Tag Archives: Dhaka

The Bishwa Ijtema Special Trains – the Most Crowded Trains in the World


By T. V. Antony Raj


This year, the three-day Bishwa Ijtema, began on January 12 in Tongi, in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Bishwa Ijtema meaning  ‘Global Congregation’ in Bengali is one of the largest peaceful annual gatherings of Muslims in the world that takes place in Tongi, by the banks of the River Turag, in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Ijtema is a prayer meeting spread over three days, during which attending devotees take part in prayers and listen to scholars reciting and explaining verses from the Holy Quran. The number of devotees exceeds 5 million with an estimated 20,000-50,000 foreign devotees.

The Bishwa Ijtema culminates in the Akheri Munajat or the Final Prayer, when millions of participating devotees raise their hands beseeching Allah (God)  for world peace.

To help the devotees attending the Biswa Ijtema, the Bangladesh Railway (BR) made arrangements to run special trains on different routes of the country.



The above video shows the Bishwa Ijtema Special Train 2018, one of the most crowded trains in the world operated for Bishwa Ijtema 2018. However, this is not a regular occurrence during the normal train services run by the Bangladesh Railway.

Have Will? Then, You Can Travel in the Indian Subcontinent!


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


Up to now I thought overloading was the major trait of transportation peculiar to India alone. But, now, I am really confused …


Video grab from "Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory!" uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia.
Video grab from “Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory!” uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia.

I grabbed the above image from a video titled Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory! uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia. I do not think anyone in the West would have seen a train crowded like this in their country. But in India, it is a common sight, particularly during the festival seasons.

The regular commuters are mainly laborers coming to New Delhi from neighboring states. They would work for a week and then return home over the weekend. Most of them travel without tickets, and the state-owned Indian railways, are compelled to permit this, else their entire railway system will be debacled by these laborers.

Indian Railways ... (Source: imcradiodotnet.files.wordpress.com)
Indian Railways (Source: imcradiodotnet.files.wordpress.com)

I came across the above image captioned “Indian Railway…” on IMC – India meets Classic presents… web page hosted on wordpress.com. I doubt whether this photo was taken in India. I think it was most probably, taken somewhere in Pakistan. Also, I wonder whether all these people are genuine passengers or merely clinging on to the train, posing for the photograph to prove a point.

Recently, I viewed several videos on YouTube about railways in Asia. When I saw the following video titled “End of Ramadan rush-hour in Bangladesh” uploaded by No Comment TV on August 8, 2013, I was dumbfounded.

Eid al-Fitr or the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). On this day all Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity.

This video shows thousands of Bangladeshis getting crammed on ferries and climbing on trains while leaving Dhaka, Bangladesh on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, to return to their home villages and celebrate Eid al-Fitr. This video needs no further comments.


News: Woman found alive 17 days after collapse of garment factory building


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


Reshma found alive in ruins 17 days after collapse of garment factory building
Reshma found alive in ruins 17 days after collapse of garment factory building

On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza factory building in Savar 15 miles (24 Km) to the northwest of Dhaka city, the capital of Bangladesh, collapsed with hundreds of garment workers employed in factories that supplied high-street shops in the west, trapped inside.

Before the fatal accident, workers had repeatedly complained that the building was cracking open, but the management simply ignored their complaints. Sol Rana, the owner of the building was arrested.

On Friday morning (May 10), officials said about 2,500 people were injured in the accident and 2,437 people were rescued. A total of 1,021 bodies have been recovered
from the debris and almost 650 identified so far and handed over to the families of the deceased. Many people are still missing.

A few hours after officials had announced the death toll as 1021, the recovery teams who had long given up any hope of finding any more survivors were shocked to hear at 15:15 local time (10:15 GMT), the voice of a woman calling for help from the debris of the second floor of the Rana Plaza. Immediately rescue workers were ordered to stop clearing the site.

The Bangladesh army has confirmed the news, naming the rescued woman as Reshma. The woman was taken to hospital and did not seem to have any significant injuries.



A Final Embrace: The Most Haunting Photograph from Bangladesh


Many powerful photographs have been made in the aftermath of the devastating collapse of a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. But one photo, by Bangladeshi photographer Taslima Akhter, has emerged as the most heart wrenching, capturing an entire country’s grief in a single image.

