10 People of old age from a remote village. Every Tuesday they get in the train named “11 Sindhu’s Morning” and arrive at Dhaka Railway Station. Where these passengers go from there? Nowhere! They live at the platform no 8 of the largest railway station of the city. Usually after a week they return to their home.
On a Friday evening they were waiting for the 11 Sindhu’s Morning at Dhaka Railway Station. They were leaving for their home. Most of them were old ladies. Only one male in the group – Moslem, who is of about 84. Another exception was a young lady named Shampa.
They are from a village named Radharchar which is at the Karimganj thana of Kishorgonj district. All of them are distant relatives. At Tuesday they arrive at Dhaka railway station which is a 50 tk third class journey. They live at the station at night, and go on begging all over the city at daylight. Usually they stay 7-10 days there, and return. In this period they can save 400-500 tk each after the expense to purchase food. To save money they eat as less as possible. The day they were waiting at the station in the evening, they only had their breakfast in the morning, and will have their next meal at the next day morning after arriving at their own home.
Moslem is the oldest among the group. His wife just expired two months ago. He has two son and a daughter at home. The group taking him home because he can be in problems alone in the station. He won’t allow to take his photograph for the religious reason.
70 Years old Chan Banu has five son at home. All of them work as daily labour at their village. They have 4-5 children each. So Chan Banu came to the city in search of some additional income. Her husband died in the liberation war at 1971. She got married at the year of the great riot among the Hindus and Muslims in the British period, when the whole sub continent was one country. She was only 9 years old, while her husband was 35. They were established farmers having a good quantity of land of their own to cultivate, and lots of cattle. She went to primary school and used to write at the leaf of banana tree.
55 Years old Sufia Khatun has only 2 daughters who got married. Because of not having any son, she keeps one of her daughters with her family at her own home. She brings her invalid grandchild with him while begging, which is supposed to get more public sympathy and more earning.
The youngest member of the group is a lady named Shampa of about 35. She got married 10 years ago and has 2 daughters of 5 and 2 years. Her husband left her 3 years ago and got married again. He was a mechanic and had a shop at the village bazaar. He was continuously demanding 20,000 tk from her parents to purchase goods for his shop, and not having the money finally left her and married again. At the question of why she doesn’t work at any garments industry she told about not having anyone to take care her children while she can go to work.
None of these old ladies have their husband alive, and their children are very poor to feed their own family. So they came in this profession. While living at the platform, guards of the station regularly keep them away. They then stay at the footpath of the street or any nearby land under the open air. Most problems arrive in the rainy seasons under the open air when they have to suffer in rain and storm. No one of them is willing to carry this profession, but they have no other way to survive.