K-14 Teacher Resources
The following videotapes are available to educators in the Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alberta. To order any of these items, call, write or e-mail:
South Asia Center
University of Washington
303 Thomson Hall, Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
Aditi: The Living Arts of India (41 min.) Produced by the Smithsonian Institute and the United Nations Childrens’ Fund. Footage of Indian participants in the 1985 Festival of India, performing and creating art in Washington, DC that summer. Also includes some footage of workshops the participants put on with school children.
Ahimsa: Nonviolence, The Story of the Jain Religion (58 min, 1987) examines this ancient and subtle tradition from the inside, providing a rare and intimate look at the people, the customs and the religious practices of the Jains. Featuring a fascinating panorama of both ritual and daily life shot throughout India, the film’s poignant interviews and thoughtful commentary make this an indispensable introduction for anyone interested in the Jain way of life. It is a magnificent overview of a comprehensive philosophy that offers nonviolence as the fundamental principle of life.
Ahmedabad (26 min 1983). A series of historical vignettes links today’s squatters with immigrants in the past. These people have clustered into Ahmedabad’s ethnic and linguistic neighborhoods to work in the city’s markets and handicraft industries as Hindu rulers are replaced by Muslim rulers, who are in turn replaced by British rulers. Ahmedabad becomes a major administrative and industrial center with a new middle class of clerks, artistic, and consumer cultures. Laborers continue to migrate into Ahmedabad’s ever more crowded slums. Conflicts with mill owners flair and Gandhi leads a textile union it its successful nonviolent struggle for fair wages. In independent India the struggle for fair wages continues.
Ajit -(28 min., 1995) This film by Arvind Sinha portrays Ajit, an 8 year old domestic servant in a Calcutta household. He was turned out of his family of 9 children in Bihar because his parents, who are interviewed in the film, could not care for him. He is shown doing his rounds of domestic chores, spending time watching television, and describing how his life as a domestic servant is an improvement over his home life, as he is fed and housed in his Calcutta household. This film is sure to spur classroom discussion on issues of child labor, class relations, media consumption, and many more topics.
Amir: An Afghan Refugee Musician’s life in Peshawar, Pakistan portrays aspects of Amir’s life as a refugee – his living conditions in Peshawar and his longing to return to Herat. It is also about Amir’s life as a professional musician and his relationships with other musicians in Peshawar. Musical performances include resistance songs performed at a Pakistani wedding.
The Bake Restudy 1984 (60 min). An interpretive document about an early ethnomusicologist and one of his field trips in India. It explores his background and methodologies, and the conditions under which he worked in 1938. It also documents the present researchers (UCLA’s Nazir Jairaxbhoy and Amy Catlin) and the sought to replicate his findings after a 46 hiatus. The video monograph The Bake Restudy 1938-1984: The Preservation and Transformation of Performance in Tamilnadu, Kerala, and Karnataka (1990) accompanies the video.
Ballad of the Causeway and Jala Do (Torch the Pyre) [two films on one cassette]: Local film maker Amy Laly has made two films about Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India, which are available together on a single video cassette. These films make a nice pair when discussing recent changes in society and politics in India generally, and in Mumbai particularly.
In December, 1992, militant Hindus of the Shiv Sena and other organizations managed to destroy the 16th century mosque known as Babri Masjid in the north Indian town of Ayodhya, partially with the at least passive participation of the local police.. The rest of India was almost immediately engulfed in violence, mostly pitting groups of Hindus against groups of Muslims. There were also reports of the police becoming involved. These encounters included particularly vicious ones in January, 1993, in Mumbai. These confrontations are usually referred to as “communal riots” in both the Indian and western press, but Laly sets out to change our perceptions of these events with her films.
Laly does this partly coincidentally and partly by design. In the aftermath of the riots in 1993 many Mumbai residents were surprised at the violence. They had thought the city was too cosmopolitan and diverse for such incidents to happen there. Laly’s two films reflect that before and after quality perfectly. They also seemed to reflect two different ways of going about making a documentary, a change in the way she perceives the subjects of her films.
“Ballad of the Causeway” portrays life on one of the busiest streets of Mumbai, Colaba Causeway. Made in 1991, prior to the gruesome events of 1993, the footage of life on the street and of the glitzy shops breaks many stereotypes people may have about India. Her selection of interviewees is confined mainly to upper class people or foreigners, and the film would have benefited from the inclusion of the words of more people who live and work on the street. This was partly due to technical constraints, as Laly did not at that time have equipment capable of making quality sound recordings on the street. Almost all the interviewees were outsiders to Colaba Causeway, at least by the time they were being interviewed.
Jala Do, by contrast, contains interviews with people who were involved directly in the activities being examined in the film. This film examines the events of January, 1993 through interviews with Muslim slum-dwellers, people who were the most direct victims of the violence that shook that city at that time. Their stories refute the media portrayals of these events as randomly carried out by mobs who are not connected in any way with larger political or government formations (the “riot” paradigm). The testimony of the interviewees in “Jala Do” indicates that the police were quite directly involved in the violence against the Muslim slum dwellers, and that these were not spontaneous instances of “communal violence.” In the coda, Laly states that a judicial inquiry into these acts of violence has yet to charge a single person in their perpetration (although I think at least one person has now been charged since the making of the film) and contrasts this with the reaction after a series of bomb explosions in Mumbai in March, 1993. These are believed to have been carried out by groups of Muslims, and some 300 Muslims have been arrested and charged with this crime.
