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Focussing on `Gulf syndrome'

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DOCUMENTARY WITH A MESSAGE: Directing the actors in the docu-fiction `Akkare Ikkare.'
DOCUMENTARY WITH A MESSAGE: Directing the actors in the docu-fiction `Akkare Ikkare.'

The 30-minute documentary is an educative initiative for the Gulf expatriates and their families.

The `Gulf syndrome' - a term coined to describe the peculiar circumstances experienced by the Gulf expatriate families in Kerala - has been engaging the attention of sociologists and psychiatrists for quite sometime now. But no serious thought has been given to address the issue from a humane angle.

The docu-fiction, `Aakkare Ikkare,' produced by the students of the Department of Social Work, Farook College, is an effort to create awareness about the loneliness and trauma experienced by scores of young women, and men too, who are victims of this peculiar syndrome.

The sentiments of the expatriates are expressed through interviews.

The students of sociology through the celluloid venture seek to convey the message to the expatriate organisations to address the problem in earnest.

The 30-minute documentary, got up under the concept and direction of the Head of Department of Sociology, N.P. Hafeez Mohammed, and Anil Punnad, is in a way an educative initiative for the Gulf expatriates and their families.

The CD of the documentary is being distributed among the expatriates in the Gulf.

"Here is a message to the Pravasi associations to be aware of a problem facing the separated family members. The Pravasis in the Gulf are involved in a number of social work initiatives. They are meanwhile not yet conscious of the psychological and social issues faced by expatriates who live away from their near and dear ones.

"The associations have not thought of any specific welfare programme on this line, and the docu-fiction is to create consciousness among them. They need to be concerned about the issue," says Prof. Hafeez Mohammed.

The documentary portrays the sojourn of Keralites to the Gulf in large numbers, and how it has created a new family culture here, different from the Malayali's concept of family - of caring, sharing and togetherness.

The documentary seeks to gauge the extent of loneliness and trauma experienced by young brides who are left behind in Kerala. A similar predicament faces their husbands who go to the Gulf to keep the family pot boiling.

Discussions centre on the need for couple counselling, bachelor counselling and organising workshop for the children.

Husbands are forced to lead a solitary existence bereft of the love, care and affection of their close family and friends.

There are few options before the couples - it is either a job in the Gulf to provide a comfortable existence for the family, or a lower paying job at home. Many seemed to prefer the first choice.

The students have also touched on the predicament of a wife who lives with her husband in the Gulf, yet is often faced with a terrible loneliness, far from home.

Similar is the predicament of the teenaged children of Gulf expatriates living in hostels of elite schools.

Students Sahal Mohammed, Urmila Unnikrishnan, P.C. Jawahar and Shabana Azmi, besides teachers of the Sociology Department essayed the characters. Joy and C. Abdul Razak provided the other inputs.

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