A Delhi family feels singled out for their skin

Photos and text by Arun Sharma



In a one-bedroom house in north Delhi's Wazirpur lives the Pullan family, content and happy to be with one another. But that changes as soon as they step out when they face prejudices for their extreme fair skin due to Albinism. People address them as 'Suraj-mukhi’ or ‘Angrez’ (British) because of their pale skin. The 10 members of the family are not foreigners, but suffer from a congenital absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes.

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Rosetauri, 61
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Mani, 48
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Ramkishan, 21
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Vijay, 29
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Shankar, 27
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Deepa, 25
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Pooja, 22
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They are originally from South India. After their marriage in 1983, Rosetauri and Mani moved to Delhi in search of better opportunities and perhaps better acceptance.
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Rosetauri, 61, with his youngest son, Ramkishan, 21. Today they survive on the meager income of their eldest son, Vijay, 29, and donations by good Samaritans.
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Finding a job is tough when people label you as unnatural. 'Surajmukhi’, which literally translates to 'with a face like the sun', is the Hindi slang for albinos, referring to their skin colour.

In a country where fairness creams are advertised and dark skin is shunned, being this pale-skinned opens you up to prejudice and discrimination in society.

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The disease of Albinism affects one in 17,000 people.
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It brings other disabilities such as poor vision and sensitivity to direct sunlight.
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It also proves difficult for them to use their mobile-phones and they often get hurt while walking in dark alleys or streets
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Pullans attended blind school in Delhi to complete their primary education. Two, out of the six siblings are pursuing graduate studies.
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Mani with her two daughters, Deepa and Puja.

The mother, Mani, got the genetic disease from her family, while the father, Rosetauri, was the only one born with albinism in his clan. When asked why they decided to marry amongst Albinos, Deepa the second eldest daughter said, “if others do not talk to us as equals, how will they accept us in matrimony?”

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Pooja, 22, is resting in her room. The family says that they often struggle to feel accepted in the society.
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This has often led them to quit their dreams due to the fear of being left out. The Pullan boys too, gave up their passion for cricket at a young age, as no one would take them in their teams.
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The youngest son, Ramkishan, 21, is now studying at Delhi University while preparing for a government job. He hopes that one day he will be able to bring change.
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They say that they have a ‘tough’ life, but they strive to make the most of it



Web Producer: Abhinash Kumar Jha
Editor: Sahiba Chawdhary