Laly’s two films form a microcosm of the attitudes of many residents of Mumbai before and after the events of 1992-93, and will provide viewers with a perspective on “communalism”, “fundamentalism” and “communal violence” which is rarely illuminated in their common usages in media and academic publications.
Bearing the Heat By Kristin Oldham. Presents wide-ranging ways devotees worship the Mother Goddess in South India. Univ. of Wisconsin videos.
Being Muslim in India (41 min, 1984) Follows the daily routines and explores the life and home of Qasim, a devout Sunni Muslim and successful businessman who lives in Lucknow, India. He and his children describe what it is like to be a Muslim, the importance of daily prayer, Islamic education, dietary customs and the centrality of the Qur’an. Although we do not meet Qasim’s first wife, who has been observing seclusion (purda) since she was six, we meet his other two wives. They describe their relationship toward Qasim, each other, and each other’s children, as well as their roles in the extended family.
Bhopal: The Search for Justice (53 min., 2004) (DVD) Examines the continuing travails of victims of the 1984 Union Carbide poisonous gas leak in Bhopal, India. Preview online
The Birth of Pakistan (20 min, 1992) Documents the political history of Pakistan from its creation in 1947 to the tenuous leadership of Benazir Bhutto in the ’90s. The film runs through over forty years of history in cursory style, with most of the attention devoted to foreign relations and high-level politics. A concise introduction to this young nation’s history.
The Bitter Taste of Tea (2008, 59 minutes). This program travels to tea estates in Sri Lanka, Kenya, India, and Bangladesh—some traditional, some fair trade—to expose unsafe work environments and labor exploitation. Finding little meaningful difference between fair trade and non–fair trade operations, questions arise: Are fair trade organizations such as the E.U.’s Max Havelaar Foundation being duped by tea growers? Or are growers doing the best they can in a brutal industry and a market that has yet to demand the quantities of fair trade tea that would create meaningful trickle-down profits for their workers? It is left to the viewer to weigh the arguments and decide.
Bombay: Our City (57 min, 1985) Tells the story of the daily battle for survival of the 4 million slum dwellers of Bombay who make up half the city’s population. Although they are Bombay’s workforce — industrial laborers, construction workers, domestic servants — they are denied city utilities like electricity, sanitation and water. Many slum dwellers must also face the constant threat of eviction as city authorities carry out campaigns to “beautify” Bombay.
The Buddhist Tradition (30 min) Part of Religions in Human Culture series. Although this tape focuses on Buddhism in Burma and Japan, it does introduce basic beliefs and provides an historical background on the spread of Buddhism from South Asia. List of discussion questions is included.
Caste at Birth (52 min) Mira Hamermesh, director, producer, writer, Details the conditions of life for many of Indiaâs scheduled castes and tribes, and includes discussions by caste Hindus of their positions and those of the SCT. An excellent starting point for discussion of Indiaâs caste system, although it might solidify some misconceptions about the lack of fluidity in caste identity.
Children Without Childhood. India: The Little Serfs (45 min) Although child labor has been banned in India, it still thrives because too many see a profit in the grueling work of young hands. This programs spotlights the exploitation of children as bond slaves in the rug-weaving, bangle-making, quarrying, and gemstone-cutting industries and the measures being taken to eradicate this practice.
Cochin (28 min.) The history of the spice trade in the Cochin area of southwestern India provides a complex variety of peoples and religions who live together in harmony.
Courts and Councils: Dispute Settlement in India (30 min.) Observes: 1) a nyaya panchayat council, recently legislated, taking two farmers’ evidence regarding their dispute; 2) a nandiwalla caste panchayat council, colorfully turbaned, that shuns formal courts and assigns fines and other penalties according to its won traditions and group consensus; 3) formal court tribunals, requiring trained, black robed lawyers and judges reflecting the British legacy of “adversarial justice.” Contrasts Gandhi’s and Ambedkar’s views of formal courts and concludes with an Indian Supreme Court Justice describing needed judicial reforms.
Community: Changing Roles of Women and Men in Bangladesh A dramatic story of villagers in southwest Bangladesh fighting for economic and social rights.
Compassion in Exile: The Story of the 14th Dalai Lama (60 min.) An intimate portrait of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, whose thiry-year nonviolent struggle on behalf of his people earned him the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. It is also a look at the treatment endured by the Tibetan people at the hands of the Communist Chinese.
Dadi’s Family (58 min, 1981). Dadi is the grandmother and mother-in-law, or, as she explains it, the “manager” of an extended family in the Harayana region of Northern India. Here, women leave their natal villages and come as strangers to the households of their husbands’ mothers. The film explores the family and its problems, particularly through the women of Dadi’s family. Social and economic changes outside the village also threaten the stability and cohesion of the family. Dadi herself is keenly aware of these processes: “Doesn’t everything change?” she asks.
