Rabba Hun Ke Kariye Thus Departed Our Neighbours

Director & Producer AJAY BHARDWAJ

Camera AJAY BHARDWAJ

Sound Editing and Mixing ASHEESH PANDYA

Editor TENZIN KUNCHOK

India

2007

Colour

Punjabi with English subtitles

Audio Mono

Ratio 4:3

65 minutes

PAL DVD 5

Region Code 0

While India won her independence from the British rule in 1947, the north western province of Punjab was divided into two. The Muslim majority areas of West Punjab became part of Pakistan, and the Hindu and Sikh majority areas of East Punjab remained with, the now divided, India. The truncated Punjabs bore scars of large-scale killings as each was being cleansed of their minorities.

Sixty years on, Rabba Hun Kee Kariye trails this shared history divided by the knife. For the first time a documentary turns its gaze at the perpetrators, as seen through the eyes of bystanders. While East Punjabis fondly remember their bonding with the Muslim neighbours and vividly recall its betrayal, the film excavates how the personal and informal negotiated with the organized violence of genocide. In village after village, people recount what life had in store for those who participated in the killings and lootings.

Periodically, the accumulated guilt of a witness or a bystander surfaces, sometimes discern- able in their subconscious, other times visible in the film. Without rancour and with great pain a generation unburdens it’s heart, hoping this never happens again.

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Director & Producer AJAY BHARDWAJ

Camera AJAY BHARDWAJ

Editor ARGHYA BASU

Sound Editing & Mixing ASHEESH PANDYA

India

2012

Colour

Punjabi with English subtitles

Audio Mono

Ratio 4:3

95 minutes

PAL DVD 5

Region Code 0

Borders spring up; new nations are born of a violent rupture and unprecedented blood - letting, uprooting millions of people; and a centuries-old composite culture is silenced forever. Or so it would seem.

As the British departed from the subcontinent in 1947, Punjab was partitioned along religious lines into a Muslim majority state of Punjab (west) in Pakistan and a Hindu/Sikh majority state of Punjab (east) in India. For the people of Punjab, the self became the other. The universe of a shared way of life, Punjabiyat, was marginalised, replaced by perceptions of contending identities through the two nation states.

However, as Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te shows, in ways seen and unseen, the idea of Punjabiyat inhabits the average Punjabi’s everyday life. The film moves fluidly across time, mapping organic cultural continuities at local levels – a cultural terrain strewn with haunting memories of the violence of 1947; of separation from one’s land; of childhood friends lost forever; of abandoned, anonymous graves in fields. Accompanying this caravan of seekers and lovers are ascetic non-believers whose yearning for love and harmony turns into poetry against war and aggression. Such is Punjab where miracles never cease to capture the imagination..

Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te Lets's Meet At Baba Ratan's Fair

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Ajay Bhardwaj (b.1964) is a documentary filmmaker based in Delhi, India and Vancover, Canada. Having worked in the thick of media for over two decades, Bhardwaj has been making documentaries since 1997, starting with Ek Minute Ka Maun ( A Minute of Silence), on the martyrdom of former President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s student union Chandrashekhar Prasad, which exposed some of the basic fault-lines of Indian politics and society.

Since 2002, while working on different themes, he has had a constant engagement with the north-western state of Punjab, interrogating all its mainstream narratives of culture, politics, history and identity. These explorations have emerged in a documentary trilogy: Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te (Let’s Meet at Baba Ratan’s Fair)Rabba Hun Kee Kariye (Thus Departed our neighbours) andKitte Mil Ve Mahi (Where the Twain Shall Meet). His documentaries have been screened at international film festivals, academic conferences, and community and activist events.

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Director & Producer

AJAY BHARDWAJ

Camera AJAY BHARDWAJ

Sound Editing and Mixing

ASHEESH PANDYA

Editor SHACHINDRA BISHT

India

2005

Colour

Punjabi with English subtitles

Audio Mono

Ratio 4:3

70 minutes

PAL DVD 5

Region Code 0

Punjab, ‘the land of the five rivers’, is also the land of the Sufis or Muslim mystics. In 1947, Punjab was partitioned on religious lines amidst widespread bloodshed and today there are hardly any Punjabi Muslims left in the Indian Punjab. Yet, the Sufi shrines in the Punjabi part of Punjab continue to thrive, particularly among so-called ‘low’ caste Dalits that constitutes more than 30% of it’s population.

Kitte Mil Ve Mahi explores for the first time this unique bond between Dalits and Sufism in India. In doing so it unfolds a spiritual universe that is both healing and emancipatory. Journeying through the Doaba region of Punjab a window opens onto the aspirations of Dalits to carve out their own space. This quest gives birth to ‘little traditions’ that are deeply spiritual as they are intensely political.

Enter an unacknowledged world of Sufism where Dalits worship and tend to the Sufi Shrines. Listen to B.S. Balli Qawwal Paslewale - a first generation Qawwal from this tradition. Join a fascinating dialogue with Lal Singh Dil - radical poet, Dalit convert to Islam. A living legend of the Gadar movement, Bhagat Singh Bilga, affirms the new Dalit consciousness in Punjab and India.

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Kitte Mil Ve Mahi Where The Twain Shall Meet

Listen to Ajay Bhardwaj in conversation

Recorded at the British Film Institute, London 2012.

www.ajaybhardwaj.in

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