Partha Sengupta – The Bloodiest Border

Partha Sengupta

The Bloodiest Border

I’m a descendent of a refugee family from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) part of Bengal province during British rule, was a vast land of various creeds, cultures and a common language Bangla.

During Partition of India in 1947, an international border drawn Bengal area into East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Bengal (in India). The border changed the social fabric of the vast land with a new nationality with a strong sectarian belief. Since then the border denotes heavily guarded by paramilitary forces; human rights abuse and suspicions.



In the Indian side, BSF (Border Security Force of India) managed the international border. Their attitude towards the border people is with deep suspicion with extra judicial killings, custodial death and torture. Prevalence of cross border smuggling and infiltration in this region is how the security forces justified their atrocities. In 2011 Human Rights Watch termed BSF “Trigger Happy” for their notoriety.

Similarity of look and language of the border people has led to confusion of identity with regards to their nationality. Security forces ignored the history of this region, justified their atrocities is the only option to deal with the border people whose national identity is debatable.



My project is the exploration of borders and its impact on the lives of the border people, where one’s own national identity is debatable. It raises the critical questions about the idea of border is enforced, the complexities of history, lives, culture and nationalists imaginary.

First time in November 2014, I traveled to Bangladesh, as an Indian underwent immigration procedures being a foreigner. Once Bangladesh was the natural place of my parents and family home was there. The partition had changed the equations of my parents who are now foreigners cease the generational old identity. The British Colonial Rule brought a sense of communal identity and animosity with the changes in Hindu-Muslims relations.




Short Bio

Partha Sengupta (b. 1975) is a Kolkata based Indian documentary photographer. He is a late entrant into photography after leaving his banking career in 2012. Partha studied documentary photography mentorship at Counter Foto, Bangladesh. In 2012, he joined in a local newspaper in Kolkata and worked for three years. Since 2015, he started to work independently. His images were exhibited in the Asian Cultural Heritage in Montreal, Canada in 2012. In 2014, he was selected among fourteen young photographers by German Science & Arts for a photography project in India. His work along with other photographers published in the book ‘The India Vision Quest’ by DWIH in 2015. His works had been exhibited in Kolkata, Dhaka, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Montreal, Cologne and forthcoming at Goa in 2018. In 2018, Partha received s grant from Serendipity Arts Foundation on the photography project “Bhumiputra”. He did his post-graduation in Management and Finance. He is versed with several Indian languages.


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