The Faces of Leprosy

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Image: Blanche Gauri

Hanuman Ji, a peaceful man.

All images used in this article are copyrighted and used with permission of the photographers

Leprosy. A horrific disease. This first image shows some of its impact: The photographer had passed this man many times but was always too afraid to speak to him. Once she did, she discovered he was very peaceful, living at home with his children. She asked to take his picture and he moved into the pose you see above. His answer as to the reason why: “He said he meant ‘I recognize the god in you and I accept whatever god sends me’.”

The image is the very soul of a good man trapped with a debilitating disease, often shunned for his looks or because of fear. Yet, the image is beautiful when you look into the man’s eyes, at his humility, and beauty as the only place where it counts, inside.


Image: Steven Kim

A helping hand

Leprosy a.k.a. Hansen’s Disease is a chronic illness that affects the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. It is also a disease that historically caused people to be shunned or locked in leper colonies with no care. I say historically but the shunning still occurs. Look at the definitions for a leper by Merriam Webster’s
dictionary, for example:

1) a person affected with leprosy
2) a person shunned for moral or social reasons

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Image: Steve

I once had dreams, just like you.

The lady in this photo had been continually passed by as people turned their heads on their way walking to the Dalai Lama’s temple. Ironic, isn’t it? When the photographer spoke with her, she insisted on taking off her scarf, smoothing her hair and looking her best for the photograph.

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