Cover PageIn 2000 when I started to ask the educated urban elite whether or not circuses still existed in Bangladesh, I was told that they were gone and had been eliminated by the introduction of television in rural areas. Being a stubborn French Breton I went out to find by myself. There were 10 circuses still active, some bigger than others but all struggling against bureaucracy, official corruption, prejudice and financial duress.

In almost every culture circuses have a special – almost magical- place. They fascinate children and adults alike as the shows cut across dream and reality. Circuses entertain, make wonder and also fascinate as they often transgress, in a well-defined place and time, several of the cultural norms of the society. Circuses bring the world of wild animals –the jungle – into our Back Pagetamed lives and show us the extremes of the human body (the dwarves and the incredible skills of the trapeze artists). Circuses entertain and puzzle with their magicians and make us laugh like children at the antics of the clowns. Because Hindi movies have raised expectations, circuses are now compelled to entertain with dancing, singing, hip swinging “princesses”, blurring the traditional division of labor between circuses and “jatras”. Many feel that performances have become cheap.

Spectators can dream and have their fantasies. They pay for it. But for circus artists and workers, life is unfortunately too real: the uncertain future, the fear of accidents and death, the paltry salary, the public, at times, difficult. They fully bear their status of "marginalized” human beings but hope for a “normal” life for their children. They feel free but have no romantic view of their nomadic existence. It is hard labor, for life, and every afternoon and evening “the show must go on”.

I spent many days with different circuses documenting their lives and views. In this site I present my photographic experience of the circus world in Bangladesh. I hope that people both inside and outside of Bangladesh will realize its current predicament and the need for strong support to prevent this cultural heritage to go into oblivion.

The book has 130 pictures in black and white and 40 pages of text. It is available for 27 euro or 30 $US, including shipping. Send a check for the amount in the name of:

Mr Louis Claquin
4 rue Paul Doumer
95880 Enghien-les-Bains, France

with your full address.