I just randomly encountered the Dalit community of around 5.000 families which is living in the Miron Jolla Colony in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh. During the Durga Puja celebrations in 2017 I met some of them preparing a Durga goddess statue and started following the people. When I came later into their neighborhood I wasn´t aware of their social background yet. After spending several days with them as they celebrated the most important religious festival for Hindus in Bangladesh, I got an idea of the people and later realized the background of Dalit people in Bangladesh by the research I did.
The ancestors of the Dalit people living in nowadays Bangladesh were brought during the British colonial period from other parts of the Indian continent to Dhaka and had to work as street and sewer cleaners for the city corporations. For a long time the Dalits, which means literally deprived, have been a marginalised group, because they weren´t allowed to enter the educational system and forced to work in their naturally given jobs. Also their neighborhood was closed from the rest of the city and got build on purpose like that to separate the Dalit people from the rest of the society as they were seen as different.
But for the youth of today the situation changed and they are accepted by the majority of the people around them and most of them nowadays get into other jobs and some even into the higher educational system. But still they are living in a closed community and have their own way of life and culture. Even if their ancestors came almost 150 years ago they still speak their native Telugu language instead of Bangla and they identify themselves as Indian people and with its culture.
For my project I captured the people, their neighborhood, their religious celebrations and other cultural festivals, which are held regularly in the neighborhood, with larger festivals taking place on the streets with processions. For two months I regularly visited the colony to show their unique environment and culture.