Making video in Charanagar and Baori Samaj

Charanagar © Caleb Johnston
Charanagar © Caleb Johnston

This is a community-engaged video production program in the city of Ahmedabad, India. In 2008-09, we worked with Chharas and Baoris, two adivasi (indigenous) communities who are among the itinerant ethnic groups transformed into criminal populations during British colonial occupation. This project emerged directly out of the desires of community residents, and a series of short documentary videos were produced out of these engagements in which Chharas and Baoris identified, filmed and edited local struggles. These videos were seen by several thousand people in a series of ‘street’ screenings in Ahmedabad. This artistic exchange was designed to support Baoris and Chharas’ active struggle over and contestation of their citizenship rights and to maintain their precarious claims to territory and services.  

Vimukta narrates Chharas’ classification as a Criminal Tribe in the late 19th century, and their incarceration in a labour camp in Ahmedabad in 1932 from which they were put to work in the industrial production of textiles.

Home documents Baoris’ ongoing struggle over urban territory—their violent displacement by the city government from the inner city and relocation to the precarious urban-rural frontier.