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Published on Jul 5, 2011
Stalin K.’s award-winning feature-length documentary is perhaps the most comprehensive look at untouchability ever undertaken on film. The powerful stories and shocking visuals in this film makes it impossible for anyone to deny that Untouchability is still practiced in India today. Director Stalin K. and his team spent four years traveling the length and breadth of India to bear witness to the continued exclusion and segregation of those considered as 'Untouchables' .
The film introduces leading Benares scholars who interpret Hindu scriptures to mean that Dalits 'have no right' to education, and Rajput farmers who proudly proclaim that the police must seek their permission before pursuing cases of atrocities on Dalits. The film captures many 'firsts-on-film, ' such as Dalits being forced to dismount from their cycles and remove their shoes when in the upper caste part of the village.
It exposes the continuation of caste practices and Untouchability in Sikhism, Christianity and Islam, amongst the Communists in Kerala and within some of India's most revered academic and professional institutions.
In an age where the media projects only one image of a 'rising' or 'poised' India, this film reminds us how far the country is from being an equal society. Traveling through eight states and four religions, this film is perhaps the deepest exploration of caste oppression ever undertaken on film.
Stalin K is a human rights activist and award-winning documentary filmmaker and the director of Video Volunteers, the Co-Founder of DRISHTI- Media, Arts and Human Rights and the President of the Community Radio Forum-India. He is a renowned public speaker and has lectured or taught at over 50 institutions ranging from the National Institute of Design and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, to New York University and Stanford and Berkeley in the US.
INDIA UNTOUCHED is Stalin's second film on the issue of caste -- his earlier film 'Lesser Humans', on manual scavenging, won the Silver Conch at the Mumbai International Film Festival and the Excellence Award at Earth Vision Film Festival, Tokyo, and helped to bring international attention to the issue of caste. He also leads the Article 17 Anti-Untouchability campaign in Video Volunteers through which Community Correspondents are documenting hundreds of instances of untouchability and caste conflict, some of which have formed the basis for a Public Interest Litigation in the Indian Supreme Court, filed with the Human Rights Law Network.