“Drinking tears now is a daily menu to the people whose life collapsed with the building Rana plaza. In a stormy day when I arrived at hospital door I pulsed by the melancholy I encounter. No rain was not the reason, it was the pain in ever face which will haunt everybody long. Following continual screaming of a young girl I found her requesting mother to a reluctant nurse. As soon as my camera clicks the doctor arrived swiftly, not sure seeing camera or may be reminding patients call! Looking at hundred wounded bodies and hearing their screams it was hard to stand in the middle. But it is more important to share a bit of their unbelievable suffering in a small form. Thus my camera take place and I share their pain among you all”- GMB Akash
Khadeza (18) was a kind of girl who laughed more than she talked. Her mother used to beat her for excess laughing. Now everyday her mother asks Khadeza to smile for a while but Khadeza only wipe off. Doctor prescribes her not to do any hard work at least for next six months. She will not be able to do any hard job in future. Her mother is not sure how long it will take to recover. She is one of the survivors of Rana plaza.
It will take three more months to get physical recovery and six months she will not be allowed to do any hard work. Eighteen years old Shapla was working in textile factory for three years. She was in third floor while rescuer rescued her. Her one hand cut off while she was inside. Living with Several scars in all over her body, she sometime cannot recall her name. Her Husband Mehedul was inside the building for 72 hours but he came out harmless.
Rebeka (20) been rescued after two nights of the incident. Dead body of her colleague was stumbled on her shoulder for a night. People threw water from the only hole and she sip water from the floor. Doctors cut her one leg and another leg is badly injured. Still she screamed full night in imagining the hospital building is falling on her. Her husband is beside her but helpless. Her mother and grandmother who worked in the same floor are missing and she is unaware of the news.
Seeing them in the bed of hospital, no one can recognize that these workers – once upon a time used to work 7 am to 12am of the night. Life has treated them bitterest. Pains are unbearable to make anyone understand of it. Stepping out from the hospital I heard a woman telling that these workers will be much benefited. They will get 5 lac tk so this comes good for them. I can not stop myself and turn around, told her, can you cut off your hand if I give you 5 lac? I wonder how heartless some people can be!
My journey continues so as the rain. When I stepped in the residential area of Rana plaza’s garments workers, I met Isa Mia, a boy who lost his brother in the incident. Her mother was crying in the door and after 20 days of the incident she can not eat anything properly. Isa himself a survivors but not depending much he taken me to meet Marium, the single mother who lost her hand. One after another I meet with all. I have dedicated my fees to them which come from published textile stories in different publication of mine. I encounter the pain. the urge, the pathetic emotions which words can never justify. I want to believe one day will come when these people will see their life in the ray of a sweet dream. & then I realize this is non sense. The reality is they will suffer and this is destiny. But I will run to them again and again, until I can take in some of their tears.
After losing her right hand Textile worker Marium (27) lost in despair. Single mother Marium never spends two tk for buying a hair band as she knows her two children’s future is in her hands. Disable Marium shouts at night afraid of feeling dead bodies of workers friends are circling her. She spent one night and two days in the 6th floor of the collapsed building while her right hand injured under pillar. She started her job four years ago in that time she received 1200 tk monthly, now she lastly get 4500 tk monthly wage in New Wave star Ltd. a factory which was in 6th floor of Rana plaza. She lost her stability to think about her future. Still after near one month of the incident she did not receive any compensation from anyone instead of her last month salary.
Blue is Aleya’s favorite color. In the morning she wore her new blue dress and told her young sister if she die who will wear the dress! Aleya’s (18) family was fully dependent on her income. She wants to educate her younger sister and alert her mother not to send her in textile factory. Heart patient father and kidney problem of mother forces Aleya to start work in her early age. Her mother asks her to married off soon but she reluctantly said straggle of her life will never come to an end. There was no money at home and she told her mother instead of dying in hunger it’s better to work in a cracked factory. She was sure God has given them enough sorrow and nothing will happen to her. Her believe proved wrong. Her family cannot even find her dead body parts after 17 days of searching everywhere. Neither have they received her salary nor compensation.
