1 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Ghoramara Island (Bengali: ঘোড়ামারা দ্বীপ) is an island located 150 km south of Kolkata, India in the Sundarban Delta complex of the Bay of Bengal. The island is small, roughly five square kilometres in area, and is quickly disappearing due to erosion and sea level rise.

2 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Global warming has caused the river to swell, as the river pours down from the mighty Himalayas and empties into the Bay of Bengal. The fragile embankment very often gives away to the wrath of the rising water.

3 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Alpona Patra, 12, stands on an almost uprooted tree near the Hathkhola village. Constant flooding and tidal waves deplete the soil and leads to uprooting of trees.

4 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
«Survival is a constant struggle and conflict for us» says Smt Urmila Kar, 53, while cooking a meal for her family. There is acute shortage of food supply and most of the supply comes from the harbour across the river.

5 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
One of the several uprooted trees during the last cyclonic storm. Islanders say the cyclonic storms have become unpredictable and erratic in recent times.

6 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Saraswati Patra, 14, a student of the Ghoramara Milan Vidyapeeth stands on the edge of a broken coastline. «What would you do if you see all that you had in life, sinking right in front of you?» This single question torments five thousand residents of the Ghoramara Island.

7 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
With no electricity on the island and a constant threat of inundation, several people have fled the island. Global climate change has fuelled erratic cyclonic storms and ravaging tidal waves. Several acres of household and agricultural land have been lost.

8 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Only a handful of families dare to stay along the coastline, haunted by past experiences of nature’s wrath. The sinking of Ghoramara Island can be attributed to a confluence of disasters, both natural and human, not least the rising sea.

9 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Geographically located at the mouth of Bay of Bengal, the Muriganga River which is a tributary of the Ganges connects the island to the nearest harbour, Kakdwip.

10 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Suraj Jamal Mallick, 12, a student of grade VI sits in front of his broken house. Every year, with every new inch shrinking, several people in the Island is becoming homeless. These people have been termed environmental refugees.

11 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
However, those without any means to migrate are left in this island, while recent reports claim the island to be completely washed away by 2020.

12 / 12       The Hungry Tide by Swastik Pal, Best Author in Young Talents of Image 2015, Photojournalism category. © Swastik Pal.
Chaya Mondal, 76, waits near the coastline, where the fishing trawlers would return at the end of day’s catch. She has spent all her life in this vanishing Island.

Photojournalism Category | Best Author 2015

FPmag editorial staff have evaluated the works presented in the section Photojournalism of the Young Talents of Image 2015, selecting the following as Best Author:


Swastik Pal | India
The Hungry Tide

Among the projects running for YToI 2015 in the section photojournalism, FPmag editorial staff have decided to award Swastik Pal as Best Author. His photographic work sheds light on a reality whose issues are strictly related to the global climate change. Despite his young age, and through the use of a rather traditional language and composition scheme, Pal seems to have a well trained eye and manages to efficaciously tell the drama of Ghoramara, an Indian island destined to disappear and that is already the subject of the study of a few experts in the field (such as Daesung Lee's work On the shore of a vanishing island). The 24-year old Indian boy writes: «What would you do if you saw everything you own sinking in front of you? This is the question that torments the almost 25000 residents of Ghoramara Island. The day I landed on Ghoramara, an island 150 km South of Calcutta, in India, in the area of Sunderban Delta, in the Bay of Bengal, almost a third of what was left of the island was flooded. After almost one year and a half of constant tide rising, the beds of the river collapsed due to the fury of the water. It was full moon, and during the high tide the water level of the river was extremely high, bringing with it animals and crops. The island was about 20 square kilometres and in less than 20 years it has been reduced to 5 square kilometres. The global warming has raised the river that now, from the Himalayas, it arrives stronger to the valley and flows into the Bay of Bengal. [ ... ] This series is part of the project The Hungry Tide - work in progress, documenting the life of the last inhabitants of the island while it is sinking».


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Swastik Pal
On the shore of a vanishing island di Daesung Lee

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