Daily Life, third prize singles
November 16, 2010
An overcrowded train approaches a railway station in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as more passengers wait to board. Millions of residents of Dhaka were traveling to their home villages to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday. Dhaka is fast becoming one of the largest cities in the world. Its present population of 13 million is expected to rise to between 22 and 25 million by 2020. The rapid population growth has put severe pressure on transport infrastructure.
Andrew Biraj speaks about the project:
“Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is the home of nearly 12 million people and everyday the number is getting higher. Hundreds of people rush to Dhaka daily to find a way of living, as they have no work in villages. The rising sea level makes many climate refugees in this low-lying country of more than 150 million people. Also many people are losing their homes due to river erosions. Two devastating cyclones over the last three years also left many homeless.
Most of the jobless and homeless people take shelter at the slums in Dhaka. Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is an occasion when they prefer to go to the places they belong. During the time, they leave the capital en masse. The train is their only option as most of them cannot afford any better transport. I wanted to show how they make their way to home. There was not even space on the rooftop of the trains, but it did not surprise anyone. People even travel sitting between carriages. They take a high risk to travel to their homes as they have no other choice.”
Technical information & keywords
Keywordspassengers Id al-Adha Railroad trains Holidays Railroad stations Fasts and feasts ʻĪd al-Aḍḥā
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About the photographer
Andrew Biraj was born in 1982 in Bangladesh. He holds an advanced diploma in photography from Pathshala, the South Asian Institute Media Academy and a BA in photography from the University of Bolton, UK. His work has been featured in exhibitions worldwide, including Visa Pour l'Image, in Perpignan, the Angkor Photo Festival in Cambodia, Yangon Photo Festival in Myanmar, the International Photography Biennial of the Islamic World in Iran, Noorderlicht in the Netherlands, the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan, the church of Santa Maria della Pietà in Venice, the National Art Gallery in Malaysia and Drik Gallery in Bangladesh.
Biraj was a participant in the 2008 World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. He has won several awards including a third prize (in 2010) and a first prize (in 2008), in the National Press Photographers Association of America's Best of Photojournalism awards; a silver award (in 2001) and a bronze (in 2007) in the China International Press Photo Contest; the 2010 Award of Excellence in Feature Photography, from the Society of Publishers in Asia and the 2010 South Asian Journalists Association award for an outstanding photograph about South Asia. Biraj has been published in Time.com, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The Observer Magazine, The Times, Asian Geo, Hindustan Times, New Age and in many other international publications. He currently works for Reuters.