A room call home is never a place of relaxation for textile workers. Often a room shared by 5/6 workers offer them the untidy floor to sleep. Their salary won’t make them able to go in a better place still after 5-6 years of their job straggles.
“Even after losing one leg in the terrible incident the worker is begging for a sewing machine. She said, “Still I have two hands. & my children are hungry”. Alike her thousands workers keeps their dreams alive in their heart and goes to work on time. In spite of everything they are straggling happily to get a dream future knowing dream is a dream. But they never imagine nightmares will replace their dream and they obviously fall in concrete mattress. Incidents of Tazrin/ Rana plaza might wake up them from their dream. But still they say, hunger is ugly than death”
– GMB Akash
Nargis fainted three times while she defeated to find her mother in the derbies of nine storied building. It’s been one day one night she is frantically checking around hospital, each corner of destructed building and hundreds smashed dead bodies. But where is Nargis mother’s existence? Hundreds of weeping mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife and children were mad on searching their beloved face. The population who are the backbone of the family, of the country, their bones cracked under wretched concrete. Knowing still hundreds people are breathing inside the dreadful collapsed building helpless thousands mass people came out with their humanity. Rescuing living being or carrying out dead bodies nothing evaporates tears of people who experienced such frightening circumstances. The deadly trap eat out lives of thousands workers who never might thought of loosing life as prey of capitalism greed. Many workers leave their breathe waiting to hear a call of rescuer, female worker’s hand or leg trapped under stone while they are still alive and asking rescuer to cut their hand and take off. What to do and how to do? The traumatized nation has no answer to speak. Sharif after finding cracked half body parts of his 21 years younger brother, he screamed “My brother never do any harm to any body. Why Allah punishes him, why? Because we are poor, we are useless to Allah, we are useless to riches, and because we are bloody workers”.
Some 3,500 people were in the Rana Plaza building in Savar, some 30km (20 miles) outside Dhaka, when it collapsed suddenly on Wednesday morning 24th April. The first three floors of the building, located in the Dhaka suburb of Savar, contained around 300 shops. At least four garment factories — New Wave Bottoms, Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tack and Ethar Textile — occupied higher levels, employing around 3,500 people. Building showed cracks on Tuesday, but all garments workers forced to go to work on Wednesday threatening to cut off salaries. & the devastating accident happened
Local hospitals were overwhelmed with the arrival of more than 2,000 injured Textile workers. Victims were still calling for help from among the piles of shattered concrete slabs, according to rescue workers and volunteers, as hope began to fade for hundreds still trapped. & the death toll had reached 400. After putting the conclusion that no more workers can be alive rescuer workers are now using heavy equipment to clear the site, and officials expect the number of casualties to rise as hundreds of people remain missing.
Around 4 million people are employed in Bangladesh’s 4,500 textile factories. The industry generates 80% of the country’s $24 billion annual exports — making Bangladesh the world’s second largest clothing exporter after China — yet wages remain as low as $37 per month for workers spending 15-hour shifts in sweatshop conditions.
“What to describe and what to write! All I could see were dead bodies all surround me. A silent anger, unbearable pain and helplessness had frozen my finger to click. Besets dead bodies and their each drop of blood asking me to tape their vulnerable death memoir to show the people around the world, how painfully they left the world. & I can not rest until I can spread their pain of death. Shouts slaughtered under concrete. How many times we will remain mute and hollow out graves! Why world’s most innocent souls has to be always trapped as vulnerable victims! Their souls will never rest in peace until we know how dreadfully they died without telling their last wish” – GMB Akash
“This exhibition is a prism of callous realities and haunting metaphors of issues of climate change. Photographs of the exhibition will reveal the bare bones of climate disaster which causes human life to suffer for eternity. Either it is flood or desertification worst is these had severe effect on human life. Desertification is already causing changes in the social environment of certain areas of the African Sahel. Agriculture, livestock, and over-population have been the primary reasons that this previously stable dry-land ecosystem has been turning into desert. At the same time as these physical changes have been occurring, social destabilization and migration also have been, leading to food insecurity, disease outbreaks, and increasing levels of cultural extremism. more than 42 million people were displaced in Asia and the Pacific during 2010 and 2011. This figure includes those displaced by storms, floods, and heat and cold waves. Still others were displaced by drought and sea-level rise. Most of those compelled to leave their homes eventually returned when conditions improved, but an undetermined number became migrants, usually within their country, but also across national borders”
The project of Gaetano Plasmati is the result of a journey that lasted 15 years and has developed over a series of trips to Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Mali, Niger and Eritrea. The beautiful shots by Gaetano Plasmati describe a journey in search of people who live the drama of desertification, such as the Wodaabe, the Dogon, the Tuareg. Plasmati has followed the slow and inexorable retreat of the nomadic’s territories which become less and less comfortable for traditional economic activities that sustain them.
