In observance of the 25th anniversary of the anti-Sikh massacre of November 1984, an award winning documentary, The Widow Colony, will be shown theatrically in Southall, Hayes and Birmingham. The film, directed by Harpreet Kaur, takes an in-depth look into the lives of the widows whose husbands were killed in the massacre and explores their suffering, battle for justice and struggle for survival in India.
“The Widow Colony – India’s Unsettled Settlement”, borrows its name from a settlement in Tilak Vihar on the west-side of New Delhi that is commonly known as the Widow Colony or Vidhva Colony. The film captures the testimonies of these widows and the intensity of the tragedy that followed in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The film is provocative and scintillating in its effect but its real genius lies in Harpreet’s ability to effectively convey the trauma that still haunts innumerable widows. Undeniably, in years of analysis and discussion that has surrounded this issue; the need for rehabilitation of the survivors has been forgotten. For the past 25 years, these women have been trapped in mourning and will only be able to move forward when the perpetrators are punished. Although over 4,000 Sikhs were killed in the capital city alone, the Government has yet to deliver any justice by punishing the masterminds behind this violence.
The film does not limit itself to a recounting of history. This is an unresolved past, an open wound, and The Widow Colony is determined to address (and dress) it in the present. To that end, the film offers something unusual – practical ways to improve the current living conditions of the widows and other victims of 1984. The Widow Colony presents a moving account of unspeakable violence; it does this with sensitivity and compassion towards its subjects and a level of reflexivity about the positions of (relative) power occupied by filmmaker and audience. The film seems ideally suited to screening contexts that allow time and space for discussion and for that very reason, the filmmakers will be present at all the showings for a discussion. They believe that methodology creates the forum for discussion this issue en masse and relieves the trauma of the Sikh population.
The film concludes that “pogroms will recur in India unless the State acknowledges and records these violations in a transparent and honest manner, towards cleansing itself of the people and institutions that perpetrate these crimes and addressing the survivors’ right to knowledge, justice, and reparation.” India has an opportunity to exit the rhetoric of democracy and become an advocate for Human Rights by delivering justice and this documentary will hopefully become a catalyst for this much needed progress.
Produced by Manmeet Singh of Sach Productions, this film, has had the honour of touring several film festivals. It won the Best Documentary award at the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto and the South Asian International Film Festival in New York.
Film Schedule and Venues:
October 10, 2009 – 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:00 PM, 8:30 PM
The Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 2UE
More information & to Buy Tickets visit – http://www.becktheatre.org.uk
October 11, 2009 – 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:00 PM, 8:30 PM
The Himalaya Palace, 14 South Road, Southall UB1 3RT
Oct 16, 2009 – Oct 18, 2009 – Daily Shows at – 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:00 PM, 8:30 PM
The DRUM, 144 Potters Lane, Birmingham, B6 4UU
More information & to Buy Tickets visit – http://www.the-drum.org.uk/event/the-widow-colony