ViBGYOR 2019 | Focus of the Year

In the recent past, people have been talking about an emerging mode and model of a new India, ‘India 2.0’. After the parliamentary elections, it has become evident that the idea of a new India is no more just a talk, but a full-fledged project,apparently embraced by a majority of the millennium generation and the leaders they voted into power.

A closer analysis reveals that the so called ‘recent past’, in many ways, ignoresandintends to do away with the pluralist traditions and experiences of an ‘old India’. Who will possibly be included and excluded in the ‘’brand new’ corporate India? What relevance the age-old history of an enormously heterogeneous nation like India may have for people born in the post-globalisation and liberalization period? Would that history be totally derailed and rewrittenand presented as the only version of history?When a democratically elected government amends the nation’s constitution at its whims and fancy, unilaterally removing the autonomy of a state, and throwing a drag net in another state to find out who is the `real Indian’ and who is not, are we not witnessing the slow death of democracy itself?

These arecertain questions that 13th edition of ViBGYOR International Film Festival wishes to address from a broader perspective, connecting what is happening in India to other parts of the globe.ViBGYOR never have attempted to provide answers. We always opened up discussions, leaving space for irreverent voices of dissent and disagreement and brought into dialogue even forces that clearly opposed our political stands.

In the present socio-political context of India, South Asia and the world at large, words like dialogue may sound ‘out-fashioned’, posed against the contagiousmanifestations of closed nationalism and its most violent forms of religious fundamentalism. ‘Go back to your country’ is the latest white supremacist rhetoric hurled at immigrants and ethnic minorities in the United States and Europe. In India, ‘go back’ does not remain just words but is already implemented in the form of the National Citizens Registry, which will soon spread its clutches across the nation. In Brazil and elsewhere on the banks of Amazon, neo-liberalist regimes aresuccumbing to corporate greed, plundering the natural resources of the indigenous people; not so different from what the Indiangovernment does, chasing the Adivasi populations out from their habitats and open up the forest lands to corporates.

Any nation that plays the dangerous game of pulling apart its delicate, multilayered social fabric and attempts to silence all voices of opposition, is doomed to fall apart. A nation that chooses to burry its age-old history of prolonged battles fought for selfhood and nationhood runs the risk of socio-cultural amnesia.Violence come in different forms, not just through the barrel of a gun. It comes in the form of denial of fundamental rights of citizens, the right to practice different faith,the right to live with a person of the same or different sex or caste or religion, the right to speak the language you choose and to eat the food you like;so on and forth.In the ‘new India’, new wars are waged between `us’ and’them’; not between colonizers and the colonized, but between the ‘true’ ‘deshbakts’ and the `lesser’ patriots. But, threats to democracy in India does not stemonly from a religious nationalist front, whose fascist agendas are easily recognizable. We also need to be vigilant against some hidden forms of economic and political fascism imposed by the leftist regimes, especially when they stake claim to be the sole custodians of renaissance and revolution, not letting multiple, dissenting voices to be heard.

ViBGYOR Festival is a celebration of hope and not a lament to a `lost India’. We place our hope in people’s resilience. We seek to find hope in our own history, in the diverse ideas of India. We respect the human desire to go back to the `roots’, but it shouldn’t mean to bring back any singular,‘glorious’ tradition as the norm for all. Renaissance cannot start from any convenient point in history that favours the already privileged. We need to reboot, yes, with an honest desire and readiness to go beyond the `his-story’ books and lay threadbare all preconceived and imposed ideas of India.13thViBGYOR is a call, an invitation, to imagine an all-inclusive India!