Happy Birthday Drik!

At 24 years Drik has grown up handsomely and I can well imagine the excitement, preparation going on at Drik now. So, here’s wishing the very best of times in the years ahead and some photo memories of the happy and unforgettable couple of years I spent among great friends at Drik. It’s a quicky A- Z romp through Drik during my time there.

A – is for Alam Bhai, the bearded, bicycle riding, founder Director of Drik — the creator, the innovator, his Amazing network of friends and his even more Aamazing & Awesome global fan club. Not to be forgotten A is also for the Audio Visual Department, where I spent many hours working with colleagues.

Shahidul Alam waits to be interviewed at Chobi Mela IV, Dhaka.  11 September 2006. Photograph© Chulie de Silva

Shahidul Alam waits to be interviewed at Chobi Mela IV, Dhaka.
11 September 2006. Photograph© Chulie de Silva

Shahidul Alam & David Burnett on the Drik Terrace after the launch of the Book and Film Birth Pangs of a Nation. Photograph© Chulie de Silva

Shahidul Alam & David Burnett on the Drik Terrace after the launch of the Book and Film Birth Pangs of a Nation. Photograph© Chulie de Silva

B– is for the Banglarights website — I was a part of the team that set it up first in 2001 &  for Beards and moustaches that came in all sizes, shapes & shades at Drik.

Topu and Nipun in the Drik Publications Department. Chobi Mela IV visit to Drik, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 15 Nov. 2006. Photograph© Chulie de Silva

Topu and Nipun in the Drik Publications Department. Chobi Mela IV visit to Drik, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 15 Nov. 2006. Photograph© Chulie de Silva

C  – is for Chobi Mela that gives everyone an  adrenalin high & of course the inimitable Drik Calendars

.On my visit to Chobi Mela IV. Photographer unknown

First visit to Chobi Mela IV, 2006. Photographer unknown

D – is for DPA – Drik Picture Agency — the first of its kind in Asia housing and archiving  incredible amount of valuable photographs. But what I remember is the team I worked with while I was there.

Joined in friendship at Drik Picture Agency (DPA) celebrating Valentine's Day.  Hands of Moinak, Tapu, Falan, Moly, Doli, Nargish,Shefali. February1 4, 2012. Drik, Dhaka, 2012. Photo Abul Kashem.

Joined in friendship at Drik Picture Agency (DPA) celebrating Valentine’s Day. Hands of Moinak, Tapu, Falan, Moly, Doli, Nargish,Shefali. February1 4, 2012. Drik, Dhaka, 2012. Photo Abul Kashem.

E – is for  Exhibitions — a continuous stream of exhibitions were on at the two galleries.

F –  is for Fine Art Prints Drik

G – is for Gallery

H – is for Hugs. Gosh! there were hugs, hugs & hugs at Drik. A very very huggable environment.

I – is for  Images there were plenty and sometimes we couldn’t remember who took them even! I is also for Interns — Anna, Bai Xi, Yan, Nabil, Barbara, Diya and all the other young ones I worked with at one time or another.

Happy days at Chobi Mela VI Secretariat with Left to Right  Anna Hofsäß, Mostafa Sorower, Adnan Wahid. 26 October 2010

Happy days at Chobi Mela VI Secretariat with Left to Right Anna Hofsäß, Mostafa Sorower, Adnan Wahid. 26 October 2010

J – is for Jokes and for Jingles of songs – everyone sang – romantic, heart rending beautiful songs  and some taught me the first few words “chokh khulle dekhi tomake. …”

K –  is for Karma, the unseen linking force that took me to Drik. …

L – is for lunch room the fun, joking and also the place  we groaned about work letting off steam and  L is also for unforgettable Lisa with that haunting smile.

M-  is for Manthan Award for RVJN and there is Majority World 

N –  is for National pride, never a shortage of it — you see it in the strong activists and the DNA Newsletters that were so fun to compile.

Bangladesh garment workers call for their rights on May Day 2011. Photograph© Chulie de Silva

Bangladesh garment workers call for their rights on May Day 2011.
Photograph© Chulie de Silva

O –  is for Oops! for the mistakes we made trying to juggle too many tasks, but damage control kicked in fast with many supporters.

P – is for Photography, Publishing departments. And the much awaited Pay day. Fun was working with my colleague Mahbub in publishing putting designs together with the maestro on graphics Reza, giving us valuable points on fine tuning a design. The last design I think, that Mahbub and I worked on was this for the Jamini mag.

