We tried (unfortunately, to no avail) to locate Kaushik Sengupta, in the hopes of being introduced to this incredible man he has documented in the photo documentary below however, his blog seems to be out of commission. Either way, we felt compelled to share this incredibly beautiful picture-tale which follows a Kolkata-based man who has dedicated his life to looking after street dogs with his self-taught veterinary skills.
Homegrown Loves: The choice of subject. While we can’t get enough of Sengupta’s hushed tones and devoid-of-distraction approach to his work; the raw, compelling emotion captured between man and animal in each and every frame is just as much a testament to the ‘doctor’ as it is to the photographer who shared him with the rest of us.
“My story centers around a man Mr. Sandip Karan who loves street dogs and his love knows no bounds, unlike most dog lovers. His home- cum -kennels houses 40 street dogs who are mostly sick–some have lost their legs, some suffer from liver ailments and some have cancer – but they are being treated with rare care and compassion by a self-taught vet who learned his lessons while assisting veterinary surgeons for years.
Now confident enough to successfully perform surgeries, Mr. Sandip Karan is lucky to have found assistants in his mother Mrs. Sarasti Karan and wife Mrs.Moumita Karan. He is not doing any charity, it is his profession. He does not believe in chaining the animals or caging them. They are left free to move around and take rest in his house. Quite popular in his area as ‘street dog doctor’, Mr. Karan loves to cook food for his ‘four-legged patients’. When called to treat a street dog in a faraway place, he sometimes brings home his ‘patient’ if the situation demands ‘hospitalisation’. After the ‘patient’ gets well under his treatment he ensures its safe journey to the place it comes from.
He has, till date, treated around 2500 street dogs in his own locality and the quite vast adjoining areas. Half of his ‘patients’ had cancer – those having vincristine cancer have been cured. Not all his neighbors take all these kindly subjecting the ‘doctor’ to their wrath. However, that does not prevent him from dreaming of a house (he does not want to call it a shelter) for his loved ones. He is trying to raise funds for his NGO Concern for Animal & Environment Welfare. His hobby is gardening. As a photographer I share his work and have joined him for the journey.”
“Sandip is stressed about one of his patients suffering from a liver disease, one of the primary problems many of his patients seem to be dealing with.”
“Sandip’s mother, Saraswati, prepares food for all his ‘patients.’”
“Sandip and his wife, Moumita, administer anti-rabies vaccine to street dogs in the area.”
“House calls are all in a day’s work for Sandip.”
“A patient suffering from myiasis, a term used to describe maggot infestation, lies in wait of treatment at his home clinic.”
“In his free time, Sandip is also a keen gardener.”
Photos + Artist Speak: Kaushik Sengupta
[Kaushik Sengupta is a self-taught social documentary photographer. He graduated from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in 2002 with Honours in theatre and literature. He has since worked as a freelance photographer for Reuters and later for the Associated Press. He has been working with Drik India as a contributing photographer since 2006 and has done a wide range of social documentary photography for various agencies and organisations.
In 2007, he did a preparatory course for 3 weeks on social issues at Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok. In 2007-08, he was posted as an intern for 10 months at Drik Bangladesh where he learned photo editing for magazines and newspapers, dealing with thousands of pictures every day. In 2011, Kaushik participated in a documentary photography workshop conducted by Greg Marinovich and Munem Wasif. He now works as an independent social documentary photographer with Save The Children, Oxfam, Action Aid, Cancer Foundation Of India.]