Thursday, August 09, 2007

Broken Threads - No Child's Play This

Broken Threads
is a documentary by 10+3i media, exposing the dark underbelly of Surat's famous textile and diamond cutting industries, where child labour is rampant and also presents a few children rescued from the clutches of these industries, thanks to well-meaning efforts of NGOs like Pratham.

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Surat, as one of the fortnightly magazine mentions, is the fastest growing city in the country. Its not a very surprising fact if you know that 80% of worlds diamonds get their shine here and Hazira, the industrial hub in city attracts thousands of crores of investment every year. One more industry making Surat shine almost blinding is the textiles.

The textile industry is immensely huge and intricately deep rooted. A huge chunk of city's population apart from the floating one and the indirectly dependent ones earn their daily bread from this. At every level, right from labourer to the mill owners are diverse in so many distinctive ways. Coming in from far away places, adapting to a whole new culture and value systems, leading a varied lifestyle, the people involved in this industry have woven an interesting social fabric of the city in addition to most of what are on our bodies as well.

The plight of the child labourers:

Amidst all the activity of these mills, we found a few human lives who deserved more than what was on offer to them. A more than just a few children we could see were deprived of the essence of childhood and instead are burdened with reponsibility. The innocence in them sentenced almost to captivation, was appaling. These are the children who are employed in textile mills for jobs like ribbon-winding, colouring etc which saves their employers a few hard crisp notes. They are brought in from different and farthest parts of country just to save the cost on their education and upbringing. Some of them don't know whereabouts of their parents and some though know them are left wondering at their ownself inspite of them. There are cases where the child has been beaten up by alcoholic parent for the sake of a few pennies if which he couldn't bring home.

About Broken Threads:

The documentary 'broken threads' shows this evil in the light of law, scoietal responsibility, and humanity. Children talked their hearts out to our team, and the video footage gives a very good idea of need there is to bring them up. Documentary is shot all around the city showing the pitiful working conditions in textile mills as well as their life after the work hours. Enough light has been thrown on the serious concerns plaguing their lives like long working hours, mediocre pays, substandard working conditions etc.

The film also shows the steps being taken by government and other organisations to help the cause. PRATHAM, an NGO working in the same lines and its programme leader Mr Chandrashekhar were of immense help during the whole project. Thanks to him we could get close to the children who are getting a new lease into their lives from the organisations work. We had the chance to be with them at their own small abode(PRATHAM) and were more than happy to see their smilies blooming at the words 'say cheese'. The video has talks by different children about their experiences in PRATHAM as well as before that when they were forced to earn. Mr chandrashekhar has also given his valuable inputs regarding the problem in hand, its seriousness, laws and rules and also the work of his organisation.

The team's experiences:

10+3i team for 'broken threads' had a few old and a few new names in it. Documentary has in most of its parts narration by our friend and mate Yugank. One more friend and team menber Divya who has been in touch with PRATHAM even before 'Broken Threads' happened and so could connect to the children there very well and this very fact is evident from the frankness and openess chidren have shown in the videos. Juniors pair of Avinash's Katkoju and Mishra did propel us at every point of time during making with their enthusiasm. Jithin and Vivek again two dear buddies were there for anything and eveything right from camera work to editing clips. I was assigned the editing job and i hope I've done justice to it.

Please let us know your feedback.

P.S We won first prize in the competition for student made videos Video Vision held under MINDBEND 07, of "SVNIT".