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

Living Memory subtitles

Ajay , this is my Birth Place.  I was born in this house.  My grand father gave this house to his brother’s son and built a new house there.  This is where my uncle lives.

G Mother:-   I sent my eldest daughter to Bhilai where my son-in-law was working.  They have got five children now.  My daughter married a close relative. 

Three brothers are living in another state.  Counting him there are 4 brothers. They have

all got plots of land here.  First we saw one plot over there.  Now this is my mother’s property and on this side my father’s.  This land belongs to my father’s middle brother, this is father’s and this is the youngest brother’s.

My grand father converted when he was about 30.  Then after that we converted too.  

We studied in convent school.  Since our family was big I let my brothers stay at school.  I studied only up to class 5.

I came to Bhilai at the end of 1949. Up to March 1961 I worked in the Steel Plant.

Then I was laid off.   After that I went to Chintapilli Selaru for the Andhra Pradesh Dam Project.  I was there for three months.  Later when my uncle and I heard that the Plant was going to give us our jobs back, we came to Bhilai.  But, started working in the Railway’s signal Department in Construction because the plant job was delayed then I remained in the Railways.

I got married on 13th Feb 1966.  There is an objection to people marrying close relations.  We had to try very hard to get permission from the Bishop. 

It is not good to marry such close relations because my mother’s blood and my mother’s brother’s blood is the same and another thing is that if we have marital problems

we can’t share them with any relatives because they may feel insulted as they are related to both sides.  But in one way it is good because even if my parents are not at home, and my wife is alone, I’d have no need to worry about the safety of the home. That is how people lived in those days and so did we.

I have got 6 children.  The eldest daughter got married to an employee of the Vishakpatnam steel plant.  The second daughter did film training and married a co-worker.  My eldest son is working in Raipur and is not yet married.  The youngest son is in  the 2nd year of B.com and is progressing in playing the tabla .  The youngest girl is studying in 10th class.  Along with her studies she is following our musical tradition.  I let my elder daughter do a degree.  People enjoyed her music.  The second girl also did a degree in music and the youngest son also did a degree in Tabla.

What are you doing Amma? Get lost.….

What are you doing Iesha ?

I am watching you

Where will you put this green vag?

Father I was looking for you.  

What is going on?

Can you teach the Catechism?

You want me to teach the Catechism?

Ok tell me.  Am I worthy to teach it?

Why not? yes, yes, certainly worthy.


How are you ?  we are fine.

What are you doing ? We are working, Cooking food.

Where is Auntie?  Your Auntie is there.

Is it dal? And are you preparing Rice? Call my Aunt.

Shobha, when did you come?

Yesterday. Come here….come here…

How is Amma ?

Brothers and sisters are alright ?

Yes, every one is ok.

Who did you make this swing for?

I bought this for your sister.

For sister ?  Not for me?

Yes for you too.

Now you are free.  My sister got married and now you are having a rest.

Yes I am passing my time by swinging and minding my crops. 

Come here.  Who is the food for?

For you.

For me, I am not hungry.

You eat a little bit.

Ok, come this side, not there, here.

Who made the food?

I made it.

You also sit down.

You eat I will swing you.

No, No….

Pushpavati means … In Andhra Pradesh when a girl reaches puberty  her family  organizes  a function.  It is to tell  people our daughter has become a young woman and is ready for marriage.  Even poor people  celebrate it.  For nine or eleven days they tell the girl to sit on her own and isolated from others.  Her father’s sister or her own sister, these two relatives make the girl sit seperatly,  dress her and put turmeric on her body.  Only these two relatives can do this for her.  These nine days they give her a special kind of food without chilly or anything non-veg. .  They invite all the relatives like grandmother, grand father & uncles.  They all give good presents.

If they are rich they give Gold, If poor they settle for clothes.  Now Ajay & I came here to see Uncle’s daughter and to bring her some gifts too.

If we marry some one who is not our cross cousin because it is good to increases

our circle of relations.   That is why I was decided to marry a girl who is not from our family.

Is it good or bad to marry  close relatives?

