Calling urban photographers!!

We invite you to submit images which show us stories from your city, its changing or static factors. People who make it, heritage which need not be measured in brick and mortar, culture which is integrated or still defining within new boundaries. Challenges and success stories, evolving and preserved, nostalgic personal tales, celebrations reinterpreted or transferred rural sensibilities now part and parcel of the skylines and by-lanes.

Boundaries are no issues, definitions fluid, left to your interpretation and that of your audience. We aim to share your stories with an audience which rarely sees the inside of a gallery. Your subjects now your audience.

Selected stories will be printed and put up as part of a public street exhibition.

Please send images to by logging on to

Send in your work of no more then 25 images [2500 px (300 dpi)].  Images must be have with a short write-up on the project along with an up to date bio. Please zip the files to help our workflow ( filename :’name_projectname’ )

Projections and short films are also welcome, including project write up and bio. The file needs to be in .mp4, .avi, or .mov format in 720p (1280x720px). Please zip the files.

By submitting, you agree to give “Do Din” a limited license to print, use and distribute your image in physical form or digital form for the run up to and duration of the event on Dec 14th and 15th, 2013. Copyright of the images will remain with the photographer.

Send in your submissions by Dec5th.

If you have any questions please write to us at


Fragments of notes from a Do Din meeting on visual cultures

Here is a bunch of notes we made when we first met several weeks ago to discuss what photographers can do for the city (or should we say with the city). We will return to these ideas during Do Din because a group of visual artists have been working away at projects that panned out of these notes.

Power to return the gaze: There are a lot of people in the city now who are able to shoot pictures. At first it appears to be only hypermobile techies with smart phones shooting pictures of the plates of food before and after polishing to be broadcast to the world via fb and twitter. But if you pay attention, there is a whole world of people out there shooting pictures. Autorickshaw drivers, traffic police, people who hate traffic police, young women turning the gaze back on the oglers, angry residents shooting pictures to document neighborhood change due to the construction of the metro rail. Visual cultures are clearly among other things also about power.

Memory, pain and pleasure: There are a lot of people holding on to visual memories in the form of old photographs, prints etc. Visual cultures are among other things also about memory, nostalgia and pain and pleasure.
3. Photo exhibitions are generally done in sanitized environments where you are allowed to look but not touch. And rarely do people talk to each other while viewing them. Visual cultures among other things also about interaction and the public sphere.
Tactical technologies: There are a lot of spaces that are already used for exhibiting and displaying things. Dont pee here signs, hoardings, paintings on footpaths, wall writing and so on. Visual cultures are among other things also about urban spatial practices and behavioural norms – in some sense – technologies – being deployed for tactical purposes.
Histories of visual technologies: There are a lot of old studios and practitioners of visual cultures in Hyderabad. Their histories reveal much about the city itself. Visual cultures are about history and erasure. They are about walking and remembering and talking and changing.

Taking a heritage walk: Do Din style

Heritage, in its popular version, is an evidence of history – a relic of times past; a monument or a meme that’s survived the destructive forces of ‘nature and nurture’ (irony intended) to be seen by consciously detaching it from the present and appreciating it’s ‘authenticity’; a museumised product to be consumed.

But there are other ways to take heritage walks as one discovered in preparation for Do Din Dec 14-15, last Sunday with Debashish Nayak conseervation activist and a group of around 20 people. This was a walk to connect people with neighbourhoods, to rediscover neighbourhoods. It was  a walk where the visitor and the host affirmed each other’s presence. The hosts were the tourism department and Madhu Vottery but only nominally. The real hosts were the people who lived around the places that the group  walked through. This was not a walk to consume heritage. It was not a prepackaged history byte but a story, in fact it was multiple story lines that opened out without worry about the urgency to find closures.