Drik Ad for JaminiB2Q – is for Queen’s Museum of Art in New York where the Crossfire exhibition was held in April 2012.

R –  is for RVJN,  the creative Rural Visual Journalism Network, the rooftop at Drik and the many Rickshaws and Rickshaw wallas who ferried me to and fro from Drik.

S —is for Shingara, and all the shingara and cake parties we had.

Lisa, Falan and I in happier times. 1 January 2012. Photograph Drik Photography Dept.

Lisa, Falan, Kashem and I in happier times. 1 January 2012. Photograph Drik Photography Dept.

T – is for Tea — Cha the ever favourite cuppa and of course for Terrace at Drik.

U – is for Unwavering, Unafraid, Unbowed all good words to describe Drik

V –  is for vision that Drik is.

W – is for World Press Photo – long time supporter of Drik

X – is for the  X factor of Drik — hard to understand at times, difficult to pin down but there it is — that’s what an X-factor is.

Y – is for You All of you at Drik, that I remember with affection.

Z –  is for Zippy even amidst all the hard work there is time to share a laugh and we were Zippy!

The terrace at Drik is the favourite place for photos. There's always someone with a camera. Not sure who took this photo but it was a good joke.

The terrace at Drik is the favourite place for photos. There’s always someone with a camera. Not sure who took this photo but it was a good joke.

Ritigala, where Gods are smiling

The excited voice on the phone said “Chulie I am in Sri Lanka, are you here?” Sadly I wasn’t – I was stuck in a hospital in Dhaka with pneumonia. The caller was Nirvair Singh Rai, a young Indian friend I met while working at Drik. Today, we caught up on GChat.  “I am in love with your homeland, and the people. Everything about it! and Ritigala always calls me back.” He pays tribute to Ritigala in his blog and says:

Life is but another threshold for a monk, waiting to be crossed over. Photo©Nirvair Singh Rai

Life is but another threshold for a monk, waiting to be crossed over. Photo©Nirvair Singh Rai

Deep within the heart of Sri Lanka, a monk treads softly on a path that has been walked on since as long ago as 1st Century BCE. Monarchs, kings and rulers have come and gone, but this humble monastery situated in Ritigala, the highest peak in northern Sri Lanka, still stands in all its austerity and simplicity.”

“The monastery does not feature any of the traditional symbols of Buddhist temples, it does not have bodhi trees or stupas. All it has to offer is the honesty of its scarlet robed monks, and the kindness of their hands—some, as weathered and wrinkled as the terrain itself, and some, as young and as unlined as green saplings.”

Kindness lies in the gentleness of hands, and wisdom, in the quietness of a gaze. Photo©Nirvair Singh Rai

Kindness lies in the gentleness of hands, and wisdom, in the quietness of a gaze. Photo©Nirvair Singh Rai

  “Somewhere  along the way, we have forgotten how to navigate the ardous terrain of life. But in this hidden land, the map to the pathways of the heart and the mind, as well as the nimble grace needed to walk them, still lives on. This series is my attempt to share some of Ritigala’s purity and wisdom. It is merely my effort to make you feel what I felt—bliss…”

 Read and see more on his post: The Gods are Smiling

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Nirvair hails from Bathinda, Punjab, India and is currently studying photography at Pathshala, the South Asian Media Institute, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Ritigala the ancient Buddhist monastery and mountain in Sri Lanka is located 43 km away from the UNESCO World Heritage city of Anuradhapura.

Note: All story text of “Gods are Smiling” and photographs copyright Nirvair Singh Rai. For publication of full story with high res images please contact: nirvairrai@gmail.com

A personal odyssey: In search of Kalpana Chakma

Magnfied view of leaf at bazaar where Kalpana and Lieutenant Ferdous had an altercation shortly before her disappearance. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Magnfied view of leaf at bazaar where Kalpana and Lieutenant Ferdous had an altercation shortly before her disappearance. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

The brilliance of visual documentary combined with meticulous research in the photo-forensic study “In search of Kalpana Chakma” breaks a painful silence of the disappearance of Kalpana Chakma, an outspoken indigenous Bangladeshi woman who fought for the rights of her people.

