Nepotism, corruption and anarchy: Welcome to ‘Life on Mountains.’

Dekhiye… ” I screamed. (‘please hear me out’ in Hindi)
Murmurs in the crowd came to a gradual pause,
close to 500 eyes looked at me with hope.

In June 2016, I decided to take a 2-day long detour to Kalpa and Recongpeo (Kinnaur district) in Himachal Pradesh,
on my way to a 22 day long trip to Lahaul and Spiti, an international border district with some breathtaking geography,
while covertly working on an ambitious documentary project called-
‘People of the MOUNTAIN’.
A documentary exploring socio-political, cultural and financial aspects of the life of the people living in the most hostile conditions on earth,
a project that has already consumed 4 years and close to 2.8 TB of data storage but still it’s no way near completion.

I knew I had to speak loudly,
the Mic guy was struggling with his wires as I signaled him not to bother about it anymore.

“Dekhiye, mujhe pata nahi hai mai aapki madat kaise karunga,

(“Listen, I don’t how I am going to help you.

I paused as I was trying to contemplate the mysterious ways in which universe works,
trying to go back to the series of coincidences that led me to this place where a thousand workers are getting oppressed,
and due to inaccessibility of the location there is absolutely zero media coverage, no trace of justice,
but heck, I am no journalist. I thought.
My head was trying miserably to multi-task as the stares from the crowd grew intense.

“Dekhiye, mujhe pata nahi hai mai aapki madat kaise karunga,
mai aapki baat sab tak pahunchane ki koshish zaroor karunga.”

Crowd broke into unanimous applaud.
Applaud that slowly turned into ‘Inqilab Zindabad’ slogans as I finished folding my tripod.

Few striking workers came from the crowd and were tapping on my cab window
as I sat there gleaning on the photocopies of the issue related documents.
I opened the window.

“Sir bas haath milana tha, thank you bolna tha,
sabme josh aa gaya aapko dekh ke,
ye kaju ne bataya aap photo kheechne aaye the chaakha ka,
hum mazdoor log ne aapka time kharab kia iske lie sorry hai bhai ji,
lekin hamari koi sun bhi toh nahi raha hai.
Aap dubara aao, sab ghumate hai, thand me yahan ruko ek baar bhai ji,
photo hi photo lena.”

He said.

I couldn’t speak, I felt burdened by the responsibility of this task
considering the weight of my already ongoing projects,
this was just pushing me beyond saturation.

I smiled.

A few days back I received a phone call.
I was told that houses of striking workers were vandalized.
I asked them for a copy of FIR and pictures of the vandalized site which they provided.
I couldn’t turn a blind eye.

No media coverage of this issue whatsoever has forced me to trim a portion of my footage,
fast-post-process it,
and create a video that voices their opinion.
I am no Journalist, 
I don’t have any political biases and 
I am no expert on the subject either.
I am just trying to act like an amplifier making their voices audible.

Kindly watch and share.

Court Hearing is on 29th August 2016 (as informed to me).

If you can provide any sort of assistance whatsoever,
Bihari Sewgi- +91–9418600133.