Aftershocks - Rough Guide to Democracy

Rakesh Sharma
1 hour and 4 minutes


Aftershocks is a documentary film about the transformation of the welfare state into an instrument of corporate governance.

It examines the acquisition/displacement of two quake affected villages for lignite mining and generation of electricity. It probes the microcosm in the nature of a study "from below" of globalisation of the economy and the corporatisation of democracy. In a world being increasingly shaped by the corporate-nation state and its hydra-heads (WTO/ IMF/World Bank/ADB), the "marginal" citizen is in danger of becoming totally "irrelevant". His voice has no space in mainstream newspapers and television, which is dominated by millionaire-maker shows, reality TV voyeurism, revenue-driven newscasts and sterilized fiction. These "marginal" voices and their universes fascinate me, as my own universe is inextricably intertwined with it.

Aftershocks is a film that happened almost by accident. While working as a relief volunteer in the earthquake-affected zone, I stumbled across the story. It horrified me enough to overcome my own reluctance about being a part of "disaster tourism". To many, it seemed like a non-story from the very beginning - 2 tiny villages destroyed by the quake versus a government controlled corporate giant (GMDC - the mining company) out to profit from the quake. Not a single adverse report appeared in TV or print till press previews for Aftershocks were held. Even then, the financial dailies and television news channels blacked out the story completely. Aftershocks is a journey through the labyrinthine universe of democracy, as it exists in its lowest unit level - the Indian village.

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