Rohingya Exodus by Monirul Alam

As a front line photojournalist I have to seen many destruction and death during my photojournalist assignment to coverage like many disaster situation but Rohingya’s refuges fled from Myanmar to me should different, thousand and thousand feeling form Myanmar to enter Bangladesh during their long journey, to scape death and violence. I feel pain and sorrows to see of them, especially children and women to cross the border on the muddy water on to the bad weather. I saw after they enter into Bangladesh their face is quite happy to escape death but they are really desperate for food, for water, for shelter, for their baby’s health  . . .  


-monirul alam, Independent photojournalist 


Rohingya people, fled from ongoing military operations in Myanmars Rakhine state, make their way through muddy water after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknuf, Bangladesh on September 2017. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, more than 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar from violence over the last few weeks, most trying to cross the border and reach Bangladesh.  The crisis began when a Rohingya insurgent group launched attacks with rifles and machetes on a series of security posts in Myanmar on August 25, prompting the military to launch a brutal round of “clearance operations” in response. Those fleeing have described indiscriminate attacks by security forces and Buddhist mobs, including monks, as well as killings and rapes.

Conditions are worsening in the border town of Cox’s Bazar where the influx has added to pressures on Rohingya camps already overwhelmed with 400,000 people from earlier waves of refugees. Poor and low-income countries such as Bangladesh, Uganda and Lebanon are left struggling to deal with huge numbers of refugees, when rich countries who host far fewer should be stepping up to provide aid and resettlement places. Myanmar’s government, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, and it’s still powerful military do not allow independent media free access to northern Rakhine state, from where the Rohingya are fleeing. While fires are no longer visible from the Bangladeshi border, some refugees told that their homes had been burned during Myanmar military to launch a brutal round of clearance operations.

The latest evidence published by Amnesty International points to a mass-scale scorched-earth campaign across northern Rakhine State, where Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs are burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting people at random as they try to flee. In legal terms, these are crimes against humanity – systematic attacks and forcible deportation of civilians. This is more than the total number of refugees who came to Europe by sea in 2016.

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 Muslims Congregation in Bangladesh 

The Bishwajit Ijtema meaning Global Congregation is an annual gathering of Muslims in Tongi, by the banks of the River Turag, in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is the second largest Islamic congregation after the Hajj. Ijtema is an Arabic word which means public gathering. In Bengali, the event is known as the “Bishwa Ijtema”. Bishwa is a Bengali word which means world. Every year thousands of Muslims gathered and join the Ijtema is a prayer meeting spread over three days, during which attending devotees perform daily prayers while listening to scholars reciting and explaining verses from the Quran. It is attended by devotees from 150 countries.Speakers include Islamic scholars from various countries.

In this year devotees from home and abroad were seen streaming towards the gathering site on the 1st phases 15-17 January 2017. According to organizers, around three million people have taken part in the final prayers,During the Final Prayer,huge crowds stretch from the Ijtema ground in Tongi into the Dhaka metropolitan area. Schools and offices are declared closed on the occasion.

The Bengali Tabhlighi Jamaat movement started in Dhaka, East Bengal during the 1950s. The first Ijtemas were organized in Chittagong 1954 and Narayangonj 1958 followed by Ijtemas at the Ramna Race Course in Dhaka in 1960, 1962 and 1965 Due to the increasing rate of participants, the government of East Pakistan allowed organizers to schedule the event annually by the River Turag in Tongi 1967. As the number of participants increased, The government of Bangladesh allotted 160 acres of land was acquired and developed as a permanent Ijtema ground in Tongi.

The Ijtema is considered a demonstration of Muslim unity, solidarity, mutual love and respect and an opportunity to reiterate their commitment to Islamic values.

© Monirul Alam
© Monirul Alam
© Monirul Alam
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Single Click of the Shutter . . . 

© Monirul Alam

29 November 2016 Dhaka, Bangladesh ~ Megh and his mother sit on the studio for taking passport photo at the Picture Center Studio in the Banani Super Market, Dhaka. Studio photo business is still now in populer, everywhere in Bangladesh and abroad, especially in passport photo for various preposes.Here one think I remember to read a beautiful words,Stopping time with a single click of the shutter. Yes, it is really a good experiences to a signal click of shutter ! and use for various preposes ! Love the life with fun. © Monirul Alam

An Epic Photojournalistic Journey . . . 

