Bhopal: ‘The October 6,’ a film on 25,000 landless marchers from Gwalior to Delhi,’ is set to be released online in India on August 10 and on August 11 Internationally.
This movie elucidates Jan Andolan 2018 that began on October 2, 2018, and culminated on October 6, 2018. This movement is an endeavor by Ekta Parishad to assert the right to land for poor farmers and marginalized sections. It is a nonviolent struggle led by PV Rajagopal, the founder of Ekta Parishad, against the broken promises, the delayed justice and the suppression of voices of numerous people living without any land.
It is the story of those 25,000 landless people who were on roads under the scorching sun and burning concrete, asking for their rightful share to a dignified life not only for themselves but for their children, for their families and for their communities. Marks of their foot-steps from Gwalior till Morena are not symbols of their helplessness but the marks of their courage and belief in getting justice by following the path of nonviolence that Gandhi laid down in this country. This movement is a reminder of a grim reality that is infested with stark inequalities, injustice and violence towards a particular section of the society while the rest of the sections are almost blind to the plight of the former.
JAN ANDOLAN, 2018
Jan Andolan 2018 began with the Mahila Bhu Samvad Yatra, a 12000km long journey by four female members of Ekta Parishad. This journey was to take notice of the dismal conditions in which the marginalized sections have been living in the country. This journey became the precursor to Jan Andolan 2018. The Jan Andolan 2018, primarily, included around 1000 participants from 25 different states of India. The six major demands raised by this Andolan were:-
1. National Homestead Act- This bill, drafted in 2102 by the then Congress Government, if passed in the Parliament would ensure that each rural homeless person would be given 10cents (1/10th of an acre) of land.
2. National Land Reforms Policy- This policy would bring concrete suggestions to address the issue of land distribution.
3. Women Farmer Entitlement Act- This bill ensures that women engaged in cultivation are recognized as farmers and receive the corresponding benefits.
4. Land Tribunals and Fast Track Courts – A land tribunal and fast-track courts for resolving land disputes and legal cases.
5. Execution and Monitoring Structures for Panchayat (Extension in Scheduled Areas Act (1996) (PESA) and Forest Rights Act (2006) (FRA)- This would put in place execution and monitoring mechanisms for the PESA and FRA Acts.
6. National Land Reforms Council and Task Force on Land Reforms- This is to reinstitute the previously formed land reforms council and task force, which would be bodies where independent experts would work with Government officials to ensure the effective implementation and monitoring of the other five demands.
THE OCTOBER 6
The movie ‘The October 6’ depicts the struggle for getting these demands fulfilled. It establishes the significance of October 6, 2018, in the history of nonviolent struggles in contemporary India. It is a depiction of how October 6, 2018 is not just any other day but a day that will be remembered whenever the indispensability of grassroots movements will be discussed. The movie puts across the message of 25000 landless farmers in 25 minutes with a remarkable choice of words, pictures, songs and narratives. It is a result of constant and serious hard work of Varun R and others in the team.
THE FILMMAKER- R VARUN
Varun, who hails from Bhopal has been a filmmaker who has travelled around all over India. In the past he has made documentaries related to land rights and has covered the successful story of Forest Rights Act struggle by the Gond Adivasis. His association with Ekta Parishad is not new as he has been engaged with them in making films on Jai Jagat. Varun has been involved in filmmaking, especially in the social sector, with the aim of producing such work that has a huge impact on the masses and which proves to be path breakingin the future. Therefore, it can be said that this young filmmaker has been focusing on bringing forth fresh perspectives in the field of visual cinema by capturing social activism on screen. He is a filmmaker who is making his own mark in the filmmaking sector by choosing non-violent activism amidst the plethora of films that have been following the conventional path of projecting violence in today’s world.
Encapsulating the journey of Jan Andolan, 2018, right from October 2, 2018 and even the pre-events in a few frames, required multiple dialogues, discussions and numerous samples before finalizing the complete layout of the movie. The movie is made with precision so as to carefully stitch the details of the Andolan, culminating in October 6, within 25 minutes. This movie is as much a part of the nonviolent struggle itself as the march is. Thus, it is an appeal to join the struggle by joining the event of the movie release.
THE EVENT ON AUGUST 10 and 11
This event will begin from 4 pm and continue till 6pm on August 10. The release is to be followed by a panel discussion comprising of Sehjo Singh, (Activist and Filmmaker), Nitin Paranjape, (Founder – Abhivyakti Media for Development) and Shivani Chaudhary, (Executive Director, Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) after which an open session will be held to take remarks or comments from the audiences. The event will conclude with a vote of thanks by Ran Singh , (President – Ekta Parishad ). On August 11, the event will begin at 6:30 pm and end at around 8:30pm. The panel for a discussion on this day will include Mike (Italy), Catherine Gatundu, (International Policy Advisor-Livelihoods – Action Aid International, Kenya), Dr Margrit Hugentobler & Kude Meier (Founder – Ekta Europe) and Miloon (Former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, India). Followed by an open session, the event will be concluded by a vote of thanks by Shraddha ji, (Vice President – Ekta Parishad). On both the days, introduction will be given by Ramesh ji and Varun ji, while the opening remarks will be made by Rajagopal.