Documentary by Ruchi Shrivastava and Sumit Khanna
Date: 14 May 2016
Venue: Gulmohar, India Habitat Centre
There are so many stories that need to be told and retold.
One such story
Chipko Movement is one of the most vanguard events in Indian history. Women and men in Gopeswar, Chamoli district in then Uttar Pradesh, now Uttarakhand, hugged trees to save them from felling. While the credit of Chipko Movement is attributed to the then Chief Minsiter Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, Chandi Prasad Bhatt was one of the pioneers of the Movement. And it is sad that his story is almost untold.
Why should this story be told
Chandi Prasad Bhatt changed the pattern of environment conservation in India. He realised early on that forests had to be conserved not only to maintain the ecological balance, but also to provide livelihood for the locals. He guided people to preserve and propagate the forests in a manner that was sustainable for all. Shunning glamorous international conferences and media events, he silently strove on his mission paying scant regard to any popularity that he deserved.
This film is about Chandi Prasad Bhatt. With a duration of a neat 52 minutes, and supported by fantastic music from the hills, the directors succeed in bringing forth Bhatt’s story. They create such a connect that we as part of the audience bow in respect inside our hearts. The documentary comprises interviews with Bhatt, some of his associates and local people. In the span of less than an hour, we time travel back and forth atleast 50 years. To break the narrative, it is interspersed with interviews of renowned historian Ramchandra Guha who speaks on Bhatt and the Chipko movement. The documentary is in Hindi with English subtitles. Guha’s interview is in English.
Chandi Prasad Bhatt is a beacon among people’s environment movements in India. There may be many such Bhatts in this country who are silently doing amazing work and we do not know about them. It is our loss that we fail to draw on their knowledge or inspiration in our walks of life. Their stories need to be told and retold.
We are grateful to the festival team for bringing this documentary that won the National Award in 2015, to the audience. THE MAN WHO DWARFED THE MOUNTAINS dwarfed us.