In the 1970’s, while my state, Kerala (South India), was being celebrated as a model of social development by various national and international agencies, Kasaragod, the northern district of the state was subjected to a new agricultural experiment. Pesticides and fertilizers were the unsung heroes there. It took us almost a quarter century to realize what was happening there in the name of development; but by that time the place had become a killing field. For many of us, it was not merely pesticide tragedy; in fact, we had never witnessed human suffering of this magnitude in our life. This documentary is my attempt to reflect upon the multiple layers of silent and evasive forms of violence that has been circulating in a culture.
I started this journey from my home state and slowly realized that the pattern is alarmingly the same in almost all Indian agricultural fields. The train that has been renamed as ‘cancer train’ by the locals ofPunjabentered this journey as a metaphor of a social body that has been made sick. My steps were shaky at moments, while I was in close contact with another person’s suffering. Thus this film for me becomes contemplation on facing and representing human suffering.
K R Manoj