Hand of Kalpana’s brother Kalindi Kumar Chakma. He mentions how the torch light reflected from his hand lit up Lieutenant Ferdous’ face. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Hand of Kalpana’s brother Kalindi Kumar Chakma. He mentions how the torch light reflected from his hand lit up Lieutenant Ferdous’ face. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Kalindi Kumar Chakma, a witness to the forcible capture of his sister 17 years ago, will inaugurate the exhibition at Drik Gallery on 12 June 2013, at 6:00 pm. The event being held on Kalpana Chakma Abduction Day is in solidarity with events organised on this day in three Zilla’s of Chittagong HIll Tracts where generally, no such show is made by Bangali. The show will be open to visitors till the 21 June 2013 at the Drik Gallery, House 58, Road 15 A (new) Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209.

Kalpana’s brother, who was also taken away, in the paddy field they had walked through that night. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Kalpana’s brother, who was also taken away, in the paddy field they had walked through that night. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

The architects of the study are Shahidul Alam, photojournalist, activist and scientist and Saydia Gulrukh, a social scientist, activist and journalist. They present not only a visually engaging exhibition but also a detailed examination and a re-enactment of an issue that has been conveniently obscured by successive Bangladeshi governments.

Kalpana’s sister-in-law who was there when she was abducted. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Shahidul Alam

Kalpana’s sister-in-law who was there when she was abducted. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Shahidul Alam

As journalists, Saydia and I have tried to follow every lead possible, through every means possible, to speak to every key player in the story,” says Alam.  They have traced obscure links, overcoming fears of repercussions, to reviving lost contacts, building trust, locating documents that were inaccessible. “From the paharis to the settlers, from government officials to military big wigs, from lawyers, to local bystanders, we have searched for clues wherever the slightest lead existed.”

Edge of ribbon Kalpana wore. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Edge of ribbon Kalpana wore. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Kalpana’s experiences, last moments are poignantly dressed and presented via everyday ordinary things  – a ribbon that would have adorned her hair, a favourite shoe, the mosquito net she slept under, her brother’s palm which reflected the torch light that lit up the alleged abductor Lieutenant Ferdous’ face – all transformed using a full spectrum of forensic options and shaped for interpretation in this exhibition by Alam, the scientist.

Segment of Kalpana’s shoe. Cyan excitation, Green radiation. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Segment of Kalpana’s shoe. Cyan excitation, Green radiation. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

“ I have extracted visual fragments using lights, filters and lenses to get the data to yield images. Working in Tokyo, using printing techniques not yet made public, says Alam the photographer.  “I’ve rendered on paper imagery that describes in light and shade, what those silent witnesses have tried to say”

The word ‘fear’ written in Kalpana’s diary. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

The word ‘fear’ written in Kalpana’s diary. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

The images he has created, while based upon complex scientific procedures, does not ‘prove’ anything. The objects he had photographed, while silent witnesses, had not ‘seen’ the crime. The artifacts, interviews, videos and photographs Alam and Gulrukh present are not ‘evidence’. But it opens a rich forum for dissent and effectively shatters the silence successive Bangladeshi governments, whether civilian or military backed, has carefully nurtured for the seventeen long years.

The exhibition is the fourth in the series “No more”, a public awareness campaign of Drik PLC.

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The exhibition opening will be live on www.drik.tv at 1800 hrs (GMT +6).

See also: Searching for Kalpana Chakma on ShahidulNews; www.drik.net

International Media Contact: Chulie de Silva: chuls201@gmail.com

Drik: Murder not tragedy / Tragedi Noi Hottakando

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Murder not tragedy
A project at Drik Gallery

An exhibition of observations, both witnessed and imagined of the rana plaza collapse.

View original post 319 more words

AnthropoGraphia: 2013 Human Rights Visual Storytelling Awards

AnthropoGraphia Award 5th Edition
Human Rights through visual storytelling.

AnthropoGraphia has announced a call for entries for the 2013 Human Rights through Visual Storytelling Award.

Call for entries ends: 7 May 2013.

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Human Rights Through Visual Storytelling
 
AnthropoGraphia will grant a 3,000$ award to one outstanding Visual Storytelling essay.

This is an excellent opportunity for visual storytellers to exhibit their work and demonstrate their commitment to human rights issues.

