#Kerala – Petition to Chief Minister condemning false charges against Kerala activists #FOE


12h June 2013

To

Chief Minister of Kerala

Oommen Chandy.

We the undersigned strongly condemn the blatant attempt by the Kerala police to intimidate five colleagues from the field of film and media by filing fabricated cases against them for ‘rioting’, ‘unlawful assembly’ and ‘public obstruction’ (IPC Sections 143, 147, 149 and 283 ).

These five individuals- K.P.Sasi, noted filmmaker and activist, I. Shanmukhadas, film critic, Prasannakumar T.N., film activist, Shafeek, journalist and Deepak, filmmaker and film society activist- were participating in a peaceful protest on February 11 at Thrissur, Kerala, along with many others, outside the venue of the Vibgyor Film Festival 2013 against the concept of capital punishment and the summary execution of Afzal Guru.

The peaceful protest which lasted for an hour, in no way disturbed public order or caused communal unrest. For this act of democratic expression, these fraudulent and trumped charges have been filed against them.
It is indeed shocking that the Kerala police should deny citizens their basic right to peacefully protest against the death penalty, which 97 nations across the world have abolished. As per Amnesty International data, over 2/3 of the countries of the world (140) are now “abolitionist in law or practice”. In India, there has been an alarming resurgence of the death penalty, which needs to be questioned and protested against by all those who stand for social justice and human rights. This crude act of intimidation by the state needs to be condemned by all and we appeal to the Chief Minister of Kerala ensure that the Kerala police to withdraw these false and malicious charges immediately.

Anand Patwardhan, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Anjali Monteiro, TISS, Mumbai
K.P. Jayasankar, TISS, Mumbai
Nivedita Menon, JNU, New Delhi
Rahul Roy, Filmmaker, New Delhi
Saba Dewan, Filmmaker, New Delhi
Shilpa Phadke, TISS, Mumbai
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human rights activist, Mumbai
Shohini Ghosh, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Amar Kanwar, Filmmaker, New Delhi
Ajay Bhardwaj, Filmmaker, New Delhi
Anivar Aravind, IT Engineer, Bangalore
Bishaldeb Halder, TISS, Mumbai
Charu Gargi, Filmmaker, Estonia
Lynne Henry, Filmmaker, Mumbai
P Baburaj, Film maker, Trivandrum
Pankaj Rishi Kumar, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Rakesh Sharma, Filmmaker, Mumbai-Goa
Sanjay Mohan, Journalist, New Delhi
Shoba V. Ghosh, Mumbai University
Suhasini Mulay, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Suma Josson, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Vivek Monteiro, Trade Unionist, Mumbai
Yousuf Saeed, Filmmaker, New Delhi

( If you agree add your endorsements in  comment section )

 

PRESS RELEASE- A Crusade for Creativity- BOL KE LAB AAZAD HAI TERE @26Jan #Mumbai #Foe #Republicday


freedom_of_speech
PRESS RELEASE

Bol ke lab azaad hain tere…….

History has been witness to the systematic deprivation of the oppressed. Right from their attempts to acquire knowledge and make it a vehicle of their liberation, to the production and expression of critical thought and action, the atrocities against the edict of equality enshrined in the constitution have been manifold. Even though the titles and identities of oppressors seem to have changed, the nature of oppression remains identifiably similar; the practice of slavery keeps resurfacing in one form or the other.

Yet, the history of the struggles of the subalterns against such tyranny is just as rich and rousing. We seek to stand up to the tall legacy of these struggles and continue the fight against the dilution of our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms. We denounce the Corporate Media that is all money and no soul, no courage, no character. The media not only manufactures consent but systematically marginalizes subaltern movements by consistently turning a blind eye towards them and privileging middle and upper class rage and issues above all else.

We condemn the State agencies and fascist forces that seek to gag the crusaders of truth and justice. The clamp down on people’s movements against nuclear plants in Koodankulam and Jaitapur, frequent Zillabandi, police firing and lathicharge incidents in response to people’s protests, the landgrab of mining and industrial capitalists in adivasi areas, the moral policing and vandalism of despotical forces, as well as the arrests of cultural revolutionaries like Sudhir Dhawale and members of Kabir Kala Manch who sought to write and sing about the gaffes, among others, must stop.  These are blatant violations of our fundamental Right to Freedom of Expression orchestrated by the State and powerful non-State actors.

