Angst at Large

By Shankar Barua
60 minutes

Angst at Large, a political documentary, seeks to examine and explore the current chaos in North East India with special reference to Assam. Ravaged by floods every year, Assam for the last two decades in now in the throes of an uncanny kind of crisis. New battle lines are being drawn with an alarming ease and Communities are pitted against each other. Preferences and affiliations are being redefined everyday and average citizen can only experience fear. A working democracy seems to be operating on the surface but a vast majority continues to be mute spectators with drama rife with blood and gore. As rebels fight fro a free Assam, the Indian military has to work overtime to bring them back to the mainstream. The film lets people talk for themselves and seeks a journey to the heart of a region so less known to the outside world.

Amir: An Afghan Refugee Musician’s Life in Peshawar, Pakistan

By John Baily
52 min., 1985

Between 1973 and 1977 John Baily carried out extensive ethnomusicological fieldwork on the urban music of Afghanistan, particularly in the western city of Herat. In 1985, he traveled to Peshawar to film Afghan refugees who were musicians and again met his old friend Amir Mohammad, from Herat. The film portrays aspects of Amir’s life as a refugee – his living conditions in Peshawar and his longing to return to Herat. It is also about Amir’s life as a professional musician and his relationships with other musicians in Peshawar. Musical performances include resistance songs at a Pakistani wedding.

Altar of Fire

By J. Frits Staal
45 min., 1976

This film records a 12-day ritual performed by Nambudiri Brahmins in Kerala, southwest India, in April 1975. This event was possibly the last performance of the Agnicayana, a Vedic ritual of sacrifice dating back 3,000 years and probably the oldest surviving ritual of mankind. Long considered extinct and never witnessed by outsiders, the ceremonies require the participation of seventeen priests, involve libations of Soma juice and oblations of other substances, and are preceded by several months of preparation and rehearsals. They include the construction from a thousand bricks of a fire altar in the shape of a bird.

After Shock

By Rakesh Sharma
65 min., (NTSC)

Aftershocks: the Rough Guide to Democracy
In a globalised world the economic interests of giant corporate companies come ever more in conflict with the basic needs of the common man. Here the lowest level of the Indian democracy, the Indian village, comes in the way of commercial development in the new world economy. Aftershock is a touching documentary from the Kutch (Gujarat, India) area, devastated by earthquake on January 26, 2001. Over twenty thousand people died and even more homes were destroyed. But this documentary is neither about the earthquake nor about brave relief volunteers. The director worked as a volunteer in the villages of Julrai and Umarsar. By accident he stumbles upon a delegation from the government-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation while they are forcing people from their homes. The company officials see this earthquake as a god-given opportunity to acquire this land for their own benefit. People are being chased from their land without the rest of the worlds noticing. Not a single story of these events reached television or newspapers in India. The only report exists in the form a relief volunteers documentary, using a DV cam – digital video camera.

The director Rakesh Sharma has worked extensively in film and television since 1985. He works as a consultant for broadcasting channels in the areas of programming, on-air presentation and live television.

Afghanistan (Exploring the Taliban Revolution)

Produced by Films for Humanities and Sciences
24 min., VHS

In Afghanistan, the Taliban—militant Sunni fundamentalists schooled in Pakistan—have taken over almost all of the country. Will their jihad spread to the Sunni minority of Iran, igniting a rebellion against that country’s Shiite government? Or will Iran strike first, through the Shiite minority living in Afghanistan? This compelling report, filmed by the first crew to enter Afghanistan after America’s anti-terrorist air strikes in 1998, takes a firsthand look at both the results and the implications of the escalating tensions between Afghanistan and its neighbors.

Afghan Nomads: The Maldar

by David Hancock and Herbert DiGioia
21 min., 1974

At dawn a nomad caravan descends on Aq Kupruk from the foothills of the Hindu Kush. In their camp, and in commerce with the townspeople, the Maldar reveal the mixture of faith and distrust that has kept nomads and sedentary people separate and interdependent over the centuries. The theme of the film focuses on political and religious beliefs. The film and accompaning instructor notes in this series embrace five different and complex units of analysis concerning how political change occurs; individual attitudes, ethnic identity, national loyalties, institutional affiliations, and ideological beliefs.

A Woman’s Place

1-hour documentary
Writer: Paromita Vohra
Editors: Maria Nicolo & Talat Shah

A Woman’s Place is a national production of Maryland Public Television.

We bet you wouldn’t think that there would be similarities in the fight for equality in South Africa, India, and the Midwest in our own United States. Maryland Public Television’s program and companion Web site, A Woman’s Place profiles women from three different countries who are fighting for balance and equality in today’s world. The central question that the documentary explores is “Can new laws change old way?” The companion Web site provides an extensive, 36-page Educational Guide for the film and beyond.

A WOMAN’S PLACE Project is an international collaborative of women working through media and education to address issues of gender equity and contribute to the process of social change. The Project evolved from an international documentary series on issues of gender and power and now encompasses international outreach and education efforts as well as media education projects with women.

A Tribe of his Own: The Jounalism of P. Sainath

50 minutes- Grades: 10 – Adult
Produced by Moulins Media
Directed by Joe Moulins

At a time when government propaganda and corporate spin are increasing presented as fact, and a handful of corporations control the news, A Tribe of His Own reminds us what the news media can be. Believing that responsible journalism can help to change things for the better, Palagummi Sainath wrote a series of 70 articles for The Times of India, detailing the living conditions in the ten poorest districts of the country. After nearly a decade of work and dozens of awards, Sainath remains as passionately committed as ever. A Tribe of His Own follows Sainath to the Indian villages he writes about, exploring this contention that “journalism is for the people, not shareholders.”

Indus Valley Civilization Teacher Workshop

arts and crafts students working with middle school students

Back in March, the Center for South Asia invited middle and high school teachers to participate in a one-day workshop that introduced new perspectives on the Indus Civilization, the first civilization in India and Pakistan. Participating teachers were able to incorporate their new knowledge in creating k-12 curriculum for their students. High school teacher Lynn Zetzman created a lesson plan in which her students team-taught middle schoolers about the process of making clay toys in the Indus Valley. Her lesson plan is available on our lesson plans page. 

For more information about the workshop, visit the teacher workshop page.


GEEO 2015 Spring Break Trip to India

Group at Taj Mahal

In March 2015 GEEO and The Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin – Madison collaborated on a program designed to introduce Wisconsin teachers to three very different northern cities and the colorful rural life of Rajasthan. The group toured Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur with a local guide arranged by GEEO and an academic representative from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who helped the teachers process the experience for their classrooms.