Desertification is a danger to almost 50% of the land and puts at risk more than 100 countries with approximately one billion inhabitants. The continent most affected is undoubtedly Africa: here over two-thirds of the cultivated lands are at risk. The path of Gaetano Plasmati winds through the dunes and the rock paintings of the Acacus and Tassili N’Ajjer in Algeria, the great Sahara, the markets of the mythical town caravan Timbuktu, Djenne, Agadez, Niamey and Djanet. Plasmati has portrayed hostile landscapes and people tempered by the roughness of nature, dunes vivid colors and rocks that are museums, suks and caravans in a succession of faces and landscapes which give rise to the extreme dignity and composure with which the “nomads of water” live their atavistic discomfort.
“I have framed how every year flood causes people suffer miserably in Bangladesh. I experienced how with the drowning sun villages go under water. How People sheltered in roofs of their houses and lost their lives. Moaning of old people & shouts of children of the miserable atmosphere can only describe small bits of devastating sufferings of flood. After facing devastating flood every year, people still fights to live apart loosing shelter for existence. Still they fight to live. They collect all destroyed pieces of house to shed their head. Women go for fishing, children dry their damp books, and men rebuild homes. In flood I spend days, nights and months in flood affected areas past 12 years. Throughout the journey, the rotten water wrapped me by leaving a restless feeling. Every day, I encounter a new tragedy by finding people who have no way to escape from rising water, who can only surrender everything to the mighty nature. Several times I have been severely injured or illnesses have torn me down. Nevertheless I continue working because of my strong belief that my pictures can make a difference.” – GMB Akash
People in Bangladesh live precariously close to the risks of cyclones, floods and droughts and more than 100 million people live in rural areas. Two-thirds of the country is less than 5 meters above sea level and in an average year, a quarter of the country is inundated. Bangladesh has experienced severe floods every 4 to 5 years that may cover more than 60 percent of the country, resulting in significant losses. United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that rising sea levels could submerge 17 per cent of Bangladesh by 2050, creating 20 million “environmental refugees”.
This exhibition intend to speak about harsh reality of many who are displaced from their homes and living in exile in another country, and/or from issues to become victims of natural disasters and internally displaced in their own countries. The displacement, and migration, of very large numbers of people, will be one of the most significant effects that climate change will have on humans. Often times these displaced populations will have nowhere to go except to regions that are already densely inhabited. Many of which, will likely already be having trouble supporting their own population. We are cordially inviting you to visit how water impacted life. If you are in Matera in 14th of April 2013 do visit the exhibition and those who are far away from the exhibition Gallery, this post will give you a trailer of the show. We hope that while you are in Matera, Italy, you will take a moment to visit the exhibition.
Gallery: Galleria di porta pepice present
Exhibition Date: 14 April 2013
Gallery address: Via delle beccherie 55, Matera, Italy
Night is the meaning of life here. Don’t dare to feel I am talking about moonlit night. It’s about a place where fluorescent bulbs hesitate to light up the great darkness. You have to go step by step by listening giggles and following Hindi songs. Cheap aroma or local fragrance continually defeated to hide smells of stinks. At the place, dreams never can lose its paths even by mistakes. But it certainly can turn into the ideal background for a horror blockbuster by following nearly naked heroine’s poster or staring into a photographs where a lady wearing red lipstick with her innocent eyes hanging over fungus wall.
