Category Archives: Photography

Covid-19

Corona Lockdown in Dhaka

Dhaka, the city I live in is a highly populated city of 21 million, with a density of 23,234 people per square kilometer. So it is very difficult to maintain the social distancing and prevent other related medical emergencies during the corona pandemic.

Government declared lockdown from 26 March 2020 which is still in place. All the industries, public transportation services, offices, market places have been closed. Only health services, medicine and food supply, press and media and other emergency services are operating. Grocery shops and pharmacies are open for limited hours. Law enforcement agencies are trying to control the movement of people and vehicles in the city, but the number of fatalities is increasing by day.

The first 3 corona cases were reported on 8 March 2020. Now the statistics show over 30,000 confirmed cases and 432 deaths (until 22 May), while Bangladesh has one of the lowest testing rates in the world. The infected include 1000 health workers, 1548 policemen and 60 journalists. Many hospitals have been locked down in attempts to control spread. I lost a friend’s father to COVID-19 last week, he himself, his wife and his 3 year old child are now infected.

It is very difficult to work during this unprecedented situation given safe distance and personal protection ought to be maintained to avoid an infection. All the faces are covered with masks; only eyes are visible but no expressions. 

I like to get close to my subjects, talk to them and take photos, but now I am having to maintain distance and use tele lenses. Every time I go outside and back to home, I cannot help but panic that lasts the following few days whether I have been infected or am spreading the virus to others.

The lockdown has given the city a new peaceful look. The streets are empty, markets are closed, silence prevails everywhere, as there is no vehicle horn or sound of traffic. The air is fresh and free from pollution as if the city is healing itself.

I live in Mirpur which has been mostly overcrowded and is a densely populated area of Dhaka, mostly low- and mid-income people live here. During lockdown day labourers and low-income people are mainly facing crisis in respect of their daily livelihood. The government attempted to give reliefs but this was not sufficient and still many people are in crisis. Many organization and people are helping personally.

I salute the front-line health workers who are enduring face to face encounters with the virus and its impact, the policemen who are trying to contain its spread and also the journalist who are keeping us updated of the relevant daily developments by risking their own lives. 

This corona situation gives us the time to look at ourselves and decide what is important. It allows us to reflect upon what kind of civilization we have made and what we have done to nature. We cannot live well alone, the world is connected like it was never before. Our priority should be to live by helping others and fight together for pandemic crisis to climate change issues we have.

Tale of an Ancient River

The Buriganga river (old Ganga) is the main river flowing through Dhaka city, capital of Bangladesh. Hundreds of years ago, the banks of the Buriganga was a prime location when the Mughals made Dhaka their capital in 1610. The house-turned-museum of the then Nawab(ruler) overlooks the river, which is still the country’s main waterway for trading and ferry travel. It was once the main source of drinking water for Dhaka’s residents.

Due to intense human and industrial activity, the river has become so polluted that the water has turned pitch black and has a glue-like consistency. Much of Buriganga is biologically dead. Thousands of people who live on the bank of the river continue to use this highly contaminated water to wash, bath and even to drink.

According to the Environment Department, up to 40,000 tons of tannery waste flows into the river daily along with sewage from Dhaka, a city of more than 10 million. Human waste is responsible for 60 percent of pollution in the river, followed by industrial waste at 30 percent. The rest is solid waste. Illegal structures also have sprung up along its banks, narrowing the river.

The river is slowly dying  because of pollution and possession. But the river is an important resource for the people, who depend on it, as well as a valuable asset for all humanity. Still no significant changes were initiated to give life back to this river by protecting industrial and human made pollution and degradation.

In 2017, the government adopted a plan to maintain the navigability and normal flow of Buriganga and remove all illegal structures on its banks. This year almost 250 tanneries were relocated to a new Leather Industrial Estate (LIE) at Savar. This will perhaps ensure the water to slowly improve day by day, which gives hope the Buringanga will live again. Although much more such initiatives ought to be undertaken if Buriganga is to be saved.

A Parade of the Mutes

A parade encompassing the elderly, the young, the women, the children. Muted by brutal violence, uprooted and displaced by force; they walk barefoot in the scorching heat of the sun, forced to journey 1000s of miles with no shade to rest under. The eyes of the mute still speak the tales of horror they have experienced and witnessed, the memories haunt them as they march on.. in barefoot.. under the scorching sun.

Since August 25, 2017, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims have fled Burma’s Rakhine State risking death by sea or on foot,to escape mass atrocities by government security forces. An estimated one-third of Burma’s Rohingya population of 1.2 million have crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh in recent weeks, while tens of thousands remain internally displaced inside Burma, without access to vital humanitarian aid.

Amnesty International says the Myanmar military has killed hundreds of Rohingya and raped and abused Rohingya women and girls.At least 288 villages were partially or totally destroyed by fire in northern Rakhine state after August 2017, according to analysis of satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch.

The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and repression under successive Burmese governments. Effectively denied citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Law, they are one of the largest stateless populations in the world. Restrictions on movement and lack of access to basic health care have led to dire humanitarian conditions for those displaced by earlier waves of violence in 2012 and 2016.

