‘The only fool­proof pre­cau­tion to work in a place like Dan­te­wada is to not work at all’

Pho­tog­ra­phers have front-row seats to the end of the world. was the one who walked into it sans sus­pi­cion, says


Tarun Sehrawat

A LONG time ago in Dan­te­wada, when I had first got­ten into trou­ble for do­ing my job, a vet­eran jour­nal­ist very calmly told me, “This job is a marathon, not a 100 me­tre sprint.” Since those words were first ut­tered to me in May 2009, I my­self have used them count­less times with those who have fol­lowed me.

Tarun Sehrawat sprinted across us at the age of 23, and you are sud­denly stuck with the re­dun­dancy of your own marathon.

The war you don’t see, the war you re­mem­ber, has a funny way of catch­ing you back home. There are al­ways faces around the street bend who can re­mind you of those who have died, or those you feel you have lost. Tarun dies at 23, and you can never seem to get over the fact that he is never go­ing to grow up with the rest of us, and we are sur­rounded by gen­er­a­tions of young peo­ple who may never even know where Dan­te­wada is. Tarun may never see the end of the war in Dan­te­wada, some­thing that none of us may ei­ther. He will never see his work, his pho­to­graphs of Chi­dambaram’s war, at the end of peace.

A few weeks be­fore their ill-fated trip into Abu­j­marh, Tusha Mit­tal had called and asked me to ac­com­pany her to Dan­te­wada. At that point, it was only meant to be Tusha and my­self, and I would have been tak­ing on the du­ties of the pho­tog­ra­pher if her ed­i­tors ap­proved. I had said no, be­cause if I had gone, I would have been sprint­ing on the tightrope for rea­sons best

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