Four storied building’s busy staircases are lively by steps of clients. Girls for converting themselves as woman putting all make up from her dear make up box and double lighten up their cheeks with cheap blusher. For killing hunger each moment they have drunk tears and fighting with each other to get same client for a night. Excess make up, vulgar cloths and even by showing off most of the female fascinated body parts these girls can not satisfied their MADAMs.
In the race by standing full day on a door dressed like this they have to show their madam their extra talent for hunting a client. While few of them get tired of being waiting and being rejected, lastly may get one/two clients at the last moment of very tiring publicity. Then the bargaining starts. It’s bargaining of beauty, the outer seal. Minimum 100 tk – to maximum 500 tk depends on the job’s creativity and longevity. Either a client comes for an hour, for a night or for several nights they never bother to enter into the corridor of these beautiful dolls’s heart. They rather treated as a toy of entertainment.
As like being used for years after years these girls started feeling themselves as product. Product of modern day slavery. In the middle of these professionals there is also few girls common who uselessly try to hide their body with their small cloths, who will not look at any one’s eyes either for sorrow or for shame. These girls are new to the place, they been bought by madam one to two days ago. Betrayal boyfriend, step parents or their closest one play with their innocence and sell in the castle for taka 4000- 20000. Before realizing what had happened in her life her innocent soul has been captured by brothel’s reality. In between them there are girls who has been gang raped and our civilized society refuse to accept her, so she finds her MADAM as mother and releasing all bitters of her life by the profession of sex worker.
Fighting over getting men at night does not change relationship between themselves on the day. An unknown bonding for each other has tied them up and takes care of them in dear need. That’s why, when a girl out of frustration cut her full hand with blade just to torture herself, her roommate wipe it off and put medicine on it. A six feet by six feet room is world for 3-4 girls, so when customer leave they decorate the bed with flowery bed sheet or place artificial flower for adding beauty of it. Knowing a home never will come in their life still they care for their small room as like their house.
By remaining in the strict guidance of Guards for several years these birds stop weaving their wings and thus they forgot how to fly. After earning 100 tk per client 3-4 years passed thus but loans and buying money of madam does not meet up as these fates less girls can’t even calculate. If their luck is good enough few of them get little better madam who let them free after three to four years to do their business independently.
The story does not change here. Again after doing free business the girl do same mistake by giving heart to a client. Then one day come when the trusted man flew with her all money, gold and faith. All the tiny battles she had within inside, that do nothing but shape her emotions, make her able to drink her tears of blood. Stories of a brothel have many shapes. Many girls do not miss their Fazar prayer; many girls learn to recite Quran. Many girls penned their parents and send money monthly putting fake address in the envelope. Many girls forced to take a drug designed to fatten cattle for market name Oradexon.
Their day passes by. One day visibly wrinkles can no longer hidden by heavy make up, they started losing clients, then nights come when they had no one, then they become nanny of younger sex worker. & finally after death their bodies can be buried in a cemetery, though still in a separate one. But better than having their remains floating in the river covered by a sheet which previously practiced as ritual. Their existence remains in their tank which preserve full of their life memories, which lastly kept by their dear one if someone still have time to recall a sex worker.
