At late hours when the fortunate are sleeping peacefully on comfortable mattresses, thousands of homeless people sleep in the streets of Dhaka city. In this picture labourers are seen sleeping on a footpath only using their baskets as the head-rest in Kawran Bazar area.
For them, the basic needs for a decent sleep, like a bed and a pillow, are luxuries. But at the end of the day, the opportunity to lay down their heads for rest, be it on their baskets, or their arms, is what they accept as “normal”.
They say beggars cannot be choosers. Truly, the homeless do not have the option to choose how they live. Just like this child at TSC Chattar. These children sleep in the streets everyday, often joined by stray dogs.
There is no 9-5 shift for these people as they work through the night, interrupted only by rain. The labourers pack up their belongings to seek refuge on the pavement in Panthapath, with closed shutters to their backs and an uncaring but accommodating roof over their heads.
While one of them may afford to sleep unconcerned about pests, another may as well use the night air as a blanket and the insects’ buzzing as lullaby. The owners of parked rickshaw-vans that become makeshift beds do not know of their nightly tenants, and the erstwhile sleepers do not know the owners. Each night, a different bed; each night, a different shelter.
To ward off mosquitoes and other insects, mosquito nets – or saris in their absence – are put up. Clothes are spread as makeshift bed sheets or folded to make pillows.
Nights on the streets of Dhaka for the homeless
Photos: Rajib Dhar