Photo thief

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Shame Shame! Photo Thief! (c) Drik/Majority World

With publications increasingly stealing photos and publishing them without permission, without payment and without credit, it is time to name and shame.

We have created this banner. It’s in Bangla, but shaming is essentially what it tries to do.

Please put the photo that you have found to be stolen in the column and provide the link. Let us at least create a public display of all the people who steal our work.

Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

 

 

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Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India

On behalf of the National Oil, Gas, Mineral Resource, Power and Port Protection Committee, Bangladesh

Engineer  Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah

Prof. Anu Muhammad, Member Secretary

 

Professor Anu Muhammad (centre) and Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah (right)
Professor Anu Muhammad (centre) and Engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah (right). Photo Dhaka Tribune

October 18, 2016

The Honourable Prime Minister,

We respectfully address you with grave concern and anxiety. The people of Bangladesh today is sternly worried over the future of the Sundarbans, which not only happens to be the only protection barrage of the southern belt of Bangladesh, but also the largest Mangrove Forest of the world, as well as the most valuable ecological habitat of the country and the World Heritage Site. The joint venture of both India and Bangladesh to build a1320 MW capacity coal-fired power plant has caused much worry among the people of Bangladesh. Continue reading

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Do Goats Go To Heaven?

The last meal. Dhanmondi. Rd 9A. 12th September 2016
The last meal. Dhanmondi. Rd 9A. 12th September 2016

Awake, deep in the silence of the night
I dread the sound, I’ll hear your bleat tonight
Your tiny toes tied together with twine
Your tiny body weighed down by people fine

Children circling, some in fright, others in glee
Butcher man with knife, crouching on his knee
You’ll struggle in vain, your bleat a garbled cry
Blood will spurt, red floor, no questions why

Is someone there, another goat, a baby even?
Who wants you, regardless of who goes to heaven
What God needs blood, as evidence of love?
What sacrifice in swapping, money for life above?

A shopping spree, celebrations on TV
What’s one goat less or more for you and me?
It is quiet again, a respite from the heat
The sound remains, I’ll forever hear your bleat

Shahidul Alam
12th September 2016
Dhaka

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Forest of Tides: The Sundarbans

Written by Louis Werner Photographed by Shahidul Alam / DRIK

Split not quite in half by the border between India to the west and Bangladesh to the east, crowning the Bay of Bengal, the world’s most complex river delta works like South Asia’s showerhead—one the size of Lebanon or Connecticut. Fed by Himalayan snowmelt and monsoon runoff, carrying a billion tons a year of Asian landmass suspended as sediment, the three great flows of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna rivers all end in one vast estuarial tangle, one of Earth’s great water filters, the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans. Continue reading

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Posted in Bangladesh, environment, India, Major Features on Bangladesh, My Photo Essays, Photography, Shahidul Alam, South Asia, Water, World | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Biman Fails

The long queue outside is nowadays usual. But I was unperturbed. I had come in early and there were the Hajj passengers to photograph. The cat strolling through the airport was somewhat amusing. A man, who could have been Chinese, gave it some food. The cat knew his way around the place. I had found cat pooh on several occasions before, but now I had the source file!

Alarm bells should have rung when I found no notice of the flight on the electronic board. The lack of people at the Biman counter was a bigger case for alarm. My friend Porimol, a journalist from the Daily Star, who was also going to Kathmandu was in the queue. At least I was in the right place! It could have just been “Biman Time” I convinced myself. When no one had turned up by 10:00 am, we all went off to the Biman Sales counter. At least there was a Biman employee there. “We have had nothing official” they said, but hear that the flight might be cancelled. They had no arrangements for rerouting, or any other arrangement. Their excuse for not letting passengers know had some logic. Since they themselves hadn’t been told, what could they tell us?

No attempt to inform passengers that flight BG701 to #Kathmandu cancelled #whybimanfails #eavig #Biman #bangladesh

A photo posted by Shahidul Alam (@shahidul001) on

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PATHSHALA’S RESPONSE TO BDNEWS24.COM’S REPORT

Pathshala Campus
Pathshala Campus

A report on Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, published by the online news portal bdnews24.com, has come to our attention (“Shahidul Alam’s Pathshala operates without affiliation,” bdnews24.com, 6 August 2016). Unsubstantiated allegations, backbiting and innuendo and the absence of cross checking characterise the ‘report.’ It is a shoddy piece of journalism. Continue reading

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Posted in Arts, Bangladesh, culture, Education, Film, media, Media issues, Pathshala, Photography, Photojournalism, Photojournalism issues, Shahidul Alam, South Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the ‘uncertified’ Pathshala

At a time when our entire education system is in crisis, the quality of education is in question and the values that student’s inculcate is a source of fear. A student of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, in response to questions about the validity of the very certificate he has obtained, talks passionately about the institution’s pedagogic model and how he has been transformed by it.

by Mahtab Nafis 

Mahtab Nafis
Mahtab Nafis

A letter to whom it may concern

BEFORE joining Pathshala, I had studied in nine schools and one university (all certified) in this country. But never before had I found an environment similar to the one at Pathshala. South Asian Media Institute, founded by Shahidul Alam. Forget about competing, none of them are even light years close.