“Its been 12 years I am familiar to them. Not only as a photographer but also as a brother. In the photograph, I am seating with my one of sister from Tangail brothel. Whenever I go there, she runs towards me by calling “Akash Bhai”, she brings sweet, tea & speaks lot about her dreams. These girls are weak for affection as I once treated her as sister now she granted me as her brother. No one knows the story of those faceless girls who are sold by their boyfriend, husband or parents. This is one way journey to brothels a place that is everything to them. By documenting on them I would like to spread their story of pains which are only locked into their own madam’s castle. . I can also tell about one girl from those uncountable faces. Unsurprisingly – and despite her name – Asha isn’t very hopeful for her own future. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever get married or have children,’ she says. ‘No one will marry me. If they did they’d only keep me for two or three days, and then they’d sell me back.’ She is more streetwise than some of the other girls here, many of whom share a tragic dream that one day a knight in shining armour will arrive, to carry them off; then they will marry him, have his babies and love him forever. I wish there would be a knight in shining armour will surly arrives, to carry them off from this living hell! I wish and I really wish!” – GMB Akash
“The moment I wake up, right away, I smile…. I am aware that a life is offering me twenty-four brand new hours to live, and that’s the most precious of gifts I received, while living every second of my life for a new day, for a new hope, for a new destination. I am traveler, won’t mind to be called gypsy. Hanging my bag, holding my camera, eying over everything, I keep walking. I discover a part of me in my journey. I mostly save each penny comes from my work for traveling. Simplicity is my luxury. Visiting my maples world is pretty sweating but I don’t mind to wait. Travel brings power and love back into our life. Sometimes we plan a trip to one place, but something takes us to another. Whatever purifies it is the correct road. Thus I stepped to Istanbul with an open eye in road to be lost”
- GMB Akash
There are a handful of cities around the world that draw me back again and again. In my list Istanbul was a most desirable place to visit. I got my chance and landed for a quick tour. In Istanbul It is difficult to be in quiet places in a city of 13 million, which was best for me. I was attracted to the city for its rich history—it was the capital of three empires and it’s the only major city in the world that straddles two continents. Navigating Istanbul can be difficult for tourists. There are so many forms of transportation—trams, trolleys, ferries, taxis, metro—and so many ways to get to a place. As a travel photographer I love all options. While I keep clicking my camera, a short, wiry Turk goes past, carrying a dozen folded carpets balanced on his head. The weight of the load seems to be greater than that of the carrier. Women wearing veil, only showing their eyes, gold bangles and chains reminding women of my Old Dhaka’s. Several groups of photographer’s rooming around like me with cameras on shoulders and heads almost mechanically swiveling from side to side in an endeavor to miss nothing. The famous Blue Mosque was just near my hotel, I was stunned by seeing one of the most famous and most stunning Mosques in the world. Istanbul is a city for those who can still enjoy a sense of providence: a sense of discovery and a sense of marvel.
Continually after walking almost ten hours it was not tiring to me. As a travel photographer one must quality is to be brave. Brave to face anything and everything on the journey. I travel alone and learn to enjoy entertaining myself. It is quite fun to explore a strange place and don’t get bored in loneliness. I love to watch people, introduce with new rituals and knowing different form of life. I keep images of memory in my travel folder. Photographs are not only holding my memories, but emotions and my interpretation of an untold journey.
Wherever I go, I keep trying to match my country with the place I am visiting. Often I started missing my country. In Istanbul I was finding my bond, hearing Azaan in mosques was weaving images of my place, my Dhaka. There is an universal language in the world, the language of love. We human being are always try to name our emotion, level our feelings so as I keep trying to write in my dairy. My days ended so quickly, with my mixed emotions I was leaving the city, Istanbul. I headed to catch another flight for another place with the imaginary in my mind ‘Splendid Istanbul’
“I am not only burning myself in these journeys, I am shaping my molecules, the discovery nor ended up here, either do I go home. I will pack my bag by holding my camera, & another mystic road will open its arm for me, and I very well known, miracles dwell in invisible. I – a lost soul will walk step by step, hearing entire in silence. When I keep learning the art to fly, I keep discovering till my universe dissolves”
- GMB Akash
“Behind the curtain there is different universe, a world of people who are living far from the crowd, the people who serve entertainment daily as an artist. Circus people’s life itself a mystery as their performance never can define their inner world and mysticism. A Group of shining artists are surviving in the world of circus everyday by the continual competition of entertainment world of Bangladesh. Big audiences showed them reverse appearance already but still they are moving continually with their glorious history. This nomad performers moves monthly from place to place, their dreams shaped as their house moved like each month. By their hand they demolish their own house for taking place it in another territory for another month again by their labor. Still they only bother for their performance. Nor money neither fame touches their feet. To them life is circus, they are performer of life’s stage.”