To register our protest, we have organised a Cultural Protest Programme in opposition to the atrocities against the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression in our country.

Event:  Srujanacha Algaar- A Crusade for Creativity

Time & Date: 5:00 – 9:00 pm, Saturday, 26 January 2013
Venue: Dr. Ambedkar Bhavan, Gokulpasta lane, behind Chitra Cinema, Dadar (W), Mumbai.
Programme: Revolutionary Cultural Gala to be presented by a new vibrant team of performers

Music (Hindustani Classical, Ghazals, Vidrohi Shahiri, Parivartanachya Ovya, Global Gondhal, Laavani, Rap, Rock) Poetry recitation, Dance performances,  Song of Kabir by Niraj Arya,  Rap Performances – MC Manmeet Kaur and Ashwini Mishra of Alistrap

Short Plays to be presented entirely by new and young performers and cultural activists.

An invitation extended by Sambhaji Bhagat, Ramu Ramanathan, Anand Patwardhan, Kamayani Bali Mahabal and other supporters of the Freedom of Speech and Expression

 

THE FACEBOOK EVENT HERE-https://www.facebook.com/events/401313879956734/

Media Contact:

Anisha George                                           Sambhaji Bhagat

Tel: 9820171019                                       Tel: 9323801194

Email: anishage@gmail.com

 

Sparks fly at IISc over Anand Patwardhan documentary on Babri masjid razing


By Aishhwariya Subramanian | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Proving that communal tension exists even within the hallowed halls of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), a heated argument broke out at IISc on Wednesday after a documentary was screened on the campus about the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The documentary, Ram Ke Naam, which is Anand Patwardhan’s controversial take on the 20-year-old issue, was screened by a student body that has representatives from both IISc and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS).

When the documentary began, some students got into an argument with the organisers over its controversial content. By the time the documentary got over, the two groups erupted into a loud argument that left several members of the audience at loss for words.

Much of the problem arose from the posters used by the organisers. The posters contained a blurb from Patwardhan himself, describing Vishwa Hindu Parishad as a “militant group”.
“They plastered these posters, calling the VHP a ‘militant group’ all across the hostels in the campus. There is already some communal tension because of it and because of these posters, there are also counter posters put up in the hostels. They are just trying to cause trouble by screening this documentary, which is full of lies and does not even want to discuss the facts,” said a PHd student from IISc who did not wish to be named.

The student body group, on the other hand, said they simply wanted to screen the documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

They also noted that several students from the IISc had written to the Students’ Council prior to the screening to get it canceled. The Students’ Council, in turn, wrote to the registrar and the public relations officer of the institute. While the administration gave the group the green signal to screen the documentary, the PRO was present the entire time.

“I just want to clarify that this documentary was not screened on behalf of the IISc but by the students’ group called Concern,” he said. Overall, the public screening was attended by close to 150 people, most of whom were from the IISc.

While the scuffle between the protesters and the organisers never turned physical, one of the protesters raised the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai‘.

 

BELOW IS A REACTION FROM RAVI, WHO WAS THERE AT THE SCREENING

 

From: ravi <ra.ravishankar@gmail.com>
Date: 15 December 2012 23:34

I went for the documentary screening and find this report very
problematic, right from the way it is pitched: “communal tension” in
the “hallowed halls” of IISc! The problem wasn’t one of “communal
tension”, it was more a reaction by a small group of rabidly
pro-Hindutva students to a film they feared would expose the Hindutva
movement’s blood-stained past and give the lie to its claim to
represent all Hindus.

The report describes the documentary as Anand Patwardhan’s
“controversial” take on the Ramjanbhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, and
attributes much of the problem to the publicity posters which
described the VHP as “militant”. Is any popular anti-Hindutva work
non-controversial? Why should a work be defined by the ruckus raised
by the Hindutva forces? If an adjective was badly needed, why not
“award-winning” instead of “controversial”? As for describing the VHP
as militant, I too find it problematic since the term has a fairly
neutral meaning; “fascist” would have been more accurate.