Dance Mandal: Tantric Buddhist Dances of Nepal (video approx. 60 minutes) This video ddocuments the mythological origins of the Kathmandu Valley, and offers examples of Charya Nritya (dance as spiritual discipline) and Charya giti (song as spiritual discipline). Produced by Dance Mandal.
A Day Will Come (28 min., 1997) This film portrays the different decisions a brother and sister in the Pakistani city of Quetta make in their choices of marriage partners.
Democracy in Crisis (50 min, 1991). This film by Manjira Datta surveys recent events which have led to religious strife in India, and examines tensions within this democratic state torn by communal violence, caste battles, and civil strife, and the religious zeal of fundamentalists threatening to end India’s existence as a democratic secular state.
Division of Hearts (57 min, 1987). The 1947 British subdivision of colonial India into Pakistan and the independent Indian nation cost 500,000 lives and the relocation of millions, perhaps the greatest movement of peoples ever. In this video by Satti Khanna and Peter Chappell, ordinary people from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh tell this story and recount their own tumultuous experiences. Archival news film helps to relate the history.
Dreams Die Hard tells the stories of survivors of slavery in America.
Dynasty – The Nehru-Gandhi Story (180 min, 1998) The fascinating and often tragic story of the Nehru and Gandhi families and their quest to lead India to peace and prosperity. On August 14, 1947, India won independence after 200 years of British rule due to the tireless work and sacrifice of three Hindu nationalists. Mahatma Gandhi was the spiritual leader; Jawaharial Nehru, son of Motilal Nehru was elected to political monarch. The next two generations of Nehrus, Indira and her two sons, continued the reign until 1991, when son Rajiv was assassinated by terrorists. This in-depth, insightful program chronicles the dynasty established by the Nehrus and their long lasting influence on one of the largest and most populous countries in the world.
The Effect of TV on Culture in India (30 minutes, 1998) This documentary might more rightly be named The Effect of India on TV for much of the discussion focuses on the way the satellite networks which started operating in India in the 1990’s (Star, Zee, Channel V) changed their programming to match middle class Indian tastes once they went on the air. Much of the commentary in this film is supplied by PR Persons at the satellite networks, and this view is accepted fairly passively by the film makers, who seem to prefer to let the interviewees set the tone. The interviewees do include Ashish Nandy, who, while being overall light on criticism of the satellite channels’ effects, does claim that their promotion of consumerism as a lifestyle, combined with economic reforms in India, may eventually lead to rioting, as many may see newly acquired wealth as being illegitimately gained. There is much discussion by the interviewees which links the explosion in TV programming in India with the economic liberalization.
This film provides some good material for discussion, including on the way that mass media constructs its audience (in this case, the middle class being equated with India), the way that national programming can create a new sense of nationalism for some, or the way that programmers tap into existing cultural forms and reinvent them for their medium (such as with the popularity of film and music programs on the satellite channels). One important issue this film does not address, however, is how the new programming addresses gender roles. With images from Baywatch, Madonna videos, the latest Rambo films and the like being piped into homes and villages throughout India, this medium is surely selling more than the soap flakes which are advertised during breaks in the entertainment. And just exactly what this other product is may be the most important question about TV in India, and one which this documentary does not address.
Families of India (29 minute video) This film follows two children, 10 year old boy Raja and 8 year old girl Bavika through their daily lives in the western Indian state of Gujarat. We are shown their homes, families, schools, farms and temples. The video is narrated by children. Part of the Families of the World Series by Arden Productions. Preview online
Fashion Victims (2013, 45 minutes). The Australian Broadcasting Company made this film shortly after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which killed over 1000 factory workers. The film presents the human consequences of that disaster and focuses on the connection of Australian and other international retailers to suppliers in Bangladesh who pay low wages, abuse workers, and provide often unsafe working conditions.
Father, Son and Holy War (120 minutes, in two tapes, 1994). The third in a series of Anand Patwardhan’s film’s looking at India’s religious strife (the first two are In Memory of Friends and In the Name of God — also available). This film examines the connection between religion, violence and male identity in India today and explores the possibility that a key to the psychology of violence against “the enemy” lies in male insecurity — itself an inevitable product of the construction of “manhood”. The two parts: Trial by Fire and Hero Pharmacy won the Jury Prize, 1994 Vancouver Film festival and the 1994 Toronto film festival. Preview online
Festivals of the Far East (52 min) highlights a selection of five programs from this series on South Asian festivals. Included are: “Before the Jungle Gods” on the Katarangama festival of Sri Lanka, “Jewel in the Himalayas,” on ancient rites in the Himalayas and Tibet, “Colours of Rajasthan,” on the Pushkar festival, “The Kumbha Mela,” in North India and “The Wesak Festival,” a Buddhist festival in the Indian Himalayas.
First Harvest: Valleys in Transition Chronicles development efforts of the Aga Khan Rural Support Project in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Includes extensive coverage of efforts to authentically restore the 900 year old Baltit Fort in the Hunza Valley town of Karimabad, as well as how villagers work with AKRSP to bring water to previously unirrigated area (hence the title “First Harvest” from lands which had never before produced.
