Darshan Chakma

Will be with you

All Souls’ Day is marked on 2nd November, when relatives call to remembrance the loving departed. They remember and pray for the souls of people who are in Purgatory – the place (or state) in which those who have died atone for their less grave sins before being granted the vision of God in Heaven.
The images from this series are showing how those passing souls observe their relatives, visitors and other sights surrounding them. The relatives strongly believe that their loving one can hear or see them. Some of the relatives pass sometimes beside their grave, fire candles, decorate the graves with flowers and express their love with tears and smiles.


Most of the rickshaw pullers of Dhaka city pull the traditional three wheeler vehicle 8-10 hrs per day to manage their costs of daily foods, accommodation and the remaining money is only a few to satisfy their other needs.

The black dots that forms from their sweat on their clothes are the sign or marks of their hard works, pains, sorrows and fight.

Still they never die, they never cry and they never loose their battle until the age betray them.

A tale that never ends

Inside an iron Cave

The shipbuilding industry in Bangladesh is now becoming a promising sector as it has signed several contracts with Danish investors to build multipurpose vessels. These shipyards have positioned as serious players in the international shipbuilding industry in strong competition with Chinese and Vietnamese shipbuilders.

Although these ship yards are capturing international markets still they are not well equipped. The workers are not getting sophisticated safety supports. They are still using some traditional and local mechanisms. The workers work in two shifts and they are from different ages. It takes at least 3 years to build a ship. Those who works inside the ships hardly can see the outside surrounding them but only the sky. And who work outside the ships, passes most of times cutting iron sheets and with the flames of welding.

Beside these issues, they really do enjoy their job, leisure time gossiping and feel proud to be an iron cave builders.

Single images

Ripped Campaign

Politics of Bangladesh takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is the head of government, and of a multiparty system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The Constitution of Bangladesh was written in 1972 and has undergone fifteen amendments. Being a democratic country, an election takes place after every five years when a new authority of power is to be chosen by the people.

Politicians very often use posters, a piece of printed paper carrying a direct message to ordinary people. Such vast use of posters are mainly seen before election as vote campaign, local festive greets and more importantly as a protest of ongoing issues. These posters work as the voice of politicians as well as being a direct bridge between politicians and the people

Everyday new posters are being printed and every issue is changing. With such drift in our politic weather, every poster is being overlapped by a new one. As people’s view differ, some rip off what they do not want to see, fulfilling their hatred, they cover the old one and post their own.. Of course not all the posters are tore due to anger or jealousy. A great number of posters are only ripped out of silly boredom.

As said above, every five years the government changes. As the leaders changes , along with almost everything in the country, the words and the meanings of most posters change as well. These destroyed posters and the uncountable overlaps shows clearly how unstable our authority is. It’s unfortunate how these tiny bits of paper represent the transient mood of Bangladeshi politics , politicians and the overall fate of the people.

Colors for victory

Holi – the festival of colors is one of the most popular festivals of the country. It is celebrated during the spring season and embodies all the festivity, liveliness and exuberance of the season. Holi is the festival of young hearts. Spraying colors, dancing on traditional Holi songs, musical drum beats and wild processions are the common scenes that one comes across during this festival. The festival is associated with various legends but the most popular among them is the tale of Hollika. According to legends there was a demon-king named Hiranyakashipu who was very cruel and ordered everybody to worship him and not God. He was against Lord Vishnu. However, his little son Prahlad refused to do so and continued to worship the almighty Lord Vishnu, the Hindu God. He tried hard to kill him but every time Lord Vishnu saved him. One of the sisters of the king named Holika had a boon to remain unscathed by fire, so she followed her brother’s wishes. However, with this sinful act against Lord Narayana’s devotee, Holika’s boon ended and she was burnt to ashes, while Prahlad came out safe. From that day onwards Holi is celebrated as the festival of the victory of good over evil. Even today, bonfires are lit on the night before Holi in memory of the event and burning of the evil Holika. It symbolizes the victory of Good over evil.

The Second Home

Most of the university going students in Dhaka city come from different districts of Bangladesh. Among these students maximum are from middle class families and a large number of them have to live in this mega city without their families but with their friends. Some time it becomes difficult for them to match with the urban life style. It takes couple of months or even a year to get used to this unknown city, unknown life and unknown faces. And soon they find themselves in their new home which they call “The second home”.

