Agriculture, Bangladesh, Social-Ecological Transformation
Gambhira on Ecological Agriculture
Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) and Bangladesh Film Institute (BFI), with the support of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, present Gambhira on Agroecology. Gambhira is a popular folk tradition in Bangladesh which is musical and full of rhythm. It is essentially a dialogue between two persons (a grandfather and his grandchild), who discuss a topic to raise social awareness. This documentary explores issues such as the harmful effects of pesticides in agriculture, the benefits of ecology-based agriculture, and the need to form collectives. The documentary tries to spread further understanding of sustainable agriculture among peasant communities and consumers.
RIB has been working for a long time to promote alternatives in agriculture in Bangladesh. Action-oriented work has been conducted in three districts of Bangladesh – Bogura, Nilphamari and Sathkhira – where farmers discuss various methods of implementing agroecology through Participatory Action Research (PAR) groups. As part of efforts to raise awareness of sustainable agriculture, Gambhira was explored locally to sensitise and educate people.
The documentary is an outcome of a long-term engagement with the farmers in Bangladesh and their struggles to cope with the present agrarian crisis.
Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) has been engaging with farmers in different parts of Bangladesh through participatory action research to identify and promote suitable alternatives in agriculture. In due process, the researchers of RIB also explored popular folk-art forms like Gambhira to connect with men and women.
The lyrics were prepared by Suraiya Begum, with inputs from Md. Anwar Hossain and Md. Iftekhar Ali. Jamuna Theatre Group extended their support passionately to translate it into a full-fledged performance. In many senses, it was a participatory production. Previous performances of this gambhira on different occasions have received a lot of appreciation.
The popularity of the art form and the cultural means to connect with the issues of the masses encouraged RLS to provide its support in this endeavor. Finally, the team of Bangladesh Film Insititute (BFI) under the direction of Sandip Kumar Mistry made this research-based documentary a reality.