In India, the world’s second most populous country, tens of millions of people live, eat and sleep in the streets. Every day, I discovered how human bodies filled the corners, how the asphalt (and dirt) roads were blanketed with entire families who each night had to brave the elements, the wet ground, the rats, crows, and garbage.

Many families have nowhere else to go. A shortage of housing—or worse, extreme poverty—force these groups to remain on the streets. Indeed, the further I explored, the more I realized that these sleepers were simply an integral part of the urban nocturnal landscape.

These images of the dalit (or “untouchables”) sleeping all over Kolkata impressed on me deeply from the first moment I saw them. This is my testament.

—Javier Arcenillas