Here is my understanding of how the events unfolded. The screening was
organised by a student group called Concern
<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Concern-IISc/142948592461127>. Once the
screening was finalized, and necessary permissions taken from the
appropriate IISc authorities, publicity posters were put up. A motley
group of rabidly pro-Hindutva IISc students swung into action, put up
misleading counter-posters, and persuaded the Students Council
President to write to the IISc public relations officer recommending
cancellation of the film. A petition was also circulated to this
effect, and it apparently got about 100 signatures. However, Concern
folks got wind of this action, and eventually managed to let the
screening go ahead with an important caveat — there was to be no
discussion after the screening, and Concern was responsible for
evacuating the audience out of the venue once the film ended. There
was considerable uncertainty about whether the event will go ahead
until the day of the screening … The pro-Hindutva students also
threatened a legal suit if the posters describing the VHP as
“militant” were not removed, but (I think) Concern didn’t budge.

About 150-200 people came for the screening. I was about five minutes
late, but heard from a friend that when the organisers attempted a
brief intro to the film, the Hindutva group (sanghis) started shouting
and the screening was started hurriedly without an intro. Not that it
kept the sanghis quiet though. They continued to shout once in a
while, either when they were particularly aggrieved (as when none of
the Hindutva supporters interviewed in the film seemed to know exactly
when Rama was born; a sanghi in the audience asserted that Rama was
born 9.5 lakh years ago, and claimed fossil evidence to this effect!)
or to express approval for Narendra Modi or an egregious character on
screen (like when Advani barked “Mandir Wahin Banayenge” — we’ll
build the temple THERE). I think the guy who set Rama’s age at 9.5
lakh years departed midway through the screening, perhaps embarrassed
at his antics and not wanting to be identified in public (much like
the anonymous sanghi quoted in the DNA report). Another one shouted
out a suggestion: invite Subramanian Swamy to know the truth about
Ayodhya!

When the film ended, the sanghis who had stayed back started shouting
immediately. Concern folks tried to get everyone out of the room
immediately, but the sanghis wanted a captive audience. It later
turned out that they haven’t been able to muster such big audiences
for their events, so wanted to have a say then and there. In the words
of one of them, paraphrased as I remember: “When we have some events
to talk about corruption or issues of national interest, no one turns
up. But for this biased documentary, so many have come.” The room was
soon cleared, and a shouting match ensued outside. The Sanghis
departed with cries of “Jai Shri Ram, Bharat Mata ki Jai, Concern is a
Naxalite group, Ban Concern” etc.  For me, this was a good taste of
sanghi thuggery when they lack numbers and don’t have the active
support of the administration. Friends told me that a similar
screening in other campuses, such as Hyderabad Central University
which has a strong ABVP unit, would be more fraught with danger.
Likewise for events outside university campuses.

All in all, this event was an interesting contrast to the previous
screening of Ram Ke Naam that we had organised several years ago at
UIUC. The sanghis at UIUC didn’t want to crawl out of the woodwork and
stand exposed for their politics, but it turns out some of the sanghis
at IISc felt no such restraint. Perhaps they expected some support
from the neutral section of the audience, and when none was
forthcoming their boorishness took over. Such hostility to a
two-decade old documentary makes one wonder how much more rabidly they
would react to an event on contemporary Hindutva, or its practice in
Gujarat.

ravi

Attn Minnesota- ‘ Jai Bhim Comrade Screening” @Oct 16,2012 #mustshare


Carleton to Present Celebrated Indian Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and Rare Screening of his Documentary Film, ‘Jai Bhim Comrade’

October 5, 2012

Noted and celebrated Indian documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan will host a discussion and screening of his groundbreaking film, “Jai Bhim Comrade: The atrocity of caste, a tradition of reason, a song that will be sung,” at the Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity Cinema on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. This rare appearance is one of only two screenings of the film in Minnesota. Patwardhan’s films document injustice in an attempt to spark dialogue and social change; “Jai Bhim Comrade” provides a harrowing look at the persistent suffering of the “untouchable” caste in Indian society despite attempts to end discrimination. This event, which is free and open to the public, begins with a discussion and reception with Patwardhan at 6 p.m., followed by the screening of the film at 7 p.m.

