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The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay
May 2016 issue
Mass, Rush and Prayer Bishwa Ijtema, Bangladesh
by Arka Dutta
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Bishwa Ijtema is an annual global Islamic congregation held at Tongi, Bangladesh by the river Turag. It lasts three days and is attended by over five million Muslims, making it one of the largest congregations after the Hajj to Mecca and the gathering of Muslims in Karbala, Iraq. Devotees from approximately 150 countries, including the host country, Bangladesh, attend the three-day Ijtema seeking divine blessings. The last day attracts the largest crowds with people flocking to the prayer ground for the ‘Akheri Munajat’. Roads get closed and trains constantly plying between Tongi and Dhaka become the only means of transportation. The sheer mass of people who travel to Tongi by these trains is a sight by itself. The prayer ground of 0.65 sq Km near Tongi rail station, clearly falls short of accommodating such large number of devotees and many of them perform the prayer on the road, at Tongi station or on the trains.
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