Mind and soul are two concepts that are closely related yet very distinct from one another. They both come from the inner part of a human being.
The soul is the spiritual nature of humankind when the mind is one’s consciousness that starts from brain. Our minds decide our action.
It is said that human being are born free. But I guess the statement does not end there. The human beings are free as long as it can fool its mind in a way that it is free. So many times, I tried to make myself believe that I am free, but so many questions haunted me; can I do things that I want to? Can I be in the places where I want to be? I found an answer with “no”. I got surprised! How can I say that i am free! The reality is I am not! I am free only in my mind. But the reality states something completely different!!
The human mind is the most powerful part of our existence whereas our soul is the most sensitive one. Our soul represents our existence whereas our mind controls our body. When both of them are united, they have the power to do anything, but when the mind falls apart from the soul it just loses its harmony.
Sometimes my mind cannot support my soul due to social barrier. My surrounding does not support the desires of my soul. But eventually, the inner soul out burst and screams with expression of pain and anger. Even these screams cannot reach to anyone else. Cause the only sound that a soul can make is in the form of silence!!
I tried to portray the conflicts and pain of my soul and mind through series of the photographs called "inner soul".
Reflection of dispersed soul
In Bangladesh, Hijra is a social group, where people are defined either as transsexual or as men who become women by adopting womanhood. They express themselves through cross-dressing. Whatever destiny has given them they can’t change but at least they can expect acceptance in our society.
When I decided to work on the Third Gender I found a resemblance between a broken mirror and their life.
In my photo series, the red background in the broken mirror image is the symbol of the colorful world, which doesn’t accept them. The broken mirror is the symbol of the disparity between body and mind. The reality of their shattered dreams is like the broken mirror.
On the other hand, by adopting womanhood they try to forget all their abuses and tortures and stay happy but they do not get acceptance in our society. Our cruel society shuts the door for them. The black background reflects this feeling.
I wanted to explore their life just to make my viewers understand that the third genders are like normal human beings who need empathy rather than sympathy.
Story of an Entangled affair
Bede people has a long history in our country. For decades, they used to travel through the rivers and canals of Bangladesh. Nowadays, due to the decrease of riverways, they are losing their traveling life. Although some Bedes still live in boats due to an old habit they don’t travel anymore. Most of them live in camps on encroached land or rented houses. They are famous for their entertaining activities and charming characters. Charming people with the snake is the prime source of their earning.
We all get scared with the name of the snake. But when I went closer to the Bede people and got to know them better, I realized there is a different melody between the Bede people and their snakes. They respect the snakes and treat them as their family members! They understand each other’s need so heartedly that life became fearless for the Bede people.
Bede people claim that they have magical power, which they believe they use to make the snakes obedient. In my series, I have used the black background to showcase their belief. Also as their belief and lifestyle are very much inspired by this magical power I did not try to separate the human figure from the background so that the viewer can also feel the strength of their magic.
Snakes are mostly a colorful reptile. Bede people also love to wear a colorful dress. It seems the harmony in their lives also gets reflected through their choice of lifestyle. The intimacy is so pure between the Bede people and their snake it is almost impossible to describe. I just tried to frame their intimacy with the snakes through my photography.
Survivor; survived against all odds
In Bangladesh, the nomadic community, known as Bede community is a unique social group of people with distinctive culture and heritage. The Bede used to live, travel, and earn their living on the river. Nowadays this scenario cannot be traced much.
This photo series represents the story of a pregnant Bede woman named Dulary who already had four children when she gave birth to her fifth child and it’s a boy. In Bede community, during their pregnancy the traditional midwives of the society always guide them. They never visit doctors unless it becomes crucial. It is a tradition of Bede community that children take birth with the help of the traditional midwives.
Unlike conventional society, BEDE community is not male-dominated. Household chores are not labeled as “womanly” work, and most importantly, their men take care of their pregnant women.
When someone has labor pain, a group of Bede women usually leaves their work and stays home to support the pregnant woman. Also, the other groups who go to work share their earning with the women who stay home. Such a wonderful tradition and bonding they share which makes them unique.
I have seen Dulary craving for relief from her intolerable pain for long sixteen hours. Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws and it came true for her. Dulary had no support of doctor or medical center in her crucial moments. They entrust to the midwife. Her trust won and she finally gave birth to a healthy baby. She forgot all her pain when she saw her baby. It's not that birth is not painful, it's that women are strong, and motherhood is the happiest feeling in this world.
Yes, it’s true that the birth process is unhygienic and different statistics can be shown which will prove that the percentage of vaccination rate during pregnancy is low, children don’t get immunization properly, but this is the way they are leading their lives for decades. Among all these pessimism I found them happy. This is a fact that they are far away from all the basic needs but this is the way they are living lives for years. I wanted to explore the birth process in Bede community, who has survived against all the odds.