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Speech given by V.S Achuthanandan, former Chief Minister of Kerala, inaugurating K.P Sasi’s documentary  “Voices From The Ruins, Kandhamal In Search Of Justice” in Trivandrum, Kerala on 19th July, 2016

K.P Sasi’s documentary “Voices From The Ruins, Kandhamal In Search Of Justice” raises some burning questions about the social reality of the present times. This documentary brings to us the naked reality of the repression and oppression that the Adivasis, Dalits and converted Christians face in Kandhamal district of Odisha. In this film we hear the screams of the people who have lost all hopes, whose dreams have become nightmares by the continuous violence they are subjected to for the last 50 years.  The tales of the Kandhamal survivors reminds me of the saying about the survivors of the Second World War, “The living will be jealous of the dead”. This film documents the horrific violence unleashed by the Sangh Parivar in Kandhamal in 2008. We are living in a time of religious/casteistic  hatred  and rising intolerance. The message of this documentary should help open the eyes of all democratic/progressive forces to this social reality.

Only someone like K.P Sasi can do this kind of film. Sasi is someone who was brought up breathing the  air of communism which always stands by the side of the oppressed and suppressed people. K.P Sasi, who is the son of K. Damodaran who was one of the founding members of communist party in Kerala and also a prominent ideologue of the party, cannot be otherwise. That’s why K.P Sasi’s documentaries deal with the socio-economic issues of our society and the ensuing crises, that too at a time when mainstream documentary film makers are eulogizing corporate giants or churning out government sponsored propaganda. K.P Sasi’s camera is always opened to the naked reality of the socio-political realities of our society. I would like to take this occasion to congratulate him for making this film. At a time when the cries of the marginalised and oppressed people of the society are rising all around us like a crescendo I do hope and wish that K.P Sasi could make many more meaningful films like this in future.

I would like to take this occasion to point out another important issue. Our cinema theatres and television channels have become exclusive spaces of crude entertainment.  Whereas such meaningful documentaries like this one does not get space to be shown in theatres or T.V channels. It is high time that we developed a mechanism to screen meaningful documentaries. Kerala Chalachitra Academy and Kerala Film Development Corporation should take action in this direction. We should also think about bringing forth more documentary film festivals too. All television channels who broadcast feature films should also screen documentaries from time to time. That would help us to renew and rejuvenate our lives.

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  1. This documentary should be shown on as many mainstream media as possible with voice-over by different people in different language so that the people speaking different languages can understand and react. There should be a mechanism for feedback. Also, since downtrodden people neither have Internet’s or nor can go to theatres, some sort of projecting the documentary in streets where people can congregate an view the documentary can be considered. Itshould also be made available on you tube so that international audience can watch the documentary and broad consistent on civil rights of adivasis can be built.