For the 2013 edition, AnthroGraphia will be selecting 12 photo-essays and 6 multimedia projects from the entries submitted. These will be chosen by a team of curators that includes Matthieu Rytz, the president of AnthropoGraphia, and 2 guests curators:  Adrian Evans – Director of Panos Pictures, and Shahidul Alam – photographer, writer, lecturer and human rights activist, Managing Director Drik PLC

Adrian Evans                                                Shahidul Alam
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Álvaro Laiz – winner of an honorary mention at the 4th edition of the AnthropoGraphia Award
Mongolia is a sovereign nation and the least densely populated country in the world, with fewer than two inhabitants per square kilometre. Homosexuality is still taboo there. The weight of tradition and the years under Soviet domination, a time during which homosexuals were sent to the gulag, constitute a great burden for gays, lesbians, and transsexuals, who continue to be repressed, rejected, and victimized.
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The lamp is lit — am home

The lamp lit my house has come alive. Photo©Chulie de Silva

The flickering lamp light bathes the Buddha statue in a serene glow. 
Photo©Chulie de Silva

Just as soap operas often end on cliffhangers, which are almost magically resolved at the start of the next episode, a difficult drama of my last days in Dhaka has taken a surprising but pleasing turn for the better.

Working at Drik we were never short of excitement and laughter, however frustrating the work was at times. More so at Chobi Mela time. This year’s Chobi Mela VII was terrific – we were running on a high despite all the work.  However, the time was fast approaching for me to leave the second family of sons and daughters and even one self appointed grandson I had acquired in Dhaka.

Wahid Adnan and I . Drik Picture Agency, Drik, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photographer unknown.

Wahid Adnan, my Bangladesh grandson and I . Drik Picture Agency, Drik, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photographer unknown.

The jokes about the Secretariat being a sickie ward turned not so funny when my persistent annoying cough was diagnosed as pneumonia. I had missed out on the tail end of Chobi Mela events, then there were the hartals and Shahbagh Square and my own work visa expiring.  Yes, life had become a soap opera, with me ending up at Apollo hospital with midnight x-rays and ECG’s etc, etc. The big question was would I get better in time to get out of Dhaka before my visa expired?

The cleaner at my apartment in Lalmatia. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

The cleaner at my apartment in Lalmatia. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

I didn’t make it but had to overstay 4 days. However, I had a benevolent angel who smoothed the way, and Bangladesh Immigration officials were so polite and courteous I breezed through immigration after paying a small fine.  Yes, the universe was kind and I was finally living my oft quoted “ Chole Jabbo Sri Lanka.” I had asked for an aisle seat on Mihin Air, but the two Indian gentlemen were already comfortably settled and had left me the window seat for me. Being a morning flight, I didn’t quibble, and was rewarded with a last view of Dhaka. Up in the air, it looked like a lego city shrouded in smog. The rows of apartment blocks in certain section even looked orderly.

Reminder of rickshaw rides in Dhaka now sits atop my bookshelf. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Reminder of rickshaw rides in Dhaka now sits atop my bookshelf. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

The sight of Lanka, when I return from living abroad — whether it is flickering night-lights or the lush green of the tropical island by day — has always been a moving sight for me. The big treat came as we approached the island past the Indian shoreline. It was the sight of the legendary Adam’s Bridge  — the chain of limestone shoals, between mainland India, and Sri Lanka.  The sea separating India and Sri Lanka is called Sethusamudram meaning “Sea of the Bridge”. I could clearly see the chain of shoals and the tip of Mannar and the sea glistening in the bright sunlight.  I was seeing this Google map alive. The bridge was first mentioned in the Indian epic Ramayana by Valmiki and was apparently built by Rama and his army led by Hanuman to reach Sri Lanka to rescue Sita.

Adam's Bridge NASA image

Adam’s Bridge NASA image

Back home I am enveloped in the warmth of the house, friends and family. A house is not just bricks and mortar – there are the whispers, the voices of laughter, thousand memories. I wake up to the sound of squirrels outside my window and birds chirping away in the fruit trees. My barren avocado tree has flowers and bears a single tiny fruit.

Avocado flowers. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Avocado flowers. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

The morning sunlight dapples my collection of Buddha’s and artifacts that I have arranged on the black and white runner that was Drik’s farewell present.

