Geeta, 50, lives with her daughter Neetu, 19, and her husband Inderajeet, 50, who, 24 years ago, disfigured his wife and his daughter with the acid. The attack occurred in 1992, during the night, while they were at Geeta’s mother’s home, and it killed little Krishna, about a year old, blinding Neetu and scarring permanently her mother. Following the attack, the two women spent about 15 months at the hospital.
Inderajeet assaulted his wife and daughter for the resentment arising from his desire for a son and his wife's’ reproaches, due to his dissolute life made of alcohol and gambling. But while Inderajeet was in prison, Geeta had to forgive him, interrupting his detention after only three months. This decision was made as a result of a letter of threats her husband sent her, in which he promised future attacks and retaliation against his family, and because of the anatomy of Indian society, which makes it difficult for a divorced and disfigured woman, with a disabled daughter, to reintegrate herself into the public life.
Geeta now lives with her husband, Neetu, and her youngest daughter Punam, 19, born after the attack, in a small house renovated thanks to a state compensation designated for the purpose of helping the victims of domestic violence. Their forced cohabitation continues since then, including the problems caused by Indrajeet’s gambling and drinking, and his inability to provide for his family, whose support totally weighs on Geeta’s shoulders.
Geeta works with her daughter Neetu as an activist at the Sheroes Hangout Café, the first restaurant in the world run by women disfigured by acid. Thanks to their salary they are economically independent enough to support the whole family.
This project wants to describe in detail the history of Geeta, Neetu and Inderageet. A family shocked, about 24 years ago, by a tragic acid attack made by Inderageet, father and husband, against his wife and his daughter Neetu.
The intent of this reportage is to sped as much time as possible with the members of this family, to describe the daily habits and to try to understand the real and deepest motivations behind the forgiveness of Geeta after such a violent attack, and the consequences of a daily life with their attacker.
The family lives in Agra, India, and it's one of the rare cases in which victims, after charging the attacker, chose to live together.
I first met Geeta and Neetu in October, 2015 while I was working on my project about Sheroes Hangout Cafè, which is the first cafè in the world run by acid attack survivors.
In november 2016 I started to document the daily life of this family, who lives in a very tiny house composed by a single room, that is at the same time the main living room and the bedroom for all the members of the family.
My intent is to follow also Neetu, the daughter become blind after the attack, in her slow healing process through several eye surgery operations, which will partially give her the sight back.
I think it could be interesting to develop also this part of the story, Inderageet's life, the attacker. It's nowadays composed by gambling, alcool and an occasional job as trumpet player during hindu wedding ceremonies.
The interesting part in Geeta and Inderageet's relationship, is that she provides to the economic sustenance of the family, and she also manage the money balance, opposite to indian traditions.
I would like to organize this project spending time with this family once a year, for the next 5 years, to be sure to give a detailed and wide perspective of their history.