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CUSAS Film Screening: Broken Gods

When Nov 14, 2019
from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Edmund Leach Seminar Room, Dept of Social Anthropology, Free School Lane
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Film Screening: Broken Gods

Followed by Q&A with Co-Director Dr Alice Tilche, LSE

India has one of the largest populations of indigenous people in the world, known locally as tribals or adivasis. They number more than a 100 million people, speak more than 800 different languages and are among the poorest people on the Indian subcontinent.  Their economic poverty, linked to lack of access to resources and to environmental degradation, is made worse by social stigma and the erasure of traditional culture. As India's current Hindu nationalist government pushes to redefine India as a homogenous Hindu nation, adivasis’ ways of life are under greater threat. Set among the Rathava and Bhil adivasi communities of western India, broken gods documents the social impact of aggressive Hindu religious evangelism among India’s indigenous groups. As indigenous people join Hindu gurus and religious sects, their old gods are literally breaking. Devotional mural paintings are being whitewashed from homes, and the earthen figurines in honour of village gods and ancestors are being left to fall apart. While for those who convert joining a Hindu sect offers the allure of a better life, those who continue to follow their old ways have become ostracized by their communities. Their broken gods have lost the power to protect them from illness and scarcity. The film is based on Alice Tilche’s long-term research among the Bhil and Rathava communities of western India. It was directed in collaboration with adivasi activist, theatre director and filmmaker Dakxin Bajranje.

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