The platform of Kamlapur rail station also used to be a common place for shelter at night for the pavement dwellers, but these people are no longer allowed to sleep here either. I have been taking photos of pavement dwellers since 2005. Since then I have observed that while the number of pavement dwellers is increasing, place where the can is shrinking every year making it more and more difficult for the to survive. 2007, Kamalapur Railway Station.
15,000 to 20,000 people sleep and spend the day on the pavements of Dhaka city. These are some of the most vulnerable people in the country, with few assets enabling them to cope with life and a political, social and economic context that virtually ignores them.
Pavement dwellers are engaged in a variety of activities, including being porters, labourers unloading trucks in markets, rickshaw-pullers, maidservants, sex traders and waste recyclers. These people are deprived of the basic necessities like food, shelter, health, and security. They are conscious about their identities as human beings, although they are living an inhumane life. ‘Amrao manush’ is a Bangla phrase that means “We are humans too”.
The number of pavement dwellers increased at about the same rate with the increasing population of Dhaka. A significant cause of the city’s rapid population growth is urban migration, including both people being pushed out of rural areas because they have lost resources to floods, debt or other disasters and people being pulled to Dhaka by the promise of better opportunities.
Now is the right time to think about this community of victims swept behind by the seemingly unstoppable tide of urban migration.
Shehab Uddin born in 1972, Khulna, Bangladesh. His interests lie in socio-political documentation. Having worked as a newspaper photographer for more than eight years, he joined Drik, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Drik gives him the freedom to practice his craft in the way he believes it should be practiced. He worked as an assistant lecturer in the College of Journalism and Mass Communication in Kathmandu for a year. He completed his graduation in photojournalism from Pathshala, The South Asian Media Academy and Institute of Photography.
A Panos media fellow, Shehab is more comfortable working in areas that involve emotion and values. His works has been exhibited globally and also in online galleries. Images were published in both domestic and international publications like Time Journal of Photography, The POLITIKEN, USA Today, CBS news, Time Online, The Guardian, Times daily, New Internationalist, Der Spiegel Nepali Times and so on.
He has won several awards such as All Roads (Honourable Mention) National Geographic, WHO, Asahi Shimbun & IIPC, FIAP, HPA.
His work has been preserved as a permanent collection in Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts (Japan), Dhaka Nagar Jadughar (Dhaka City Museum) and Liberation War Museum (Bangladesh).