Nodi Nebe!: Kakoli's initiative to educate the younger generation about rivers
The tranquil waters of the Turag river are adorned with stately boats, their sails billowing in the gentle breeze as they navigate their way through the picturesque scene. Along the riverbanks, lush meadows stretch as far as the eyes can see. National Geographic shared a stunning photograph of such descriptions of the Turag river in 2009 on their website, taken by photographer Dick Durrance in 1972, serving as a timeless reminder of its beauty and wonder.
However, several decades later, what is the state of the Turag River today? The green meadows no longer surround the river; instead, the Turag is now polluted with industrial waste and garbage, and is likely the most polluted river in Bangladesh.
Not only the Turag river, many rivers of Bangladesh are getting polluted like this. Some rivers are probably getting smaller and sometimes rivers are being encroached.
Photojournalist Kakoli Prodhan has photographed more than 100 rivers over the past 20 years. About 100 photographs were selected to show the plight of rivers in her solo photography exhibition 'Nodi Nebe!'.
"The river has life and we are suffocating it. Aquatic lives are facing endangerment. Over the decades, the landscape of the river has changed in the north-south and east-west region. Somewhere the river has completely disappeared. I captured this atrocity of killing the river in my camera lens for almost two decades. I also captured the life of the people living by the river," said Prodhan.
"Nodi Nebe!" is a travelling exhibition was held at Teknaf and Khulna, this year. With the assistance of Ikri Mikri Book Studio, photojournalist Prodhan took an initiative to educate the younger generation, along with the common people about rivers and their importance for our survival.
On 20 Marchthis exhibition was inaugurated in Dhaka at Shyampur Eco Park on the banks of Buriganga. Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Md Tajul Islam was present as the chief guest. Moreover Commodore Arif Ahmed Mostafa, Chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority was also present.
Prodhan had some sort of connection with the river since her childhood.
"It was the 80s. I was a child then. When my parents got time, they used to take me to the banks of different rivers. Besides, when I was travelling in a car, if my mother saw a river on the side or in the distance, she used to say 'Look, a river'," she added.
In 2005, she started working as a photojournalist, but her journalism career started in early 2000. For professional work, she had to travel to different parts of the country often. Then slowly she saw the condition of the rivers that she had seen in her childhood was changing day by day.
"I don't know how much this problem of rivers will be solved. But as a photographer I want to highlight these issues to people, especially our young generation. I want to pass the rivers in good condition to the next generation and also want them to take care of these rivers," said Prodhan.
The show is open for all till 22 March. Moreover the 4th and final edition of this exhibition will be held in Barisal on a yet to be decided date.
TBS Picks: A selection of photographs from the show with descriptions from the photographer
Belan: Is it really a river?
Belan River is one of the rivers in the dire state of North Bengal. As I walked along this river it didn't feel like a river but a canal. Due to damming in various parts of West Bengal, India the river is in this condition. Some parts were occupied to grow crops.
Turag: Let the administration be in favour of the river.
This photo was taken a few days ago. Although the administration has freed much of the Turag river, a question still lingers in my mind, is our Turag river really so narrow? Besides, many areas of the Turag River are still occupied and polluted.
Dharla: Will Bangladesh restore the beauty of this river?
I have only one question for the administration. We have so many agreements with the neighbouring country about rivers, even then we cannot improve these rivers? Have we that much failed so diplomatically? Because of this failure the rivers are losing their beauty. As the navigability of the river decreases, various parts of the country are flooded every year, the cropland being damaged.