Marriage between close relatives is not good for  future generations.  Science tells us  that there is a genetic problem in marrying blood relations.  I can’t explain in depth. Not only in Andhra Pradesh but in many other states  people believe that if they marry a sister’s daughter they will be inhibited towards each other and will not be able to lead a happy life.  I also realized the same thing.  So I married a girl who isn’t  a blood relation.

Marriage between close relatives is not good.

Akka, What are you doing?

I am cleaning tamarind.  Tamarind?  No, my dear I mean about your Job. 

At present I am free.  When I was working in a private hospital, I used to do night duty and there was very busy work. Due to this my health was not good.  So I left the job and am trying for a government job.

We both were working in a health department that is why we thought our mutual understanding would be good.  So we got married. 

How many years ago did you get married?

It was 8 years ago.

You got married through Hindu rites.

Yes.  First we got married by Hindu rites because it was my husband’s wish and the elders also persuaded me.  So, I agreed to a Hindu marriage.

Where did you get married ?

I got married in our own home.

What about you? Do you want to clean this tamarind?

Yes, give it to me.

No, don’t  do it.  Just you listen to our discussion.

Then when did you have a church wedding?

Within a year my husband came to believe in Christ. Then he agreed to a church marriage.  On 1st of January in our village church we got married. 

We only give dispensation for special reasons. There is no rule but in recognition of a couple’s social and  cultural background we can get a dispensation to perform their marriages.

Whom does the church first prefer? A mother’s brother, mother’s brother’s son or father’s sister’s son ?

We tell people to stop marrying these relatives.  It is good not to marry blood  relatives.  We worn  them that it will cause hereditary problems for  future generations.   

 We explain to them but because of their circumstances in  the village they are not able to find some other marriage proposal.  So they marry blood relatives. 

What sweets are you cooking?

I am cooking food not sweets.  Your grand daughter and grand son came, so what are you cooking for us? 

Anything, I will cook whatever you want.

Go on uncle is calling you.

I did not like him because he is from a Hindu family and I was born in a catholic family.

But when I thought about my health, and that  he is working in the medical department as a Lab technician.  This was the only  reason.  Since my physical health was not good  I thought I would marry him and he would take proper care of me. 

Because my mother will be not with me forever.  I need a life partner,  I don’t mind. What cast he is.   I need a good husband, who can take care of me, love me.  There is a saying “Marriages are made in heaven”. 

It was God’s plan for me to have a Hindu Husband. 

My Husband loves me and cares  for me and within one and a half years of  our marriage, God blessed us with a baby. Her  name is Lohita Rani.  She gets a lot of love from us.  We alllive happily together with my father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

In fact ,I came to a Hindu family, but my husband’s brother was trained in the Christian religion and became a protestant preacher.  He serves God and preaches in the church. 

You are calling me young lady. Am I young?

Yes you are young.

My grand children  have children. Can I still be young?

Yes, why not ?

They all got married young.  

So. You are still young.

Look, look how she is teasing me.

What you say is alright.

In our village we can marry our mother’s

brother and mother’s brother’s son.  Whom should you prefer and who should get first preference?

How can it be?

Tell me here both relations are going on .

Suppose one sister is married to her mother’s brother and the  next sister is married to mother’s eldest brother’s son,

Society will not accept this kind of relationship.

If you marry your mother’s youngest brother, then what is the relationship with your mother’s elder brother’s son?

The relationship is that  he is my “Son”.  So, how he is suitable for your youngest sister?

Among these two relatives, tell me which is the correct one?

The first preference should be for your mother’s brother..  He has a right to marry you but catholic priests does not permit that.

But we have this kind of marriage all the same.  

You are supporting  your son. 

I am not supporting him but here it is a tradition.  But priests don’t permit it.

May be in your state priests allow such marriages.

When my youngest daughter married  to a Hindu the church stopped giving me communion.

But in your state the priest accepted your marriage.

In what sense?

He accepted a Hindu marriage. 

No, My marriage was not blessed by Hindu rites.

We only exchanged garlands. 

I want a camera, tripod and tapes for shooting.

Which one? It is there.