All for a home
A MERE mention of the Koel Karo project incites angry outbursts from the tribals of Chotanagpur region. Men, women and children together lambast the project. Demonstrations, speeches and public gatherings demolish the concept of development put forward by the government and industrialists.
The film brings out the cultural significance of the area which will get submerged if the project gets through. Rightly, a tribal points out that their ancestral land cannot be exchanged with any other land simply because their culture is rooted to a particular land, and the issue is not one of ownership, but of the family bonds with a patch of land. A patch of land where the ancestors are buried.
Rehabilitation is of great concern to the tribals. In the process of industrial development, the present generation may get employment in a factory, but the next generation cannot be assured of employment. Having worked on land all their life and the father leaving the land to the son, the tribals are not at all conducive to the idea of seeking employment.
It seems as if these tribals have learnt their lessons from what has happened to other rehabilitation programmes. The women are completely averse to the project because they fear that they would be exploited as industrial labourers or pushed into prostitution. Such is the fervour among the tribals that they term it as the rape of their land, and are willing to give up their lives in order to save it.
The more educated of the protestors feel that the project is uneconomical and a ploy of the capitalists to exploit the poor tribals and their resources. They present quite a convincing side of the controversy. According to them, the cost effectiveness of the project is suspect.It will cost Rs 3,000 crore and provide electricity for only two hours per day!
The project is unlikely to make any noticeable difference in the lives of the tribals whose livelihood will be disturbed by it. Sriprakash's intention was to capture the spirit of the movement and bring it to the audience in order to build up public opinion. He has certainly succeeded in this evdeavour.