Flip the Coin: A Tower of Promises – Telecom Giants in Bangladesh (2009, 57 minutes). “This is the ugly face of globalization,” says A. R. Chowdhury-Repon, director of the Bangladesh Occupational Health, Safety, and Environment Foundation. He refers to a failure on the part of Western multinationals to ensure worker safety and proper environmental procedures in developing countries, and his description is echoed by many others throughout this program. Hidden camera interviews reveal shocking practices in steel factories across Bangladesh—from water pollution to child labor to a complete lack of protection from falls, fire, and hazardous materials. These factories are direct suppliers of the telecom companies Ericsson and Telenor, whose officials also appear on camera, in some cases promising to make amends, in others downplaying any association with wayward vendors. A much-needed look into international and green business ethics.
Follow the Rainbow (52 min, 1992) is part of the Indigenous Peoples: Standing Their Ground series. This film looks at the Ho Indians’ campaign opposing the damming of the Subarnarekha River in Southern Bihar. The dam will have catastrophic results for the Ho and so far their resistance has led to the temporary suspension of World Bank payments for the project.
Forest of Bliss (90 min., 1986) This film by Robert Gardner creates a visual and sonic impression of the activities and rituals surrounding death in Benares (Varanasi), a city considered holy by Hindus. Made without dialogue, narration or theme music, it leaves the viewer to interpret the images presented as it moves throughout a day and across the length of the city presenting people engaged in ushering the dead out of this world.
Four Years in Hell (25 min.) This film follows a Nepali woman, Chakkali Bal, who was tricked into working as a prostitute in India for four years. Upon being freed by the Indian police and returning home to Nepal, she discovered she was HIV positive. She has since worked for an organization which works to stop trafficking in women and educate young people about HIV/AIDS.
Fourth Stage: A Hindu’s Quest for Release (40 min). A retired newspaper editor struggles as he considers whether or not to renounce the world, enter the classical Hindu fourth stage of life, and become a sannyasin. The film accompanies him as he discusses the decision with colleagues, family and sannyasins, and as he learns about the philosophy of the Upanishads and the assumptions of classical Indian thought.
Freedom & Beyond is the third in a series documenting practical action to achieve freedom for the 27 million people in slavery today around the world. It explores what it takes to rescue child slaves, help them take back their lives, and how slavery can be stopped at its very source.
Frontiers of Peace: Jainism in India (40 min, 1986). Jainism is explored through the interrelationships between all four elements of the “Sangha” (community) — monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. The film, set in Ahmedabad, explores the central tenets of the Jain religion.
The Ganges (28 min). In Allahabad at the sacred Ganges River, eight million Hindus attend the religious festival of Kumbha Mela. The Ganges is a mosaic of Indian life which is traced from Allahabad to Calcutta.
Going to School in India (2007, 76 minutes) This documentary presents 9 vignettes of children going to school in non-traditional settings in India – on an island in Kashmir, on a boat in Andhra Pradesh, on a bus in Mumbai, in a monastery, at night, and others. Each section introduces the child, discusses their home life and school activities, and asks them what they think of the film and the people who will watch the film. Narration is English translation of what the children say, or there is a Hindi langauge track as well.
Great Moghuls A series of six 30 minute films on the Moghul Emperors: “Babur,” “The Young Akbar,” “Akbar,” “Jahangir,” “Shah Jahan,” and “Aurangzeb.” Features the art and architecture as well as the history of the dynamic Moghul era.
Highway Courtesans – A film by Mystelle Brabbee. (2005, 71 minutes, DVD, Subtitled) This provocative coming-of-age film chronicles the story of a bold young woman born into the Bachara community in Central India – the last hold-out of a tradition that started with India’s ancient palace courtesans and now survives with the sanctioned prostitution of every Bachara family’s oldest girl. Guddi, Shana and their neighbor Sungita serve a daily stream of roadside truckers to support their families. Their work as prostitutes forms the core of the local economy, but their contemporary ideas about freedom of choice, gender and self-determination slowly intrude on the Bachara way of life.
Hindi Movies (28 min). A look at the popular Hindi film industry. Bombay, far surpassing Hollywood in film output, turns out a feature film every day to a set formula.
The Hindu Tradition (30 min). Part of the series Religion in Human Culture. Focuses on basic beliefs and practices of Hinduism. A list of discussion questions provided.
Hinduism: Faith, Festivals & Rituals (51 min., 2000) In Kerala Hinduism is the principal belief system of the state’s religiously diverse and historically broad-minded population. This program examines the multifaceted majority religion of India. Devotional ceremonies and observances of Hinduism and sacred Hindu literature, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are explored, as are some of the region’s ornate temples. The Hindu emphasis on right living, or dharma, is discussed.
Holi Hey by Mark Katz. This video shows how the annual north-Indian Spring festival of Holi is celebrated in the city of Banaras (Varanasi, Kashi). A respected Banaras brahman, Mahant Veer Bhadra Mishra, recounts several explanations for the Holi festival. Univ. of Wisconsin videos.
Hunza: Toward New Horizons (47 min.) A look at Northern Pakistan’s Hunza valley. Mainly focuses on restoration of 900 year old Baltit Fort, but also on some other activities of the Aga Khan Rural Support Project, including construction of schools for girls. Includes beautiful footage of the valley, and some discussion of the changes brought about by increased tourism in the valley.
