Open letter to Participants of Vedanta’s Creating Happiness


Dear  Film-makers

I request you to have a look at my two open letters to Shyam benegal and Piyush Pandey on the creating happiness competition available here

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/open-letter-to-piyush-pandey-on-vedantas-creating-happiness/

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/open-letter-to-shyam-benegal-on-vedantas-creating-happiness/

After  Reading  my open letter , Mr  Shyam  Benegal, who was in the jury of your competition  withdrew  knowing that the Creating  Happiness   is just  Vedanta  PR  exercise to promote themselves. The other jury Member Gul Panag informed me on twitter that she withdrew precisely for the same reason on Feb 12th 2012. Now your three member jury has just one member Mr Piyush Pandey, the creator the Ad . This campaign  is a move that eyewashes people and drifts away from all the sins committed by Vedanta. Do you know Vedanta kept a secret from you about their work in Odisha? If you look at your own film list, you will see that only two of the 38 films in the competition are from Odisha. And these films do not give the REAL PICTURE at all; you can find more in Tehlka story here story_main51.asp?filename=Ne030312Creating.asp

Let me share another secret with you all, when I first saw the Ad I fell in love with Binoo, and I thought it was an Advertisement by the Government of India   to promote girl child, An enchanting face of girl child from Rajasthan, and since I am also working on issue of dwindling child sex ratio, the theme of Ad “Binno can smile and she can dream”, made me smile too. But then as the Ad  ended, it was saying VEDANTA creating happiness, it struck be Omi Gosh, it’s a CSR ad of Vedanta, looking for mending its tarnished image worldwide . Vedanta in the ad makes the tall claims that they have helped and supported people, it also patronises the history and poverty when the ad says “shayad iski maan kabhi hansi nahi? And in the end stating our work is in collaboration “with Govt and  NGOs “giving it’s a certificate of being honest is it?

Suppose if Vedanta Officials had said that they provide mid-day meals for 250,000 children? Or that they also provide healthcare for over 2.2 million people and computer education for 1 million students? Or that they work closely with over 3,000 aanganwadis across states like Orissa, Rajasthan, Goa and Chhattisgarh to address the nutritional needs of 125,000 children? Do you think people will believe, obviously not? They chose the brilliant filmmaker Piyush Pandey to tell their story through Binnoo, a little girl from Rajasthan (not in Orissa), or her brothers Nandu or Gosthto to tell you that story through their lives.  And they have hit on the right pulse, the heart of people sure, BUT whether it’s true or fake? The quality of the production of the advertisement and the scale of its dissemination has ensured the success of its message.

The impact can be read in a comment by Priyanka on my blog to the open letter, which voices the feelings of many

I had been admiring the ad all these days and this was the first time that I heard about ‘Vedanta’. The ad creates such a strong and positive brand impression….after reading through your article I detest the fact that some people in our country have the guts to actually create such positive imageries for organizations such as Vedanta…it makes me feel sick! If the Govt doesn’t care shouldn’t media care? Shouldn’t the ad agencies also care to check facts sometimes? But who are we kidding here….I’m waiting to see how Piyush reacts to this? What press statements would follow? What kind of cover ups would happen…..it’s a really selfish world! I wish I could do something more than just sharing this on FB as I just did

Vedanta has been fighting a negative perception battle which has been eroding its corporate brand equity. There has been an international debate over excessive mining versus human rights and environmental violations. In the name of progress and development” and their mantra is “maximum production” and “minimum cost.” The struggle of indigenous and tribal people versus corporations and states, over land rich in natural resources, is a global issue. The Kondh tribes have been battling to save their livelihood against British based mining company, Vedanta Resources.  This is not the first time, they haves used mass media. In 2010, when the human rights violations by Company in Odisha were at peak, it roped in Leo Burnett to prepare a television Ad, ironically titled

Bianca Jagger (former partner of   Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger) founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, was in India  in 2010 to visit the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa where the local population is opposed to the setting up of a bauxite mine.

”My visit to the Kondh brought back memories of what I have witnessed in Nicaragua and throughout Latin America. The struggle of indigenous and tribal people versus corporations and states, over ancestral land rich in natural resources, is not a new issue; nor is it unique to India. Throughout history they have been oppressed and forcibly expelled from their ancestral land, their rights violated with impunity by governments that have put the interest of corporations above their survival. I have campaigned for human rights, social justice and environmental protection throughout the world for nearly thirty years. During that period I have seen first-hand the devastating effects the irrational exploitation of our natural resources has had on the environment, communities and indigenous and tribal people.

At Vedanta’s shareholders AGM on July 28th 2010, I asked chairman Anil Agarwal if he would accept the findings of the Saxena committee. Non- executive director, Naresh Chandra replied, “Whatever the government of India decide, we will accept.” I hope that Vedanta stands by this statement. The company has an appalling track record – it has shown no respect for human rights, the environment or for local communities. Until Vedanta adheres to Corporate and Social Responsibility and is willing to comply with OECD guidelines, and agrees to fully inform and consult local communities, I do not think the company should be allowed to mine. ” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bianca-jagger/a-landmark-victory-for-in_b_692857.html)

Now tell me isn’t it ironical that a Corporate Mining  Giant accused of so many human rights violations against the tribals of Kondh, will improve its brand equity image through this short film competition , Thanks to you ?

I request you to reconsider your decision to participate in the competition, because in reality all of you are enhancing the image of Vedanta as a benevolent saviour and protector.

Please do sign online petition and share widely

Anticipating a positive reply from all of you

Warm regards

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Mumbai

You can email me at – kamayani@ymail.com

(Please do help me reach out to the 114  film makers, who have contributed to the festival

7 comments on “Open letter to Participants of Vedanta’s Creating Happiness

  1. Pingback: FTII, only Entry withdrwa from Vedanta’s Creating happiness « kracktivist

  2. Pingback: Faking Happiness- Spoof Ad Competition « kracktivist

  3. Pingback: Happiness Quotient Vedanta’s corporate campaign sparks off a controversy « kracktivist

  4. Pingback: Annie Zaidi: The artists who took a stand « kracktivist

  5. Pingback: Profiteer Vedanta will destroy tribals and spawn Maoists « kracktivist

  6. Pingback: Shyam Benegal and Gul Panag still figure as Judges in Vedanta’s Creating Happiness ” Competition” « kracktivist

  7. Pingback: Anil Agarwal mines daughter Priya’s skills for Vedanta Resources « kracktivist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s