Film documents activism, gender issues in India

By Margaret Barr

An Indian activist’s fight against a dam project in her home country is coming to UK through a film presentation.

Arundhati Roy’s film “Dam/Age,” which claims that the Narmada dam project in India will displace up to a million people, will be shown tonight from 7 to 9 in the Bingham-Davis House at the Gaines Center. The showing is free and open to the public.

The showing is part of a film series sponsored by UK’s Gender and Women’s Studies program. Kate Black, an archivist and library faculty member, chooses the films to be presented each semester. This year, she said her theme was women resisting.

“I always aim to have the film be international and have a variety of perspectives,” Black said.

“Dam/Age” follows Roy as she struggles against the dam being built across the Narmada River in Gujarat, India. Roy said the project will not provide the needed irrigation or drinking water for the area.

Srimati Basu, an associate professor in Gender and Women’s Studies, will introduce the film and lead commentary and discussion afterward. Black said she chose Basu to comment on the film because of her expertise on gender in India.

Roy’s first novel, “The God of Small Things,” won the Booker Prize in 1997 and the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize in 2002. Roy also wrote an extended essay, “The Greater Common Good,” protesting the dam construction. She donated her Booker Prize money and other book royalties to the Narmada Bachao Andolan, a non-governmental organization that opposes the Narmada dam project.