I am a Sufi, I am a Muslim (50 minutes, 1996) Explores the role of sufism within Islam, including its relationship to orthodox Islam and its role in the spread of Islam. Most of the program focuses on Pakistan, with a large part of it devoted to music and its role in proselytism. This includes a lengthy sequence of the late great qawwal Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performing at the urs or death anniversary of a sufi saint in Pakistan, as well as his descriptions of the role of sufism and music in Islam. A shorter but still significant section of the film deals with sufis in Skopje, Macedonia, in which section some forms of self-flagellation are portrayed which some students might find disturbing.
In Search of Gandhi In the early twentieth century, Mahatma Gandhi inspired millions of Indians to rise up against the British colonial state and successfully agitate for the establishment of a democratic and free India. In 2007, India celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its existence as an independent nation, but what kind of a democracy does India have today, and what does it actually mean to live in the world’s largest democracy?
Adopting the conventions of a road-movie, the film crew travels down the famous trail of Gandhi’s salt march, stopping at the same villages and cities where Gandhi and his followers raised their call for independence.
Directed by Lalit Vachani
In the Shadow of the Himalayas (2004) (DVD) Takes you on a journey to Nepal with the students of Seattle’s Hamilton International Middle School.
India and America: An Economic Awakening (1997) A film distributed by the Embassy of India in Washington, DC, which shows how the government of India wanted to portray the economic relationship between the two countries at that time.
India: From Moghuls to Independence (42 min, 1993). This videotape covers the history of India from the time of Genghis Khan’s first extension of his domain beyond China. It explains the roles of Tamerlane and his descendent Babur and shows the crucial Battle of Panipat between Babur and the forces of Ibrahim Lodi. There would be more battles before the Afghans were beaten, but Babur had established hegemony over a vast territory. The program traces the subsequent history of India.
An Indian Summer A two part film by Edwinna Ann Doyle and Dr. Esther Karp. Part I is entitled An Introduction To India. (21 min.). Part II is entitled A Tour of India. (24 min.)
India: Turmoils of the Century (Arnaud Mondagaran) Two 52-minute videos Produced by Point du Jour. Using archival footage never before seen in the West, this epic film traces the history of the past hundred years on the Indian subcontinent. It opens with scenes of the Ganges from the first “moving pictures” ever shot in India in 1899. Structured largely around available archival footage, it is a racing tour through the 20th century history of the subcontinent.
In Memory of Friends (60 min, 1990). This film by Anand Patwardhan, documents the violence and terror in the Punjab, India. After examining the political turmoil of the late 1970’s and the rise of Sikh fundamentalism, the film concentrates on the legacy of Bhagat Singh. This young socialist hanged by the British in 1931 becomes the symbol for both the socialist and Khalistan separatists. The film has won several awards in India and abroad.
In the Forest Hangs a Bridge (a 39 minute video) by Sanjay Kak. Addresses the situation of the Adi People of the Siang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India who build extensive cane and vine bridges across the river valleys that lace the region. This film examines the importance of these construction projects as community activities, the effects of migration out of the area on this activity, and the potential for government financed permanent bridge structures and their effect on the community and the environment. Produced by the Council for Advancement of Peopleâs Action and Rural Technolgy.
In the Name of God (90 min, 1992). Since gaining independence in 1947, India has been a secular state. Now, many Hindu fundamentalists are appealing to the 83% Hindu majority to redefine India as a Hindu nation. this film focuses on the campaign waged by the militant Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to destroy a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya said to have been built by Babar, the first Mughal Emperor of India, on the birthsite of the Hindu god Ram. The issue sparked religious violence that spread throughout India. This film examines the motivations that would ultimately lead to the drastic actions of the Hindu militants, as well as the efforts of secular Indians, many of whom are Hindus, to combat the religious intolerance that has seized India.
Islam and Feminism (25 min, 1991). Directed by Nighat Said Khan, this film elaborates on the inequities in Pakistan’s Islamic law, which does not distinguish among rape, adultery, and “fornication.” And, although some of Pakistan’s most prominent leaders are women, a rape victim can be charged under Islamic law with having had extramarital sex. The reportage examines these contradictions, and introduces the efforts of such organizations as the urban Women’s Action Forum and the rural Sindihani Tahreeq to battle the severe discrimination which Pakistani women, as women in many Islamic countries, must endure.
Jagriti (the Awakening) (25 min, 1991). Motia Khan, a slum in the poorest district of Delhi, consists of 5000 shacks on a site cleared 20 years ago for a redevelopment project which was never realized. Jagriti is a school for Motia Khan’s children. Interweaving interviews with local politicians and administrators of aid organizations, including OXFAM and UNICEF, with razor-sharp satirical sketches of these people performed by students — Jagriti reveals the difficulties encountered by the school’s founders in its first year of existence. A case study of the political red tape, and corruption often encountered in poorer areas all around the world.