– GMB Akash
In front of the bar locked gate curious crowd of children are permanent who never get chance to enter. Circus placed usually in large space as atleast 60-100 people has to accommodate their temporary housing and the stage has to build within the space they belong too. So the circus usually placed in big, empty spaces which are mostly far from the city, run by big generators.
A teenage performer Sharmin (13) was locating her makeup box in the tiny room of her which has been separated by a curtain as in the other side her parents use to sleep. She said, ‘The sad thing is my mirror broke while my father demolished our previous house. It takes one day to build this new house. Now this is my new home for next one month’. Sharmin was just three years old while she performed first time with her mother. Her mother and grandmother both are passing their life in circus. Sharmin has 15 different dresses for performing in stage. She has her instructor who taught her different plays, while answering she giggled, ‘My Guru beaten me more than our donkey. Circus donkey and I attend same class and perform same time. I fall down many times and got hurt but you know, an artist has to suffer lot, my guru told me so, that’s why I never bother. One day I will be the best performer.’ Sharmin gets 2000 tk monthly. She along her four family members all are occupied in circus.
Eleven months these artist works and one month they get vacation. Company hires them for one year, after one year their contract renews by the time. The company is responsible for two-time food of all artists, for 6 days food are lentil, rice and smash potato, rest one day fish and vegetable. For moving from one place to another company send their track, performer break their own house and move for new place. In the new place they build their house again by themselves.
Sharmin’s mother Shilpi shared ‘I born in circus. Circus is my family and so my blood belongs to it. Three of my daughters are in circus. What else we can do? Sometimes I feel to know the world behind the gate, but then I feel that world is not for us. I belong to circus, circus given life to my creativity and I will one day die like my mother by giving birth of my best performance’. Just nearby Sharmin’s tent another lady Shipra loadly pronounce, ‘What you are looking for? The makeup is my veil. Before starting of the music we are one kind of person after hearing the announcement of show we are far different from the person you are interviewing now.’
The man can sallow 20-25 fishes and can bring them out alive from his body, Bijon said ‘For mentoring cricketer, footballer, dancer, singer government brings many persons from aboard, but here in Opera or for Circus no one brings anyone. We only create ourselves, we only show ourselves, and we only stand by ourselves. For us nobody cares.’
While Selina was wearing her makeup whispered, ‘I am no longer an ordinary girl. Now I will fly over everyone’. Coming back from the stage after her 10min performance, Selina recklessly said, ‘Sometime audiences pass bad comments on us. I dnt bother and no other girl bother here. Stop letting other people influence your attitude, your hope, your potential to do something great. Stop worrying and start doing.’
Heena (38) singing song loudly while sewing her traditional blanket with her fresh make up. ‘Its my daily life, we dont mix with outside men, I like no one from my circus team, so I am still a single and happily living my life” Announcer announced her name she swiftly kept her blanket in a bench touches the platform of circus with respect, within a second she go top of the pang and scrolled slide down her head, with a jump she come down by catching another rope. Screaming of audiences seems no reaction on Heena’s face. She came back, seat in her bench, started sewing the blanket and replied “What else you want to ask? We are human just like you, as like your sister or as your mother. “
At the ending day Lilliputian Shre Anil Chandra (50) was packing his things. A lone man has nothing much than gifts from different villages. The man who made jokes throughout plays is very silent in back stage. Talk less, share less. His bed and his trunk is his property. “World is round. We move from place to place. Women of circus sometimes cry but men never. I wait to go to a new place to see new audiences. I enjoy my gypsy life’.
