THE SKY BELOW
Introduced by Prof. Angana Chatterjee, CIIS, Cultural and Social Anthropology
Juxtaposing archival footage (including photographs by famed WWII photographer Margaret Bourke-White), location shooting, folk songs and accounts from survivors of Partition, Sarah Singh creates a collage of impressions – a restless movement of images that seek answers while posing new questions. Questions that are particularly heart-rending when asked by survivors of Partition who now look back to consider whether the heavy price of the brutality and suffering they were witness to, served any purpose other than benefiting politicians and military regimes.
The partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 that created Pakistan and India, resulted in the brutal deaths of one to two million people and the migration of twelve to fifteen million people across undefined borders. The euphoria of independence allowed this tragic and terrifying moment in history to go largely unacknowledged at the time, but more writers and filmmakers have taken on this painful subject in the past few decades. The division that was supposed to resolve conflict, in fact led to three wars and the devastation of Kashmir that, in the aftermath of 9/11, has become a location of ever-increasing violence.
Filmmaker Sara Singh, armed only with a video camera and a backpack, traversed through dangerous territory, from Kutch to Kashmir in India and Karachi to the Khyber Pass in Pakistan, to examine whether sixty years later, the recognition of a shared past and common culture, which stretches back through millennia, can bring about peace between the two countries. -- Tara Lamont