This new film by Tapan Bose is a passionate appeal for justice for the Adivasi, the tribal peoples of India, cheated, dispossessed, pauperised and criminalized in their forest homes, made to pay the price for extractive development that first stripped their forests for timber and now digs out gold, bauxite, iron ore and chrome. Using rare archival footage and interviews with the legendary anthropologist, Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, and Adivasi activists from the 80s and 90s, some of whom were killed by Indian security forces for their opposition to “commercial forestry projects”, the film spans the continuing struggle of the Adivasis, the country’s ‘original inhabitants’ for their right to life and dignity against British colonialists and now as citizens of India, against their own government and democratic institutions. The film focuses on a moment of hope, the government bringing in the Forest Rights Act (2006) to right ‘historic wrongs’ only to betray that promise, so as to protect predatory developers against these expendable peoples.
Tapan Bose is an independent documentary filmmaker, human rights and peace activist, author and regular contributor to leading journals and news magazines in India, Nepal and Pakistan. His award winning documentaries on human rights and democratic issues include An Indian Story (1982) on the blinding of under trial prisoners in Bhagalpur and the nexus between landlord, police and politicians and Beyond Genocide: Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1986). His film ‘Behind the Barricades; Punjab’ (1993) on the state repression in Punjab, as with the earlier cited films, was banned and after a long legal struggle was shown. His latest film is The Expendable People’, (2016)