THAMIZH STUDIO & KONANGAL
Documentaries of Anand Patwardhan
2nd Aug; 5.45pm; Perks Mini theater
Anand Patwardan is the recipient of Thamizh Studio‘s 2014 Lenin Award which will be presented to him on 15 th August 2014 at Chennai.
1. A Narmada Diary
(1995, Colour, 57 mins)
The Sardar Sarover Dam in western India, lynch-pin of a mammoth development project on the river Narmada’s banks, has been criticized as uneconomical and unjust. It will benefit urban India at a cost borne by the rural poor. When completed, the dam will drown 37,000 hectares of fertile land, displace over 200,000 adivasis – the area’s indigenous people -, and cost up to 400 billion rupees. Ecological, cultural, and human costs – as often is the case with “mega” projects – have never been estimated. A NARMADA DIARY introduces the Narmada Bachao Andolan (the Save Narmada Movement) which has spearheaded the agitation against the dam. As government resettlement programs prove inadequate, the Narmada Bachao Andolan has emerged as one of the most dynamic struggles in India today.
With non-violent protests and a determination to drown rather than to leave their homes and land, the people of the Narmada valley have become symbols of a global struggle against unjust development.
But the dam building continues. If it’s height is not checked, the entire adivasi region of the Narmada will drown. In the name of progress, a relatively self-sufficient, egalitarian and environmentally sound economy and culture will be destroyed and a proud people reduced to the status of refugees and slum dwellers.
2. Fishing: In the Sea of Greed
(1998, 42 minutes)
Traditional fishing communities around the world are under threat of mass displacement by the industrial fishing practices of gigantic factory ships. Private capital, with the aid of international lending agencies, have embarked on a mindless offensive to catch fish in quantities unheard of until now.
This frightening abuse of the seas has been actively promoted by governments in the developing world, as territorial waters are handed over to transnational corporations to meet debt obligations. Further, agencies like the World Bank have promoted aquaculture prawn farming as a foreign currency earner in the Third World.
The primary victims are poverty-stricken rice growers and fishing communities. Salination of ground water causes a scarcity of fresh drinking water as waste from prawn farms are emptied into nearby rivers and other fresh water bodies. Within years, large stretches of land are abandoned as unfit for agriculture.
Fishing in the Sea of Greed documents the response of one fishing community in India to the “rape and run” industries that have begun to dominate their livelihood and decimate their environment. Under the leadership of the National Fishworkers Forum and the World Forum of Fishworkers and Fish Harvesters, workers are fighting not only for their jobs, but for the survival of the world’s coastal communities and ecosystems.
Anand Patwardhan has been making political documentaries for nearly three decades pursuing diverse and controversial issues that are at the crux of social and political life in India. Many of his films were at one time or another banned by state television channels in India and became the subject of litigation by Patwardhan who successfully challenged the censorship rulings in court.
Patwardhan received a B.A. in English Literature from Bombay University in 1970, won a scholarship to get another B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University in 1972 and earned a Master’s degree in Communications from McGill University in 1982. Patwardhan has been an activist ever since he was a student — having participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement; being a volunteer in Caesar Chavez’s United Farm Worker’s Union; working in Kishore Bharati, a rural development and education project in central India; and participating in the Bihar anti-corruption movement in 1974-75 and in the civil liberties and democratic rights movement during and after the 1975-77 Emergency. Since then he has been active in movements for housing rights of the urban poor, for communal harmony and participated in movements against unjust, unsustainable development, miltarism and nuclear nationalism.