Rajoyana Chowdhury: Hazard

Rajoyana Chowdhury (Bangladesh): Hazard

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Tea gardens of Sylhet, Bangladesh – A plantation where mass human labor is used in manufacturing tea for different international and local brands. An industry where the workers work from 7 to 5 every day with just one little break of 30 mins during their all day long work hours where they get paid as little as USD 0.88 (BDT 69) at the end of the day. The wages are their only earnings to feed their families whereas this tea is being exported worldwide to relieve the stress of the mass depicting the manufacturing plantation as an industry where human slavery prevails.

Undergoing a lot of physical burdens, some of the workers even end up getting swollen arm and feet. Getting bruised and bitten by snakes is an everyday thing in the fields where they work under the open sky in hot sun and rain. Their kids remain uneducated and their sickness untreated being unable to afford with the little they earn. The huts where they live for generations can’t ever really be under their ownership. At least one of the member of each family has to be a worker of the plantation. A term which they are forced to agree to, resulting in a morbid way of life without much notions of hope.

These are the people I intend to work with. Photographing not the natural beauty of the plantation and the exoticness but picturing the world where the workers belong. I photographed the space where they live and work, their anecdotes, happenings and belongings in their everyday life acts and that’s when I suddenly discovered myself quite spiritually attached with each individual with humble souls and unheard stories.

Working there, I realized not only they are working for a very small amount but also living with impossible conditions. Even if someone wants to go for a better life or education, they are not allowed all the time. At least one person from the family needs to work, if they leave it, they lose the land. They will end up with no place to go to. Which makes me go there again and again.

Photography is a visual medium which speaks many languages as one. Being a visual artist, conscious of their story, bringing up their situation to the people for we know very little of how long this has been their lifestyle and how far this tends to go.