Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the Rohingya issue, a group of Delhi University students have made a short film highlighting the plight of the refugees in the country.
The 11-minute film, which uses ants as a metaphor to reflect the strained state of affairs that the refugees have been subjected to, has been shot in Kerala and the refugee camp in Delhi. The narration has been done by one of the refugees in the Rohingyan language.
“One needs to raise awareness surrounding the issue. When we first started shooting, many of our contemporaries seemed clueless about the crisis. Through the short film we hope to induce mass appeal which, in turn, will help in making a difference,” said Anson A. Athikalam, a third-year economics student from St. Stephens College, who has helmed and directed the film.
Titled ‘Upavahana’, which in Pali means ‘washing away’, the film is intended to make a strong impact in the mind’s of people and in the process shed light on an issue which is repeatedly being sidelined, said Mr. Anson.
‘Need sustained help’
“When we visited the refugee camp for shooting, we came across a number of refugees who complained that the help they get from people’s donation is extremely short lived. There is a sense of dismay as they feel that people come forward to help only for a day and then never return. What they need is a more sustained assistance,” said the director.
“Even in mainstream media, problematic statements have been made where certain people have said that the Rohingyas should not be ‘dumped’ on the nation. On the other hand, the living conditions for the refugees in the camps are in a pathetic state. Through the film, we hope to reach out to as many people as possible,” Mr. Anson added.
Lauding the efforts made by the students, Benston John, economics professor at St. Stephens College, said: “The film reflects the sincerity that the students have towards the cause. The choice of language stands out as well. However, I am sure the path will not be an uninterrupted one. I hope that colleges in Delhi University agree to screen the film so that there is at least some sort of discussion around the issue.”