Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Land, Dignity and Freedom : A Padyatra


Land, Dignity and Freedom : A Padyatra
Duration : One hour and 2 minutes,
Concept : Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Commentry : Hindi with English Subtitles

In the month of June, I and about 20 of my friends in the differents parts of Poorvanchal went on a pilgrimage to understand the issue of Land and its linkages with the issue of dignity and freedom. We covered nearly 400 kilometers in 22 days, over 140 villages, several major towns and four districts of Maharajganj, Deoria, Kushingar and Gorakhpur.

The report of the Padyatra had been made available to many of you and is very much available on my blog and on various other websites. Therefore, I am not going to repeat those things. I would stick to the film.

The film is divided into four parts. The first part is on Padyatra. The villages, the slogans, the public meetings and our halts and interactions with the people. The second part deals with the issue of Hunger and Starvation. We met many people who were suffering from hunger. The dying communities eating rats and snails. The futureless communities who feel betrayed even after 60 years of independence. Our attempt was to understand what exactly cause hunger and where is the governance. Deserving people do not have ration cards. No widow pensions, no houses for Dalits and most marginalised including women. Why people resort to eating rats and snails. What is the condition of the communities like Rajbhars, Chamars, Pasis, Bansfors, Swachchakars, Nonias and Mushahars. What is the status of land and access to forest and water ?

The third part deals with the issue of environmenal degradation and its impact on the marginalised communities particular the fishermen and marginalised farmers. Most of the rivers in Poorvanchal are rottening with the industrial wastes from these factories spills into rivers and agricultural areas. Today thousands of hectares of fertile land in Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, Kaptanganj, Ramkola, and Chaurichaura is turned baren. The drinking water is a threat as it is thoroghly polluted. The suger mills and distillaries have played havoc with public life in these areas. During our Padyatra we tried to explore this issue of direct threat on livelihood through environmenal degradation.

And the fourth part of the film is the culmination of the Padyatra in Chaurichara where hundreds of people participated on June 22nd, 2007. They marched over 5 kilometer before reaching the historical monument of the sacrifice of Dalits and other communities in the Non Cooperation movement. A Chauri Chaura declaration was passed related to the growing discontent among various marginalised communities and suggested various measures to improve their conditions.

The Padyatra was an attempt to educate the masses about their human rights and constitutional safe guards meant for them. The Padyatra reiterated our faith in the ideals of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Jyoti Ba Phule, E.V.Ramaswami Naicar ( Periyar), Sri Narayan Guru, Shahuji Maharaj etc. That fight against poverty must be inked with fight for land right ( dignity) and against the brahmanical value system which has sujbugated people for years.

The film is not funded from any source hence we would ask for contribution.
The cost of the VCD is Rs 250/- or USD 15/- and the cost of DVD is Rs 500/- or USD 25. Postal-courier charges etc.

With regards,

Vidya Bhushan Rawat,

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