Jai Santoshi Maa(1975, 145 minutes) Indian theatrical film. This film made a little-known mother goddess (Santoshi Ma) into one of the most popular icons of India. (in Hindi with English Subtitles)
Jala Do: This film examines the events of January, 1993 through interviews with Muslim slum-dwellers, people who were the most direct victims of the violence that shook that city at that time. On Cassette with Ballad of the Causeway.
Jama Masjid Street Journal (1979, 20 minutes) An early film by Mira Nair made in the neighborhood surrounding Delhiâs Jama Masjid. A good way to get the flavor of a mohalla in Delhi.
Janoon (2 hrs.) A theatrical film made in 1975 about events which occurred in 1857, the year Indian members of the British Indian Army rose in revolt, and India almost threw off British rule. Directed by Shyam Benegal.
Jaipur (28 min) is the capital of Rajasthan and India’s first fully designed city,. Studded with old fortresses and spectacular palaces, Jaipur is still admired for its astronomical observatory built by the city’s founder.
Kamala and Raji (45 min) depicts the struggle of women to support their families by supplementing or replacing their husbands’ incomes: Kamala, a former “bidi” (leaf cigarette) maker, describes her commitment to help women obtain better wages and conditions; Raji, a vegetable seller, tells of her confrontations with the municipality, the police, and the moneylenders. The film shows how women have worked together through SEWA (the Self Employed Women’s Association) to receive higher wages and have control over their incomes.
Kasthuri: A South Indian Film Star (30 min. video) Kasthuri is a twenty-one-year old film star who lives and works in Madras, the film capital of South India. She has starred in seven films and is about to make her eighth. In following her daily life -rehearsals, fan club appearances, visits with old friends, and shopping trips with her mother – the documentary exposes the paradox between her public and private life. She herself discusses the paradox of her films roles and her aspirations for herself and Indian women in general.
Khumbh Mela: Songs of the River (60 min., 2004) Looks at the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, which drew and estimated 70 million people to the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges Rivers for this once every 144 years festival.
Kings, Lovers and Thieves (1995, 35 minutes) This fascinating documentary provides a rare, behind-the-scenes look at India’s improvisational and often bawdy form of folk opera, Nautanki, as well as its rural cousin, Khyal. These forms of traveling roadside folk theater are particularly significant in that they have survived and remain popular despite India’s increasingly strong attachment to the cinema and to television. Their continued popularity is shown to be a manifestation of current social, political, and cultural influences, as performers take traditional mythological themes and update them to appeal to contemporary audiences. The film interweaves scenes of performances, interviews with noted performers and with spectators, and images of the Indian landscape to document these traditional Indian performing arts. It also explores how cultural tensions, inherent to a society imagined as traditional yet challenged by the contradictions of modernity, raise questions about the definition and longevity of cultural artifacts such as Nautanki and Khyal. Produced by Bob Madey.
Ladakh – Little Tibet (30 min). Ladakh lies to the northeast of Kashmir. Its barren moon-like landscape and Buddhist culture provides a stark contrast for the traveler winding his way from the soft green hills and Islam of Kashmir. Ladakh was previously closed to travelers because of its remoteness and strategically delicate location on India’s northern border with China.
Living Together and Apart: Hindus & Muslims in South Asia This film examines the interaction between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. Produced by the University of Wisconsin Center for South Asian Studies.
The Mahabharata (180 min.) Directed by Peter Brook. The three hour film version of Brook’s stageplay, it is filmed with a multi-ethnic cast and retells the 2000 year old Sanskrit epic of the feud between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Two cassettes.
A Migrant’s Heart (30 min.) A man whose parents came from India and then migrated to East Africa and finally England explains how he is caught between two worlds. Includes footage from his visit to India. Part of the Annenberg/CPB series Human Geography: People, Places and Change
Modern Brides: Arranged Marriages in South India (28 min) describes two marriages that occur in Mysore in 1983, within middle class Brahmin communities. The parents of Vinuta, a secretary, and Lokesh, a technician in a tire factory, arrange an entirely “traditional” marriage, complete with dowry and horoscope matching. The parents of Geetha, a medical student, and Raghu, a doctor, are informed by the two that they wish to marry each other (to have a “love marriage”). This film demonstrates the important ingredients of a “good marriage”: the family’s reputation and the willingness of all parties to adjust to new circumstances.
The Moghul Emperors (28 min.) This program records the history of the Moghul dynasty from Babur, who conquered India, through Akbar, to Shah Jehan who two hundred years later built the Taj Mahal.
Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night (27 min., 2005)(DVD) Looks at the lives of call center workers in India.
A Narmada Journal (60 minute video, 1995) by Anand Patwardhan & Simantini Dhuru, The Sardar Sarovar Dam, lynch-pin of a mammoth development project being constructed on the banks of the river Narmada in western India, has been criticized as being both uneconomical and unjust. This activist film examines the methods used to oppose construction of the dam, and examines some of the consequences of its completion.
Pakistan: One-on-One (2011, 30 minutes). In this program, a camera crew takes to the streets of Lahore to ask Pakistanis what they think about U.S. foreign policy, the Taliban, the “war on terror,” and the possibility of democracy in Pakistan. “We have conservatives, liberals, and those who are somewhere in between,” says a university student. “We are not all AK-47-holding terrorists.”
