Film: India Untouched

INDIA UNTOUCHED will make it impossible for anyone in India to deny that Untouchability is still practiced today. Director Stalin K. and his team spent four years traveling the length and breadth of India to bear witness to the continued exclusion and segregation of those considered as 'Untouchables'. The film introduces leading Benares scholars who interpret Hindu scriptures to mean that Dalits 'have no right' to education, and Rajput farmers who proudly proclaim that the police must seek their permission before pursuing cases of atrocities on Dalits. The film captures many 'firsts-on-film,' such as Dalits being forced to dismount from their cycles and remove their shoes when in the upper caste part of the village. It exposes the continuation of caste practices and Untouchability in Sikhism, Christianity and Islam, amongst the Communists in Kerala and within some of India's most revered academic and professional institutions. In an age where the media projects only one image of a 'rising' or 'poised' India, this film reminds us how far the country is from being an equal society. Traveling through eight states and four religions, this film is perhaps the deepest exploration of caste oppression ever undertaken on film.

Stalin K is a human rights activist and award-winning documentary filmmaker. He is the Co-Founder of DRISHTI- Media, Arts and Human Rights, Convener of the Community Radio Forum-India, and the India Director of Video Volunteers. He is a renowned public speaker and has lectured or taught at over 20 institutions ranging from the National Institute of Design and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, to New York University and Stanford and Berkeley in the US.

INDIA UNTOUCHED is Stalin's second film on the issue of caste his earlier film Lesser Humans, on manual scavenging, won the Silver Conch at the Mumbai International Film Festival and the Excellence Award at Earth Vision Film Festival, Tokyo, and helped to bring international attention to the issue of caste. Drishti is a media and human rights organization with program areas in community radio, community video, documentary film, campaign design, theatre, community arts and youth activism. Drishti has produced over 25 films on development issues, designed over a dozen rights-based campaigns, and conducted over 300 training workshops with more than 100 NGOs. More than 1000 groups around the world are using Drishti's films, and the organization is a leading proponent of community media.

Navsarjan is one of the largest Dalit rights organizations in India, working in over 3000 villages in Gujarat. Its mission is to eradicate Untouchability and caste oppressions through legal remedies and struggles against forced occupations such as manual scavenging, and by ensuring Dalits' access to education and livelihood.

Dalit Foundation supports small community based organizations, individuals and networks working for the empowerment of Dalit communities all over India. It promotes Dalit leadership, especially among youth and women, by providing small grants, fellowships and capacity building programmes.

Indian Institute of Dalit Studies is the first national research institute focused on issues of caste. Its objective is to bring the impact of caste into policy planning. It also bridges gaps between activists and academics.

National Campaign of Dalit Human Rights is a secular coalition of Dalit Human Rights activists who challenge 'Casteism' and Untouchability'. Its mission is to wipe out caste based discrimination with a call to "Cast out Caste".