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Field to Factory: Film and ethnography of industrialisation in Chhattisgarah, Central India

Everyday Tales Subtitles


The personality of my grandfather has always impressed me. Since childhood I have seen  people around him and his interesting anecdotes always thrilled me. I have observed imprints of his personality on my father and uncle. Grandfather is the head of a prosperous and happy joint family. This joint family consists of two of his sons, daughter in laws and five grand children.


Life was not always as easy for grandfather. He started his journey with 2 ˝ acres of land and service of the Bhilai Steel Plant. Today he is known as a successful and reputated man in the village.

Dundera Dam Site (before BSP seq.)

Kam     : Grandfather, We had land here which was taken for building the dam for plant. It stretched from where to where?

Grand   : This is the bank of the canal, from here to there, you see that field from there.

Kam     : Up to that grass which is seen till there.

Grand   : Yes, Yes; from there to here, through this field ridge, it came till here like this.

Kam     : How much land was here ?

Grand   : An acre and 82 dismil(1.82 acres) was taken away from here.

Kam     : Was there more land here which came under the flood here.

Grand   : Yes there, that there...

Kam     : there where there is water now .

Grand   : Yes there, near that last tree.

Kam     : Were there only fields or any other.

Grand   : Yes, there were paddy fields here, that one was an empty land( not barren land                   

 but not being used for farming.)

Kam     : When people in this region heard for the first time that a steel plant is going to  set up here, then there should have fear in their minds, what was the reaction of people then?

Grand   : Yes, people feared that they will lost their property, where will they go then,

what will they do, so many people were sad. What will happen to us, we will be fled from here, our land would be taken away. People were always sad by thinking all this but no one could do anything to government's plan, so people had to give their land at last. The government consoled that we are giving you money. If your land is taken, we will provide job to one member of your family after the plant established. This was government's declaration and they provided employment too.

Dundera Dam Site (after BSP seq.)

Kam     : Because this was a steel plant. So when people went into the plant for the first time they saw a lots of fire, they saw cranes, so weren't these things frightening, for the people here.

Grand   : No, not after some time. Various people convinced that people went to Tata and have made money, have become prosperous. Two three people from here had gone to Tata, they also convinced that they too work in a steel plant, there isn't any problem of any kind. They convinced like this and then people here started joining the plant.

Kam     : The plant Tata was build before here?

Grand   : Yes that is older than this.

Kam     : So, in the plant of  Tata also, people from this region were working ?

Grand   : Yes a lot of people have gone from here, tens of gone from Hirri village.

Kam     : And from Dundera etc.

Grand   : People from five six family from here have also gone.

Kam.    : They went then.

Grand   : Yes, they went away a long time.

Kam     : So they came here and told the people.

Grand   : Yes.

Kam     : What did they tell ?

Grand   : Everything is fine in the steel plant. There is no problem in working there, People who have to die, will die either here or there. Go and work in the plant there is no problem. They told as such.

Kam     : There are so many people who were called to join the plant then, but they wouldn't go.

Grand   : Yes, they didn't go.

Kam     : Why not?

Grand   : Because of this fear, take me for instance, when I used  to come here, Dau (a prosperous and leading man of a village) tried to convince me.

Kam     : Which Dau?

Grand   : Chhanga Dau and Narsingh Dau. Narsingh Dau is no more, Chhanga is still alive, they used to say-"We thought that you are an intelligent man but what you are doing, you decided to leave the village and go away. Look, people from distant village are coming here to work in the plant. Your land is taken for the plant and now the recruitment is on, you should take advantage of it and join the service" I replied- " Dauji, I am the only son of my parents and I don't want to die in the plant." They said - "Look, other people are working in the plant, they are not dieing." Thus they convinced me, then I agreed to join the plant. On 8th July I got employment card, on 13th I appeared in the interview and 17th I Joined my duty. All with in a week! There was an officer named Warsey Sahab. I asked him not to put me inside the plant rather give me a job of office peon. He obliged me.