“Jai Bhim Comrade,” which took Patwardhan 14 years to complete, offers an examination of how Dalits, also known as untouchables (the lowest caste in the traditional Hindu system), are still mistreated by many Indians and Indian politicians, despite the presence of laws meant to protect them. Patwardhan uses the massacre of Dalits by Mumbai police at a demonstration in 1997, which was followed by the public suicide of the subject of an earlier Patwardhan film, “Bombay My City,” as a means of exploring the history of discrimination toward Dalits. Patwardhan also documents the ongoing struggle between those who look down on the Dalits and those who have promoted reason and social justice through the centuries. Despite numerous antidiscrimination laws, which are widely perceived as greatly improving the condition of Dalits (India elected its first Dalit president, K.R. Narayanan, in 1997), Patwardhan shows audiences that the Dalits’ troubles are far from over. “Jai Bhim Comrade” has been widely screened throughout Maharashtra, the state where it is set, in an effort to reach the people whose lives it chronicles. The film was honored with a Best Film Awards at Films South Asia (a festival in Kathmandu, Nepal) and at the Mumbai International Film Festival, and has been honored by National Awards India and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Called “the foremost Indian documentary maker of his generation,” Patwardhan’s films expose the darker side of life in modern-day India. He claims to have become interested in political activism through participating in protest activity against the Vietnam War while a student at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. “Jai Bhim Comrade” is the first Patwardhan film to be approved by Indian film censors without any cuts; much of his previous work had been cleared for release only after legal battles. His first film, “Waves of Revolution” (1971), focused on the government’s repression of student activists in Bihar, and since then he has made films emphasizing political issues. Many of his films have been honored at film festivals worldwide. “War and Peace” (2002), Patwardhan’s last film before “Jai Bhim Comrade,” focuses on the development of nuclear arms by India and Pakistan; it won a National Film Award in India and was honored by the Karachi International Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival, the Mumbai International Film Festival and the Earth Vision Film Festival.

This special appearance and screening at Carleton honors the work of Eleanor Zelliot, Laird Bell Professor of History Emerita, whose acclaimed work on India spanned a broad range of topics and centuries. Her commitment to documenting the poetics, piety and politics of Dalits, relegated to the margins and whose histories and voices have often been forgotten, were the focus of her academic writing and teaching.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies, the Department of Religion, the Department of History, the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the Zelliot Endowment for South Asian Art and Culture. For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact Sandy Saari at (507) 222-4232. The Weitz Center for Creativity is located at 320 North Third Street in Northfield; enter at the corner of Third and College Streets.

The land of Chup


In May 2011, members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a group of Dalit protest singers and poets from Pune, were accused by the police of being Naxalites. Two KKM members have been in prison for more than a year, while others are hiding, in fear of their safety. The evidence is scanty, mostly to do with supposed ties to Anjali Sontakke, the Naxal ideologue arrested by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorist Squad in April last year. Ramu Ramanathan, playwright and part of the KKM Defence Committee, describes their surreal dialogue with the authorities and the ongoing fight for justice

A FEW years ago, I was to modernise Kabir’s dohas in a theatre workshop for architecture students. To make it interesting, I set them into popular rock-’n’roll tunes. And thus, ROCKING AND ROLLING WITH KABIR was born. We threw in a bit of ideology, made Kabir an activist, a Bob Dylan-cum-Jyotiba Phule persona. We ensured the first scene had more noise onstage than the noise in the audience!

The play culminated with Kabir going underground; and then Kabir — the harbinger of peace and progress — being shot. Our premise was simple. Kabir encouraged the synthesis of faith and questioned ideas across different cultures. He invented secular democracy. Unfortunately, the real world is cruel.

Zealotry is an ugly business. When Kabir protested, he was silenced. When Kabir was dead, a girl played a guitar riff; and then a statement condemning the death of Kabir scrolled on the A/V. The signatories were the who’s who of the planet from Socrates to Buddha; from Marx to Gandhi; from Raja Rammohan Roy to Ram Manohar Lohia; from Ghalib to Ambedkar. The final name in the list was: Anand Patwardhan — the eternal protestor. After the show, everyone had a good laugh. It was a little in-house joke.

