Documentary on caste discrimination to be screened on April 10

Kaumudi Kashikar-Gurjar
Saturday, 7 April 2018

Patwardhan said it makes a unique reference to the inhuman diktat issued during the Peshwa rule, which said that the untouchables were allowed to enter the city only in the afternoon.

PUNE: Puneites will have an opportunity to watch National award-winning documentary filmmaker Gouri Patwardhan’s another film ‘Bin Savlyanchya Gavat’ or ‘In A Shadowless Town’. The film explores the missing ‘Bahujan’ narrative in the history of the city, which was often referred as Peshwa city - Pune. 

The film will be screened at the Mahatma Phule Smarak (Phule Wada) at 7 pm on Tuesday (April 10). It attempts to answer some uncomfortable questions such as ‘Why haven’t been the monuments associated with the Phuleite and Ambedkerite movements not preserved?’ unlike many others. 

Patwardhan’s earlier documentary ‘Modikhanyachya Don Goshti’ (Two tales of Modikhana) had won the award in Non-Feature Film category for Best Arts/Culture film at the 60th National Film Awards in Delhi in 2013. Embarked on the journey to find Bahujan narrative in the history of the city, Patwardhan decided to cover the heritage walks knowing that they do not include monuments connected with the Bahujan history.

She, later, explored them on her own, based on her knowledge from reading about them. 

She added activists and leaders associated with the Bahujan movement had to struggle hard in sourcing Phule’s writings and photographs. As compared to the Phuleite movement, the monuments associated with the Ambedkerite movement were well preserved. It was possible due to the efforts taken by followers of this movement. The Koregaon-Bhima memorial is the latest example in this regard. 

Speaking about the ‘title’ of this film, Patwardhan said it makes a unique reference to the inhuman diktat issued during the Peshwa rule, which said that the untouchables were allowed to enter the city only in the afternoon. The best-known reason was that at this time, the human shadow falls at one’s feet. Thus, a chance of their shadows touching others (upper caste members) is ruled out. This guarded members of the upper castes against the ‘peril’ of coming in ‘contact’ with the untouchables.

Patwardhan added that the 52-minute film was first broadcasted by Doordarshan in June 2017. Later, it was screened during the Public Service Broadcasting Trust festival ‘Open Frame’ in Delhi in September last year. Later, It will be screened for the first time in the city. The Marathi version of the film lasts for 63 minutes. 

Patwardhan told Sakal Times that the film dwells on how and why the historical narrative of Pune is predominantly Brahminical and how and why the Bahujan narrative is absent. 

Elaborating her point, Patwardhan said the film discusses two case studies – One is about Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Shivram Gyanba Kamble, a lesser known Dalit leader. 

She said her film explores how and why Phule’s legacy was not preserved. The places associated with Phule’s life were not preserved. She had to make tremendous efforts in retrieving places, where the Satyashodhak Samaj Mandal’s meetings were held. 

The film explores how Kamble’s contribution remained unknown to many despite his phenomenal contribution to the Dalit movement, said Patwardhan. 

She said the making of the documentary proved to be quite revealing to her as not only the ancient city planning but also the modern one had a strong Brahminical influence. 

SCREENING OF THE FILM
The film, exploring an ‘alternative’ narrative about the history of the city, will be screened at 7 pm on Tuesday at Phule Wada.

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