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Volume 3 Issue 6| June 2010



Original Forum Editorial

Truth, Not Punishment
--Jalal Alamgir

Building a World-Class University-- --Syed Saad Andaleeb
Just Another Bomb Blast in Afghanistan-- --Syed A. Mahmood
Reaping the Whirlwind
--Ziauddin Choudhury
A Tale of Two Cities
-- S. Aminul Islam
Rethinking Primary Education
--Manzoor Ahmed
Photo Feature: Ghost Workers--Arman Adnan
Justice Denied
--Marianne Scholte
TV 2010
--Khalid Hasan
Reviving Professional
History in Bangladesh

--Iftekhar Iqbal
Of Corruption Most Chronic
--Mahfuzur Rahman
In Real Terms, Please
--Nader Rahman
Contemplations on Mortality
--Samier Mansur


Forum Home


Ghost Workers

A Photo feature by Arman Adnan

They say ghosts emerge from under the water in Jaflong, a regional district north-east of Sylhet in Bangladesh. These are the stone-collectors who work in the Dowki River, bringing up stones to earn their daily wage of about 700 to 800 taka in murky underwater conditions made cloudy by the fan of the boat engine that works to stir up the sand so the rocks can materialise. The ghost men then feel blindly for the stones because they can't see anything.

Payment is determined by size: big stones bring big money, small stones only a little. This is work for young men, generally only managed by those aged between 22 to 40 years. It is work for men who are muscular and strong. For visibility reasons, mainly they work from 11 am when the sun is at its hottest.

It's a high risk environment because the water is extremely cold and the men are underwater for long periods. Often they catch colds and fevers which makes breathing more difficult. They come from the Mymenshing and Kishorgonj districts and so have no family to care for them when they are sick. The men work for a month, then go to their home district for a few days before returning to their rock collecting duties.

Such is the life of the mysterious men who live much of their day underwater.

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