Being bachelors and students it is really hard to lead lives here. No one to take care of them, no one to show the right way or the right things and most of them they get a very limited budget from parents. They are the care taker of themselves.

Most of their monthly liquid money spends on house rent, food and transportation. As a consequent, they can not effort much for good accommodation and nutritious foods. They have to live on outside foods, have to share places while sleeping and studying.

Though living among so many urban problems and difficulties they do not forget how to struggle and how to entertain. And, always welcome a new member to their second home where they live.

Biography of Andrew Biraj: Struggling for visual literacy

Andrew Biraj, one of the World Press Photo winners (2011) and the representative of REUTERS in Bangladesh. This hard core photojournalist was born in 1982 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. After completing an advanced diploma in photography from Pathshala, the South Asian Institute Media Academy and a BA in photography from the University of Bolton in 2005 he started his profession as photojournalist. And have travelled Afghanistan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and some parts of Europe for professional duty and in pursue himself as a social documentary photographer. He wants to raise voices against injustice and discrimination of the society through his images and wants to shoe the untold stories of his surroundings using his images.

His works has been published in numerous national and international newspapers, magazines and publications including Time.com, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, National Geographic Online, The Times, The Independent of UK, Asian GEO, New age, Forum Magazine of Daily Star and in many other international publications.

His published photojournalism documentaries are The Fashion Victims, Cyclone Nargis Aftermath, The Caged Dreams, Gabura, Kabul Diary, State Excluded, Bahini and Living with water. And his works has been published in Yangon Photo Festival (Myanmar,2009), Visa Pour Image (France,2008), Angkor Photo Festival (Cambodia,2008,2007), International Photography Biennial of the Islamic World (Iran,2008), National Art Gallery (Malaysia,2006) and in some other national and international group exhibitions. Andrew Biraj has achieved so many national and international prestigious awards like 3rd prize in Daily Life category of World Press Photo (2011), The World Press Photo JoopSwart Masterclass grant (2008), 3rd prize in “Best of Photojournalism” by NPPA (2010) etc.

Some international photographers whose works are favorite to him are Alex Webb, Paolo Palic Grien, Franseco Zizola and Nan Goldin. He is currently using Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 1D Mark IV and Canon 7D. And his lenses are 16-35 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 24mm f1.4, 300mm f2.8, 500mm f4.



Darshan Chakma –  How did you get influenced to become a photographer/photojournalist ?

Andrew Biraj – In 1998 after my basic course on Photography I saw the first Chobimela – The war we forgot and in 2002 World Press Photo. And after watching these, actually I got influenced to become a photojournalist.


Darshan Chakma –  What is more important good knowledge or good equipment?

Andrew Biraj – Yes, obviously having good knowledge is more important in photography and photojournalism. In this days everyone has digital SLRs but only a few have the intellectual vision to be a photographer or photojournalist and to do so one should have academic knowledge on photography.


Darshan Chakma –  Which Bangladeshi photographers/photojournalists

do you admire?

Andrew Biraj – In Bangladesh, I like the works of Naibuddin Ahmed and Rashid Talukder. They are the true legend of our country.


Darshan Chakma – Tell us about your own most memorable photograph?

Andrew Biraj – No, don’t have such a memorable photograph yet and I have just started taking photos; there are many more left to capture.


Darshan Chakma – How much challenging is photography/photojournalism as a profession in Bangladesh?

Andrew Biraj – I think in Bangladesh photojournalism as a profession is not very hard and difficult. But there is a problem about the mentality on photography. People are not so much concern about photography and they should improve their point of view and thoughts about photojournalism.


Darshan Chakma – How do you play a role with your photo/stories in society?

Andrew Biraj – Actually, photo stories are not vastly distributed like motion medium. We still have not reached to the mass level and have not spread any turbulence. So, I want to work for public’s visual literacy on photography and I believe that I am doing this successfully.


Darshan Chakma – What is your professional goal/dream project as a photographer/photojournalist?

Andrew Biraj – I never had any professional goal in my life and I do not want to be so ambitious about it. And I have so many works to do and always intend to work in public sector broadly. And obviously as a photojournalist want to produce more social and photojournalism documentary.


Finally, for the growing up photographers he has suggested to take more and more photos and try to find out their field of interest where someone is good at.His photo stories are available at http://www.andrewbiraj.com