“This is not the ending. Circus will rise in another place, in another village. Children of that village will run to the gate again. Vendors will seat to attract customers again. Circus artists will avail their charismatic techniques for another jaw dropping performance. Audiences from far and near will encircle the area. Heena might finish her sewing by the time; Sharmin might get a new mirror from her mother. Never ends, never be lost – Life is a Circus”
– GMB Akash
“Living everyday in the shadow of terror is enough to sabotage oneself. Behind The beautiful jungle there are stories which mentally paralyzed 3,000 ‘tiger widows lives’ in the universe of Sundarbans. People living surrounded by the jungle are living in the fence of fear, fear for loosing themselves or dearer in any day or any night. Sons after losing their parents, grandparents again walk to the same path with the same dignity to feed rest of the family, knowing their day may end any day, any moment by a tiny second’s ignorance. Their bravery of fighting with a small knife with the tiger is heroic only in sense if they can fought and win, if not the flesh of the hero dries and lost in salt water, where no one can get anything than the blooded cloths. The story of this surviving lasts each day, each hour, and each moment in their life. As the beautiful jungle is reason of their life and reason of their death. They and their breathe belong to the inescapable jungle”
– GMB Akash
Marium Begum’s Husband Abdul Hamid went for fishing in Hatdabra canal in the Sundarban along with two fellow fishermen after Azaan. While they were fishing a tiger swooped on him and dragged him into the deep forest while his fellow fishermen escaped unhurt. Later, forest guards recovered the bruised body from the deep forest. Marium is just one of about 3,000 “tiger widows” in the Sundarbans.
Marium is bearing the wound of losing her husband. She descirbe the day with a pain , “The day remains nightmare for me forever. Noisy birds were circling my hut. There were bad omens everywhere. And my heart was beating in rush. I told him not to go but there was no food to eat so he has to leave and never come again” – Marium
75 year old Momresh Sekh lost his left eye to an attack by a tiger in 1969. He was accompanied by his uncle who hit the tiger with the branch of a tree. A jagged scar runs from his head to the back of his skull. Lumps of flesh were torn from his chest and thigh. He is blind in his left eye.
Forty-five-year-old Emem Ali poses with his daughter. In 2008, Emem was the target of a tiger attack. Grabbed by the arm, he was dragged into the forest, but abandoned by the predator at last. Found and brought to safety by a companion, he lives to tell the tale. Now he is living by selling fish in the local market. He is hoping to get a shop for surviving.
It was a small life saving knife as this only tool saved Shofiqul Islam’s (42) life from the ferocious tiger which was snatching him to the jungle. Hurts kept marks in his body though honey collector Shofiqul lived form hand to mouth for four months by avoiding the path of jungle. But after four months of his attack while again he was entering into the jungle, he said ‘Either I have to earn my food or I will become food for the prey’
This shirt bears the horrific memory but it is an icon for Shofiqul (42) too. The shirt reminds him the roars of the attacking tiger, its unbearable snatch to his backbone and his spirit to fight back to it with nothing but a small knife.
Shofiqul said “You no longer have to go deep into the forest to be attacked. They wait at the banks. I have never seen that before. We believe that even to use the word tiger risks summoning one”
The Sundarbans is made up of hundreds of islands of mangrove forests and mudflats. This is one of the most beautiful but most dangerous places in the world, a place of tigers and crocodiles and dangerous seas and canals. The region is home to approximately 500 Bengal tigers, one of the largest single populations of tigers in one area. These tigers are well-known for the substantial number of people they kill; estimates range from 50-250 people per year. Because of rising sea levels and shrinking forest, humans and tigers are fighting for space. The farmers are forced into the forest to hunt for honey, fish, or collect crabs, putting them at risk for a tiger attack. Poverty forces people into the forest, into the tigers’ natural habitat. And the animals are hungry, with hunting and newly introduced diseases steadily reducing the populations of wild boars, deer and monkeys in the Sundarbans. Hindus and Muslims alike believe that only the Goddess Bon Bibi can offer protection from the big cats. There are several statues of the forest goddess scattered throughout the jungle.
45 year old Saidul has stitches put into his chin in Shemnagar Hospital. He was badly injured by a tiger while he was out fishing. He said , “I thought it was a large dog. I pushed it away and heard a splash within the time its hits me”
45 year old Abu Taleb lies motionless outside his home. He was attacked by a tiger whilst fishing and has now lost the use of his arm and leg. He is unable to walk without the help of his wife. He spent seven days on the floor of Satkhira Hospital with severe injuries to his head, back and neck. After a year of bed rest he has still not recovered from his injuries and his wife has been forced to become a day labourer and beg house to house.