Today five years since, history repeats itself. Kabir has been jailed. Kabir is underground. Anand Patwardhan and many others form the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) Defence Committee; to whose coffers Patwardhan donates Rs 50,000.

That was art; this is harsh reality.

Patwardhan, who had first seen a KKM performance in 2007, is now grappling with legalese to get justice for the KKM members with funds fast depleting.

Today, most of the KKM artistes, who performed, are underground and two members, Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle are behind bars at the Arthur Road central prison. Branded Naxalites, they were arrested on 12 May 2011 by the State under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

I recall KKM appearing on Pune’s theatre scene in 2002. The group had young Dalit boys and girls – who sang songs and staged angry plays. They repudiated aesthetics for the politics of the stage. A typical KKM show in the bastis ensured the first scene had to have more noise onstage than the noise in the audience! This was a theatre tactic that Indian People’s Theatre Association put to good use when ideology was on their side. An open truck would enter a crowded mohalla, create a hullabaloo, and the play would be performed on the truck.

This is part of the great Maharashtra tradition of Ambedkar-Phule that is diminishing.

Years ago, the Vidrohi Sammelan, with unflaunted passion, had stated from Dharavi, art and politics can never be separated. The mainstream Sahitya Sammelan with their upper caste writers at Shivaji Park announced their menu of sheera and upma. The Vidrohi announced theirs, beef. The battle lines were drawn. High caste friends said, “This is wrong. After all, shouldn’t we Hindus remain united; or else we’ll become a minority in our own country?”

A typical KKM show in thebastis ensured the first scene had to have more noise onstage than the noise in the audience

The Vidrohi gang is incorrigible. They set up camp against the World Social Forum, which one of them called the “Social World Forum”. They mocked the socialites and do-gooders from across the road. The icons were questioned. It became Globalisation and Stiglitz’s Discontent, and the biggest scam of post-liberalised India: the NGO scam.

Post Godhra, a young students group called Satyashodhak Vidyarthi Sangathan sets up a poster exhibition. It’s not Vivan Sundaram nor Akbar Padamsee, but it’s the first organised protest of its kind against the “Duryodhana of the Hindutva Laboratory”. Police permission is denied. No gallery to exhibit. So, they beat the system.

I mention both examples because in February 2005, KKM members got a crash-course in radicalism from heavy weights of the “vidrohi movement” like Bharat Patankar, Kishore Dhamale, Kishore Jadhav, Dhanaji Gurav and Sudhir Dhawale. That’s where KKM drew their strength from; and their ability to perform guerilla style.

In the later years, KKM came under the State’s radar with its frequent allusions to democracy’s failures, about oppression, and domination of one caste over the other. When Sheetal Sathe sang how Ambedkar said if the Constitution did not give people justice — political, social and economic — his people should overthrow it, the State began to act.

It counter-argues, based on a statement under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code, how KKM members had an affair with the Naxalite ideology of the CPI (Maoist) who indoctrinated them. The charge: training camps in Pune’s Khed taluka, lecturing in support of Angela Sontakke and others, rubbing shoulders with revolutionaries and visiting campuses and bastis with “a message in the service of a cause….”

IT’S BEEN more than a year since Dengle and Bhonsle were arrested. As part of the KKM Defence Committee, we decide to meet the Maharashtra chief minister. Our agenda: to request the State government to withdraw false charges against Shahirs (singer-poets) from KKM. Also Sheetal Sathe, Sagar Gorkhe and Sachin Mali, who are underground due to the fear of torture and a jail term, be provided an opportunity to come ‘overground’. Above all, artistes be allowed to perform.

The CM is a statesman. Pleasantries are exchanged. Tea and poha is served. Patwardhan boots up his Apple Mac and showcases excerpts from his documentary Jai Bhim Comrade on a whitewashed wall. On screen, Sathe and co-members of KKM mobilise audiences. There are sharp witticisms about the abject poverty and discontent in slums. The 15-minute screening concludes.

