C.Saratchchandran Memorial Lecture

8th C. Saratchchandran Memorial Lecture
November 07, 5.30 pm,
Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times

The Memorial Lecture is conducted every year along the ViBGYOR Film Festival since 2011, in memory of C. Saratchandran, who tragically passed away that year.

Sarathchchandran was a rare combination of a filmmaker and an activist, who realized the potential of the new electronic media in the 1980s. In the late eighties, he started making documentary films on VHS format. He also took it as a mission to screen his own films and others’ films on peoples’ issues throughout the length and breadth of Kerala and the neighboring states. Saratchandran often became an active participant in the struggles he documented. His screenings played a pivotal role in raising public awareness on environment and giving focus to the debates on environmental issues and people’s struggles in Kerala.

He was one of the founders of VIBGYOR Film Collective, Thrissur and was the artistic director of the VIBGYOR film festival in 2010. At the time of his demise he was working on documentaries on industrial pollution due to a gelatin factory near Chalakudy (Thrissur), and a film on the current state of Chaliyar River (Kozhikode). He was the one-man army that put the travelling film festival called Nottam on wheels. Sarath was a friend of many peoples’ movements, activists and the alternative film hub. His departure has created a vacuum that can never be replaced. His memory will live through the films he made on peoples’ struggles, undergoing intense personal struggles.

Rebooting `New India’
Focus theme of the Festival and the Lecture:

At the 13th edition of ViBGYOR, we are delighted to have Ms. Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal as the speaker for the Memorial Lecture.  In today’s political context of our country and the threats to democracy our nation is facing, the very presence of Ms. Bhasin itself is a political act. As a senior journalist of this country, especially with her experience of covering Jammu and Kashmir and her focus on human rights and gender, the articulation of her viewpoints on the `idea of India’ is extremely important. The gathering of filmmakers, social and political activists, academicians and media students, would be eager to bring the idea of a `new India’ into an ongoing dialogue, challenging its monolithic and restricted impositions. We have chosen Rebooting ‘New India’ as the focus theme for this edition, with the intention of generating critical discussion around the mediated image of `India 2.0’

Anuradha Bhasin, the Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, the oldest and largest circulated newspaper of Jammu and Kashmir, has been in the news recently after she approached the Supreme Court seeking immediate relaxation of restrictions on the Internet and telecommunication services and on the movement of journalists and media persons in Kashmir after Article 370 was scrapped.

Anuradha inherited the uncompromised secular views and from her father Ved Bhasin, who founded the Kashmir Times and was popularly called as the ‘Grand Old Man’ of English journalism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

She raises very significant questions to the State and Central governments on the undeclared emergency in Kashmir: (She asks,)

“What will happen when the lid is off? Will the new class of political prisoners be released, and what would be their role and vulnerability in the present situation? Would a sustained and prolonged lockout and restrictions enable government to tire out the Kashmiris?…..Once the fatigue dies down, the eruption could be far more dangerous.

(She filed the petition in the Supreme Court on the grounds that such restrictions curb the rights of journalists under the provisions of Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution of India. (and the people’s right to know the conditions of residents of the Kashmir Valley.) The petition also states that the complete shutdown of Internet and telecommunication services and severe restrictions on mobility and sweeping curtailment of information sharing in the Kashmir Valley, at a time when significant political and constitutional changes are being undertaken in New Delhi affecting the status of Jammu and Kashmir, is fuelling anxiety, panic, alarm, insecurity and fear among the residents of Kashmir.)
…….. Let us also not forget that a situation of alienation of such proportions is a rich crop for Pakistan to exploit,” she warns.)