Kam     : That means you are afraid to work in the plant?

Grand   : Yes.

Kam     : You said - you are afraid to work in the plant, why so ?

Grand   : Because I was scared. People say it that odd things do occurs regularly inside the plant.

Kam     : What people used to say?

Grand   : People die while working occasionally, people get buried here and there also, people say so.

Kam     : What you have heard, why people are dieing there?

Grand   : Sometime being hit by the crane, sometimes because of land slide. There was also a rumour that people are thrown into furnace while starting.

Kam     : Who said it, the outsiders or the people working in the plant ?

Grand   : All; the plant workers as well as the villagers. That's why I did not go inside the plant in the beginning. On June 24th, 1964, I decided to go to the plant.

Kam     : You mean inside the plant.

Grand   : Yes.

DISSCUSSION-1 (education & industrilisation)

Father  : When people joined BSP, their earning got increased considerably and they could maintain the family in a better way. They could offer better standard of living their children. On the contrary, people who were stuck to agriculture could not visualize the gain of joining the plant. They could not offer good education for willing children. For the children of the workers, there was no limit of high education; they could go as much as they wish. But this is not so far the others because they cannot afford the expense of higher studies.

Grand   : Education did not assume any much importance earlier.

Uncle   : For the service in the plant at different levels, education up to a varying standard is necessary. Say, up to 10th standard or 12th standard and so on. In order to get entry in higher level in the service, there was always an effort to study up to higher standard, thus the standard of higher education improved in general. Those who studied up to 8th standard now started studying up to 10th or12th standard in order to get a better job.

Father  : There is a difference in thinking between the people working in the plant and the people employed in agriculture  living in neighbourhood.

Uncle   : Industrialization definitely contributes in the development of any place. For example, America has got very big industries that are why they are so developed. It can be safely said, more is the industrialization, more the development. Thus we can surely say, Chhattisgarh has developed considerably after starting of the B.S.P..

Kam     : But there is a point, if the equivalent investment were made in the agriculture and all the facilities given to the people working there, possibly, people could have equally benefited.

Father  : Probably not, the agricultural products do not fetch lot of money as compare to industrial products. For example, say, we spend a rupee on agriculture, we may get a rupee and a quarter, but from an industry we may get two or three rupees. The difference is considerable. More over, the agriculture cannot employ so many people.

INTERVIEW 1 (agriculture)

Kam     : Before the plant came in existence, people were mostly dependent on agriculture, that used to be there sustainance and full time job. After the plant came into existence, there was a change. You could select either working in the plant or continue in your land. Why you have selected to join the plant and not stay in your agricultural job?

Grand   : The land was less and the income of land was also insufficient. The job of agriculture consuming less time. So I decided to join BSP and continue working in agriculture in spare time.

Kam     : Did you keep it in your mind to do both together ?

Grand   : Yes, I used to continue both. When workload was more, I used to employ some casual labourers and if necessary took a few days leaves of the plant, especially at the time of sowing.

INTERVIEW-2 (agriculture)

Grand   : Sometimes, there is a dilemma in mind whether to retain the total agriculture job in hand or give it on contract.(fifty-fifty basis on yield.) The labourers do not work properly, do not maintain time also. There are worries all the time. Where as if given on contract, we get enough for our requirement and lists of worries, but then what about the fodder, we get nothing to feed our own cattle it's really difficult to decide what to do.

 INTERVIEW-3 (agriculture)

Kam     :Are you satisfied with whatever profit you make and whatever production you get vis-ŕ-vis your expenditure and labour on your job considering your 40-50 years experience?

Grand   : Yes, I am satisfied fully.

Discussion 2 (changes in social values)

Grand   : In the present day situation telling lie and bluffing has become necessity 'tell truth and get thrashed and tell lie the world believe you.' For example, if you are in a service and ask for a leave, you will be refused, unless you tell a lie like your father or brother is sick. So you are forced to tell a lie.