The CM agrees that human rights are meant to be defended. Promises are made. We exit.

Time passes.

A bit slower for Dengle and Bhonsle in jail.

Meanwhile, the court hearings proceed inside a bleak-looking Sewri Court. The security is humongous and they keep a strict vigil. One day, the judge does not turn up. The legalese and the administrative wrangles seem insurmountable. Plus, the lack of funds to mount a serious challenge.

The 29-year old Dengle who celebrated his wedding anniversary in jail on 14 May, meets us at Sewri Court, his literary inspiration is still not exhausted. He hands me a poem,Inquilab Chaiye. The poem is in Hindi and has a rudimentary rhythm. He sings the firstmukdha: Ek moothi baandho reh baandho/Ek moothi bandho re doston/Bas ek mukka chaiye/Aur ek dhakka chaiye/Inquilab chaiye doston/Inquilab.

The police battalion gather around Dengle. They hear him sing.

letters@tehelka.com

 

India’s uncomfortable truths on film


A look at the career of revolutionary Indian documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan

Police at a demonstration in India

Police at a demonstration in India (from the film Jai Bhim Comrade) Photograph: Anand Patwardhan

Anand Patwardhan, whose work will be featured in the Sheffield documentary festival next week, is the foremost Indian documentary maker of his generation. Time and time again, in landmark films such as Bombay Our City (1985), In The Name of God (1992) and War and Peace (2002), he has exposed the glaring realities about topics on which modern-day India, wedded to its own PR flannel about becoming a first world economy, does not care to dwell: the rise of nuclear nationalism, the role of political and religious leaders in stoking communalism, the continuing oppression of poorer castes.

Yet Patwardhan, who was born in 1950, never wanted to be a film-maker. Nor, when in 1970 he arrived in Brandeis University, Massachusetts, on a scholarship, did he see himself as particularly political. “It was the most exciting time that one could have been in the US. The anti-Vietnam war protests were a turning point: I went on demonstrations and was sent to jail a couple of times. Other Indian students were more interested in being white than in identifying with black Americans, but I was reading Fanon, excited by the Black Panthers and taking classes in the black studies department.”

Documentaries have always been made in India (and in recent decades there have been prominent examples by directors such as Shyam Benegal, Mani Kaul and Meera Nair), but they rarely receive the distribution or critical attention afforded to Bollywood movies. What’s more, when Patwardhan was starting out in the 70s, having gone back to India and become involved in a people’s movement in the state of Bihar, all non-fiction features were government controlled and, as he puts it, “straight-forward propaganda of ministers cutting ribbons”.

Waves of Revolution (1974) chronicled the upheavals in Bihar, giving voice to a broad coalition of dissenters – students, Gandhians, poor people – excluded from mainstream discourse. Made for virtually no money, using Super-8 film and a cheap cassette recorder for the sound. It established Patwardhan’s reputation as a fearlessly independent maverick operating outside the system. According to Nair Anand was and remains an anomaly. “There’s no one like him …He’s always pursuing an uncomfortable zone and actualising the conflicts in his films. He’s a barometer of integrity.”

One of Patwardhan’s most celebrated films, Bombay Our City, spotlights the immiseration of Dalits whose make-do shelters were constantly being torn down by developers, as well as the casual contempt for them on the part of local elites. Patwardhan depicted Dalits questioning his motives: “You just want to earn a name taking photographs. So don’t take photographs of the poor.” He also included footage of local bards singing songs of poetry and protest, wild songs that revealed, as Frederick Douglass found in the spirituals of black slaves, “the highest joy and the deepest sadness”.

Patwardhan’s latest film Jai Bhim Comrade begins with a clip from Bombay Our City that shows the charismatic singer, poet and activist Vilas Ghogre in full melodious flow. In 1997, however, following the police shooting of 10 unarmed Dalits protesting against the desecration of a shrine to Bhimrao Ambedkar (1891-1956), a visionary leader who was born an “untouchable”, Ghogre hanged himself. His suicide is the starting point for a carefully constructed, far reaching, and by turns pensive and enraging examination of how Dalit men and women are still mistreated by the upper classes and even by some of the politicians who claim to speak for them.

