Film-maker Rakesh Sharma today released his
latest films for previews in Gujarat. The two
new films -- Khedu Mora Re and Chet'ta
Rejo -- have been researched over the last
couple of years and shot during the last eight
months. Speaking about his new films, Rakesh
Sharma said, "Ever since I started showing
Final Solution around, many people urged
me to do follow-up films as well. I wanted to
go beyond highlighting the events of 2002 and
the State and Sangh Parivar's complicity, which
by now has been well-documented, especially
after the Tehelka expose . These films are also
in the nature of my response to Mr. Modi and
his propaganda as a member of civil society."
Mora Re (62 minutes)
film specifically deals with the myth of 'Vibrant
Gujarat'. The film graphically documents the
phenomenon of farmer suicides in Gujarat. It
also deals with farmers' opposition to SEZs
as well as widespread anger against the Modi
government and its lopsided policies which many
farmers in the film claim are tailored to suit
corporates and industries. The much-hyped '
Sujalam Sufalam' scheme is probed at the ground
level, especially during the recent floods in
Saurashtra -where farmers squarely blame this
scheme for their misfortune. Says a farmer in
the film, "Till a couple of years ago,
there was never a flood in Gokharwada (district
Surendranagar) but ever since this ' Sujalam
Sufalam', our village and lands get submerged
every year due to these new check dams, faulty
planning and construction. Modi keeps announcing
packages worth hundreds of crores, but the reality
is that the people are yet to receive even 5
Rupees out of the post-flood package announced
for 2005! And now this flood in 2007
it has destroyed us totally."
strand that runs through is a specific RTI (Right
to Information ) campaign designed by the film-maker.
Filed through activist Bharat Jhala, the information
nails government lies and exposes its attempts
to suppress the truly horrifying scale of farmer
suicides in Gujarat. Says Rakesh Sharma, "Modi
has been trying to reinvent himself as Vikaspurush,
hoping that glitzy films and investor summits
will whitewash his image as the butcher of Gujarat.
I felt it was critical to examine the true story
behind the hype, but also realized that the
film is liable to be attacked and its credibility
challenged. That's why I chose the RTI route
to use the government's own figures to bring
out the true story."
claimed in a TV interview to NDTV on March 14,
2007 that no farmer commits suicide in Gujarat,"
continues Rakesh Sharma. "A month later,
he admitted to 148 suicides on the floor of
the assembly. Official data that we finally
got in Oct 10, 2007, five months after we filed
queries, confirms 498 suicides formally. However,
even this list is partial as it does not feature
several suicide stories painstakingly documented
in the film! As many suicides are passed off
as accidents, we also filed RTI queries seeking
details of all accidental deaths. Of the 6,695
farmers who died in "accidents", over
4000 have not been paid any 'Kisan Vima Yojana'
money (we've informally learnt that insurance
companies have denied many such "accident"
claims as many of these are suicides)! Amazingly,
on Oct 10 itself, the day the Gujarat government
gave us RTI data confirming 498 suicides, an
official ad released on ETV categorically stated
that there are no suicides in Gujarat and people
should not believe in false propaganda. The
ad was obviously in response to the media coverage,
press conferences and film excerpts that appeared
in end Sept and October!"
film features several suicide stories done as
very personal, intimate portraits. Opposition
to land acquisition for SEZs in Bhavnagar district
are intercut with the havoc unleashed by private
companies in Kathivadar. The film itself reports
10-12 suicides in Amreli, Surendranagar, Bhavnagar,
Rajkot, Bharuch and Surat. The RTI data reveals
shocking district-wise figures Rajkot
(63 suicides), Junagad (85), Amreali (34), Mehsana
(48), Nadiad (44), Jamnagar (55), Narmada (30)
and even in Gandhinagar (13), right under the
Chief Minister's nose!
Rejo (72 minutes):
back cover of the CD itself contextualizes the
film the saffronisation of the Dalit-OBC
population and its consequent plight! The film
looks specifically at the patterns of arrests
and litigation since 2002. A majority of those
charged with rioting, arson, murder etc are
either tribals or Dalits and OBCs. An analysis
of those arrested from 32 police stations in
Ahmedabad suggests that of the 1577 detainees,
only 30-odd were upper caste! Are these foot
soldiers victims too? Cynically recruited, then
discarded, left to rot in jails, what do the
'perpetrators of the violence feel today about
the VHP and the BJP?
film has several personal portraits and conversations.
Some of the issues that emerge:
6-8 families of the deceased passengers of the
fatal S-6 speak of how they were told people
were going for a picnic tour, certainly not
any karseva, that the VHP-BJP exploited their
tragedy for electoral gains in 2002, how ever
since then no one has come to help, how monies
raised in their name never reached them...and
how some of them who spoke in public about it
have been threatened by the VHP!
VHP made tall promises to help the detained
and the injured Hindutva cadre, but barring
some rations and monetary help in the first
month or two, not much came. The VHP/ BJP combine
simply vanished. A telling account is of Kanti
and Deepak from Gomtipur - both shot by the
police, both appealed to the BJP for help (including
the CM) but got nothing. When they went to the
Togadia-owned Dhanvantri hospital for operations/
treatment, they were turned away, asked to bring
a deposit of Rs 50,000 first!
Cops don't arrest the upper castes. They come
and take away Dalits/OBCs - any men they can
find in the area. The men are normally told
to come along for haziri but then booked formally.
Women in such families speak of the subsequent
harassment and hardships.
Dalits ask why violence is engineered in their
areas, and not in the posh upper caste areas?
They ask a series of searching, probing questions
and offer their own analyses throughout the
Dalit elders speak of how the Ram Mandir at
Ayodhya doesn't mean much to them, as they cannot
even enter the mandir in their own villages
- upper castes prevent them from doing so till
An OBC Hindu boy and a Muslim boy, both friends,
used to play cricket together in Behrampura.
During the riots, both lost their right hands
to bombs during the riots! The film ends with
both of them appealing to the youth not to join
such parties or get involved in such violence
as no one lifts a finger to help -- it is them
and their families who will suffer forever.
overall message that emerges through a range
of voices - violence and politics of hate destroys
the Dalit-OBC-Muslim communities; it is best
to stay away from parties that preach hate.