Older than the mountains, it is a river that forces its way through the towering Himalayas. The Tibetans know it as the Yarlung Tsang Po (the purifier). In India, it is known as Brahmaputra. In Bangladesh, it is also known as the Jamuna, The Padma and finally the Meghna before it opens into the sea.
Photographer Shahidul Alam will share his journey towards Brahmaputra’s origin. Continue reading “Brahmaputra Diary by Shahidul Alam”
British Council and Drik India cordially invite you to the launching of the book by Dr. Shahidul Alam ? My Journey As A Witness? followed by lecture presentation of the artist. Dr. Shahidul Alam is an eminent photographer, writer, activist and the Managing Director of the award winning media agency Drik Bangladesh.
Date: 21 November,2012
Time: 6- 8 pm
Venue: Jamini Roy Gallery, 3rd floor, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), 9A Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata 700 016 ( Opposite to US Consulate)?? with?Shahidul Alam. Review of My journey as a witness by John G Morris
Photos by Abir Abdullah/EPA
NEW DELHI ? Rescuers were searching for survivors on Tuesday after a ferry carrying as many as 200 passengers capsized in Bangladesh, killing at least 24 people with many more feared dead.
The photographs here were chosen by Amirul Rajiv, who has been the photo editor of the Editorial & Forum Magazine of The Daily Star ? Bangladesh?s largest English-language daily newspaper – for the past three years.
The first image shows fresh water coming in from the Bangshi River, to the left, and shows clearly how murky the water of the Turag River has become. The photo was taken from the Amin Bazar Bridge near Gabtali, in the capital of Bangladesh.
Says Rajivl: ?This picture, taken by Anisur Rahman of The Daily Star on June 4, 2010, was published on the front page of the paper . Bangladesh is land of rivers, an agriculture-based country. The rivers have become seriously polluted due to mismanagement by authorities amid the threat of global warming. We published this standalone picture over five columns. Next day, there was huge debate all over the country and a few weeks later the court gave a special ruling to protect Dhaka?s water line and clean the rivers. I choose the picture because it is bold and gives a complete impression of the river?s current state.?
The second image was taken at Kamrangirchar in Dhaka, Bangladesh, by Anisur Rahman and was published on April 7, 2011 on the front page alongside an article headlined ?None Jailed in 10 Years?. It was about the practice of grabbing land from the river for development.
Says Rajiv ?Everyday, aggressive urbanization brings the people from all over the country to the city areas. The city is grabbing the nature and land outside of the city. The city is growing with an extreme need of food and shelter for its people. By destroying the nature, man is creating a natural disaster. Laws are weak. After the picture was published huge pressure grew on the government to save the rivers and protect them from grabbers’ actions. I like the composition and the environmental view it?s taken from.?
Rajiv is an alumni of Pathshala South Asian Media Academy. World Press Photo Foundation is a partner of Pathshala
They meander and glide. They unfurl with the rage of monsoon fury. Quietly they flow in the misty winter morn. Rivers thread the fabric of our land. Embroider patches of fertile delta. They are the nakshi kantha of our rural folklore. Life giver, destroyer, enchanter, they have inspired the greatest myths, formed the tapestry for the most endearing love songs. Our Bhatiali has been shaped by the lilt of the boatman?s lyrics drifting across the waves.
It is this fluid, amorphous, ephemeral and elusive visual that Kabir tries to hold in his rectangular frame. It is a frame heavy with the burden of its task. The rivers that float like a gossamer across the green delta hold untold stories. Tales of strife and endurance. Of the fullness of life. Of abundance ebbed, and anger unleashed.
Kabir finds the rapidly disappearing sailboat drifting in the late afternoon light. The extinction of this species owes not to the depletion of its habitat, or to the oft-blamed climate change, but the advent of technology. Oil guzzling, deep tube well engines have unseated the wind from its traditional role.? A lone sail, bright red and taut against a blue sky defiantly throws a gauntlet to the mechanized usurper.
Swirling swathes of jute cleanse themselves in the very water that nurtured them in their youth. Wispy traces of boatmen recede into the darkness of dusk. The cool blue light of the evening sky wraps itself round a homebound farmer. Barefoot women, walk home after a day?s work, like a string of pearls along the sandy shores of a receding river. Parched river beds, like a desert amidst the oasis, make horizon-less paths for weary travelers to tread.
Fishermen, silhouetted against a brooding sky, cast their nets more in hope than in expectation. Overfishing of uncared for rivers, bloated with toxic waste, yield little to those who have made the river their home. Indeed it is their ancestral home. A liquid home that knew no government deeds, and obeyed no official maps. But the rules have changed. City folk whose feet walk only on the cool marble of urban dwellings own fishing rights to rivers they may never have seen. The fishermen who were raised in these waters are now outlawed in their own turf.
Still the river gives. Joy and thrill to the racing crews that steer swiftly through the monsoon breeze. Respite to the sun baked skin of naked boys, sari clad maidens and heavy hoofed buffalos. Turgidity to the parched leaves of the newly planted grains of rice. Looming clouds in azure skies to the poet who longs for whispering words. Winding arcs of sinewy lines to the painter?s canvas in search of form.
The great rivers, once bountiful and brimming, have formed the supple spine of our deltaic plains. Choking in silt, poisoned by waste, waterways throttled by land grabbing encroachers, the lifeblood of our deltaic plains weep dry tears as their once glistening bodies writhe in pain. It is a pain city dwellers are deaf to. A pain that short sighted politicians and profit seeking urban planners have no time for. Kabir rejoices in the vigour of the river. Is saddened by its pain. His portrait of the river shows both its wrinkles and its smile.
Photographs: Kabir Hossain
Text: Shahidul Alam
The exhibition “River and Life” by Kabir Hossain will remain open until the 17th July at the Drik Gallery II from 3:00 pm till 8:00 pm
A gentle trickle
A surging river
A gentle plain
Four long years
Three thousand kilometres
Cormorants, sea gulls
Sparrows at dusk
A flurry of wings
La brume matinale
Boats bathed in twilight red
In narrow paths
A banyan tree
Tall strong shady
A forlorn reed
In amber garb
Reaching for the sky
Arching along the water
Betwixt the land and the sea
A river rests, a delta speaks
Older than the mountains, it is a river that forces its way across the towering Himalayas. The Tibetans know it as the Yarlung Tsang Po (the purifier). In India it is known as the Brahmaputra. In Bangladesh it is also known as the Jamuna, the Padma and finally the Meghna before it opens into the sea. No one is known to have traversed the entire run of the river. We take you on this journey, across the millenium, across three nations, through Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. From the icy trickle in the glaciers. Along Pei in China, where the river narrows into a rapid-filled gorge reaching phenomenal depths and amazing cascades. Through the crystal clear waters in Arunachal Pradesh. Across the We take you sailing along the Brahmaputra.
The Brahmaputra Diary. An exhibition based on my journey along this majestic Asian river opens at the Sutra Gallery in Kuala Lumpur tonight (Sunday the 7th September) at 8:00 pm.
Sun Sep 7, 2003 Multimedia version with video in Zonezero.com