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Outside Chobi Mela VI: One Twin At a Bridge in Dhanmondi

January 25, 2011 1 comment

There are two twin brother beggars in Dhaka. They are well known due to the severity of their medical condition. Which I cannot recall, it is a respiratory disease. It is not TB. Both twins are bone thin, literally. A most hard scene to look at. They beg the streets of Dhanmondi, very often near the mosque. It is often a sad site as one sees the first and then shortly after you may find the second.

Begging in Dhaka is a controversial human situation. There are thousands of them, some say perhaps 50,000. Many believe the beggars are purposely mutilated by mafias. Others believe some of them to be even rich. I have a friend who claims he knows a beggar with a three story house in Dhaka. Yet, many give and believe they are doing the proper thing. Finally then there are those that in Bangladesh, like in so many other places, believe it is compassionate to give and that is what Mohammed spoke of.

Here lies one of the twins, on a famous bridge in Dhanmondi, under a torrential rainfall whom everyone scattered from. He remained and so did I, and I paid him. Yes, i paid him.

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Outside Chobi Mela VI: Space and Islam

January 24, 2011 2 comments

As Chobi Mela VI continues in Dhaka, we here present a visual series of images of the mass urbanization occurring in Dhaka and its consequences.

Islam arrived in Bangladesh in the 13th Century. the Muslim population is now approximately 145.3 million, which is the fourth largest Muslim population in the world. Yet, many Bangladeshis converted to Islam from Hinduism as a means to escape the caste system and be equal among men. Illiteracy remains high in the country and is often the case the Koran is learnt through the memorization of the verses in Arabic, thus there is little knowledge that the Koran asks for prayers, especially Friday prayers as seen here, to be done in a cleanse environment. This practice of praying on the streets of Dhaka outside the mosques is quite common, as neighborhoods begin to overpopulate due to the increase in migrations into the urban areas and from the tremendous speed at which the city is growing, with construction work being done in all parts.

Dhaka Mega City Post #19: Beggars at Eid ul-Fitr

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment
Today on my way to Mohammadpur I bumped into a crowd of beggars and poor stricken women crowded outside an upper middle class building. During the end of Ramadan, the tradition amongst those who can is to give a percentage of their wealth to the most needy. Inside the building I was able to see what is a common event but rarely seen, a woman was handing out 100 taka bills as the people outside fought in a moderate way to get in. Reminder 70 Tk = 1 USD

Dhaka Mega City Post #16: Friday Urban Prayers

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

While monsoon rain falls in the neighborhood of Kallyanpur, where the urban development has been increasingly fast in an area formerly known for its many ponds only 25 years ago and now developed into one of the city’s most densely populated areas, Friday prayers are held inside a construction site next to a mosque.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The community males here must rush to the mosque if they want to pray inside, in a clean environment as the Koran suggests, due to the high population density.

Dhaka Mega City Post #6: Ramadan

August 13, 2010 Leave a comment

On the second day of Ramadan, worshipers at Baitul Mukarram, the city’s largest mosque, three storey high built and in unison with the holy Kaba of Mecca, listen to readings of the Koran.

Located in the heart of Dhaka, the mosque was founded during the 1960s with a capacity for 30,000, giving it the respectable position of being the 10th largest in the world. However the mosque is constantly getting overcrowded, especially during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which has resulted in the government adding an extension, thus increasing it’s capacity to at least 40,000.