Sunlight dapples the old wooden

Sunlight dapples the old wooden “pettagama” which holds a collection of Buddha statues and artefacts. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Light symbolises the absence of darkness, grief and unhappiness. An oil lamp is lit to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms. As I watch the flickering flame I am filled with a warm content feeling. It’s great to be back in a house filled with light and my thoughts flit to a verse from the Bhaddekaratta Sutta:

Let one not trace back the past
Or yearn for the future-yet-to-come.
That which is past is left behind
Unattained is the “yet-to-come.”
But that which is present he discerns —
With insight as and when it comes.
The Immovable — the-non-irritable.
In that state should the wise one grow
Today itself should one bestir
Tomorrow death may come — who knows?
For no bargain can we strike
With Death who has his mighty hosts.
But one who dwells thus ardently
By day, by night, untiringly
Him the Tranquil Sage has called
The Ideal Lover of Solitude.

From the: “Bhaddekaratta Sutta: The Discourse on the Ideal Lover of Solitude” (MN 131), translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Ñanananda. Access to Insight, 19 September 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.nana.html . Retrieved on 2 March 2013.

Note: Not everyone agrees with the Indian version of Ramayana. See: Madhusudan’s subversive interpretation of the Ramayana story, with Meghnad, son of Ravana portrayed as a tragic hero https://chulie.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/painting-my-imagination-with-william-radice/

Chobi Mela VII International Photography Festival on NYT’s Lens blog

A Rohingya child in a camp in Bangladesh. Photo Saiful Huq Omi

A Rohingya child in a camp in Bangladesh. Photo Saiful Huq Omi

From Bangladesh, a Photo Festival Builds Bridges

JAMES ESTRIN of the Lens Blog featured Drik’s Chobi Mela International Festival and said:

There are well over a hundred photo festivals around the world, and new ones pop up almost daily. Many claim to be international, usually exhibiting a few local photographers alongside some international — read Western — photographic luminaries.

What sets apart the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is that it is not only truly international, but is also perhaps the world’s most demographically inclusive festival. Running this year from Jan. 25 through Feb. 7, it will feature photographers from 23 countries and every continent except Antarctica. This year, separate programs, presentations and exhibits focus on photography from China, Russia, Nigeria, Latin America and the Middle East as well as Bangladesh.

He featured 2 of the artists at the festival.

One was Saiful Huq Omi  a renowned Bangladeshi photographer (Slides 8 to 12) who has been documenting the plight of the Rohingyas, a Burmese Muslim ethnic minority. Tens of thousands of them have fled oppression, human rights violations and violence in western Myanmar and now live as refugees in Bangladesh.

Photo Maïmouna Guerresi

Photo Maïmouna Guerresi

The other was  Maïmouna Guerresi who was raised a Catholic in Italy but converted to Islam after encountering an African Sufi community in Senegal. She is a sculptor, video artist and photographer who lives both in Italy and Senegal.

Read more at:

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/from-bangladesh-a-photo-festival-builds-bridges/

Lens Blog on Rashid Talukder & the War of Independence

Never a day passes at the Drik Picture Agency where I work without a mention of Rashid Talukder’s name. He is our honoured and much loved photographer. A heroic and legendary, he documented the Bangladesh’s War of Independence.  I didn’t know him when he was alive but only found him in his images.  And so why do we talk about him daily – because we are trying to classify and catalogue his vast collection of over 100,000 images he trusted and left to Drik.

A young boy leads a procession during the mass uprising of 1969. in Dhaka,The boy was killed shortly after the photo was taken. Photo Rashid Talukder/Drik

A young boy leads a procession during the mass uprising of 1969. in Dhaka,The boy was killed shortly after the photo was taken. Photo Rashid Talukder/Drik

He pops up at various points – on a wall at Drik, a request for licensing an image, in “The Birth Pangs of a Nation,”; in the documentary on the Chobi Mela festival, in a Fine Art Print …  I cannot pass his photo of the young boy activist without saying “ am so sorry” to the little boy who was shot soon after the photo was taken.  I remember how nauseated I felt when I saw the gruesome image of the decapitated head. How much more awful would it have been to keep a steady hand ad stay focused on the photo documentation of the war.

Then there are the gentle fleeting moments of life in rural Bangla he captured. The young  boy and his goat; the teenage wives on a wooden grinding mill with their babes; the row of ducks that stopped a military truck dead in its track;  or the tortoise ambling along at his own speed..

I am sorry, I never got to know him, though I remember how he was feted when he received the Life Time achievement at the Chobi Mela festival in 2006.  Wish we could call him to ask more about the large number of photos he didn’t caption, but today in the Lens blog he speaks to us.

