The Hungry Tide

Swastik Pal

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.

The day I landed in Ghoramara, an island located 150 km south of Calcutta, India in the Sunderban delta complex of the Bay of Bengal, almost one third of the remaining island got inundated. 
 
The embankments gave away to the wrath of the rising water after almost one and half year. 
 
It was full moon and the tide was in full swing, the river swelled and washed away acres of plantation and animals.
 
The island used to be 20 sq. km, but in the last twenty years or less it has been reduced to a mere 5 sq. km.
 
Global warming has caused the river to swell, as the river pours down from the mighty Himalayas and empties into the Bay of Bengal.
 
Lohachara, another island on the southern part of Ghoramara, was once an inhabited island. Lohachara lies deep down the river bed, with ships passing by, where it once used to be. 
 
Climate refugees from both the villages fled to nearby Sagar Island, and have been put up in camps built by the government.
 
With no electricity on the island and a constant threat of inundation, several people have fled the island. 
 
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.
This is from the body of work, “The Hungry Tide-work in progress” which documents the last inhabitants of the sinking island.
 

Swastik Pal- Media Awardee, National Foundation for India, 2015-16

Born in 1991, Swastik Pal is a graduate from Calcutta University, India.

After completing his post graduate diploma in mass communication from Jadavpur University, he received full scholarship to pursue Diploma in Photojournalism, at the Asian Center for Journalism, a World Press Photo partner organisation at Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.

He is keenly interested in photography and filmmaking. Presently he is an independent photographer based in Calcutta, working on long term projects. 

He was nominated for the Joop Swart World Press Masterclass in 2015, 2017 and 2018. He recently completed a Masters in Film Studies from Jadavpur University, Calcutta.