Documentary Photographer and Storyteller Pubarun Basu is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘The River and its People’. To see Pubarun’s body of work, click on any image.
Relics of Religion Each year, thousands of clay idols are immersed into the river at the end of the festivals. It is believed that the river is the pathway back to heaven for the gods and goddesses. However, some idols get left behind. They stand on the banks in solidarity until they are slowly obliterated by the agents of weather.
Trapped in the Grand Design A lone fisherman stands on the deck of his boat looking out to the river.
Mystery and Magic This old lady sets up her shop on one dark corner of the street, right opposite to the river. The light of the lantern is the only thing keeping her shop illuminated. There is an air of mystery surrounding her, which always makes me stop for a moment and take another look.
Perspective of Emotions A young kid celebrates a festival with his family. He lives in the slums right next to the river, the whole world is his playground!
Growing up near the river Ganga has been one of the best things in my life. I have found a strong sense of connection to the river, almost as if the river has shaped the course of my life, and more specifically, my photographic journey.
Nostalgia The practice of drying one’s clothes outside their balcony or window is still prevalent in this part of town. The bricks of these hundred years old buildings are now exposed to the naked eye due to lack of maintenance. However, they still have a nostalgic charm of their own.
In my long-term project “The River and its People”, I have tried to portray the impeccable bond that the river shares with her people. Ganga is considered to be a holy river, a harbinger of life and a pathway to salvation. To me, “she” is a living entity who shapes the life of the people wherever she flows. Each and every element of civilization is intertwined with the river, and that’s precisely what I’ve tried to document over the years.
Euphoria While walking down the banks of the river Ganga in North Kolkata, I came across a crowd of young kids gathered in front of a food stall. The shopkeeper was distributing free rolls amongst them as an initiative to provide charity meals to the underprivileged. This kid was probably the youngest of the lot. He got his meal right at the end and sat down on one corner of the street to enjoy it. As I bent down to capture his portrait, I noticed the stains of mud he had all over his fingers and faces.
However, my project’s primary goal is to raise awareness about the ecological concerns regarding the river. From its source to the mouth, the river Ganga passes through a diverse range of places of immense cultural and religious importance. These places significantly contribute to the pollution of the river. The rich biodiversity of the river has been put at risk for centuries and it’s high time we find a sustainable solution to balance both the worlds, the spiritual and the environmental.
Colours of Change This picture shows a mother waiting by the river Ganga, for her children and her husband to come back home during the evening, just after the sun sets below the horizon.
The Flow of Civilization The river is a place of worship for many people of different religions and ethnicities. The woman on the right has a red band on her arm which is worn by the Hindus to protect themselves from evil. The white bangle on her wrist signifies her marital status.