In a video published in November 2012, IndiauUnheard Community Correspondent, Shambhuraj Tanwar documented the abysmal conditions of the road leading up to the village crematorium. Since then, he and the local cable operator have joined hands and made sure the road got fixed.
Shambhu belongs to the Khatik community in Delwara, Rajasthan. The crematorium space for his community is shared with two other Dalit sub-castes, the Meghwals and the Ghametis. Shambu speaks of the space as a ‘ghetto’ for the dearly departed.
“There was no space for vehicles to ply on. You had no option but to carry the body on your shoulders and watch your step along the way,” said Shambhu. There was no electricity and no lights. “Imagine if you were taking a body there in the dark? There was no water and no shed. There was no dignity for the dead, their loved ones and the community.”
Having lived through the trauma of cremating a loved one under these circumstances, Shambhu embarked on a mission to bring a change for his people. Soon after he received an edited version of the video, Shambhu got the local cable operator on board to air the film on the community.
The plan was a hit. Immediately, the locals were moved to take action and forced the village administration to sit up and listen. They had tried to put in applications earlier as well but this time they were backed by visual evidence.
“Showing the video on local TV was a good idea. Even in future you should bring us these videos. Then people can be made aware of problems and come up with solutions”, says Nirmal the Cable Operator.
Internet and mainstream news, now on satellite, still don’t reach vast majorities of the indian population. In this case we have depended on ingenious methods of our CCs to show videos back to the communities they are filmed in. The way this process has unfolded goes to prove that community video is empowering not just for the producer but also the entire community.
“There is no change that can come without the support of an entire society and I am really happy that my society was behind me in bringing this change”, says Shambhu