From the Beel to the bazar

  • Large swaths of Sirajdikhan are inundated by the overflowing river Ichhamati in the monsoon. The swamps are replete with water lilies during this time. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Large swaths of Sirajdikhan are inundated by the overflowing river Ichhamati in the monsoon. The swamps are replete with water lilies during this time. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Arial Beel, one of the most prominent wetlands in the country, brims with blooming water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Arial Beel, one of the most prominent wetlands in the country, brims with blooming water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Farmers rush to collect water lillies in their dinghies before sunrise. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Farmers rush to collect water lillies in their dinghies before sunrise. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • They return with heaps of water lilies collected throughout the day. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    They return with heaps of water lilies collected throughout the day. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • As schools are closed due to the pandemic, children help their families pick water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    As schools are closed due to the pandemic, children help their families pick water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • The stems of water lilies are well-liked as vegetables. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    The stems of water lilies are well-liked as vegetables. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Farmers return with water lilies from the lake in Sirajdikhan to Rashunia, Daniyarpara, Imamaganj and Nimtala piers. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Farmers return with water lilies from the lake in Sirajdikhan to Rashunia, Daniyarpara, Imamaganj and Nimtala piers. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Most of the water lilies plucked from Arial Beel are brought to Gadighat in Srinagar. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Most of the water lilies plucked from Arial Beel are brought to Gadighat in Srinagar. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Wholesalers from Dhaka visit the piers in Munshiganj to buy water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Wholesalers from Dhaka visit the piers in Munshiganj to buy water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • The wholesalers buy a bundle of 10 water lilies from the farmers for Tk 5 to Tk 7. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    The wholesalers buy a bundle of 10 water lilies from the farmers for Tk 5 to Tk 7. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • The water lilies are then sold in the wholesale markets in Jatrabari, Karwan Bazar, Shah Ali Majar and other places. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    The water lilies are then sold in the wholesale markets in Jatrabari, Karwan Bazar, Shah Ali Majar and other places. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Each bundle of water lilies is sold for around Tk 12 to Tk 15 in the wholesale market. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Each bundle of water lilies is sold for around Tk 12 to Tk 15 in the wholesale market. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • The retail price of a bundle of water lilies can rise to Tk 25-30. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    The retail price of a bundle of water lilies can rise to Tk 25-30. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • After working for an entire day, a farmer can collect around 80 to 120 bundles of water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    After working for an entire day, a farmer can collect around 80 to 120 bundles of water lilies. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Farmer Rajab Ali earns about Tk 400 to Tk 700 a day. The job does not require any capital, just his time and effort. Anyone with a boat can collect water lilies from the swamps. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Farmer Rajab Ali earns about Tk 400 to Tk 700 a day. The job does not require any capital, just his time and effort. Anyone with a boat can collect water lilies from the swamps. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • On average, wholesaler Shamsuddin brings 4,000 bundles of water lilies to the markets in Dhaka every evening. He is happy with his income after deducting the costs of transport and labour. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    On average, wholesaler Shamsuddin brings 4,000 bundles of water lilies to the markets in Dhaka every evening. He is happy with his income after deducting the costs of transport and labour. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Farmers collect water lilies from June to October before returning to harvesting crops at the end of monsoon when the swamps dry up. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Farmers collect water lilies from June to October before returning to harvesting crops at the end of monsoon when the swamps dry up. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Water lily, the national flower of Bangladesh, is a major source of income for more than 200 families in Munshiganj during the monsoon. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

    Water lily, the national flower of Bangladesh, is a major source of income for more than 200 families in Munshiganj during the monsoon. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

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