Grand:  People are become more selfish. Also people have become very lazy.

Uncle   : In order to satisfied the self interest, people do make their stories in his favour. And others see the examples and follow the suit. Thus the whole atmosphere gets polluted.

Father  : Things are changed to such an extent, whether will be social area are or political area, everybody, everywhere do such work which suits there own selfish purpose.


Grand   : Whose is it (part of canal) still left out?

Chhabil: That belongs to her.

Grand   : It is badly done, mend it, O.K.

Grand   : Little more to be dug from bottom, one more basket here, and one there.

Rigari   : This much wide. A little narrow ahead, make it wider.

Grand   : Oh! It's narrow here, make it all right.

Rigari   : Call only the labourers with proper equipment, otherwise not.

Grand   : Who is that, who is not doing the work clean. Remove the earth properly; otherwise it will slide down the canal.

Labourer: The top is too narrow to put earth properly, if we put even on the top, it again slide down.

Chhabil:  Throw it the other side.

Grand   : You are unable to throw even two baskets.

DISCEESSION-3 (joint family)

Uncle: The reason for crack in the joint family is switching over to service, but it will be unfair to put the responsibility on plant. Initially, there was no problem in the joint family but with gradual increase in the income of some of the family members, allure them for a better life, thus he thinks that if he is separated for the joint family, he can save money, purchase the comfort and make property, such as land etc. All the above may not be possible remaining in the joint family. Thus joint family is gradually cracking up.

Father  : Some times it happens that the man in service is only separated from the family, but the rest of the family lives together.

Kam     : Is it true for all types of job or only of the plant?

Tauji     : Yes, it is with every service .

Father  : In fact 95% of the people is connected to plant, only, 5% work elsewhere which is insignificant. Because of this, people do believe because of the plant the joint family is affected.

Uncle   : It was not apparent in the beginning. The last 10-15 years more people are getting separated.


Grand   : Is there water in the field ?

S1        : Yes.

Grand   : What about the field on the other side of the canal?

S1        : A little less there.

Grand   : And in the small field on it's side?

S1        : It's there, the canal has been closed only today.

Grand   : What about the part of the field adjasant to Marar's.

S1        : Yes, water is O.K. there.

S2        : What about putting manure ?

Grand   : Beg your pardon.

S2        : Do we put manure tomorrow?

Grand   : Put in the field where widding has been done.

S2        Paddy there is getting affected. (by insects)

Grand   :Yes ,put extra manure there.

S2        : There is sufficient water there for putting  manure.

S3        : Yes, water is sufficient.

S2        : Yes, otherwise water level may be high afterwards.

Grand   : Put sufficient manure, not a thin layer.


Jhadu   : You inspects only superficially. (only from the ridge)

Dasar   : Yes, he does so.

Jhadu   : Yes, very superficially.

Woman: Yes ,your right.

Grand   : Yes I do inspect from the ridge only, and it is difficult to see properly from the ridge.

Krishnee:  How much?

Grand   : Rs. 154.

Krish    : So much! loan amount will grow now.

Grand   : Take less, the rest I will give you later, I will record of the extra amount. Whichever you like?

Krish    : Pay me Rs. 50 less.

Grand   : O.K., take it.

Krish    : I will give back Rs. 6 later.

Grand   : Not necessary, I keep it on record.

Krish    : Please check my loan account.

Grand   : Yes, please wait, let me note it down.

Krish    : Probabily it is Rs. 100 left. Earlier I feel it was Rs.150.

Grand   : Yes, your right.



Uncle   : I went to market on Friday, water was coming through canal. There is sufficient water in our canal. We have to use it and distribute properly in our fields. The canals of our fields are not closed properly.

Uncle   : There is shortage of water on the other site.

Kam     : No water in the well?

Father  : There is, but that is to be used for irrigation.

Grand   : Canal is also flowing.

Uncle   : Pump is to be operated for a week.

Kam     : One week ?

Father  : Yes, for  saving the crop.