Visual essay (cont'd)

Photographs of the tragic Ramabai events. Victims’ defenders see the events as the government’s message saying they should not protest, even though the statue of their movement’s father has been desecrated. Relations between different political factions are explained through the story of Sumedh Jadhav, Bhagwat Jadhav's brother. Influenced by the Black Panthers of America, the Dalit Panthers were formed in India to fight discrimination and oppression of the Dalits.
While Sumedh Jadhav speaks, his narrative is visualized by showing the location where the events took place. This POV shot on the patio suggests a re-enactment of the scene, visualizing the how and where the violence took place. While Ambekarite martyrs, including Bhagwat Jadhav, are honoured, ... ... Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule, an inter-caste couple is presented. (see glossary) Here we see their portraits placed on chairs as a source of inspiration for the Ambdkarites taking part in the commemorations.
Women celebrate the anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar's death at a festival which attracts an impressive crowd every December 6th. They serve water and food to the followers and remove superstitious amulets. They applaud the statement: “We believe only in knowledge and the principles of Buddha: truth and non-violence.” The day after this Dr. Ambedkar celebration...
... some angry upper-classes citizens of the area express their frustrations, expressing discriminatory stereotypes about the Ambdakrite Dalits. Atrocities against Dalits and Avidasis (see glossary) are committed every day. This board of a Dalit Human Rights organization presents a graphic overview of its activities and cases. ... ... In contrast, a lauded Maratha speaker, (see glossary) a guest at a Brahmin conference, sees the Atrocities Prevention Act as an opportunity for lower castes to threaten higher castes and thus thinks that the Act should be abolished.
Reserved “seats” for Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes face important opposition from upper castes and classes. At a rally asking “seats” for themselves, angry Marathas fill the screen with pronouncements such as, “We are ready to participate in a bloodbath.” In 2005 in front of the court, two men announce that the police have brought charges against the Ramabai victims.
At the door to their home, a mother and her children explain that seven years later, the police laid charges against the victims of the shooting. Earlier in the film, she explained how the police forced her to sign a paper with her thumbprint as they informed her in a confused way of the accusation. At a Chitpavan rally, (see glossary) participants drives motorcycles with placards depicting the sculpted body of the God Parashurama. The film develops this rally as a visual counterpoint to the Dalits by dwelling on the Chitpavan attendees’ rich clothes and abundant jewelry, which reflects social class and caste dynamics. This young girl wearing a Chitpavan cap sings the hymn to Vande Mataram (Mother Land), which highlights the intergenerational transmission of caste and its related culture.
The group of Avidasis have often been displaced and dispossessed from their ancestral land. They make up a fourth of the Indian population along with the Dalits. Here they are represented in a demonstration.... .... while their songs are sung by comrades. Contemporary India has a metro-monial website to facilitate same-caste matrimonial matches between youth. It’s a Web 2.0 platform for the social reproduction and viability of castes and their social categories.
The Kabir Kala Manch troupe (see glossary) performs on stage to raise awareness about contemporary caste discrimination and the status of women …. … The troupe goes around in streets to chant, attract the attention of people, and distribute flyers. Kabir Kala Manch discusses contemporary reality, such as liberal reforms like Lavasa City or the presence of multinational corporations. At this particular moment, their performance mocks international products flown into India.
The troupe’s live performance includes screening TV ads of famous Bollywood actors advertising soap and whitening skin cream... … under the amused look of its young audience. … Sagar Ghorke sings verses such as, “With Rexona soap they whiten our face.”
The importance of skin color to caste is depicted earlier in the film with recourse to a mythological scene about a great battle in India. A young man wearing a BJP cap (see glossary) states he doesn't support BJP. How does co-opting the Dalits’ resistance to the Shiv Sena-BJP Hindutva project happen? (links to glossary) Which party was in power while the shooting took place?... .... “What to do? All this is just about money making,” says this young woman interrogated in a crowd in Ramabai as people discuss the projected electoral results of the BJP-Sena, newly supported by the Republican Party of India.
May 5th, 2009, in front of the High Court, lawyers state that there was no trace of LGP tankers in the police records, and that the shooting was not provoked by any threat of a tank explosion. Manohar Kadam is condemned to life imprisonment and he is conducted to the hospital. Throughout the film, his face is barely seen frontally. As he shies away from the media, shots of him present the shielded car in which he is transported. The film ends with a frozen shot of an uncertain future as Sheetal Sathe's mother talks about her daughter and comrades who have gone underground, one of whom was arrested and jailed under the Act of Prevention of criminal activities. The mother wonders what kind of world exists when Ambedkar's vision cannot thrive.  

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