What does freedom mean for nomadic communities?

Every public screening of Sikkidre Shikari, Ildidre Bhikari continues to  brings its own insights and sense of fulfillment.
The evening of December 15 was one such happy moment thanks to the Environment Support Group, Bangalore who organised a public screening at Suchitra Film Society. We couldn’t have had it better. Excellent quality of projection along with a hall that was full with a diverse audience and responses that were heart warming. And reflective.
“Tribal and indigenous communities like the Hakki Pikkis are so obviously matriarchal. Why are modern, developed societies so patriarchal?”
“Nomadic and pastoral societies have much to teach us and perhaps are our only hope. They are less territorial, create and connect the commons like forests, pastoral lands and lakes and therefore less violent in the way settled nationalistic societies are.”
“The film was deceptively simple. It raises so many issues by just allowing the community to talk.”
“Despite the fact that they spoke in so many different languages, the expressive way in which they spoke, it seemed that we understood them totally. Is it because they are nomadic that they are so confident and communicative?”
“What comes through is the sense of total freedom and dignity of a community. While they speak of injustice there is no sense of victimhood. While they suffer the changes imposed on them, they are also resisting it by celebrating their own way of life”
“There is no pressure to tell us how to view them or define their “issues” They are defining themselves by simply being what they are and the film allows them to do that”

Some welcome constructive criticism too came – that it was perhaps a little lengthy and could have had a wee bit more narration (“to ring just that little bell to draw our attention to some connections that might elude us” as Lata Mani said) But almost all went back saying that the images and people are still lingering in their minds and hearts. Some later expressed wanting to see the movie again!
We also got two precious Oscars last week. One was a chocolate called “Marvelous creations” gifted by a generous and venerable Sivaram ( brother of well known cinematographer GS Bhaskar who was also in the audience at Suchitra!) The other one was from my own family who despite not fully understanding or perhaps even agreeing with what I do or say have unconditionally accepted me for what I am and do 😊 At another more private screening in the house for family and friends last week, my brother in law congratulating the team for the film wrote saying:

“It was a very well prepared and thought provoking documentary. It is an eye opener for Urbanites who have no exposure whatsoever to the kind of troubles and tribulations these nomadic tribes undergo in their struggles to stay afloat in this corrupt world. There is a sense of purity, innocence and frankness which is non existent in the modern urban world”

Happy that the Hakki Pikkis through the film are speaking to and touching the lives of so many diverse audiences …rural, urban, tribal, men, women, transgenders, sex workers, all classes, castes and communities, friends, family, comrades… and making sense, even while holding up a discomforting mirror to the world we have created.

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