Shahidul Alam, Bangladeshi photographer, writer and founder of Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography, said of the photo: “This image, while deeply disturbing, is also hauntingly beautiful. An embrace in death, its tenderness rises above the rubble to touch us where we are most vulnerable. By making it personal, it refuses to let go. This is a photograph that will torment us in our dreams. Quietly it tells us. Never again.”

Akhter writes for LightBox about the photograph, which appears in this week’s TIME International alongside an essay by David Von Drehle.

A Final Embrace
April 25, 2013. Two victims amid the rubble of a garment factory building collapse in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Photo: Taslima Akhter)

I have been asked many questions about the photograph of the couple embracing in the aftermath of the collapse. I have tried desperately, but have yet to find any clues about them. I don’t know who they are or what their relationship is with each other.

I spent the entire day the building collapsed on the scene, watching as injured garment workers were being rescued from the rubble. I remember the frightened eyes of relatives — I was exhausted both mentally and physically. Around 2 a.m., I found a couple embracing each other in the rubble. The lower parts of their bodies were buried under the concrete. The blood from the eyes of the man ran like a tear. When I saw the couple, I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I knew them — they felt very close to me. I looked at who they were in their last moments as they stood together and tried to save each other — to save their beloved lives.

Every time I look back to this photo, I feel uncomfortable — it haunts me. It’s as if they are saying to me, we are not a number — not only cheap labor and cheap lives. We are human beings like you. Our life is precious like yours, and our dreams are precious too.

They are witnesses in this cruel history of workers being killed. The death toll is now more than 750. What a harsh situation we are in, where human beings are treated only as numbers.

This photo is haunting me all the time. If the people responsible don’t receive the highest level of punishment, we will see this type of tragedy again. There will be no relief from these horrific feelings. I’ve felt a tremendous pressure and pain over the past two weeks surrounded by dead bodies. As a witness to this cruelty, I feel the urge to share this pain with everyone. That’s why I want this photo to be seen.

Taslima Akhter
Taslima Akhter

Taslima Akhter is a Bangladeshi photographer and activist.


Re-posted from Time LightBox

Add this anywhere

Photography of Abir Abdullah of Bangladesh.


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Abir Abdullah

Abir Abdullah was born in 1971 in Bagerhat in Southern Bangladesh. He obtained a masters degree in Marketing (M. Com.) from Dhaka University, before taking up photography.

He completed a basic course in photography from the Bangladesh Photographic Institute in 1993.

From 1996 to 2005, he worked as a staff photographer at Drik Picture Library. He also took on an assignment as a Photography Tutor at the Pathshala South Asian Media Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In 1999, as a student of the first batch from Pathshala – South Asian Media Academy, based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, he completed a diploma course in photojournalism.

Blink, Time, Newsweek, Der Speigel, New Internationalist, Guardian, Stern, Geo, International Herald Tribune, Asiaweek, Elmundo, and many others have published his photographs.

He is mainly interested in photography that deal in social, environmental, and political issues.

Abir Abdullah is currently locatied in Dhaka , Bangladesh and is working in the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) as Bangladesh correspondent.

DESIGNATION: Photojournalist, European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) http://www.epa.eu. Vice Principal, Pathshala South Asian Media Academy, http://www.pathshala.net


  • Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography Awards for ‘ Freedom Fighters: Veterans of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971’ works in 2001.
  • Nomination photo award from humanity photo award in China- 1999.
  • Highly recommended photo award from Commonwealth photo contest in 1999 and 2000.
  • Nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass by World Press Photo Foundation in 2001.
  • Overall winner Phaidon 55 Photography competition in 2001.
  • 1st prize from WHO photo contest in Switzerland, 2002.
  • Third place in the Gordon Parks photo contest in USA in 2002.
  • 2nd prize, Unicef Photographer of the year contest 2004, Germany.
  • 3rd Prize in the Magazine News category in the Best of Photojournalism Contest from USA 2005.
  • 1st Prize in the SAJA ( South Asian Journalists association) Photo Award 2005.
  • Honorable mention in the National Geographic All Roads Photography project in 2005.
  • 1st prize portrait category in the Asian Press Photo contest in 2006 and 2007.

[Click on the above photo to view Abir Abdullah’s work – “Cyclone Survivors”]