Caste

Documentary: Savitri’s Sisters at Azadi Kooch

A film about two emerging Dalit women leaders, Laxmiben and Madhuben, and their participation in the Azadi Kooch march.

One year after the public flogging of Dalits at Una in Gujarat, a call was given for the ‘Azadi Kooch’ yatra (march). The yatra travelled through several towns and villages in the Mehsana and Banaskantha districts of the state. The main demand was the handing over of land which was allocated to Dalits on paper, but has been illegally occupied by people from dominant castes for several years.

During the yatra, a whole range of other socio-political and economic issues were raised; the issue of gender justice was the most prominent. Savitri’s Sisters at Azadi Kooch looks at two emerging Dalit women leaders, Laxmiben and Madhuben, and their participation in the yatra. The film traces their journey, their struggles to reclaim the land that rightfully belong to Dalits and also an internal struggle within the movement to ensure that gender justice becomes an inalienable aspect of the march, as well as the larger movement against caste and capitalist exploitation.

As they assert their agency as women, Laxmiben and Madhuben, in the process of discovering a world outside the domestic spheres, also hope to inspire many other Dalit women to join them in their journey towards an egalitarian society.