The object of my work is to report the real moment of life. I recorded many times as an eyewitness. My main interest lies in documentary storytelling focusing on global issues . . .

Bangladesh based artist, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker currently works documenting social issue. His photographs have been widely published national and international media around the world. He lives in Dhaka with his beautiful family. He loves photography & teaching with creative way . . .

-Monirul Alam

Married Adolescent Girl’s Empowerment . . . 

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of early marriage in the world.Almost two-thirds of the women between 20 and 24 were married before the age 18, according to a national survey by Plan Bangladesh and ICDDR,B in 2013.The negative impact of child marriage is acknowledge worldwide and consequently there are a host of policies and programmes that focus strongly on its prevention.

Married Adolescent in Bangladesh 

65% of Bangladeshi girls are married off before the age of 18 and approximately one third of women aged 20 to 24 were married off by the age of 15 ( UNICEF )

240 women in every 100,000 live birth die from pregnancy related cause ( UNDP 2013 ) 

It is necessary to protect child rights of girls who have already entered marriage. Through my photo project I would like to show the present condition about the early married girls, especially  their daily life activates and the married girls empowering through the Image Project. The project titled Initiatives for Married Adolescent Girl’s Empowement (IMAGE) aims to ensure a life with dignity for early married girls in Bangladesh by improving their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights ( SRHR ).In this context, IMAGE working for married adolescent girl’s empowerment.

Effect of Child-marriage

Maternal Mortality during childbirth


Post-natal Complication

Unable to continue Education

Isolation and lack of Social Visibility

Unable to engage in Income Generating Activities

Young married girls are more likely to drop out of school and, consequently, miss opportunities in gainful employment later in life. Teenage pregnancy, before the age of physical maturity, increases the risk of birth complications and giving birth to a low-birth-weight baby, which is closely linked to child stunting.

The power imbalance between young brides and their husbands make girls more susceptible to domestic violence and other risks. Overall, early marriage keeps young brides and their children from reaching their full physical, economic, and social potential.

I try to shown my photo story as well as married girls aware of their rights, health condition, social position and their empowering in our society in Bangladesh.I think, in my depth storytelling to make concern and aware world wide audience and policy maker. 

I have been blessed that time and working on this project, the world has started to take notice of the importance of addressing Child Marriage and their human rights.Now there are conferences and gatherings where grassroots organization gather to talk about the issue.To me its quite lovely in that respect through Image Project.

Notes: The project, a work-in-progress . . .


Salina Audio:

Married Adolescent Girl’s Empowerment~ Salina 19 , Married at the age of 16. She said after her marriage suffer more like health complication, sexual relation.So need to stop the child marriage and empowering the girl’s who suffer more . She educated herself and pass the SSC exam. Now she works as a school teacher in the village of Ramchandrapure. Gaibandha, Bangladesh. Photo: Monirul Alam
Married Adolescent Girl’s Empowerment~ Rupali Begum 20, She read in class seven after that she married. She was not wanted as early married but her family do it. She said married girl suffer many complication. She lives with her father’s house. Her husband works abroad. They have two children. Photo: Monirul Alam
Married Adolescent Girl’s Empowerment~ Mazada Khatun 19 , When she was 17 she married to Md Samiul. She said after my marriage I suffer health complication with my eye problem. I think need to change child marriage system. Mazada doing house hold work to support her family. Photo: Monirul Alam
Married Adolescent Girl’s Empowerment~ Hawoa 18, married at the age of 16. She divorce to her husband Sabuj, because Sabuj is a drug addicted person and not doing anything, presently Hawoa live with her child in her father’s house, She wanted to work and established herself. Photo: Monirul Alam
Hawoa Audio :

Photo: Monirul Alam

The Bangladesh government endorsed in draft law on 25 November, 2016 for preventing child marriage fixing 18 years as the minimum age for girls to get married but kept a provision for special circumstances under which girls below the age could tie the knot. Women and rights bodies demanded cancellation of the provision terming it contrary to the very law that has been proposed. According to the draft, men 21 and above could get married and if either the groom or the bride or both are below 21 and 18, it would be considered a child marriage and an offence. [ News Published on 26 November 2016 The Daily Star ] 

In Our Misfortune . . . 