It began from under the Charminar, a rather unflattering angle of the great monument, but a more promising place to start weaving in perspectives and ended in Chowmahalla palace with breakfast. It was not somuch about the buildings along the way but about the people we ran into and the things they wanted to share. Here are some of the vignettes: A woman who just bought a rooster for a sacrifice to the Balkampet temple happily posing for the photographers;  a school teacher surrounded by three pretty children jumping in to explain the details of this king or that brick formation, (it didn’t really matter what it was because they were all equally exciting in his rendition); a karate instructor training girls and boys in spotless dresses and all too happy to give us a demonstration; a shankh and chakra engraved below a moon and star on an old building—a story of peaceful coexistence of religious symbols, hence ideas, hence people. Heritage suddenly appeared as life itself, the built environment and what it enabled.

The greatest take away from the heritage walk was the surprised smile lighting up on the creased face of an old cloth merchant when someone asked him for a telia rumal. He said, you sound like an old time customer. And without looking up he said, see that corner, that is where my father used to sit and sell this very material.

During Do Din, there will hopefully be a heritage walk. Hopefully, many heritage walks. When you think of heritage walk as an act of affirmation, then it becomes conceivable that one could take a heritage walk anywhere anytime. It is, in some sense, learning to walk as we should: with respect and with preparation to recognize and engage with the place and its inhabitants.

Siddharth Hande

Sidharth is a geo-spatial analyst and researcher in urban studies and New Media. He is interested in citizen cartography, the politics of urbanization in cities of the Global South, the politics of data, participatory development and urban ecology

Nisha Thompson

Nisha Thompson has a background in online community organisation. She is Data Project Manager at Arghyam/ India Water Portal Prior to that she has worked for the Sunlight Foundation in Washington DC, with online communities to use US government data to hold elected officials accountable.

Debashish Nayak

Debabshish Nayak a leading architect and heritage advisor of India. He is the director of the Centre for Heritage Management, Ahmedabad University and adviser to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s heritage cell.

Join us in making Do Din happen!

Do Din (d̪o d̪ɪn meaning two days) is a community driven event to bring together different groups of people who live and work in cities. The idea has two sides to it. The first where professionals of various kinds: hackers, cartographers, planners, policymakers, administrators, citizen groups will meet over two days in workshops, training, and brainstorming sessions to develop new skills and insights into how they can work together to make cities better.

The second is more public oriented where we will have artists, poets, film makers, photographers and ordinary people coming together to share their experiences of Hyderabad as a city. While everything is open to everyone, the workshop sessions require a commitment of two days over the weekend of December 14-15 and a longer term interest in continuing voluntary work (anywhere between 3 to five hours a week) on projects that will emerge from these workshops.

Do Din needs your help!

We are barely three weeks away from the event. Since we will have about 75 participants from outside Hyderabad, and a cost estimate of about Rs. 5 to 7 lakhs (Approx. $10,000). We do have some offers of corporate sponsorship but we are trying to avoid being part of a corporate branding exercise. So, we are looking to raise as much of the funding as possible from friends and from people who care for Hyderabad city.

Contributing in the US Dollars?

Contributing in Indian Rupees?

You can make the contribution directly to us in Indian rupees by online payment or in cheque to:

  • Account Name: Right to the City Foundation
  • Account No: 33260100002656
  • Bank Name: Bank of Baroda (Tarnaka Branch, Hyderabad)

    Please note in the code above,  it is numeral zero after BARB and not aplphabet O.
  • Bank Address: G1G2G3 Surya Toweers, 12-13-483/32 St. No. 1, Tarnaka 500003

Contributing in kind? 

  • Help us find accommodation for the guests. We will have up to 75 guests and we need to find places where they can stay. So if you work for a company that can provide guest accommodation or pick up the tabs or if you can host them in a hostel, please do let us know. Contact us if you can help
  • Volunteer at Do Din. It is a lot of hard work involving logistics. We are taking on volunteers. Their expenses need to be covered. So, you can simply sponsor a volunteer’s expenses or better still offer to work with us those two days.
  • We need a lot of nicknacks to fall into place. Just stay in touch and help by giving us moral support. 🙂

So, what is Do Din?

