The Inconstant Archipelago

Photography : Laurent WEYL     Texts : Donatien GARNIER    

The village of Dilhil Akra. Fishermen near the remnants of a large forest of hijols, trees native to the haors.
Village of Chodout. During the rainy season, 175 people crowd into thirty houses in this impoverished island essentially populated by Hindus.
Village of Abdullapur. This islet is the home of only one family and is linked to the main island by a long bamboo footbridge.
Village of Abdullapur. During the rainy season, only children have enough space to run. The adults who can treat themselves to a boat so that they can go stretch their legs on the mainland, at the edge of the haors, or on a larger island.
Village of Abdullapur. The passages are so narrow and free and space is a luxury so island-bound villagers sometimes treat themselves to a boat ride to stretch their legs on the mainland, at the edge of the haors, or on a larger island.
Village of Abdullapur. This long gangway of bamboo links a family living on a minuscule island to the main island.
Village of Abdullapur. The prosperity of the landowners is measured by the size of the rice bales in their courtyards. Some are over seven meters high.
Village of Abdullapur. During the rainy season, boats are the main source of transportation for the islanders.
8 Village of Abdullapur. Before the arrival of the monsoon, the inhabitants shore up their islands with bamboo trellises and straw.
Haors. During the rainy season, boats are the main source of transportation for the islanders.
Village of Abdullapur. During the rainy season, the landless are forced to fish to survive. Some of them organize into cooperatives so they can rent a boat.
Village of Abdullapur. Isolated from the island, this tree is said to harbor demons, called djinn.
Village of Abdullapur. During the rainy season, the canoes make their way to the market, transporting the merchants and their clients who wish to avoid crossing the island by their narrow winding paths.
Village of Dilhil Akra. Before the Partition of India, this Hindu temple was home to around fifty priests and received many pilgrims.
Village of Dilhil Akra. Before the Partition of India, this Hindu temple was home to around fifty priests and received many pilgrims. Twenty-three-year-old Ananta Baishnab, is one of the last seven priests remaining on the site.
Village of Dilhil Akra. Before the Partition of India, this Hindu temple was home to around fifty priests and received many pilgrims
Village of Bitalong. Even the Muslims come to the healer in the Hindu temple for treatment.
Village of Abdullapur. Five children are absent from the Koranic school today. Their parents needed their help for the harvest. More than 90% of the population is Muslim, as in the rest of the country.
Village of Abdullapur. The son of someone close to the mayor rests after his circumcision. Herbs have been placed near his head to chase away evil spirits sent by enemies of the family.
Village of Abdullapur. A baker in the market adds sugar to one of his preparations.
Village of Abdullapur. Masuda Begum is not from the region of the haors. She admits that it took years to get used to the region, its inhabitants and its distinctive seasons.
Village of Abdullapur. Murshed Siddiquee and Rupa, the youngest of his four children.
Village of Abdullapur. Asian Katun, 90 years old, is resting. One of his sons, the manager of a factory in Dacca, is trying to convince him to come live in his comfortable apartment, but she refuses to leave her native village.
Village of Abdullapur. According to tradition, the market is always organized around a large banyan tree.
Village of Abdullapur. The harvest is good. The landowners watch their bales of rice grow with satisfaction.
Village of Abdullapur. The harvesters must sometimes hike several kilometers to reach the plot they need to reap.
Village of Abdullapur. At harvest time, the reapers from all over the region construct long cabins of bamboo and straw where they take shelter during the night.
Village of Abdullapur. In the dry season the village spreads out over the areas that are finally dry.
Village of Abdullapur. The rice is always reaped by hand. During the biggest harvests, the day laborers can work up to twenty hours per day.
Village of Abdullapur. The cultivators are slowly replacing the bullock carts but tractors are still a rarity.
Village of Abdullapur. To maintain the rhythm when their fatigue and the heat is too strong, the reapers chant old songs that recount their sad condition.
Village of Abdullapur. Drying the straw. Unlike the harvesters, the people who work the rice after the reaping are for the most part natives of the village. The women, who are usually limited to domestic work, make a major contribution.
Village of Abdullapur. As they imitate their parents, children learn the gestures for the preparation of rice at an early age.
Village of Dilhil Akra. Less than fifty years ago, a thick forest of hijols stood in the place of the rice paddies. Once a common native tree of the haors, now cut down for fuel, these trees are fast disappearing
Village of Dilhil Akra. Less than fifty years ago, a thick forest of hijols stood in the place of the rice paddies. Once a common native tree of the haors, now cut down for fuel, these trees are fast disappearing.
Village of Abdullapur. During the dry season, a few ponds remain at the foot of the village. They are used as water reserves for cultivation and washing.
Village of Dilhil Akra. Less than fifty years ago, a thick forest of hijols stood in the place of the rice paddies. Once a common native tree of the haors, now cut down for fuel, these trees are fast disappearing.
Village of Abdullapur. Unlike the harvesters, the people who work the rice after the reaping are for the most part natives of the village.
Village of Abdullapur. Rice that is destined for the personal consumption of the landowners, as opposed to that which is to be sold, is precooked to better preserve it. The process creates a pleasant smell reminiscent of caramel.
Village of Abdullapur. During the harvest, many sleep outside both to escape the stifling heat in the homes made of sheet metal, and to watch over the rice harvested during the day.
Village of Abdullapur. The itinerant carpenters, often of Hindu origin, set up their work places during the dry season. They have six months to work on the boats before the next floods
Village of Adumpur. During the dry season, the water evaporates and accumulates in the canals and rivers that wend their way through the fields.
Village of Adumpur. The dry season is also the season of travelling fairs. Here you will find games of chance, DVD shows, puffed curry-flavored rice and miracle remedies.
Village of Abdullapur. Cultivators and their conductors are rented on a “per trip” basis from the landowners. They replace the canoes near the market.
Village of Abdullapur. Some plucky children have set up a swing of freshly cut straw on the tree of the djinns, reputed to harbor demons.
Village of Abdullapur. Accompanied by their porters, the merchants make their way through the piles of rice to make their purchases. They will resell their cargo to the wholesalers of the city of Bhairab, a full half-day away by boat.
City of Bhairab. All day long, the porters transport sacks of rice on their heads that weigh over fifty kilos.
City of Bhairab. A full half-day away by boat from the village of Abdullapur, Bhairab is a major center for the selling of rice.