Erosional Existence

It was supposed to be a beautiful mountain where tourist enjoys leisure moments by visualizing seven layers mountains in front at Bholagonj – Bangladesh, nearing the border area of Cherrapunji, India. Labors are heavily assigned to collecting stones by demolishing mountains.

‘Erosional Existence’ is a body of work is all about stones and a space called Bholaganj – 33 kilometers far from Sylhet District. Bholaganj is also the biggest Stone Quarry of Bangladesh. Precious Stones are being collected from this site which fulfills the demand of this country for construction. On every Rainy Season, the tidal wave brings these stones from India. Apart from that, the site owners use “Boom Machine” to collect more stones. Recently, the local Govt. has banned these machines. Thus, the laborers shifted to nearby Hill named “Shah Arefin” to dig or excavate stones. Boom Machines are not used there, but the tiny hands of the laborers are strong enough to dig the hill and even lowering that into hundred feet size big holes compared to the plain land.

Thousands of laborers work there restlessly from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm while they take a very short break for having lunch or snacks. At the end of the day, they get 400-500 BDT (5-6 USD) as wages. Through various procedures, these stones fulfill the local demand and after that, it is exports to the other countries to make the spaces more beautiful.

The laborers get injury of hands-legs and other organs, including becoming disabled while working there. Sometimes they lose their valuable lives at a very early age from falling down or Soil Erosional causes. Their dead bodies don’t get proper justice. The victim’s family gets 25000 BDT (300 USD) cash and the body only in return of this accidental death. The pathetic part is, the laborers know these facts and do the job by accepting the system. On the other side, their children don’t get education, health services and other basic facilities. Even the houses they have dwelt from decades aren’t their permanent shades at the end. The laborers sometimes become bound to include their children in the same profession they are at. People from different regions also come here to work on contract for 3-4 months. The stone laborers can’t switch their job because they have been used to it from their childhood. This is the place where their life, livelihood and other stuffs evolve. There a relationship of soul is stitched among Bholaganj, Shah Arefin Hill and the laborers.

I haven’t bound the humans as the stone laborers literally; rather the machines, trucks, tractors etc. play the same vital role as a human laborer does. Behind the pictorially beautiful landscapes, I tried to show the destruction of beauty and ecological balance and human attitude behind the whole illegal procedure. Demolishing the hills is never healthy for Geological balance and overall environment.

© Shihab Shahariare Khan || developed by digibinary ||