He decided to start capturing the lives of Africans living in India in a bid to understand the racism they face. "Being a photographer, the only response I know how to have is to make photos," Shantaram told CNN.
Pictured: Abdul Karim from Nigeria pursues a B.Sc in Information Technology from NIMS in Jaipur
The photo series is currently being exhibited in five cities across India and Shantaram hopes to expand the project into a documentary and to visit Africa and meet the families of the people he photographed.
Pictured: Helen in Jalandhar, 2016.Mahesh Shantaram
So far he has been "overwhelmed" by the response. "My African friends see this work as giving them a voice," he said.
Pictured: Yvanne and his friend at Jimmy's Chicken in Jalandhar,2016Mahesh Shantaram