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Rashid Talukder’s photographs tell the history of Bangladesh and its political struggles

  • Published at 12:09 am March 9th, 2019
Photo taken by Nazia Adnin at Chobi mela X
A photo from the exhibition titled 'Rashid Talukder (1939-2011): A Life's Work' | Nazia Adnin

The exhibition, titled 'Rashid Talukder (1939-2011): A Life's Work' brought a rare opportunity for photography lovers, enthusiasts, researchers, and youngsters to get familiar with the works of such legendary photography

Chobi Mela X showcased a number of Rashid Talukder's precious photos that depict various historical events of Bangladesh, in an exhibition held at the Drik Gallery.

Talukder’s photos are visual documents of the Language Movement of 1952, and Liberation War of 1971. His works also include visual documentation of mundane life and rural Bangla. 

The exhibition, titled “Rashid Talukder (1939-2011): A Life's Work” brought a rare opportunity for photography lovers, enthusiasts, researchers, and youngsters to get familiar with the works of such legendary photography.

The displayed works reminded us that how the great photographer risked his life during crucial moments during the war to document history. He was freedom fighter and his weapon of choice was his camera. 

Rashid Talukder’s photographs tell the history of Bangladesh and its political struggles. 

According to Talukder, photography is an international language, and he believed: “If you don't love photography, it will not love yourself”, which demonstrates his love and devotion for the art form.

Some black and white photographs were on display for the viewers. The visually enriched show features a huge collection of Rashid Talukder’s works, curated by artiste Munem Wasif.

The exhibition featured the iconic photo which depicts a young “tokai” (street child) leading a procession during the mass upsurge in 1969. The police shot and killed the child soon after the photograph was taken. Since then, the photograph has become a symbol against fascism, and injustice. 

From another showcased photo the visitors get a glimpse of bodies of a Pakistani in front of the Dhaka Improvement Trust (DIT) in December, 1971, while another displayed photo shows a dismembered head in the Rayerbazar killing ground, where the nation’s finest intellectuals were murdered on December 14, 1971.

A photo shows a dismembered head in the Rayerbazar killing ground, where the nation’s finest intellectuals were murdered on December 14, 1971 | Courtesy

An Arms drill by women members of the Chhatro Union on March 1, 1971 was captured in one of the photos on display. 

The exhibition also displays photographs of people burning President Ayub Khan's statue along with his book Friends Not Masters, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's press conference at Dhanmondi 32, among many more. 

One of the photos on display that caught my attention was the protest of Pakistanis stranded in independent Bangladesh in front of the Press Club. 

Knowing Rashid Talukder

Rashid Talukder was born in Chabbish Pargana, West Bengal, India. He joined the Press Information Department as a photo technician at the age of twenty.

For the next 43 years, he worked as a professional photographer in two major Bangla newspapers – The Daily Sangbad and The Daily Ittefaq successively. 

Throughout his career Talukder received many accolades and recognitions. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at Chobi Mela IV in 2006, and the Pioneer Photographer Award in National Geographic's “All Roads Photography Programme” in 2010.

He died on October 25, 2011, at the age of 72.

The exhibition will end on Saturday. 

A photo taken by Rashid Talukder | Nazia Adnin

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