This morning we received a call from a friend who said when he first saw the name Do Din, he thought it must be some complex French concept or a play on a passionate slogan like Do or Die or the name of a Russian playwright. The coin dropped only after he heard it pronounced.

Then he said, “but this is so simple and ordinary! Some times we don’t see the ordinary, obvious thing because we are expecting complexity and complications all the time.”

Do Din, is the Hindi word for two days. That is what we are calling the event. What we intend doing in those two days is to think, talk, dream and experience the city in all different possible ways. You may ask but that is what we do all the time. The truth is that that is precisely what we do not get time to do ever. We go through the city without thinking and reflecting on how it came to be what it is and where it is headed. We don’t connect with the city.

So the idea is that during those two days, we will create several occasions where people can sit down, think and talk with other people who are also doing the same. So, there it is folks. It is a very ordinary event. For very ordinary people for a very ordinary city (with thanks to Ash Amin, who first popularised the expression the ‘ordinary city’ as an alternative to all the academic and policy taxonomies)

Neighbourhood histories: Mallepally

Mallepally in Hyderabad is adjacent to the Afzal Sagar tank which used to be a tank which looked like the shape of south america, and was built by the fifth Asafjahi ruler – Afzal Ud Daula and was a largish tank. All of it has disappeared in the last 30 years.

We have a detailed map from a hundred years ago (including Afzal Sagar) from before any of the housing areas were developed. We also have a map of the City Improvement Board plans which created the CIB quarters in Mallepally. We are trekking through the neighborhoods looking for evidence of these histories in the neighborhoods in the form of buildings, oral histories and nalas built over and so on.

Ashhar Farhan gave us a guided tour of Mallepally neighborhoods yesterday to help us think about the Mallepalli and Anwarul Uloom College neighborhoods history project for Do Din .  The one that made my day was an old man, telling us that the house there by which you must have walked to come here was the one in which Nigar Sultana, of Mughal e Azam used to live. So everybody in the area would walk by the house hoping to catch a glimpse of her, at least a glimpse of her nails.


If you know anyone who can contribute to this in terms of stories, images, plan documents, news reports, old journals or documents, family archives etc., please do put us in touch with them.


Bangalore warmup event for Do Din

Be there!
DataLore: How do you put data to good use?
Wednesday, 20th November at 6 PM,
7 High Street, Cooke Town, Bangalore.

People who want to make the world a better place look towards data in an effort to make that change. This very data then needs to be channeled into maps, statistics, and visualizations before it can be useful?—?and people are doing this everywhere. Stories of politics, corruption, oppression, and war are being told around the world using such tools. Unfortunately, a lot of what is being made fails at its task.  Maps that miss the point, visualizations that fail to engage, and statistics that mislead, all undermine action. On Wednesday evening, as a run-up to Do-Din, DataLore will attack this problem on two fronts:

You can’t just throw a map at a problem

Sajjad Anwar *

When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. There are maps being made for every reason but some of them lack the point, they misrepresent information, they lie or they fail to engage the audience. We would like to discuss how people come up with these maps, what disasters they cause and how, as storytellers, we can improve the situation.

Nothing is what it seems?—?especially not statistics

The Ballot**

 As they say, there’s lies, damned lies, and then there’s statistics. It’s easy to mislead or be misled by statistics and visualizations. Preconceptions and agendas can leak into them, and colour them with bias. Sometimes, a lack of knowledge about statistics leads to false conclusions, which is rather disastrous. We’ll use some examples to show you how this can happen, and how to both interpret and represent data properly.

*     Sajjad Anwar is a hacktivist and programmer based in Bangalore. He works in the research and design of data analytics and infographics. He hearts maps and often makes one. Along with two others, he runs the collective. Find him on Twitter.

**  The Ballot is an initiative by Pooja Saxena and Nirbheek Chauhan which releases weekly visualizations depicting statistics about India’s democracy. You can find their work at