AMC screens documentary “Have you seen the Arana?”

As a part of Aswas Movie Club [AMC], the movie “NINGAL ARANAYE KANDO?” has been screened at Dept. of Social Work on 9th April, 2013. A brief introduction about the movie, directed by Sunanda Bhat was given to the students by Mr.Prageesh (AMC Coordinator). The movie was screened for about 1 hr 15 minutes. He also mentioned the movie’s achievements –

  • The Best Documentary Award at The Signs Festival, 2013, Trivandrum.
  • Recipient of the AND Fund from the Busan International Film FestivalDSC04738 2012 in    South Korea.
  • Screened at International Film Festival of India 2012 as part of Indian Panorama.
  • 15th John Abraham award for Best Documentary.

The film set in Wayanad    (part of the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats in South India) shows the drastic transformation which takes place in the name of ‘development’. The movie translates the complexity of the people and place, exploring the effects of rapidly changing landscapes on lives and livelihoods including

  • A woman’s concern over the disappearance of medicinal plants from the forests.
  • A farmer’s commitment to follow the ancient system of farming or rather grows the traditional varieties of rice in organic manner.
  • A cash crop cultivator’s struggle to survive amidst farmers suicides

An ancient tribal myth that traces the passage of their ancestors is blend into contemporary narratives recalling the past ways of reading and mapping of the terrain.

As hills flatten, forests disappear and traditional knowledge systems are forgotten, the film reminds the audience that it is high time that the diversity are at the verge to disappear, replaced by monotonous and unsustainable alternatives. The movie provides a hand full of new insights showing the shifting relations between people, knowledge syDSC04743stems and environment exploring the perils of the changing lives.

The social work trainees calmly enjoyed the movie and grasped the message behind the film. The aim of the screening was sighted to be fruitful. There were many good comments and feedbacks.

The feedbacks noted down from the students –

1.)  Mr.Mithun said, he realized the importance of forest and understood why the tribal’s give utmost care to the forest. He also said that prevention is better than cure, so by not taking precautions we are moving ahead to destruction.

2.)                Ms.Lekshmi Vimala said that the documentary reminded her of the tribal camp days. The tribals live in harmony with nature always and so it is all about the synchronization of soil, water, plants, birds, animals and man and their tradition, culture etc. The movie was a refreshing experience.

3.)                Mr.Vishnu K Santhosh said the movie has influenced him a lot. One can understand how far the people are depended on soil and forest for their livelihood through the movie. He also related the movie with the travelling experience he had during research in Sabarimala-the tribal life, Sabarimala customs, rituals and beliefs, Poonkavanam etc which is closely related to the forest and 99 mountain systems. The movie made him realize the importance of recording and documenting things.

4.)                Deepak said it took him back to the memories at Kuruvadeep (the location where the movie is set).He said there is a generation of those above 60 years old at the place, who follow the old traditional systems which is not followed by their children or recorded and which cannot be found anywhere else. This approach ensures their disappearance sooner or later. He said that there is a temple in that location and tourists come and stay there, have fun with dDSC04755rinks and go, contrast to the idea of tourism enabling development. An option of documentation or recording is not done. He said tourism is definitely not the expected substitute.

5.)                Ms.Shilpa recalled the words by Masanobu Fukuoka in his book “The One-Straw Revolution” -that man need not grow/cultivate plants, it grows by itself naturally and so do forests ,it is not cultivated by anyone.

She also added that it is not only Lacertilia (Arana) that has started vanishing from our land but other creatures like chameleon, grass hopper, butterfly and dragonfly too.

People never allow their children to walk on land bare footedly, in the name of protecting them from diseases or pain caused by stones. Though without knowledge they stop the soil’s PH and goodness from reaching mankind and try new methods of walking in shoes filled with stones. She pointed out that it is the thoughts and activities of man that should change.

6.)                Ms. Nisha.A.S mentioned her learning such as the system of following the rituals and how the tourism and resorts leads to the destruction of ecological balance.

7.)                Mr. Anoop conveyed his gratitude to AMC for screening the movie. He said it is ‘the woman’s concern for trees and her words that all trees are medicines for something or the other, though they aren’t aware as their ancestors did’ that touched him. He asked who cares so for plants in today’s world of technology. The other point he spotted was the disappearance of fishes due to insecticides which disturbed their food cycle.

8.)                Mr.Prasanth said the movie reminded him a speech of Mr.Anandha Boss (Senior IAS).He shared the story of a village which depended on barge (‘Changadam’ – a flat bottomed boat made up of bamboo sticks) for their living, to cross the river and go to city etc. Government as part of implementing development programmes came up with a bridge project one day and it was completed in a few months time. However later follow-ups made them realize that the bridge is of no use and it acts just like an umbrella protecting the people from rain and sun while they continue with the same old barge. So he said the focus of development should be on the real needs of people.

He said Arana is normally said as ‘maravi jeevi’ a creature that forgets things .The same is applies to us too. By forgetting our past we cannot do anything for the future.

9.)                Ms.Andria said, she felt that the tribal life style of 3 mandus groups as 3 sustainable pillars and added that ‘we reap what we sow’, so ultimately ie the fruit what we have endangered now.

10.)            Ms.Reshmi said tribals are the ones who suffer when tourism is encouraged. She also highlighted their attitude of conserving for the future, without disturbing the mushroom sprouting and preserving them for tomorrow considering them as god’s gift.

11.)            Mr.Joby quoted from the bible- “Rememberman you are dust and to dust you shall return ..” and so why to disturb others in the name of development. He said we must understand our role as an individual and be humane.

12.)            Ms. Jasmin said that the movie makes to rethink on the question ‘who is civilized and who is uncivilized’.

13.)            Ms.Nandhana pointed out the importance of education and optimism which the people show even though they fail in cultivation number of times.

The Session was concluded by Mr. Ranjith Kavumkara (Faculty, Department of Social Work) at 4.00 pm. He said he is very glad that all shared their insights and he also shared some of his experiences and views on the occasion. He talked about many NGO’s that invests for the development of the tribals and said that inspite of all this they still keep starving. He commented on the creative way of investigation done in the movie, exploring the lifestyle of people. He also appreciated the representation of a school through an auto that is waiting for the kids and an audio of the National Anthem. The usage of background sounds from the lyrical narration of community was also up to the mark. The migrant settlers are not warned and they do not know how to behave in a community leading all the way to negative causes. He urged the students to understand their role as social workers and analyze the issues and act wisely to prevent the destruction.

The movie reveals glimpses of overall reality, representing people who live on the margins of intricate society unraveling different layers of life.

Report by: Jasmin R Pereira

Edited by: Anitha S

Photos by: Bibin S Babu


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