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On January 17th 2016 a Dalit, Phd research scholar, and activist Rohith Vemula unable to bear the persecution from a partisan University administration and dominant caste Hindu supremacists hung himself in one of the most prestigious universities in India. His suicide note, which argued against the “value of a man being reduced to his immediate identity” galvanized student politics in India. Over the last year thousands of students all over the country have broken the silence around their experiences of caste discrimination in Universities and have started a powerful anti-caste movement. The film attempts to track this historic movement that is changing the conversation on caste in India.
Deepa Dhanraj is a writer, director, and producer living in Bangalore, South India. She studied English Literature in Madras University. For over 30 years she has made documentaries that have won awards at, International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, Visions du Reel, Nyon, Films de Femme, Creteil France, Films South Asia, Nepal and Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai.
Her films have been invited to festivals such as International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Berlinale Film Festival, Tampere Film Festival, CAAMFEST, San Francisco, One World Film Festival, Prague, International Film Festival, Montreal, International Film Festival, Kyrgyzstan, and the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Some titles are “We Have not Come Here To Die”, “Invoking Justice”, “The Advocate”, “What Has Happened to This City?”, “Sudesha”, “Something Like A War” and “The Legacy of Malthus”.
Cynthia Stephen has been actively involved in the development sector for over 25 years as an activist, writer, trainer and policy analyst on gender, poverty, development and social exclusion. She has been the State Programme Director, Mahila Samakhya Karnataka, and was also a member of the Ramesh Kumar Committee which worked on recent amendments to the Panchayat Raj Act.
Cynthia has done doctoral research in the area of women’s political participation, with special focus on women from marginalised communities. She has published extensively on the situation of Dalits in general and Dalit women in particular.
She contributed a chapter titled “Higher Education in India: Fresh Visions and Visionaries from Marginalised Groups the Need of the Hour” to a 2014 book, “Higher Education in India: New Perspectives.” She is the Founder Director of the Training Editorial and Development Services Trust and is presently engaged in setting up an institution for the all-round empowerment of women. Associated with a number of people’s movements for justice across the country, she has also been involved in the issue of Dalit student suicides.