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Moving Upstream: Journey along a river, by walk

December 7, 2021

Siddharth Agarwal journeyed a total of 3000 kms along the Ganga river from West Bengal towards the source in the state of Uttarakhand. He narrates his observations and interactions in his documentary, Moving Upstream: Ganga, see trailer on youtube. The movie awaits release on an OTT platform and was recently screened to an audience in Mumbai, hosted by Hallu Hallu, a group that also facilitates heritage walks and river walks.

The film is educative on many fronts: historical, scientific i.e. geological and ecological, socio-economic and cultural. It has consciously chosen to step aside religious perspective on the subject of Ganga river, though a few narratives have spiritual tones. Akin to an another documentary debunking the myths of large dams, Damocracy, Siddharth has brought out voices of people who have been severely affected by barrages and dams along the river. These projects have wiped out hundreds of villages, dislocated a large number of villagers and diminished fishing and other means of livelihood of the people dependent on the river. Choice of walking over hopping in vehicles allowed Sid to connect closely with the people along his trail.

Though it claims to be part-investigatory in nature, the documentary skips any explanations from the people in the authority of the construction projects that are affecting the river and its sides. The narratives by the affected population interviewed in the film range in spectrum from ‘resigned to fate’ to ‘courageous rehabilitation and rebuilding life’. Lack of social justice among citizens lacking social capital, is amply reflected in the movie. The movie inspires you to take a walk along rivers the source of water-and-therefore-life for us.

(in photo) sharing an on-water memory with (R-L) Siddharth Agarwal and Shridhar Sudhir, me, Anil.

For more reading on Siddharth’s continued work, read about their initiative Veditum and the film’s webpage.

For my personal experiences in connecting ourselves with the water bodies, checkout my page

(end of blogpost)

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One Comment
  1. Newton permalink

    Thanks Deepak. People in power doesn’t consider taking views of commoners. Seems to me that its a culture in India at least.

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