Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mare ghar jhanjar laxmi ke baje......

Loosely translated it means "in my house, the bells of wealth ring". This is a line from the "Amul Song" which was featured in the 1976 movie "Manthan (The churning)"
I had heard about the movie before coming to IRMA. In IRMA, which probably has the longest induction process, given its unique status as a RM school, this is one of the several movies which is screened during the induction process.I watched it without applying any of the "collective action logic" or the co-operative logic that I was to learn later. I saw it again after it was used beautifully by Prof.Raju in his co-operative class. This time there was learning in viewing that movie.
The last time I saw the movie was when my sister, who believes that I am a one stop shop for everything rural, asked me whether I had watched "Peepli Live". And as any 'urban, middle class, more in the know of whats happening in USA than in rural India' person, went on a diatribe against the Barkha Dutts, and the Rajdeep Sardesais of the world.
Fresh as I was from my internship in Vidharbha, I was interested in watching that movie.And I did. However I could not appreciate the message (if there was any) from that movie. And in fact, it made me go back and watch Manthan again!
We have largely believed that rural India is one of poverty, despair and we conjure up images of wrinkled faces standing on dry patches of land looking upwards for some relief.Peepli Live showcases that! And that has been the case for a lot of rural reporting too.Credit of course goes to P Sainath for having started this crusade against State apathy in rural India.
Peepli Live is a story of despair! Manthan is about "collective might".It is not that rural India was all about prosperity in the 70s and the situation has worsened now.
There are enough success stories in the hinterland of people using collective action.Take Niyamgiri for example. However Mr. Gandhi flew off to Orissa and made it sound like that he and his mother were responsible for the verdict and not the collective might of the tribals.
I think we have been fed too much of "rural distress" that we will never be entertained with stories depicting rural prosperity. And that is why I urge those who watched Peepli Live to go and watch Manthan. And maybe we will appreciate that it is not always outside intervention, but self intitiated action that acts as a powerful catalyst for change.

1 comment:

  1. "And maybe we will appreciate that it is not always outside intervention, but self intitiated (sic) action that acts as a powerful catalyst for change."

    And this is key. Once the "disadvantaged" realise that there is nobody from outside who can sustain change for them, I think we can look forward to progress.