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A new life in Zambia: Early photographs by Sant Kumar Jain

Arun Misra

Why ZAMBIA in the title and a picture of an Indian passport inside?

The background is that in November 2022 whilst on a visit to my mother-in-law’s house in Ambala, India I discovered an old box of colour slides that hadn’t been opened for years. Upon opening the box I saw that the film surfaces had gathered dust, some were badly scratched and others deteriorated due to heat and humidity. The colour images where of a time I could relate to and were the very first images taken by my father-in-law, Sant Kumar Jain. He was deputised by the Indian Government to serve in Zambia and this is the reason why he travelled with his young family under an official ‘white’ Indian diplomatic passport.

Historically the work is interesting because Zambia had gained Independence from British Colonial rule on 24th October 1964 and needed help to setup its political and administrative structures. There were no direct flights from India to Zambia and the journey involved a stopover in Nairobi, Kenya. There S.K. Jain bought his first 35mm camera – a Halina. From the outset he was very enthusiastic about photography and started taking pictures soon after arriving in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, on 16th September 1967. The images he took with his first camera paint a picture of the thrill and exuberance of a new life, in a new setting and far removed from the social environments of India. Some of the images were shot in the year after arrival in 1968 and the rest of collection depicts intimate family life and social activities as part of Zambia’s Indian expatriate community.

A new life in Zambia shows Zambia as seen from the fresh perspective of a young expatriate Indian full of hope, energy and excitement.

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Perfect bound, 52 pages colour
Portrait, 170x240mm
Price: £15.00
First edition, second reprint (2024) now available.