A Voice for the Voiceless Adivasis

06 November 2007

Thiruvananthapuram: Mineral treasures have become the biggest source of headache for Adivasis.Through their stories and songs, ‘Mahua Memoirs’ unfolds the lifevisions and the struggles of Adivasis against the mining that is mercilessly consuming their lands and their lives. The 76-minute documentary was screened at the ‘SIGNS 2007’ festival organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India at Kalabhavan in the capital recently. Saloo, the bard, and Thirku, the Baiga, take the viewers on a journey through the lives of the many Adivasi communities who live in the mountain tracts and forests of the Eastern Ghats across Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. These regions too are rich in natural resources including minerals — resources that have become the source of their greatest insecurities. Through their stories and songs interwoven through the metaphor of bewar, a form of shifting cultivation practised by Adivasis, the film unravels and unfolds both their life-visions and their struggles.

The documentary records those voices that systematically dismantle the claims made by policymakers and the industry. The film reveals that it is not true that projects like mining bring in employment to the local people and, therefore, development and prosperity to the region and its people.

The documentary by Grass Roots Media has been produced in partnership with ‘EQUATIONS’ and supported by HIVOS India Regional Office. The director and photographer is Vinod Raja and the executive producer is Ashok Maridas.