The Biharis

The  Biharis or “Stranded Pakistanis” are the descendants of Muslims from the Bihar province prior to the partition of India in 1947, and then migrated to East Pakistan. They live in what looks like refugee camps in Bangladesh. During the 1971 liberation war most of them remained loyal to Pakistan but now the situation is much more complicated. They are a stateless people stuck between Bangladesh and Pakistan. Below is a clip from the Plan, an NGO about Geneva Camp.

The largest Bihari community in the country is in Dhaka. I went there recently with Stijn Pieters, a Belgium photographer who was working on a project there. Geneva Camp is one square kilometer and home to almost thirty thousand people.  It’s a small city off the grid with it’s own schools  and small cottage industries. Families live in crowded tiny rooms, the great majority of them without running water. There are only fifty public toilets for the entire population. I’ve never seen so many people packed into such a small area. When Stijn gets his website together I’ll post his work and a link on Verve Photo.

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