Documentary: Jharu Katha/ Broom Stories, by Navroj Contractor (64’)
Location: Alliance Française auditorium
Date: Fri, 2012/01/13 - 7:00pm
In partnership with Vikalp Film Archive
‘Jharu Katha/ Broom Stories’ engages in conversation with a wide spectrum of broom-makers. Their struggle for livelihood is intersected with different stories of the broom provided by women and ritual attendants of shrines, traders, municipal sweepers and garbage collectors. Through the counterpoint of their voices, the film covers wide ground in opening the contradictory values and belief-systems of the broom.
Steeped in the realities of caste, the broom is both a source of livelihood for millions of people and the repository of traditional knowledge. Even so, it stigmatizes entire communities through its associations with pollution and untouchability. Highlighting the humiliation and robust survival of India’s most downtrodden caste groups, whose hopes are at once catalyzed and complicated by the politics of reservations, Jharu-katha works towards a larger envisioning of waste in urban India. Bleak and terrifying, this vision questions the endurance of the broom and its capacity to reinvent itself in a ceaseless process of change.