeba runs the entire house and takes care of her five younger sisters. Her mother is pregnant with her seventh child, and is devastated by the thought that it might be another girl.
In traditional culture, girls are married as teenagers and move into their husband's home to take care of his parents into old age. The bride's family is also expected to throw a large wedding party and pay a substantial dowry to the husband's family, despite laws prohibiting the practice of dowries passed in 1961.
Because of this tradition, girls are considered a major financial liability and sex-selective abortions and infanticide are common. A common expression in India is that "raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor's garden."
Although spared this tradition, Naseeba and her sisters still face significant barriers to education and can likely expect an arranged marriage and the life of a homemaker by early adolescence.
Girls of RajasthanBarely into her teenage years, Rabi'ah is already married. She lives with her husband's family and takes care of the household as custom dictates.
She will be expected to have to children soon and likely won't have a job outside of a home cottage industry like weaving or making handicrafts.
Black MoneyIn November 2016 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise announcement that declared 86% of all cash in circulation null and void.
What followed was three months of chaos and instability as 1.3 billion people struggled to cope with an outright economic emergency and the government's poorly planned and lethargic response to resolve the crisis.
Black MoneyAn autorickshaw driver displays a wad of 500 rupee notes, made nearly worthless when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared 500 and 1000 Rs notes illegal overnight.
The demonitization scheme was aimed at reigning in vast caches of untaxable cash, so-called "black money" and modernizing the Indian economy by encouraging citizens to embrace cashless transactions.
Black MoneyWith 86% of the cash in circulation rendered useless, life became extremely difficult for the majority of Indian citizens. In a predominantly cash-based economy, many had to make the daily choice of working or waiting in long lines at banks to exchange their old bills, subject to a daily deposit limit.
"My wife and I wait in line at the bank eight hours per day [to exchange our old bills]. We have money, but we cannot use it. We have no cash to buy food or tea for the day," one man said.
Hours spent in the queue at the few stocked ATMs were often wasted when the machines ran out of cash or broke from overuse, often inciting emotional and violent scenes at banks across the nation.
Black MoneyThe new normal: ATMs broken or out of service. In second- and third-tier cities it was common for only one or two ATMs to be restocked with cash, the supply lasting only a few hours per day. Some towns were completely without new cash infusion for weeks on end due to the shortage crisis.
For over one month, customers were subject to a withdrawal limit of one 2000 rupee note per day. Since the next largest denomination was the highly in-demand 100 Rs note, 2000 Rs notes were almost impossible to use due to scarcity of change.
Black MoneyAt the few places where new notes were being stocked, lines at banks and ATMs stretched down the block at all hours of the day and night.
For two months following the demonetization, the daily withdrawal limit at ATMs was 2000 Rs, requiring people to queue frequently to obtain the money they needed to survive day to day.
The ban affected Indians from all socioeconomic classes and some proponents of the measure even praised the momentary national unity it caused:
"We are happy because now the rich people are also in the queue. They used to sit in the AC with a glass of wine and now they are out on the street waiting with the rest of us."
Black MoneyUnable to exchange old bills at the overwhelmed banks and blindsided by the sudden cash shortage, India's poor were the hardest hit by the demonetization and the resulting cash shortage, which continued for months following the announcement.
In a country where over 90% of all consumer payments are made in cash, many Indians do not have credit cards or even a bank account. A lack of cash flow can mean life and death on the streets and remote areas.
DharaviA child navigates the labyrinthine passages of Dharavi slum, India.
Dharavi slum, in the heart of Mumbai, is home to more than one million people in less than a single square mile (2.59 sq. km). Its residents live in unfathomable housing conditions, a sacrifice made by poor migrants seeking employment opportunities in India's economic hub and most expensive city.
Dark, claustrophobic alleyways with exposed electrical wires (hazardous when monsoon rains flood the slum) connect one room shanty dwellings stacked three units high. Stale, hot air is filled with the stench of rotting garbage and open sewers.
Despite the health hazards and lack of space and privacy, the residents of India's largest slum take immense pride in their work and ability to save money to send back to family in their villages.
DharaviDharavi is home to several thriving cottage industries, a legitimate micro-economy valued at over $1 billion annually. The largest of these is recycling.
Workers collect, sort, clean, chop up, and melt down recycled plastic into sheets, then sell the raw materials back to big manufacturers.
DharaviWith a literacy rate of 69% and close to 90% of the slum's children attending either public or private school, Dharavi's emphasis on education is one of the highest in India. Residents know that education is the only key to a better future, and routinely make whatever necessary sacrifices to keep their children enrolled in school.
TraditionsA blacksmith squats on the side of the road, pounding out knives in a tiny, hand-powered forge.
One of many admirable qualities of the Indian people is that they are craftsmen, doers, people of optimism and limitless ingenuity. People who can create even with almost no resources available.
TraditionsA Rajasthani woman wears traditional jewelry and facial tattoos indicating her tribal affiliation. In a rapidly changing society, these symbolic decorations are becoming less common in favor of mass-produced modern fashion.
TraditionsA nervous young bridegroom casts a penetrating gaze during a wedding ceremony in a small village in rural Rajasthan.
TraditionsPractitioners of kushti mud wrestling, or pehlwans, dedicate their entire young lives to the sport. When they are not wrestling they are eating, resting, or doing a variety of exercises to build muscle and stay fit. Some pehlwans live in the training compound itself and have been training every day for more than 10 years in pursuit of a professional career.