Man Is An Island

The first thing that strikes you about No. 1 Balagaon char (a transitory river island) is its vastness. For a piece of land supposed to be temporary, Balagaon stretches four km wide and is approximately six km in length. As the boat, a rickety wooden contraption with an ancient Kirloskar diesel engine powering it, docks at the temporary boat station, all that is visible is a large patch of white sand, left behind after last year’s floods. Little further up the slope, Jainul Abedin is tilling a small patch of land that he can cultivate for just six months in a year. He doesn’t waste a minute as he has time only till May to get the wheat crop harvested before the monsoon sets in and the mighty Brahmaputra floods Balagaon again.