Deforestation is now synonymous with modern
development. Uncontrolled and exponentially growing population implies more
mouths to feed, and cutting the branch that holds us up is modern reality.
Natural resources are becoming scarcer.
Once, Sunderbans nurtured a vast mangrove which extended up to modern Kolkata. Urbanisation stretched its devastating tentacles over the ecosystem and now, Sunderbans is just a sample of a mangrove forest. The population of this area feeds on income from the large network of rivers, the Bay of Bengal as well as the mangroves. They live mainly on fishing, individually and in groups.
The fishing colonies of Namkhana, Frazergaunge, Bakkhali, Kakdwip, and Sagardwip bustle with activity throughout the day. Fishing boats, large and small, head out into the sea from these fishing colonies, often staying for days on the water before returning with big catches. The boats have power generators and refrigerators, as well as space for food and drinking water. Now they are also equipped with GPS. The fishing communities have formed cooperatives and run a large economy from these areas.
Fishing is a family business here. Women too fish in shallow rivers, individually with local nets, and children help out too. The demand for dry fish is high in rural Bengal and it keeps the colonies busy. The boats and the fish are everything to these people: their dreams, hope and future.