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Sailing Against the Wind: Boats and Boatmen of Bangladesh

By: Eirik G Jansen

Practical Action Publishing

Paperback | Jan 1992 | #56476 | ISBN: 185339159X
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NHBS Price: £24.95 $32/€27 approx

About this book

Some of the greatest rivers of the world flow through Bangladesh, and these rivers form what is perhaps the world's most complete system of inland water navigation. Boat operations on inland water play a more prominent role in Bangladesh than anywhere else in the world. The way of life for the 120 million people who live in Bangladesh is to a large extent governed by inland water, and for several months every year between one third to helf of the land is submerged under water. Millions of people take to boats and life becomes a floating world. It is estimated that there are more than 700,000 boats in the country, employing several million people. In the past the fabric of the boats depended on the craft of the carpenter, blacksmith and village weaver. The "country boats" were truly and genuinely "made in Bangladesh". Since the mid 1980s however, a technological revolution has taken place in the country boat sector. Several hundred thousand country boats have been fitted with small engines. Beautiful sailing boats and life around them will soon be remnants of the past. This book aims to convey the atmosphere of the diverse unspoiled shipping on the inland water routes of Bangladesh, and so aims to preserve the rich cultural heritage that the traditional country boats represent in Bangladesh. Trygve Bolstad is a graduate of Ealing School of Photography, London and works freelance from his base and home town Oslo. The recipient of travelling fellowships and prestigious awards, he has photographed widely around the world before he first arived in Bangladesh during the flood of 1988. He is contract photographer for the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Eirik G. Jansen was Project Manager of the Norwegian/Dutch financed Country Boat Study from 1982-4. He has carried out development work and been a researcher in Bangladesh since 1976. He is the author of many books and articles on development issues in Bangladesh. From 1987 to 1990 he was Deputy Resident Representative of the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD), in Dhaka. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo.


Introduction; the rivers; the boats; country boat operations; the boatmen; the mechanization of the country boats.

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