Pandit Nehru: A Profile (22 min.) This is a short biography of Jawaharlal Nehru, a key leader of India’s independence movement and the first prime minister of Independent India, an office he held from independence in 1947 until his death in 1964.
Partition of Pakistan; Legacy of Blood (51 minutes, 1998) This documentary focuses on the role of Mohammed Ali Jinnah in the partition of British India in 1947. With much historical footage and interviews with people who worked with the Quaid-I-Azam, including his daughter, it gives a multi-faceted and complex view of the man and the events leading up to partition. One of the main questions the film asks is whether or not Jinnah actually wanted a fully sovereign Pakistan or not. This is, of course, a very controversial question both within Pakistan and around the world. It is also a useful discussion for students of South Asian history, and for nationalists of all types. The film does not address how the idea of Pakistan was viewed in Bengal (part of which became East Pakistan and later Bangladesh), and only cursorily addresses the Muslim opposition to the Muslim League with a short reference to the opposition of some religious leaders. It does not address non-religious opposition by Muslims, such as the Unionist Party in Punjab, to the creation of Pakistan.
Photo Wallahs: An Encounter With Photography (60 min). Filmmakers David and Judith MacDougall explore the many meaning of photography in this award winning documentary. Through focusing on the photographers of Mussorie, a hill station in the Himalayan foothills of northern India, the film examines photography as art and as social artifact and introduces students to the complexity of social and anthropological observation.
The Power of Place: (two parts) South Asia: Aspiring India: Urban and Rural Contrasts and Life in China’s Frontier Cities. The South Asia section has two parts: in part one, a geographer studies Delhis as a multicultural, rapidly growing metropolitan area; part two examines how, farmers’ lives are transformed through the provision of irrigation in a water-deficient area, Dikhatpura, a village in Madhya Pradesh. The footage in this video is good, and the discussions by geographer H.J. de Blij are useful, but there is one glaring inaccuracy: India liberalized its economic policies in the early 1990’s, not the early 1900’s as the narrator in the film says. Pronunciation of place names is also very poor.
Price of Letter (68 min, 2004) (DVD) Follows the life a Bhutanese letter carrier.
Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion Includes: Guide for Educators; 10 minute videotape explaining and illustrating some pujas; posters of Vishnu, Lakshmi, Ganesh, Shiva and Parvati. Based on an exhibit at the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution which attempts to display Hindu devotional artworks in settings which closely match their usual use in South Asia.
Reinventing the Taliban? (47 min., 2003) Examines the re-emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan after their 2001 overthrow.
Saheri’s Choice (27 minutes, 1998) this program examines the custom and practice of arranged marriages in India, focussing in particular on one young woman from Rajasthan. She is married at a young age, does not move to her husband’s village because she is too young, and eventually her family finds a way to annul the marriage. The discussions with the various protagonists are candid, and this gives a glimpse of the way that arranged marriages actually do or do not work, rather than an idealized portrayal or demonization of the practice.
The Shattered Pearl (25 min, 1991). Once the “pearl of the Indian Ocean,” the island of Sri Lanka has become a battleground for a civil war waged by Tamil, Sinhala, and Muslim groups, especially in the north and east. Filmmakers Nimal and Ranjani Mendis report on the war, the human rights abuses, and the women who continue to struggle for justice and peace.
Sherpas of Everest (30 min). Sherpa Sirdar Ang Tsering is one of the few men to stand atop the very summit of Everest. In 1975, Ang Tsering reached the summit with a Japanese woman, Junko Tabai, the first woman ever to climb Everest. The film shows Ang Tsering making a pilgrimage from his home village to the mountain.
South: Memories of Milk City by Ruchir Joshi. A poetic memory of former and present-day Ahmedabad.
Spotlight on the Ramayana: An Enduring Tradition An interdisciplinary guide to the study of India based on the epic Ramayana. Lessons and units, developed by a group of teachers as a result of a National Endowment for the Humanities Institute, can be used as a curriculum alternative and/or enrichment to introduce students to South Asia.
Strings, Sticks, and Shadows: Traditional Puppetry in India and Indonesia (58 min, 1995). Nathan Scott examines traditional puppetry of India and Indonesia (with and emphasis on India) providing a glimpse into the religious foundations of the art form. He also looks at issues affecting puppetry in the modern world. The intended audience is middle school through adult.
Tapoori: Children of Bombay (26 min) is an intimate and candid look at two street boys in Bombay. Subra is 14 years old and has been living at the Victoria Railway Station for 3 years. He survives through toughness, guile and hard work, but since he is small he has to pay the older boys for protection. The film follows Subra as he decides whether to stay on the streets where he is lonely and vulnerable, or return home to his village and family, where in the past he had beaten by his father. Anwar is 16 years old and has been living on the streets of Bombay’s red light district since he lost both his parents when he was eight. The other street boys are Anwar’s family now. They earn money by picking trash from the streets and selling what they find at the market. To escape their dreary life, they inhale glue, patronize the local prostitutes and visit the video parlors. Even though daily life is a struggle for suvival, their resilience and good humor is an inspiration.
