Sometimes all that we require is an unpleasant jolt to get us out of our cocoons. This is exactly what happened at the third event of SSLA’s very own lecture series, “Between the Lines…Interpreting India”. At the screening of his latest creation, Jai Bhim Comrade, the renowned political documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan sought to sensitize the bunch of privileged college-going audience about the extent of atrocities of caste-based violence prevalent in the society today, and he successfully managed to do so.
Jai Bhim Comrade is a documentary based on the incident of the desecration of an Ambedkar statue in Mumbai by the upper class Hindus in 1997. Following the unfortunate event, the Dalit community in the area protested, leading to the police firing at innocent men and women. A leftist Dalit poet, Vilas Ghogre, also a friend of Mr. Patwardhan’s, was so depressed after seeing the atrocities of the event that he committed suicide. Patwardhan, being so touched by this, decided to make a film on the living conditions of the Dalits. This film is the product of fourteen years of his social activism.
Watching people literally sit up and take notice echoed the motive of Between the Lines, of creating critically conscious and informed students. For most of them, caste was an issue that was done and dusted in so many of their courses. The film made them empathetic towards the oppressed group and made them want to make a difference in the society, as was reflected in the personal experiences that they shared during the interactive session post screening.
It is SSLA’s vision to nurture students into citizens who are not only responsive to the happenings around them, but also contribute responsibly to the society. Between the Lines is just one of the ways in which students are sensitized about issues plaguing the society, and making a catalyst out of them for social change.