RETURNS PADMA SHRI, AS NAINITAL REGISTERS PROTEST AGAINST INTOLERANCE
RAJEEV KHANNA Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Cinema of Resistance: in Nainital
The residents of Nainital, a serene tourist destination have shown their progressive face by organizing a festival of 'Cinema of Resistance' to stand by the authors, scientists, academicians and social activists across the country who are protesting against growing intolerance in the face of the government maintaining a studied and stoic silence.
From November 2 to November 4, people from all walks of life came to see meaningful films, listen to eminent personalities from different fields and visit an exhibition of revolutionary poetry and literature at the local Chalet Hall. The event was organized by Yugmanch, Jan Sanskriti Manch and Nainital Film Society in memory of rationalist MM Kalburgi who was killed by right wing elements and eminent progressive poet Viren Dangwal.
Prominent historian Shekhar Pathak who has been a voice of the people from the hills gave the start to the event by airing his dissent at the growing intolerance across the country by announcing the return of his Padma Shri award. In his address at the opening session, he said that the journey of independent India began with the tragedy of partition and Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. "It is high time that the resources of Jal, Jungle and Zameen are preserved and the people are granted rights over them which is not happening."
The keynote speaker at the event, Pranay Krishna of Jan Sanskriti Manch spoke at length on the vanishing 'Hindustaniyat' from India. "Poets, writers and social reformers right from Kabir to Ghalib have questioned religion and its practices. But no one went ahead to kill them. The killings of Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare are not killings of human beings. They are attempts to murder the country's pluralism, multiculturism, the tradition of debating, communal brotherhood and rationalist thought."
Sanjay Joshi, who has been instrumental in organizing such film festivals at 18 cities in India over the last few years underlined, " If what we are witnessing these days is not fascism, what is ? There have been attempts to dissuade us from organizing such events but slowly we are reaching to a larger mass every year. We have 7,000 meaningful films and they are all for the people."
Local theatre artist Zahoor Alam underlined, " On one side we have meaningless cinema being dished out to the masses and on the other we have good cinema why is not reaching to he people. The good cinema must reach the people so that hey know of the struggles and problems of their counterparts across the world."
During the three days, the people were treated to a range of films and documentaries. Some of the films screened at the event included Charlie Chaplin classic "The Great Dictator" that hits out at the fascist regimes, "The Factory" showing the struggle of the employees of Maruti, films by Norman McLaren and India's nominee for the Oscars "Court". The documentary "Muzaffarnagar Baki hai" whose screening was disrupted by the right wing elements in Delhi was also screened. The films were also up for sale.
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