Photo: Monirul Alam Book Cover Photo: Shahidul Alam

I remember when I met you in the house of terror

Of what you gave me and surrender to me.

In those moment in which the light was a dream or a miracle.

However, you were the light among the darkness.

We were as one in our misfortune.

Today,after thousands of misfortunes more.

I can see you, as I did then, always looking forward.

We will see each other again through the fog that we will disperse.

Do not forget comrade.

[ Muriel Dockendorff Navarrete ] Chilean Poet,Lyricist and economics student 

Notes: Currently I read the book ‘Tortured Truths’ by Rahnuma Ahmed. Love to read this book and I think it’s a great collection to me.Book cover photo: Shahidul Alam

Old Dhaka

November 2016

অদ্ভুত রহস্যময় —এক আলো ! 

আমাদের ছাঁদে একটা বেঞ্চ আছে । যেখানে বসে থাকা যায় আবার লম্বা হয়ে শুয়ে থাকা যায় । আমি মাঝে মাঝে রাতে— ছাঁদে হাটতে গেলে সেই বেঞ্চটিতে চিত হয়ে শুয়ে আকাশের দিকে তাকিয়ে থাকি । অন্ধকার আকাশ দেখি—জেগে থাকা চাঁদ,তারা দেখি ! কতো দিন মনে করেছি—মহাকাশ বিষয়ক কিছু বই পত্র কিনে পড়াশোনা করবো। আকাশ সম্পকে কিছু জানাশোনা হবে । কিন্তু নানা কারণে তা আর হয়ে উঠেনি । হয়তো কোন একদিন হয়ে উঠবে । 

আজ ১৪ নভেম্বর ২০১৬ সাল । মেঘকে ডাক্তারের কাছে নিয়ে যেতে হবে—ধানমন্ডিতে । আ্যপয়েন্টমেন্ট করা আছে, রাত আটটায় ওর সিরিয়াল—পাঁচ । শীতের সময় মেঘের ঠান্ডা এবং এ্যালার্জিটা বেড়ে যায়, তাই এই সময়টা তাকে বেশ সর্তকে রাখতে হয় । কিন্তু কে শোনে কার কথা—সারাক্ষণ দুষ্টমি আর খেলে বেড়ানো ! 

আজ রাতের আকাশটা অন্য রকম হবে ! বিভিন্ন সংবাদ মাধ্যম থেকে যতোটুকু জানা গেল আজকের চাঁদটা অনেক অনেক বেশী উজ্জল এবং বড় দেখাবে সাধারনের তুলনায় । যাকে সুপারমুন বলা হয় । চাঁদের এ রকম উজ্জ্বলতম রূপ শেষবার দেখা গিয়েছিল ১৯৪৮ সালে। আবার দেখা যাবে ১৮ বছর পর, ২০৩৪ সালের ২৫ নভেম্বর নাসার তথ্য তাই বলছে । পৃথিবীকে ঘিরে চাঁদের যে কক্ষপথ রয়েছে তার আকৃতি ডিম্বাকার হওয়ায় কক্ষপথে প্রদক্ষিণ করার সময় চাঁদ কখনো পৃথিবীর খুব কাছে চলে আসে, আবার কখনো অনেক দূরে চলে যায়। চাঁদ যখনই পৃথিবীর খুব কাছে চলে আসে, তখন তা পৃথিবী থেকে খুব উজ্জ্বল দেখায়।

মনে মনে একটা হিসাব করলাম । মেঘকে ডাক্তার দেখিয়ে ফিরতে ফিরতে রাত দশটা হবে তাই সন্ধ্যার আকাশে চাঁদ উঠাটা আমাকে মিস করতে হবে,তাই রাতের আকাশে চাঁদের আলোটাই আমাকে উপভোগ করতে হবে । যদিও সন্ধ্যাটা ছিল সুপারমুন দেখার উপযুক্ত সময় ! যাই হোক, ব্যস্ত জীবনে অনেক সময় অনেক কিছু করা হয়ে উঠে না । এটা সত্য আর এই সত্যটা—আমি মানি । 