The Silent Revolution: Sankalp and the Quarry Slaves is the first in a series documenting practical action to achieve freedom for the 27 million people in slavery today around the world. It follows a group of stone-breakers as they challenge slaveholders and, after many challenges, finally win the right to run their own quarry and start a new village.
Trekking on Tradition (45 min, 1993) explores the effects of mountain tourism (trekking) on a small village in rural Nepal. It examines the view of both the trekkers (Europeans and Americans) and the Nepalese, and weaves a complex patchwork of conflicting dreams, desires, aspirations and frustrations. The film illustrates, often humorously, the controversies and ironic nature of cross-cultural encounters engendered by widespread tourism in developing countries. It also powerfully illustrates the dramatic impact of tourism on the traditional practices, culture, and environment of the region. Produced by Jennifer Rodes.
Tropical Storms and Flooding in Bangladesh: Flooding in Bangladesh: Causes, Impacts, and Management (2011, 26 minutes). Taking viewers deep inside a devastated landscape, this program examines physical forces directly tied to flooding in Bangladesh as well as the broader causes of such disasters, including climate change. It also explores the social, economic, and environmental impact of intense flooding through the personal accounts of people living by major rivers and on Bangladesh’s char lands, areas built up from river sediment. Examples of flood management strategies are explored, with a look at the pros and cons of hard and soft engineering. Additionally, the film shows how NGOs are working with flood-affected communities to reduce the developing world’s vulnerability to future floods. A part of the series Tropical Storms and Flooding in Bangladesh.
Tropical Storms and Flooding in Bangladesh: Tropical Storms: Bangladesh’s Cyclone Aila (2011, 26 minutes). With extraordinary footage shot during and after Severe Cyclonic Storm Aila, this program looks at the causes and effects of the violent weather event in Bangladesh. Viewers learn how cyclones take shape and develop, witness scenes of Aila striking coastal areas, and explore the social, economic, and ecological consequences through expert commentary and first-hand accounts. The film returns to specific areas a year after the storm and provides examples of how NGOs and government agencies are working together to reduce both the short- and long-term impact of cyclones through better monitoring, predictions, preparation, disaster relief, and poverty alleviation strategies. Eye-catching graphics help explain scientific concepts. A part of the series Tropical Storms and Flooding in Bangladesh.
The Vale of Kashmir (30 min). Kashmir is renowned throughout the world, not only for its exquisite crafts, but also for the exotic houseboats which line the shores of the picturesque Dal lake. This film looks behind the tourist facade to see the lifestyle of the real Kashmir.
Village Man, City Man (40 min. 1975) shows the life of a young mill worker in an industrial section of Delhi and follows him on a return visit to his village. Changes and continuities in his life are documented through conversations with his friends at the mill, village discussions of land redistribution and by observing his work and how he spends his leisure time. This film suggests that Western models of change and modernization do not necessarily apply to the Indian context. (with English subtitles)
Visions of India. An introduction to many aspects of modern India, with special programs on musical instruments and costume. Tries to do too much, and is a bit amateurish, but content is useful.
Wages of Action: Religion in a Hindu Village (47 min) focuses on everyday religious practices in the village of Soyepur, near Varanasi. The video shows the interaction among the various castes in the village and explores the issue of purity and pollution.
War and Peace (180 minutes, 2002) Anand Patwardhan’s documentary documents the current, epic journey of peace activism in the face of global militarism and war. Divided into six chapters, the film is framed by the murder of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. This act of violence was so profound, its portent and poignancy remain undiminished 50 years later. As a child filmmaker Patwardhan was immersed in the non-violent Gandhian movement. Because of this he, in War and Peace, examines India’s trajectory towards naked militarism with sorrow, although along the way the film captures joyful stories of courage and resistance. Amongst these chapters is a visit to the “enemy country” of Pakistan, where, contrary to expectations, Indian delegates are showered by affection, not only by their Pakistani counterparts in the peace movement, but by ordinary citizens who declare without caution that “hate is the creation of politicians.”
Wedding Song: Henna Art among Pakistani Women in New York City (41 min, 1990). Mehendi is the traditional art of decorating women’s hands and feet with henna to celebrate weddings and other festive occasions. For a modern Indian or Pakistani woman, once a wedding date has been arranged, decorating the bride is the occasion for a special celebration called the mehendi paty. The Hooda and Lekhani families celebrating the mehendi ritual in this videotape are members of the Shia Ismaili sect of Islam. Interpretive booklet supplements tape.
When Children do the Work This short film focuses on child labor in Guatemala and Pakistan, including a large portion devoted to Iqbal Masih, the freed bonded-laborer who was murdered at the age of 12 in 1995.
Women and Work in South Asia is the audiovisual component to the “Contemporary Issues for Women in South Asia” educational unit for grades eight through twelve. The video presentation suggests the great diversity of occupations and roles for women in modern South Asia.
World Religions; Sikhism (about 20 minutes, 1997) Describes the practices of a middle class Sikh family in Amritsar in the North Indian state of Punjab. The film focuses mainly on a 14 year old girl, and she explains what being a Sikh means to her. Some of the beliefs and rituals of Sikhs are explained, including the veneration of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, and of the “5 K’s” of Sikhism.