Two and a half months have passed. Ajay TG, journalist, filmmaker and human rights activist remains behind bars in a Chhattisgarh prison. His crime? He made a film about and attended the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen. Dr. Binayak’s crime? He worked for decades as a doctor amongst adivasis in an area where no doctor dared to tread. Their joint crime? Both Binayak and Ajay worked with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties and questioned the state-sponsored “Salwa Judum” under which vigilantes in Chhattisgarh are trained and armed to fight Naxalites and end up terrorizing the entire local populace.
Dr. Binayak has already been held as a suspected “Naxalite” without bail and without evidence for two years. His case is now internationally known after 22 Nobel laureates wrote a letter to the PM and President of India asking for his unconditional release. Dr. Binayak has deservedly won several national and international awards from the medical fraternity. Amnesty has spoken up for him. Yet there is no response from Chhattisgarh or from the Government of India and the gross injustice continues. The Supreme Court rejected his bail application without ascribing a single reason to defend
Ajay’s case is in some ways even more heartrending if only because he is less well known. A 35 year old from a modest Kerala family, Ajay settled in Chhattisgarh, worked with the youth wing of CPI and with the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties and later learned to make films with “Jan Darshan” a voluntary video training group. Since then Ajay has made several valuable human rights and development films including one on the arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen.
It is abundantly clear that the State has no case against Ajay whatsoever. Three months ago as Ajay entered the court room to attend the trial of Dr. Binayak, a tiny pen knife was “found” in his rucksack and the media was told that it was a deadly modern weapon! But after almost 3 months in prison he has yet to be charged!
An unforeseen tragedy struck when his brother who worked in the Middle East came down to India to help their family following Ajay’s arrest. He was killed in a traffic accident.
Slowly but surely the world is beginning to take notice of Ajay’s unlawful arrest. At the recent Osian Film Festival in Delhi people like Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalkrishnan and Shyam Benegal spoke out in support of Ajay. His films are beginning to circulate across the country.
Vikalp@Prithvi will screen a selection of his films on 28th July 2008 at 7 pm & 9.30 pm.
Venue: Prithvi Theatre.
SCHEDULE AND OTHER DETAILS
The registration desk will be open between 6 pm to 6:45 pm and 8:30 pm to 9:15 pm only at Prithvi House on 28th July. For more information, log on to www.prithvitheatre.com
VIKALP @ PRITHVI 7 pm & 9:30 pm
Prithvi House 28th July, 2008
Opposite Prithvi Theatre
Janki Kutir, Juhu
RELEASE AJAY TG FILM FESTIVAL
No Entry Fee. Limited Seating.
FILM SCREENING SCHEDULE
New State; Old Problems
10 mins 43 sec / 2008 / English narration
A compilation from Chhattisgarhi films made by Margaret Dickinson to introduce Ajay TG’s Anjam. It gives some of the background to Ajay’s arrest, including brief introductions to the State of Chhattisgarh, the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, the Naxalites and Salwa Judum.
Anjam / Original Language
20 mins 41 sec / 2007-08
Directed by Ajay TG
Documentary about Binayak Sen
The Other Side of the Mirror
7 mins 26 sec
Extract of unfinished film which links a critique of Indian chauvinism with the contrast between the education of rich and poor children and then introduces the bal angan which Ajay started.
1 min 51sec / 2007 / Original Language
Short drama devised and shot by girls at the school run by Ajay TG. The brief was to focus on an issue which affects them. In this film they chose discrimination in education. It was to have been the first of a series of such short dramas on various issues but the project has been interrupted by Ajay’s imprisonment.
5 mins 57 sec / 2007
A sequence of stills taken by girls in the school Ajay runs, put in order and set to music.
Hathaure Wala (Man with the Hammer)
5 mins 46 sec / 1999 / Original Language
Directed by Ajay TG
A portrait of an 80-year old lohar (blacksmith) who works in the shadow of the Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh. This is Ajay’s first film and one from the first trio of films made at Jandarshan.
Jandarshan Video Diary Part 1
10 mins 32 sec / 1999
A Jandarshan student group project to document the course. Part 1 covers the first four months and is a mixture of material shot at the time by teachers with students as crew covering class visits to various events and material shot by the students towards the end of the period, mainly interviews about their earlier experiences. It includes a short interview with Ajay.
The Journey (Safar)
15 mins 7 sec / 2001 / English subtitles
Directed by Reeta Chandel and Ajay TG
A Jandarshan student film about Reeta’s father, a porter in the hospital of the Bhilai Steel Plant. This film is a development of Reeta’s 5 minute film, Papa Says, shot by Ajay, as part of an earlier student exercise. The Journey was made because Ajay felt that they should explore questions about marriage and gender which had come up by chance during the shooting of the earlier film.
Heads and Tales
20 mins 54 sec / 2002 / English subititles
Directed by Alpa Shah and Ajay TG
Research and Script by Alpa Shah
A Jandarshan student film about the relationship between tradition and politics. Parha Mela, a festival in Jharkhand, was initiated to symbolise tribal unity and the tribal system of socio-political governance. From 1990 it became two separate events, held two kilometres away from one another on the same day, each supported by a politician of a different party. The film explores this dichotomy.
Women Builders / English Version
49 mins 40 sec / 2004
Directed by Kamlesh Kumar Sahu
Produced by Margaret Dickinson / Chhattisgarh
Research by Ajay TG
A Jandarshan Production for the International Labour Organisation
This film introduces four women construction workers living in Bhilai, then focuses on two organisations in Gujarat which try to help women construction workers, visits a conference on the topic and comments on new laws which, if enforced, would address key problems to do with safety, health and welfare.
There is a connection with Ajay beyond his role in research and also, distantly, with Dr Binayak Sen. One of the Rejas Ajay got to know at the time had a daughter who was ill. She had been misdiagnosed and charged fees for the wrong treatment by local doctors. Ajay took her to Ganyari, the hospital near Bisaspur set up by doctors who had worked with Dr Binayak Sen and are dedicated to treating the poor. There, the young woman was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia. Ajay’s school was begun in her memory.
Gurgaon: Daman aur Pratirod
45 mins / 2005 / Hindi
Editing and Graphics by Ajay TG
This film is a collage of clips obtained from television news about the brutal baton-charge on workers of Honda Motors in Gurgaon. The film tries to show the response of the police and administration, political parties, the Labour Court and the Companies towards this incident.
More information on the campaign as well as Ajay’s work is available on
Appeal From Sudha Bharadwaj, Advocate
For Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha and Chattisgarh PUCL
This screening is brought to you by Vikalp: Films for Freedom in association with Prithvi Theatre.
For more information on Vikalp@Prithvi activities contact
Anand Patwardhan 9819882244 Lynne Henry 9820896425
Or log onto www.prithvitheatre.org
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