Is "Education" the Answer? Films about Human Rights and Social Imbalances in India

By Fischle, Heidi | Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Is "Education" the Answer? Films about Human Rights and Social Imbalances in India


Fischle, Heidi, Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources


SHAKTI: THE POWER OF WOMEN. 54 mins. color. 2004. Distributed by Films for the Humanities & Sciences/ Films Media Group. Item# BVL35109. VHS (ISBN 978-1-4213-2843-0) or DVD-R (ISBN 978-1-4213-2844-7): purchase, $129.95. Streaming video: 1-year lease, $64.98. Website: http://www.films.com/id/12298/Shakti_The_Power_of_Women.htm

RUNAWAY GROOMS. 52 mins. color. 2006. Produced and directed by Ali Kazimi. Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; phone: (212) 808-4983; e-mail: info@filmakers.com/. VHS or DVD purchase: $295.00; VHS rental: $85.00. Website: http://filmakers.com/indivs/RunawayGrooms.htm

A PYRAMID OF WOMEN. 20 mins. color. 2004. Directed by Cheryl Kanekar. Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; phone: (800) 723-5522; email: info@cinemaguild.com. Code 2220. DVD or VHS: purchase: $155.00; rental: $65.00. Website: http://www.cinemaguild.com/catalog/catalog_women_studies.htm (scroll down to film title).

NALINI BY DAY, NANCY BY NIGHT. 27 mins. color. Hindi/English, subtitled. 2005. A film by Sonali Gulati. Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, Suite 500L, New York, NY 10013; phone: (212) 925-0606; e-mail: info@wmm.com. Order # W06901. VHS or DVD: purchase: $195.00; rental: $60.00. Website: http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c682.shtml

It should come as no surprise that the most commonly suggested remedy for persistent human rights violations and social imbalances, especially those that are maintained in the name of tradition, is education. The four films reviewed here rest on this theme. Each film argues, in its own way, that if enough people are educated, they will recognize the imbalances and abuses of power that have long been accepted as part of cultural tradition, and work to dismantle the beliefs and practices in which those abuses and imbalances are embodied. The beauty of all of these films is that they allow us to hear the resonant tone of a call for change that a chorus of strong female voices creates.

Shakti: The Power of Women makes the most emphatic argument against the continuation of certain traditional practices--such as child marriage and the maintenance of the varna (caste) system--that, over the course of India's history, have essentially marginalized and/or endangered the majority of the country's population. The film consists of four vignettes, each documenting a different geographical area and addressing a women's rights (human rights) issue prevalent in that area. The film aims to make known not only the persistence of what can only be considered human rights violations, but also the methodical and compassionate efforts made by women and men alike to fight against these imbalances that have been ushered into the present by the heavy hand of tradition.

Part One takes on the sensitive issue of child marriage, which, despite being prohibited since 1961, continues to be a daunting problem, with approximately thirty million such marriages taking place each year. Many of the child brides are given away in marriage before the age of ten; they are aptly said to have had their lives stolen from them. These girls are "used in every way," barely making it to middle age. Significantly, the culprit in this theft is considered to be traditional culture.

Likewise, Parts Two and Four address equally problematic social issues pertaining specifically to women. Part Two outlines the establishment of a member-owned organization (SEWA) that provides poor, rural, working women (who make up eighty percent of India's female population) with a place to do banking, access credit, and insure themselves and their families. Women who would otherwise be left isolated, working for mere rupees a day, are granted a means of establishing a type of worker identity that effectively brings them together and makes it possible to contend with the trials of their daily lives, while also being able to think about a more stable life in the future.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Is "Education" the Answer? Films about Human Rights and Social Imbalances in India
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?