From a very early age I had sincere doubts and disagreements with the ‘socially accepted’ and ‘certified’ educational systems. For, all I had seen was a bunch of sheep-like people following a curriculum given by a governing body or authority without assessing, questioning or having an opinion on the teaching method or the materials. It seemed that people blindly followed the dictum ‘this is how things are’, an attitude which I could never accept. Everywhere, I saw teachers give students instructions or orders to follow a rigid structure, to memorise, to cover the syllabus. Even those studying in a creative field had teachers who would promote and indoctrinate a particular pattern of thinking or school of thought. This basically means that you are thinking other people’s thoughts and are being conditioned in someone else’s mental shadow. Continue reading

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Posted in Arts, Bangladesh, culture, Education, Pathshala, Photography, Photojournalism, Shahidul Alam, South Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Didi. The Street Fighter

MAHASWETA DEVI (JANUARY 14, 1926 – JULY 28, 2016), WRITER AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

Mahasweta Devi looking at photo exhibition catalogue "Nature's Fury" by Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Mahasweta Devi looking at photo exhibition catalogue “Nature’s Fury” by Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Protocol wasn’t Didi’s thing. Shoitan! (Satan) she would say lovingly. And then grab you and plonk you on her lap. The fact that both Rahnuma and I were far too old, and I was certainly much too heavy, to be sitting on anyone’s lap wasn’t something she worried much about. She didn’t care much for people’s age, and what other people thought, was something that had never bothered her. If you love someone, they sit on your lap. “You have a problem with that?”

Mahasweta Devi (Didi – elder sister – to all of us) had been a giant of a figure in South Asian literature for as far back as I can remember. Jhansir Rani (The Queen of Jhansi, 1956), Hajar Churashir Maa (Mother of 1084, 1975) and Aranyer Adhikar (The Occupation of the Forest, 1977) her powerful novel about the Santal uprising were what we knew this celebrated writer and activist by. That she was a tease and loved to sing, and didn’t mind the odd practical joke, was a side to her that had remained private. What should have been apparent was the rebel in her; her uncompromising stand for the oppressed, and her clear position as to which side of the fence she belonged. Continue reading

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Posted in Arts, Bangladesh, literature, People, Photography, Photojournalism, politics, Resistance, Shahidul Alam, South Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Empty Doorway

We chose not to be photographed. His broad smile was somewhat subdued, though the impishness of his chuckle still remained. The big hug didn’t work out. Even in the generous light through the large open window, a frail Kiarostami with tubes wasn’t how we wanted him depicted. He had cancer, and the surgery had gone wrong. My young friend Mansour Kiaei had accompanied me and had only met the great man for the first time. He wanted to photograph the two of us. We declined, saving the moment, for when Abbas would be better, and more the Abbas, as I had known him.

Abbas Kiarostami Untitled 1978 Ð 2003, from a series of 32 photographs, 122 x 93 cm.
Abbas Kiarostami Untitled 1978 Ð 2003, from a series of 32 photographs, 122 x 93 cm.

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Runs in the Family

New findings about schizophrenia rekindle old questions about genes and identity.

In the winter of 2012, I travelled from New Delhi, where I grew up, to Calcutta to visit my cousin Moni. My father accompanied me as a guide and companion, but he was a sullen and brooding presence, lost in a private anguish. He is the youngest of five brothers, and Moni is his firstborn nephew—the eldest brother’s son. Since 2004, Moni, now fifty-two, has been confined to an institution for the mentally ill (a “lunatic home,” as my father calls it), with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. He is kept awash in antipsychotics and sedatives, and an attendant watches, bathes, and feeds him through the day.

My father has never accepted Moni’s diagnosis. Over the years, he has waged a lonely campaign against the psychiatrists charged with his nephew’s care, hoping to convince them that their diagnosis was a colossal error, or that Moni’s broken psyche would somehow mend itself. He has visited the institution in Calcutta twice—once without warning, hoping to see a transformed Moni, living a secretly normal life behind the barred gates. But there was more than just avuncular love at stake for him in these visits. Moni is not the only member of the family with mental illness. Two of my father’s four brothers suffered from various unravellings of the mind. Madness has been among the Mukherjees for generations, and at least part of my father’s reluctance to accept Moni’s diagnosis lies in a grim suspicion that something of the illness may be buried, like toxic waste, in himself. Continue reading

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Posted in Arts, Health, India, literature, South Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
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