ritual

Charak Puja at Aspect Ratio Magazine

http://www.aspectratiomagazine.com/#!charak-puja/cpkn

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Jashim Salam’s work revolves around topics that are relevant to his country and its people.This young photojournalist calls himself a story-teller who conveys his message mostly through photographs. Story of Charak Puja, which literally translates as ‘Wheel Worship’, is of an annual folk festival that falls in March each year, marking the last day of Bengali year and is observed by the followers of Hindu religion all over rural Bangladesh.

‘The power to capture the essence of life, human emotions and the story that leads to these emotions persuaded me to take-up photojournalism and documentary photography. It need not be any intense topic. Anything subtle, or what many might even think of as trivial, but daily life manifesting emotions capable of engaging an audience, is enough incentive for me to go ahead and capture the story and represent my country, which I remain immensely proud of,’ says Jashim Salam. ‘I document my own culture, heritage and festivals along with other social issues. Charak Puja is one of the most ancient religious festivals that is still celebrated in some rural villages of Bangladesh. It is slowly losing its grandeur in modern-day society. I am afraid that in coming years this too will disappear, like many other religious celebrations, taking with it our cultural past.’

‘The year, according to Bengali calendar, ends with Chaitra Songkranti. This is when people arrange village fairs and perform rituals, including forms of body piercing. A group of Hindu devotees perform these rituals. It is a folk festival celebrated in the Hindu community of some rural areas of Bangladesh and in some sections in India’s state of West Bengal. People come out to pray to Lord Shiva, and the offering which are collected from all the surrounding villages are later distributed among the many gathered devotees,’ says Salam.

Jashim Salam is currently working on Water World, his personal project on climate change, and its effect, especially on urban settings, like his home city, Chittagong. ‘This is a very personal ongoing project as the tidal floods affect my family and my home regularly. The effects of climate change – rising sea-level and sea-surface temperature, carbon emissions by First World countries, deforestation, global warming  – have brought a sudden vulnerability to the lives and livelihoods of people living in Chittagong city and coastal areas of Bangladesh,’ says Salam. ‘Last several years, my family has been greatly affected by the tidal floods. Lately, our home, which is situated in the heart of the city of Chittagong, goes under tidal waters often. If the sea-level keeps increasing, I could lose my roots. With all my childhood memories along with my photographs, I am portraying a city that I am deeply connected with – and the suffering that experienced along with its inhabitants.’

Jashim Salam’s message to us all…..

‘Take your time to understand what makes you happy rather than tagging along with the hype around you. Patience is important. Happiness and success will follow.’

Charak Puja

© Jashim Salam

Jashim Salam is a documentary photographer based in Bangladesh.
Graduated in photography from Pathshala – The South Asian Media Institute.

He started his photographic career with DrikNEWS agency. He has since worked for New Age, an English daily of Bangladesh, Drik Picture Agency, Majority World, NUR Photo Agency Demotix and Corbis Images.

His work has been published in numerous national and international newspapers, magazines and publications including The Sunday Times Magazine, Lens Blog – New York Times, Reuters, National Geographic, SPIEGEL, Observer, New Internationalist, The Guardian, WIRED, Corbis, Reader’s Digest, Himal South Asian, Better Photography, The Climate Crisis, CNN, Photojournale, AP,ZUMA Press, SIPA Press, Garuda Indonesia magazine, Forum Magazine, Daily Star, New Age, Prothom Alo, New Nations and many others.

He is the recipient of many prestigious awards including, Jury’s special award in 6th Humanity Photo Awards in China, Emirates Photography award in UAE, Ian Parry scholarship in England, Fotovisura grant in USA, Mosco foto awards, YIPPA photojournalism award in Korea, FCCT photojournalism award in Thailand, IPA street photography award in Singapore, Asian Press Photo contest in China, 69th International Photographic Salon of Japan (Ashahi Shimbun) award, People and Planet award in Australia, CEDAW Photo award in U.S.A, CGAP microfinance photo award, International year of biodiversity award, Europe and Asia – dialogue of cultures photo award in Russia, Kuanas photo contest award, and the Garuda Indonesia International photo award.

His work has been featured in exhibitions worldwide including Visa Pour l’Image, in Perpignan, France, The Photoville festival in New York, Atrium of the Town Hall, The Hague, Netherlands, Maison familiale Pro Juventute, Geneva, Switzerland, The Getty Images Gallery, London, Gallery of the French Alliance Foundation Paris, France.

http://jashimsalam.com

The last day of the Bengali year was observed all over rural Bangladesh, a day known locally as Charak Puja, during which people arrange village fairs and perform rituals including forms of body piercing.

A group of Hindu devotees perform the rituals of Charak Puja. It is a very enchanting folk festival of Southern Belt of Bangladesh and West Bengal. It is also known as “Nil Puja”. The believers of Hindu religion celebrate this on the last day of the Bengali month of the year (Chaitra Songkranti). People believe that the festival will carry prosperity by eliminating the sorrow and sufferings of the previous year. The festival is actually a festival to satisfy “Lord Shiva”, the great “Debadideb” of Hindu Religion.