মজার ব্যাপার হলো, আমি যদি সন্ধ্যার সুপারমুনটি দেখতাম তাহলে রাত এগারোটার পর সেই সুপারমুনটি হয়তো আর দেখতে চাইতাম না । আর আমার জন্য এক চমক এবং বিস্ময় এখানে অপেক্ষা করছিল ! রাতের খাওয়া-দেওয়া শেষ করে ছাঁদে চলে গেলাম । হ্যাঁ প্রতিদিনের চেয়ে আজ রাতের চাঁদের আলো অন্যরকম লাগছিল, অনেক বেশী উজ্জল তবে বড় ব্যাপারটা ঠিক বুঝে উঠতে পারছিলাম না, তবে অনুভূতিটা অন্য রকম ছিল । 

বেঞ্চটিতে লম্বা হয়ে শুয়ে শুয়ে চাঁদ দেখছি । হঠাৎ খেয়াল করলাম চাঁদের বেশ কিছু দূরে—আকাশের পূর্ব দিক থেকে পশ্চিম দিকে একটা লম্বা আলোর রেখা ! আমি মনে করলাম কেউ হয়তো টর্চ দিয়ে আলো ফেলছে । কিন্তু না সেই আলোর লম্ভটা চাঁদের দিকে এগিয়ে আসছে ! ব্যাপারটা আমার কাছে অদ্ভুত লাগলো, আমি সর্তক হলাম কিন্তু ততোক্ষণে যা ঘটার তা ঘটে চলছে ! আমি আমার সঙ্গে থাকা মোবাইল দিয়ে ছবি তুলছি পাশাপাশি বুবলীকে ফোন দিচ্ছি যেন মেঘকে নিয়ে দ্রুত ছাঁদে আসে, ঘটে যাওয়া সেই ঘটনাটি দেখে ! কিন্তু ওরা আসতে আসতে বিষয়টি শেষ হয়ে গেল । ওরা শুধু আলোর রেখাটি দেখতে পেল—দূর থেকে । ঘটনাটি ছিল মাত্র কয়েক মুহুর্ত ! আসলে কি ঘটেছিল ? 

আমি যতোটুকু বুঝতে পারি, পরিষ্কার আকাশে এক টুকরো লম্বা মেঘ ( সাদা/কালো ) চাঁদকে অতিক্রম করছিল অর্থাৎ যখন চাঁদ আর ঐ মেঘে মুখোমুখি হলো তখন সৃষ্টি হলো সেই ভয়াবহ আলোর সৌন্দর্য ! অদ্ভুত রহস্যময় —এক আলো ! কি রকম এক অদ্ভুত আলো ছড়িয়ে পড়েছিল আমার চারপাশে । আর আমার মনের ভিতর অজানা এক ভয় দানা বেঁধেছিল ! পরর্বতীতে মোবাইলে তোলা ছবি গুলো বারবার দেখছিলাম যদিও সেখানে পুরো ব্যাপারটা বোঝা গেল না তবে সেই মুহুর্তটা ধরা থাকলো । 

আসলে সেই সময়টা কি ঘটেছিল ? বিজ্ঞান কি বলে ? জ্যোতির্বিদরা এর কি ব্যাখ্যা দিবেন ? কেন শুধু মাত্র ঐ সময়ে ঐ রকম অদ্ভুত আলো ছড়িয়ে পড়ল । যা এক ধরণের ভয়ের অনুভূতি তৈরি করেছিল আমার মনে ! আহা—রহস্য ঘেরা এই মহাজগত ! কতো কিছুই না ঘটে চলছে . . . 

 ১. ছবি তোলার সময় : ১১.১৩ মিনিট ( মোবাইল ফোনে তোলা )

 ২. ছবি তোলার সময় : ১১.২১ মিনিট ( ডিএসএলআরে তোলা ) 

মনিরুল আলম

পুরান ঢাকা, পাতলা খান লেন

১৪ নভেম্বর ২০১৬