Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Screening of Adivasi focused Films

On 20th February, two documentaries were shown amongst the students of Class IX, in Sarna Adivasi Madhya Vidyalaya in Pisca, a suburb area of Ranchi. It was a tribal area, with almost ninety percent Oraon students.

When they saw 'Kora Rajee' (The Land of the Diggers) on the adivasi brothers / sisters of their's who have migrated to Assam and North Bengal, they were very much touched. The story narration by Kurdula Kujur travelling with her son, tracing the same paths which was taken was interesting. From the labour depot of Dipugarh (Hazaribagh) to crossing the Ganges towards Siliguri and further very near to Bhutan, the scenes of the tea garden filled the young students with enthusiasm.
The second movie 'Loha Garam Hai' (Iron is Hot) was about the sponge iron plant in Orissa, its pollution and the people's resistance building up. This was an edited version meant especially for school children (abusive language censored).

The film screening was followed by a response session. What was shown in the film? Was it something near to heart or to reality situations? This on-camera responses made the students 'enthu'. First they were afraid of coming in front of the camera and later when encouraged 3-4 friends came together, to respond collectively. This exercise was carried in front of the 150 odd students. It was explained that this fear towards camera needs to break, with new technology coming so close to everybody, and the use of digital camera, mobile etc increasing.
In their responses Sushil Tirkey and Amita Kachchap said that there is regular migration from the area, though not as in the British times, when the labourers were booked from a depot. The government schemes like NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) do not in any considerable manner reduce the out migration. Students said that men and women are constantly going to Delhi, UP and Gujarat. Many of them are outside Jharkhand for many years. Young boys and girls said that they have heard that some even do not come back. Concern for tribal unity on the basis of language was felt (though question was raised that many adivasis of the urban areas are forgetting their language and culture).
Opinions were expressed that such reality documentation (away from the Shahrukh Khan - Aishwarya Rai Cinema) about life of the Adivasis and its screening is an extremely good educational tool and such initiatives should be included in school curriculum.

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