The Latin American “Third Cinema” movement of the 1960s – decrying art for art’s sake and calling for film-as-revolutionary activism – has always been important to Patwardhan. His documentaries, which have frequently riled censors, are for ideological as well as economic reasons ill-suited to the world of the modern Indian multiplex: Jai Bhim Comrade, he says, has found its most passionate and intelligent audiences among the very people whose lives and struggles it chronicles.

“All across Maharashtra [where it’s set] the film is in constant demand: we bought a powerful video projector, made a foldable 20ftx30ft screen and for the past five months have done regular open-air screenings in working-class and Dalit neighbourhoods, organised and sponsored locally. As people cannot afford to hire many chairs, the audience squats on the floor or, incredibly, stands through the entire three hours of the film. We wait for darkness before we begin and the film often goes past the 10pm cut-off point when loudspeakers are officially silenced. But at many venues the local police, who often came from the same caste and class background as the audience, look the other way.”

Jai Bhim Comrade is an inarguable rejoinder to anyone who assumes recent legislation concerning Dalit schooling and quotas for state-sector jobs means that the age of discrimination is over. “All you have to do is to look at the statistics,” Patwardhan says. “Across the country, two Dalits are killed and three raped every day.” The eloquent social critiques delivered by its subjects, as well as the fire and lyrical fervour in their ballads, oratory and street-theatre performances, bear out the claim, delivered by one interviewee: “In every lane there’s a poet, and in every hovel there’s a singer.”

Well over a decade in the making, Jai Bhim Comrade could be seen as a capstone to Patwardhan’s extraordinary career. When I put this notion to him, he was characteristically reflective: “Almost every film that takes a long time to make feels like the last film I will ever make, feels as I have said everything I ever wanted to say. Right now that is how I feel about Jai Bhim Comrade. I am content with the thought of just doing more and more screenings and discussions, and seeing how people grapple with it. After 14 years in labour, I am enjoying the joys of parenthood.”

Jai Bhim Comrade premieres in the UK on 14 June, as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Appeal for support–Anti Nuke Activist in Coma


by Kamayani Bali Mahabal on Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My friend and anti nuke activist Satish ( 31) , was found unconscious on 11th may , at vasai rd highway and has been in coma since then.He ahs got 2 blood clots in his  brain and has been is admittedin surana hospital, Mumbai. He is in coma and ventitalator , his wife a translator has akreadys pent Rs 2.5 lakh and they need  Rs 4.5 lakh more

 

Satish is a writer and activist and is unemployed . Though not belonging to any particular organisation, he was engaged with various human rights issues. He participated in Anti-Nuke Jaitapur yatra and actively engaged with anti-nuke campaign in mumbai. He was also involved with airport slum dwellers in their struggle against eviction by the airport authority and in campaigning for adequate rehabilitation.

 

I thank my Facebook friends for coming forward and supporting him, but we still need more financial help

 

If there are any suggestiiosn where we can raise money, please message me. We are trying some trusts also, but the fact he is not BPL is coming in the way, hence individual appeals

 

Those intersted to help him please email me at kamayani@ymail.com.  I will send details.

Manmohan Singh Japan jao, Japan jaa ke sushikhao: Anti-nuke activists


 

Published: Monday, May 21, 2012, 9:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Anti-nuclear demonstrators gathered on Sunday evening at Dadar’s Chaityabhoomi along with National Award-winning filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, activist Dr Binayak Sen and his wife Ilina, and members of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, Konkan Vinashakari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti, and Konkan Bachao Andolan Priyar Dravidar Kazhagam. They were protesting against the controversial nuclear reactor project in Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu.

The activists raised slogans such as “Nuclear power plant nahin chaiye”, “Jhutha vikas nahi chalega” and “Manmohan Singh Japan jao, Japan jaa kesushi khao.”

They appealed to the citizens of India to protest against the nuclear reactor, and safeguard the lives, dignity, resources and livelihoods of the people of Koodankulam.

