The Brown India Initiative, together with the Department of Anthropology, presents a screening of Pankaj Rishi Kumar's 2012 documentary film In God's Land. The documentary describes the formation and troubles of a small farming community and their village called God Sudalai Swami, addressing the larger issue of development and forcing the audience to recognize that the ideals of development, economic prosperity, rarely benefits those affected.
After taming a former wasteland through hard work and sweat and creating a community, the settlers start living there. The mythical birth of their village God Sudalai Swami unfolds the village’s unique journey to fight the oppression of the ‘big’ Vanamamalai Temple. Now that the clergy owns the land, the settlers are reduced to being tenant farmers and must make way for redevelopment after the land is sold off for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A dispute over God’s land begins. 'In God’ Land' is not simply about the fight between the priests and the farmers. Using animation it recounts the history of the land and satirizes the exploitation perpetuated by religion and class distinction. The film looks at the land within the larger issue of development, forcing us to recognize the totalitarian attitude of the ideals of development, ostensibly to bring economic prosperity but rarely a benefit to real users. But the film’s most interesting element is the people living on this god’s land. Instead of fighting the temple or government, they accept this dire reality and try to find comfort in god’s will, perhaps because for them it is still the land of god.
(CHO Young-jung, Busan Film Festival)
Read more about Pankaj and In God's Land in a recent article in The Hindu.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Joukowsky Forum | Watson Institute
Lunch will be served