Thanks James for introducing him to the West and the rich legacy of his.

See a selection of photos and read more of what James Estrin has to say on the  “Images of Independence, Finally Free

Manthan Award for Drik’s Rural Visual Journalism Network

When Drik’s “Rural Visual Journalism Network” (RVJN) grabbed a Manthan Award in the “e-news and media” category, at a gala ceremony in the Habitat Centre in New Delhi, India on 1 December 2012, we were jumping for joy in Dhaka.

The RVJN Project Manager, Muhammad Aminuzzaman, accepts the award in the “e-news and media” category, Habitat Centre in New Delhi, 1 December 2012.

The RVJN Project Manager, Muhammad Aminuzzaman, accepts the award in the “e-news and media” category, Habitat Centre in New Delhi, 1 December 2012.

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The citation on the award for RVJN said: “for publishing online the stories of locally based citizen journalists about human right violations, good governance and livelihood options.” Recognition gets the adrenalin flowing and confidence spikes. We hope it will boost sales of the multimedia stories and can boost the income levels of these hard working rural journalists.

cross banner2 blogPhoto©Chandan Robert Rebeiro/Drik

There was no doubt in our minds that this project was innovative. Last year we were taking off with our first training – we had a hard time selecting and bringing the rural journalists to Dhaka. None had seen an iPod, no one had ever handled a movie camera and they had no previous experience of making movies. As I sat listening to DJ Clark, our first trainer at and the brains behind the program, I picked up the tagline “Moving News to Digital Platforms.”

RVJN Manthan Award 2012blog

One year down the line RVJN has trained thirty journalists. They use the new technology  imaginatively to rewrite old issues faced by media and give voice to rural citizens of Bangladesh. The Network focuses on the disadvantaged representation of women and children in the media sector and generating employment for the district correspondence through sales of the multimedia stories. The topics currently covered include environmental issues, governance, gender issues, human rights, cultural and religious festivals, and livelihood. Over the next three years the trained correspondents are expected to produce multimedia (photography, video, text) stories from the 64 districts of Bangladesh. The stories are distributed by DrikNews .

The training course is an intensive, comprehensive multimedia workshop. The course includes an introduction to the iPod touch, the main device for producing and editing the multimedia visuals, basic video skills, basic audio skills combined with journalism, and news-reporting techniques.

RVJN is a component of the Press Freedom 2.0 programme in Bangladesh and is supported by the World Press Photo. http://www.worldpressphoto.org/news/rural-visual-journalism-network-launched-bangladesh

For Rural Stories from RVJN:  www.driknew.com/site/rvjn

 

Drik Wins Asia Publishing Award for “Birth Pangs of a Nation”

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Drik won the Asia Publishing Award for “Birth Pangs of a Nationin theBest Insights into Asian Societies (Non-Fiction) Category” at a Gala award ceremony in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, today, 30 November, 2012.

The book and the film “The Birth Pangs of a Nation” was produced in 2011 to celebrate 40 years of Bangladesh’s turbulent history and to present a visual map of the birth of a nation. The story poignantly unfolds through images by some of the finest photojournalists in the world and personal interviews of photographers, freedom fighters, refugees and care givers. Some of the photographers have long since passed away. Those who are alive recall events as each experienced it, from a particular vantage point. All this made it a unique compilation that adds to the rich fabric of the history of the country.

 Drik in accepting the award dedicated it to the “the brave and courageous people portrayed in this book and the twenty photographers from Bangladesh, France, India, UK and USA who themselves took risks to document the events.”

The Bangladeshi War of Liberation, like all other wars, has a contested history,”  said Shahidul Alam, editor of the book. “The number killed, the number raped, the number displaced, are all figures that change depending upon who tells the story. But the visual record is a testament to the resilience, the powerful spirit and dignity of the people who were caught in this.”

It is our wish that the younger generation will be inspired by the powerful spirit and courage of the people of Bangladesh,” Alam said.

Coming after 40 years, we remember them today, with both a tear and a smile.

Drik thanks the Asia Publishing Committee for the recognition;  UNHCR Bangladesh for their support in this endeavor aand the core team and many others who contributed to the production of this book.

For more about the book and a selection of images : http://drik.net/the-birth-pangs-of-a-nation/

See also: http://drik.net/