Addressing the gathering, Patwardhan said, “People in Idinthakarai village had to end their 14-day fast this week. It is appalling that nobody from the Tamil Nadu or central government came to speak to them, and that the police strength in the area has been identified with every possible intimidating tactic, including taking away the food ration cards of agitating villagers.”

Dr Binayak Sen appealed to passersby to pay heed to the testimonies of independent experts and scientists highlighting the dangers of constructing the reactor. “At this critical juncture, we urge that a wider consultation is necessary before continuing the large-scale nuclear expansion that this government is already deeply engaged in,” he said.

Bringing the protest to a close, Ilina, Sen’s wife, said that the outright repression and silencing of the Koodankulam people’s movement wouldhave adverse implications for all future individual and collective struggles.

Binayak Sen and Anand Patwardhan urge Mumbai to support of Anti Nuke Protesters in Koondakulam


Binayak Sen

Binayak Sen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On  May 20th 2012 (Sunday), the An Urgent Appeal to the Conscience of the Nation on Koodankulam , signed by eminent Indians like Prashant Bhushan, Vandana Shiva, Aruna Roy, Binayak Sen, Anand Patwardhan, Admiral Ramdas, Lalita Ramdas, Narayan Desai, Surendra Gadekar, EAS Sharma, Ilina Sen, Sandeep Pandey, Aruna Rodrigues, Praful Bidwai, P M Bhargava, Achin Vanaik, Gnani Sankaran etc. were released in New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
In Mumbai, the appeal was released at 6.30 PM in Chaityabhoomi at Dadar by prominent human rights activist Binayak Sen and ilina sen and activist and documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan. More than 70 people gathered in support of our freinds in Koondakulam.

      The appeal urges ‘the conscience of the nation’ – the people of India – to demand that the government immediately stops intimidating and harassing peaceful protesters in Koodankulam and puts a moratorium on reactor projects in the country and engages all sections of Indian people democratically in a wider consultation on the expansion of nuclear energy.

Sunday Suggestion for Mumbai- May 20th, a rare opportunity not be MISSED


Dear Mumbaikars

How about a Play and Protest on a  Sunday evening May 20th at Dadar, Mumbai

a RARE COMBINATION NOT BE MISSED

 Premiere-  "Shivaji Underground in Bhimnagar"

 

 

Premiere – “Shivaji Underground in Bhimnagar”

Most historical figures that we worship today were pro-human. However they have been usurped by different communities and their ideologies twisted to create rift in society and amidst its people.

This play is a new look at these figures and history. It is an attempt to relegate these well known symbols back to entire humanity and not just a particular group. It challenges the divisions in society using the idols that the society worships. Using historical figures it tries to make a comment on contemporary society.

Direction: Nandu Madhav
Concept, Music & Lyrics: Lokshahir Sambhaji Bhagat,
Venue: Yeshwant Natyamandir, Matunga, Mumbai
Time: 4 PM
Date: May 20th, 2012 Sunday.

for mre information contact-9323801194

From the theatre we proceed to chitaybhoomi dadar to voice are support to the koondakulam anti nuke protesters alongwith anand patwardhan, Dr Binayak Sen  and Ilina Sen and many other activists,  and artistes

An Appeal to the Conscience of Mumbai: No to Koodankulam, No to Nuclear

Dear Friends,

We are inviting you at Chaityabhoomi, Dadar. Mumbai on May 20th at 6.30 pm for a protest meeting to present “An Urgent Appeal to the Conscience of the Nation on Koodankulam”

This appeal is a reflection of our collective frustration and instead of being sent to the Govt, it will be presented before people of India.

It is already endorsed by prominent figures like Prashant Bhushan, Vandana Shiva, Lalita Ramdas, Partha Chatterjee, Parful Bidwai, Achin Vanaik, Gnani Sankaran, John Dayal, Meher Engineer, Sandeep Pandey etc.

The appeal will be released in Mumbai by:

Anand PatwardhanSocial activist and Film maker

Dr. Binayak Sen and Ilina Sen – Human Rights activists

in soldarity
Coalition for Nuclear Disarmamment and Peace ( CNDP )
Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti,
Konkan Bachao Andolan
Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, ( Mumbai Unit )

for more  information contact-9757475875

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