Video | Living with the cycles of nature and understanding that it is bountiful: National award winning documentary “I Cannot Give You My Forest” – Odisha

I cannot give you my forest is a documentary directed and produced by filmmakers- Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl. It has received the National Film Award for Best Environment Film in 2014.

Filmed in the forests of Odisha, ‘I cannot give you my forest’ is a window into the lives of the Kondh ‘adivasis’.

The growing of food is witnessing a violent transformation worldwide.

Wanton contamination of land and introduction of GMOs threaten both life and health.

Today, Corporations are preparing for a fresh onslaught on our food in the garb of tackling ‘HIDDEN HUNGER’.

In the city-centric world-view of most planners and administrators, Forests mean ‘timber’ that can be sold, and minerals that can be mined.

They fail to understand the critical importance of the Forest for the food security of the communities that live around the forest.

Filmed in the jungles and villages at Raigada, in southern Odisha, ‘I cannot give you my Forest’ is a poetic window into the relationship of the Kondh Adivasis with the Forest.

Against the backdrop of the rape and plunder of the community resources by venal Corporations and the government, the Forest becomes a metaphor for their sovereignty.

Producer- Nandan Saxena ([email protected])

Source: I cannot give you my Forest-Promo-H264-45sec-1080p- Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl (India) on Vimeo
Date Visited: Wed Jun 03 2015 16:01:32 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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National Award-winning documentary duo Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena fight the good fight

The Delhi-based filmmakers will pick up their latest prize for ‘I Cannot Give You My Forest’.

Scroll Staff  · May 03, 2015 | To view more trailers and read the full story, click here >>

Documentary filmmakers Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena will receive a National Film Award on Sunday for their most recent exploration of the intersection between government policy, livelihood, the ecology and human rights. In I Cannot Give You My Forest, Kondh adivasis from Rayagada in Orissa simply but powerfully demonstrate their symbiotic relationship with the forest, which is a rich source of nutrition for them. The 30-minute documentary emphasises the need to preserve India’s forests from commercial exploitation, and is the latest attempt by the filmmakers to throw a light on the fragile state of India’s national resources. […]

Source: National Award-winning documentary duo Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena fight the good fight
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Date Visited: 31 May 2021

“The tribal culture at its best provides a living example of the Gandhian concept of trusteeship” – Lachman Khubchandani in Indigenous Peoples: Responding to Human Ecology >>

National Award-winning documentary “I Cannot Give You My Forest” brings to fore the raging debate on development and its cost to the society. […]

Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl’s I Cannot Give You My Forest, the winner of the Rajat Kamal National Award for Best Environment Film including Agriculture for 2014 apprises the ignorant with the ground realities in a subtle and hard hitting manner. […]

Devoid of slogans, protests or battle cries the film through the Kondh adivasis highlights the need for compatibility with nature, inclusive living and the community’s age-old wisdom of living in harmony with environment.

The title clearly states the advasis’ determination of not letting go of their revered forests. They perceive themselves as custodians of the treasure handed down by their ancestors. The theme song “Tinba dumbro puyu loye” interwoven in the 29 minute film, in Kui language with English sub-titles, is its gist and core. Sung by Srimati Duduka, an advasi woman from Rayagada district, Odisha it was recorded on location during filming. “The refrain refers to a small forest flower that she sings to, saying ‘come my friend’. This invocation is a constant reminder of how their lives are intertwined with the smallest of flowers which the forest offers them. Throughout the song, she sings of the generosity of the forest in sustaining them,” says Nandan.

The camera pans on the tribal women visiting the forests to collect honey, greens, mushrooms, seeds, roots, tubers, etc which sustain their families. Stressing the value of the flora Hemi Konda recalls how during severe drought it provided tubers and roots twice a day. In reverence they state that though a mother gives birth, the child is nurtured and raised by the forest. Identifying the forest bounties they explain how they are cooked and mixed and matched to prepare a meal and exhort its nutritional value. “The adivasis pity the Dilliwallahs. They find us under-nourished, anorexic and weak. They think it is an urban disease to believe that money can buy everything. They also pity us for being addicted to our computers and mobile phones. A man who walked 10 kilometres uphill with us later revealed that he is 75 years young,” shares Nandan.

Expressing disdain for packaged food the residents inculcate a taste for forest produce among the next generation. Timoli Kurgenlika while plucking berries for her son breaks into an invocation to Goddess Bominiboyrus comparing their relationship with their forest with that between a child and parent.

The understanding of the adivasis about ecology, its protection and importance in their daily life is amazing. What is learnt by us either by way of academic curriculum or choice, is innate in them. The director observes: “They live with the cycles of nature and understand that it is bountiful. They only take what is necessary for their sustenance.” […]

It was touching to hear a tribal farmer absolving the elephant herd of farm destruction reasoning that the cutting of forests had forced the animals to go astray. Based on his first hand experience Nandan comments, “They believe that the earth is home to all of God’s creation. It is not the hegemony or fiefdom of a bipedal creature called man.” […]

“The ego of the story-teller as the auteur and the gaze of the filmmaker as an anthropologist looking at his subject as a specimen involve a power-equation. We try our best to break these equations by spending time with our protagonists. When we started filming in the villages at Rayagada, the viewpoint of the adivasis in their own words started pouring forth and the film kept evolving in a collaborative manner.” […]

Refusing to tie down the documentary to a specific audience Nandan says, “It is a call to the city dwellers and policy makers to respect a way of life which is in consonance with nature.” The forest is a metaphor to the adivasis of their sovereignty. One hopes that the concerned and those choosing to be ignorant take notice.

Source: “On national award winning documentary I Cannot Give You My Forest” by S. Ravi (The Hindu, April 24, 2015)
Date Visited: 31 May 2021

Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl are independent filmmakers and media trainers.

They received the National Award for Best Investigative Film at the National Film Awards (2011), for the film ‘Cotton for my shroud’. It was screened as ‘Headline Film’ at the World Investigative Film Week at London in 2013.

Almost two decades into filmmaking, they work in the genres of documentary and poetry films. Their oeuvre spans the domains of ecology, livelihoods, development and human rights.

Their most recent film ‘I cannot give you my Forest’ has been awarded the ‘Rajat Kamal’ for the Best Film in Environment, including Agriculture at the National Film Awards (For 2014).

Source: South Asia Solidarity Group
Date Visited: Wed Jun 03 2015 15:55:23 GMT+0200 (CEST)

For DVD copies ( Rs. 600 incl. postage within India) please contact Kavita Bahl[email protected]

Jungle Bachao Andolan, 1980s

“Most states exist in the bliss of ignorance,” observed India Today in March 1982. It was this observation that led to the birth of the Jungle Bachao Andolan, that began in Bihar and later spread to states like Jharkhand and Orissa. The tribals of Singhbhum district of Bihar bubbled up a protest when the government decided to replace the natural sal forests with highly-priced teak, a move that was termed “a greed game, political populism”.

Source: “10 most powerful movements” by Purvi Malhotra (India Today, 19 December 2008)
Date Visited: 31 May 2021

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Video | Living with the cycles of nature and understanding that it is bountiful: National award winning documentary “I Cannot Give You My Forest” – Odisha

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