The UN says the Rohingya’s situation is the “world’s fastest growing refugee crisis”.Before August, there were already around 307,500 Rohingya refugees living in camps, makeshift settlements and with host communities in Cox’s bazar according to the UNHCR. Of the 537,000 refugees who have arrived since August 58% are children, while 60% of the adults are women.Most Rohingya refugees reaching Bangladesh- men, women and children with barely any belongings – have sought shelter in these areas, setting up camp wherever possible in the difficult terrain and with little access to aid, safe drinking water, food, shelter and healthcare.

Shadow of Death

spirit of survivors

The wind blows 260 km/h, the seawater rash 10-15 feet high. Thousands of people died, more then that lost in the sea. People lost their houses, castles, ripen crops of the fields. This entire thing happens in one night, in hours only. SIDR, one of the cruel Cyclones in Bangladesh history, attack in the costal area on 15 November 2007 at mid night. Hole country is powerless and in dark for 24 hour. No network connection, No TV channel, No radio, there were no way to know what happen in the costal areas.

I reached at Shoronkhola, one of the most damaged areas of costal reason after 3 days of SIDR with some of my friends. This is the first time I experience such a vast destruction of Mother Nature. Many people still searching their family members, all the drinking water of ponds were salty; human and cattle dead bodies are floating on the water. Father searching his daughter in the bush, son found his mother dead body that can merely recognized.

…. there are no place to bury the dead bodies….

….no food…. no drinking water…. no words…

….only the hidden tears …..

…..only the smell of the dead bodies…..

……flouting all over the wind….

But this is not the main story. I also discover how human fight against the nature; start new life from the destruction. To me this braveness and strongness of the coastal people is the true sprit of Human being.

Tears on Highway

early every morning, as i flip through the pages of the daily newspapers

i find bold headlines — “bus-truck collision at tangail”, “7 dead, 20 injured”,

“5 dead from the same family by private car-bus collision at sylhet”,

“44 people dead at chittagong as truck turns upside down into a ditch,

3 people in fatal condition………

everyday i see these news and I feel resentful, i feel loss, i feel empty, i feel helpless…….

again so many more lives lost before they flourished, so many more families losing their beloved one, so many more families losing their only earning member and turned poorer or penniless……..

i see nobody cares; neither do i, nor does my country……….

i am quite happy living my own normal life, i am quite relieved that i haven’t lost a beloved in these road accidents……..

fortunate me taking my morning tea, turning over and over the newspaper pages, thinking myself very lucky and living everyday of my life, yet dying every moment……..

Fishermen of the Padma River

Fishing is a one of the oldest profession in human history. From time immemorial, a large number of Bengali people have depended for their livelihood on fishing and related occupations. Fishermen in rural Bangladesh usually live a community life in neighborhoods or villages around the water bodies. They cooperate closely with one another not only in fishing, but also in economic activities, such as marketing and purchasing, and in social life and family affairs. They have lived communally for many generations, creating in the process their own history, distinct traditions, and patterns of daily life.

Padma is one of the biggest river of Bangladesh. Many fishing villages are growing around Padma. Fishing is their main profession. They do it from generation by generations. But nowadays the community has changed gradually. Due to the decrease in fishing grounds and fishery resources, members of the fishing communities have tended to leave their traditional occupation in search of other jobs. I worked on two fishing village name Bagra and Vaggokul at Mounsigong, mostly the villagers are Hindu religious. Once the villages are big but for the river collision it’s going smaller.For the last five years i try to document these communities daily lifestyle, believe and cultural activities which is lost day by day.

Ballads of the Agonized Souls

“When I brought Shabjal to Dhaka from Manikganj for his treatment, he didn’t want to let go of my hands because he was afraid of getting lost. my sweetheart is lost forever…  now wherever i go i carry this picture, i feel he is with me.”

Shahida Begum, Shabjal’s mother Shabjal,

died of thalassaemia, at the age of 14,

on shraban 7, 1414

Many mothers like Shahida Begum are just living with the memories of their lost loved ones. Hundreds of thousands of parents fight every moment to survive their children suffering from thalassaemia.

Ballads of the agonized souls is a combination of some still-life images and portraits. The still-live images contain the memories of the lost ones and the portraits represent the brave fighters who are fighting a battle against this deadly disease. According to a publication of world health organization (who) roughly 11.2 million people are thalassaemia carriers and 7,483 children are born with the disease every year with expected 3,74,154 living patients in Bangladesh. but most of the people in our country are not aware of it!

I am not a physician. nor a specialist about thalassaemia disease. rather merely a photographer. i only know that this fatal disease can be prevented. a mass consciousness is necessary to do that. I have been photographing people affected by the deadly disease for last two years. my intention of doing this project is to explore the real scenario as much as i can. the battle against this disease cannot be fought alone. a social movement is required to uproot thalassaemia where the government, media, physicians, guardians, patients and everyone will have roles to play. my effort is just to be a part of this cohesive battle.

Development Sector