Located on the streets of Allahabad, these cobblers of all ages and backgrounds, mending, repairing and polishing shoes with multiple colours of polish, have nothing on their own feet.

Working skillfully,the procedure, though simple and cheap, requires art and expertise. Managing to earn just enough for fulfilling the daily needs of their families, these labour from morn till eve everyday.

Cobblers wait until they get their delegated shoes for the day, on the way of repair. -AFP
Cobblers wait until they get their delegated shoes for the day, on the way of repair. -AFP
An Indian cobbler repairs a shoe at road-side in Allahabad. -AFP
An Indian cobbler repairs a shoe at road-side in Allahabad. -AFP
A cobbler prepares coloured shoe-polish.-AFP
A cobbler prepares coloured shoe-polish.-AFP
Indian cobbler working at the road-side.-AFP
Indian cobbler working at the road-side.-AFP
Polishing a shoe at the road-side. -AFP
Polishing a shoe at the road-side. -AFP
A cobbler artfully paints the sandal yellow. -AFP
A cobbler artfully paints the sandal yellow. -AFP
Repairing a child's sandal, clutching between his feet. -AFP
Repairing a child's sandal, clutching between his feet. -AFP
Repairing an an officer's shoe.-AFP
Repairing an an officer's shoe.-AFP
Preparing coloured shoe-polish is a task that requires precision.-AFP
Preparing coloured shoe-polish is a task that requires precision.-AFP

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Comments (23) Closed

Syed Ganga Din
Jun 11, 2015 04:22pm
That's a lot of cobblers in one spot. Never have I ever seen that anywhere.
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Atif
Jun 11, 2015 05:32pm
Lots of cobblers. In Karachi there is usually only one cobbler to cover whole area of 5K-20K people.
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sonny afridi
Jun 11, 2015 05:34pm
Noble and honest profession , better than being a militant or a suicide bomber, govt should provide them all the assistance.
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Harmony-1
Jun 11, 2015 06:30pm
'A load of cobblers' but the quality of photography is excellent!
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Qamar
Jun 11, 2015 06:56pm
Nobody knows when South Asia will get rid of poverty. To some extent politicians are responsible.
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Atif
Jun 11, 2015 07:03pm
Lovely and Hardworking people...
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Saujatri
Jun 11, 2015 07:27pm
Great profession ... beautiful photography.
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Gaurav
Jun 11, 2015 08:08pm
Sad to see this poverty, hope our pm does something for them
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Sanjoy Sankar Guha
Jun 11, 2015 08:20pm
Pictorially aesthetic. However also a telling story of the underprivileged, whom we the more fortunate see more as cobblers and less as human beings who have aspirations and hope, who want as good a life for themselves and all their family members as that of the educated and well-to-do. Maybe someday this will be achieved, but breaking put out of the cycle of poverty is not easy.
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Dabangg
Jun 11, 2015 08:21pm
Once again excellent photos by Dawn.
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Magister
Jun 11, 2015 08:38pm
Mahnut may azmut! Glory in work!
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Sagar
Jun 11, 2015 08:50pm
@sonny afridi, this is the first time I have recommended your comment. Otherwise they are always anti Indian. Coming back to the main point of the article, I have seen lot of cobblers doing good these day. They have purchased their own bikes, and have their own houses. It's just a business just like any other business, and whosoever follows good business principle wins. And I agree with rest others, nice photography.
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Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Jun 11, 2015 09:05pm
They are craftsmen. They need to be given proper remuneration for their skills. With what they earn they try to support the education of their children and provide food, shelter, water, electricity, clothing and medication for their families and parents.
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Prasad
Jun 11, 2015 09:17pm
Excellent coverage! Kudos Dawn!
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Raj
Jun 11, 2015 09:29pm
@Qamar Actually all of us as citizens are responsible. People get the government they deserve. We, the people of South Asia need to work harder, smarter, more honestly and help downtrodden. Focus on real issues and not religion. I know it sounds cliched and even pompous, but that's the truth mate.
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FutureWizard
Jun 11, 2015 10:28pm
My mom send domestic help to get chain repaired of a small bag in small town in North India. During repair, the guy found a gold chain, he told the house help to get elder of the house. We were surprised, later we found why was he asking for one of the elder as he did not trusted domestic help. That was Rs 30,000.00 chain 20 years back. My mom generously rewarded the man. Just wanted to say, they are really good honest craftsman and we must not look down on them.
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JET LEE
Jun 11, 2015 11:19pm
@Syed Ganga Din because you are only 20 crores and we are more than 125 crores. In north India; Allahabad is among most populated city.
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SS
Jun 12, 2015 01:42am
we all agree on one thing that they are skilled folks and need to be in a better living condition. Yes, I think I speak on behalf of everybody here, we bargain Rs5 - Rs10 with these cobblers - whereas when we walk to a mall we never dare of bargaining from a branded shoe outlet say a Reebok, Adidas. As long as we are in awe of imports and treat indigenous merchandise as third rate - we will be wasting money, locals will be starved and big corporates get fatter.
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Natarajan
Jun 12, 2015 03:17am
If this was US, there would be a chain of store called "Shoes-R-Us". They would fix shoes and also souvenirs like t-shirt, bumper sticker, firdge magnet. They will have promotion from time to time - two shoes fixed for the price of one. They will also have a loyalty card. Then they will expand the service to include leather shoes, leather purse, leather bags, leather jackets. These stores would be in fancy malls. But being in India (same for Pakistan) these poor fellow sit on street side under hot sun and hardly make a living. I hope Modi promotes this profession as part of "Skill India" and makes it part of our tourism.
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Indian
Jun 12, 2015 03:41am
Probably you won't believe, they earn more than a government Clark I suppose. I know one of them in Delhi, he has his own house and tenants too. But his business is exactly same as you can observe here.
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saad
Jun 12, 2015 07:23am
i hope one day their hard work will pay.
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Omran
Jun 12, 2015 08:45am
poverty is still lingers in Developed India
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NASR
Jun 12, 2015 10:58am
Just look at the apathy of these laborers. Old profession but very dangerously managed.
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