It was 23rd of July, 2013, my friend Jeshu called me at around 10:30pm and reminded me to be present in the lecture hall by 9:00am morning next day. I was excited to watch a documentary and posted my excitement in my facebook wall!
Professor Subeno, screened the movie “India Untouched: Stories of a People Apart”. It was really astonishing to see that how the caste system is still prevailing in the modern India! Before watching the documentary if anybody would me about the prevalence of caste system among Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs or among the communist of Kerela I would surely answered a big ‘NO’. But after watching the
movie, I am been compelled to acknowledge that the social evil called caste system is even prevailing in the places like Jawaharlal Neheru University or in the institutions like medical sciences! The documentary also reminded me the recent brutal murder of dalit youth E. Ilavarasan in Tamil Nadu.
The documentary has depicted how caste system is making mockery of Indian Constitution. The documentary has shown how a Banaras based Hindu scholar while interpreting the religious scriptures said that the dalits have no right to get educated. It visualized that the dalits have to dismount from their cycles and remove their shoes when they are in the upper caste part of the village!
The “India Untouched: Stories of a People Apart” is the most comprehensive documentary to understand the caste system in India. Stalin K, the director of the documentary and his team had spent four long years and travelled eight Indian states to capture the live visuals, tried to understand the deepness of the problem. It documented end numbers stories of people who have to live in shackles, constrained by discrimination and humiliation only because of their caste. The documentary received at least thirteen national as well as international prestigious awards. Including Best Documentary, Mahindra IAAC Film Festival, New York in November 2007, Silver Dhow, Second-best Documentary, Zanzibar International Film Festival, Tanzania, July 2008 and Amnesty International Film Festival, Netherlands, March 2008
Director of the documentary Stalin K was invited to the famous Television Talk Show “Satyamev Jayate”. While discussing with superstar Aamir Khan he said “it is a shame that it has taken 65 years for the issue to be discussed on a national platform like this one”.
It is not the fact that government had not taken any initiative to uphold the human dignity above the caste system. Government had enacted SC/ST (Prohibition of Atrocities) Act 1989. While reporting the documentary The Hindu said “….Rajput farmers who proudly proclaim that the police must seek their permission before pursuing cases of atrocities against Dalits”. Perhaps, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru rightly said “Legislation cannot by itself normally solve the deep-rooted social problem”. Yes, we have to approach differently. AND education may be one of much approach.
P.S. My heart felt gratitude to Professor Subeno, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati for introducing me to India Untouched.