By Sabya van Elswijk,
This is Rowshan Ara Chowdhury. She is the grandmother of Alia Kamal, one of the artists of the Dhaka art project. When we first meet, Alia tells me how guilty she feels of having a grandmother in the house, with whom she barely speaks or has contact with. She says her grandmother has been demented for 6 years already, and is very inward and when she makes contact, its mostly abusive language. She did not even imagine her grandmother to know these words, and now she is using them daily.
When we go to their home, we meet a powerful looking old lady. She does not want to shake our hands, but she waves hello, meanwhile saying “dogs, dogs” in Bangla. Sitting with us at the table, she is looking at us. When Martijn waves at her she starts making faces, and he makes funny faces back.
Alia tells us that her grandmother was very much loved and in love with her husband, who died almost 40 years ago. He left her their big house in the village, called “Rowshan house”. After he died, her children came together and decided to sell the place. Rowshan was very upset by leaving her own house, and is still asking about the things that she had there. Now she lives with her daughter in Dhaka, with her daughter, granddaughter and servants as company.
Last they tried to cure her from Alzheimer, but the medicine made her much worse, and her daughter decided to stop the treatment. It is hard on her daughter, accepting the illness of her mother, and being powerless to help her.
By Sabya van Elswijk, After our meeting with Boys of Bangladesh, we understand more about being gay in Bangladesh, and it is also clear you will not find people who call themselves ‘dragqueen’ openly here. We do want to work on this subject, and are looking for contacts in the Hijra community in Dhaka. Hijra’s […] Continue reading →
By Sabya van Elswijk, Aroni brings us to her former neighbour, or ‘auntie’ as she calls her. Tara Adhikary is her name, and she has come to Bangladesh from Jamsitpur, India after she married in 1951. She had her two sons here, and lived in this neighbourhood for many years. This is Mirpur 10, where […] Continue reading →
By Sabya Van Elswijk, One of the participants of the Dhaka art project is Aroni. She is a painter, and a dancer. Her father is a known Bangladeshi composer and musician, her brother is a composer, and her mother has her own music school. For the choice of the group of people she wants to […] Continue reading →
By Sumon, It is hard to recall the time, when with some of my friends we chatted on to the boat, near to a berth bank of the Burigonga river. It was in the middle of the day, somebody lay down and somebody relaxed to pass away a silent moment, then one of us just […] Continue reading →
By Sabya van Elswijk, We are invited to meet with the director of Boys of Bangladesh, a network of gay people in Dhaka. Arriving at his place, human rights activist Tanvir Alim welcomes us and explains that they use apartments as informal meeting places. There are many volunteers; all of them spend time on Boys of […] Continue reading →
Elderly Bangladesh: information Elderly in Bangladesh: By Sabya van Elswijk, To understand more about being old and living in Bangladesh, we took some parts of the Unnayan Onneshan Policy Brief On Present Social Context and Elderly Population in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, some programmes are made for the welfare of the elderly people. The programmes are: 4.1. […] Continue reading →
Definitions By Sabya van Elswijk, Being in Dhaka, we find our definitions of the world constantly challenged. Working with homeless: these should be people without a house, without a place to sleep. But what if they live under a plastic roof? Are they promoted to the definition of being just poor, not homeless? Working […] Continue reading →
14/07/2014, by Sabya van Elswijk, This morning we went with Raj in the car to meet Emran in a teastall (cha dokan) near his house. Welcoming us to their teastall, a man, his wife and son shook hands, and we got cha fresh from the kettle that is there on fire all day. Emran said […] Continue reading →
By Sabya Van Elswijk, Dialogue Dhaka art center 12th of July Today we met with the artists in Dhaka art center, after asking the question last week to choose a group in Dhaka to work with, and make contact with these people. Emran is telling the group about his meeting with the Rickshaw drivers. Martijn […] Continue reading →