'Famine ’87' documents the impact of famine on the pastoral communities of the Banni and Lakhpat regions of Kutch, the North-Western desert region of Gujarat bordering Pakistan.
The Maldharis, predominantly Muslim community of cattle grazers, have had a long tradition of cattle rearing and a rich heritage of culture, art and music. The grasslands of these regions were till recently, abundant in several species of grass that sustained large stocks of milch and draught cattle. Over the years, a way of living in harmony with the delicate ecosystems of the desert region evolved.
ln the fifth decade of lndia’s independence, the entire pastoral community and their habitat is under threat of extinction from natural calamities as well as interventions from the outside world in the name of development.
The documentation is a narrative- people talk about their conditions and their struggle to survive. In the process a whole range of issues get discussed. Through this re-telling of peoples’ stories the documentation attempts to bring to the viewers another perception of reality. Through peoples’ own understanding of their histories a larger understanding of the real causes of scarcities and famines emerges. And the need to review the very processes of planning and development which have deprived not only the people of Banni, but the dispossessed all over the world, of the right to survive on their own terms.
Telecast by ISRO in 1988