The Lost Water
by Dakxin Bajrange
color, 21 min, 2007
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73% of the total salt production in India comes from Gujarat State, almost 60% of which comes from Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), Gujarat.
The government of Gujarat has consistently ignored the LRK area. The salt workers of LRK, known as Agariyas, are predominantly from the Koli and Chuvaliya Koli tribes. As bonded laborers, they are not only victims of wage discrimination, they are endure serious physical and mental health hazards due to the dangerous nature of their work. Kharaghoda village itself is home to 437 widows. Working in extreme temperatures without any protective gear, many Agariyas suffer major health complications, including blindness and skin damage due to unprotected exposure to salt. Living in abject poverty, Agariyas now face water scarcity as well as malnutrition since green vegetables are not available in this area.
The LRK area has recently been designated as a wildlife sanctuary for the threatened Indian Wild Donkey, making salt workers and salt production in LRK now illegal. Agariyas have been forced by government authorities to look outside the LRK for work, now struggling for both their ancestors' land and their livelihood.
Film Festival Screenings and Awards
JEEVIKA - 2006-7, South Asia Documentary Film Festival, New Delhi, India, 2007
Voices from the Water, 1st International Film Festival on Water, India, 2007
SIGNS Film Festival, India, 2007
Best of Indian Works Section, 9th Madurai Film Festival, India, 2007
Association for Asian Studies Conference, Boston, MA, 2008
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, NY, 2008
Days of Ethnographic Film, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2008
European Association of Social Anthropologists' Film, Video & New Media Festival, Slovenia, 2008
Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival, China 2008
Tofino Film Festival, BC, Canada, 2010
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