Scenes from a Powerless India: 600 Million Get by Without Electricity

Nightfall is descending on the 620 million Indians without government-supplied electricity in the biggest blackout in history.

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Nightfall is descending on the 620 million Indians without government-supplied electricity in the biggest blackout in history. Already, the collapse of three regional grids has stalled hundreds of trains, caused massive traffic jams and even stopped crematoriums half-way through burning dead bodies. While Indians are no strangers to blackouts (backup generators and candles are in widespread use), a blackout of this scale has never been seen. Below are scenes of Indians coping with the darkness:

Blackouts can be dangerous. Above, a customer is deputized with holding a candle as he gets his haircut in Kolkata [AP]

Lights out: Tonight the moon hovers above Kolkata. [AP]

This line of commuters has only the vendor kiosks to light the street as they wait for the bus. [AP]

In a madrasa in the outskirts of New Delhi, Muslim girls study under candle light [Reuters]

A gas oven mechanic waits for customers to stop in during Kolkata's power out. [Reuters]

Just because the power's out, doesn't mean school is. In Kolkata, a teacher conducts her lesson by the light of kerosene lamps. [Reuters]

Lighting his way up the stairs, an Indian man in Kolkatta lets he candle light lead his way.

A dark street in Calcutta [Reuters]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.