In 1995, the attack was on his first day out fishing. He was sleeping in the boat when the tiger attacked. Though he survived it, the damage to his face was such that no one from his village would come near him. His parents forced a girl to marry him. At the initial days of his marital life, he would not allow his wife to look at him.
Beside men tiger attacked many women of the village too. Faizun is showing her scars which are permanent mark in her head. Tigers are coming closer to villages in search of food. They smartly attacking villagers and standing near the bank. Faizun was collecting woods from near her home beside the bank of the river, while tiger attack she thought it is a big dog while realizing she remember nothing. She believes forstes goddess saved her. Somehow she manages to escape and after the attack, she fled to her hut and collapsed.
42 year old Atiar Rahman was attacked by a tiger whilst out fishing. He lost his sight in his right eye, the ability to hear, as well as severe injuries to his back, neck and face. He spent six months in hospital at the cost of 9,000 Taka (80 GBP) and is now completely bed-ridden. His wife works to support their large family by working as a day labourer. She earns 50 Taka (0.4 GBP) a day.
Because of rising sea levels and shrinking forest, humans and tigers are fighting for space. The farmers are forced into the forest to hunt for honey, fish, or collect crabs, putting them at risk for a tiger attack.
The boat is the small vehicle which is use to go for fishing in the deep forest of sundarban. And often while they stay at the boat in night tiger attack fisherman and they have to fight back.
“Inside the Sundarban there is ‘silence’ everywhere, a fear runs in veins with the fragrance of incense, standing in the village of frequently visited by Man Eater Tigers, listening villagers rhythmic chanting and prayers and feeling the urge to get back to safety all these made it helpless for urban, educated, technologically advanced people. This jungle is only understandable for the people who are made from it, the people live by jungle can’t leave the place even knowing how risky to live within. Thus they will face the hungry tiger habitually either to live or to die.”
– GMB Akash
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"I see the beauty of people and the human soul in the pictures I take. And though the circumstances of some of the people I portray may be grim, back-breaking, depraved, the people themselves are always remarkable characters and souls" For me Photography is my language, to access, to communicate, to identify and mostly to make it hear. Through photography I only jot down my heart’s language. The best part about being a photographer is that I’m able to articulate the experiences of the voiceless and to bring their identities to the forefront which gives meaning and purpose to my own life. I have received more than 68 international awards and my work has been featured in over 70 major, international publications including: National Geographic, Vogue,Time, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Geo, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Fader, Brand Ein, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Colors, The Economist, The New Internationalist, Kontinente, Amnesty Journal, Courier International, PDN, Die Zeit, Days Japan, Hello, and Sunday Telegraph of London. In 2002 I became the first Bangladeshi to be selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in the Netherlands. In 2004 I received the Young Reporters Award from the Scope Photo Festival in Paris — once again, the first Bangladeshi to receive this honour. In 2005 I was awarded “Best of Show” at the Center for Fine Art Photography’s international competition in Colorado, USA. And in 2006 I was awarded World Press Photo award and released my premier book “First Light”. In 2007 I became the first Bangladeshi to be selected for the 30 Emerging Photographers (PDN 30), sponsored by Photo District News Magazine, USA. I won the 7th Vevey International Photography Grant from Switzerland in 2009 and in the same year, I took home the international ‘Travel photographer of the Year” title at the International Travel Photographer of the Year Competition (TPOY 2009) in the UK, the most prestigious award in travel photography. I was one of the speakers in the fifth Global Investigative Journalism Conference, held at Lillehammer, Norway in 2008 and as well I was the first Bangladeshi in Ted talk at TEDxOporto 2011, in Portugal. I was one of the speaker of “7th Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism”, Yogyakarta / Indonesia”. In 2011 Nikon has selected me as one of the 8 influencers in Asia pacific (APAC region). Presentation of my 10 years project published as form of book ‘Survivors’ in 2012, which has reviewed by prestigious Geo magazine.