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India's Nuclear Ambitions:
Who Pays the Price?


Featuring a Film Screening of
Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda (1999)

Followed by a discussion with
Shriprakash
(director of the film)
Ghanshyam Birulee and Dumka Murmu  - grassroots organizers with
JOAR(Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation) 


Thursday Dec 7, 7pm
Building 200, Room 219
Stanford University (map)
flyer (html, pdf)
Friday Dec 8, 4pm
20 Barrows Hall
UC Berkeley [map]
flyer
Sunday Dec 10, 4pm
Resource Center for Nonviolence
515 Broadway, Santa Cruz [map]
flyer

The events are free and open to all.

Jadugoda Protest Actions Buddha Weeps
Details of Events Background The Movement The Film The Filmmaker

DETAILS OF EVENTS

STANFORD - Thursday  Dec 7, 7pm
 
Building 200, Room 219
History Corner
[map]

See flyer (html, pdf)

The event is presented by Center for South Asia, Stanford University, in association with
Sanskriti (Stanford's South Asian Undergraduate Organization),  Friends of South Asia, and Association for India's Development (Bay Area Chapter). Endorsing organizations include Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Palo Alto.

Event contact: lionda[at]stanford.edu

BERKELEY - Friday Dec 8, 4pm
20 Barrows Hall
UC Berkeley [map]

See flyer

The event is presented by The Energy and Resources Group, and The Center for South Asian Studies. For more information, contact: Dannette Lambert -  dlambert_420[at]yahoo.com, or 510.717.4470.


SANTA CRUZ - Sunday Dec 10, 4pm
Resource Center for Nonviolence
515 Broadway, Santa Cruz [map]

See flyer

The event is presented by Resource Center for NonViolence and Friends of South Asia. Tax-deductible contributions to support the work of JOAR (Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation) will be welcomed at the event. For more information, call 831.325.7065 or 831.423.1626.

BACKGROUND

The past decade saw India's emergence as a "nuclear power" when it tested nuclear weapons and refused to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty.  Earlier this year, India signed a nuclear deal with the US that expands its ability to produce and trade in nuclear energy.  Nuclear power is being increasingly touted as a panacea for the exponentially rising demands for energy in India.

However, nuclear energy in India comes at a colossal human cost. Jadugoda, a tribal town located in the mineral-rich East Singhbum District of Jharkhand State, is the only source for Uranium in India, and it has paid a heavy price for it. I
n this case, those paying the price are adivasis (indigenous people) who themselves are forced to live in a dark world without electricity. Due to the proximity of the mine, a large number of villagers suffer from cancer, skin diseases, physical deformities, blindness, brain damage, disruption of menstrual cycle or loss of fertility. Compounding the problem is the fact that villagers, evicted from their lands, work as miners and are exposed to a heavy dose of radiation. Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), responsible for operating the mine denies the allegations and refuses to acknowledge the problems - rather, it has been pushing to open new mines in Jadugoda and in other parts of the country.


JOAR ( Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation)

The native people of Jadugoda have long been resisting the occupation and devastation of their land, their livelihoods, and their health, by uranium mining. They have organized themselves as JOAR--the Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation. JOAR represents the people of Jadugoda in their efforts to
  • Demand better safety measures against radiation
  • Demand better safeguards for miners
  • Demand protection of their environment and the lives of the indigenous people
  • Oppose the construction of new uranium mining projects including planned open-cast uranium mines
The event will feature Ghanshyam Birulee and Dumka Murmu, who are members of the indigenous community in Jadugoda and President and Secretary of JOAR respectively. They are currently visiting the United States in order to participate in the Indigenous World Uranium Summit, being held at Window Rock, Arizona (Nov 30 to Dec 2).


ABOUT THE FILM - "Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda"

Jadugoda Protest Actions[55 min. Shriprakash, 1999] This is a documentary film on uranium mining and its deadly impacts on the tribal people living near the Jadugoda mine, mill and tailings dam. Unsafe mining, milling and tailings management by UCIL in this area for almost 30 years have resulted in excessive radiation, contamination of water, land and air, destruction of the local ecology, and have led to genetic mutation and slow death for the people of the region. The film attempts to depict the gross misuse of power by the authorities in displacing the original inhabitants of the region, the utter lack of concern for internationally accepted norms and safety precautions in the handling of uranium and its by-products, and their callousness of its disastrous impact on the people and the region. 

The title of the film is a poignant twist on the term "Operation Buddha Smiling", which was the codename for the first nuclear tests conducted by India in 1974. When the tests were successfully concluded, the information was secretly conveyed to the then Prime Minister as "The Buddha has finally smiled".

The film was selected
best film at the EARTH VISION - The Tokyo Global Environmental Film Festival 2000 and third best film at the Film South Asia 1999 festival in Kathmandu.


ABOUT THE FILMMAKER (Shriprakash)

Shriprakash picture Indian filmmaker Shriprakash has produced many prominent documentary films depicting the social ramifications of development. Among them are Kiski Raksha, 1994 (In Whose Defense) about the struggles of tribals against the Netarhat Field Firing range,  Addo Miyad Ulgulan, 1995 (Another Revolt) about the ongoing struggle against the Koel Karo dam, and Buru Sengal, 2002 (The Fire Within), about the devastation that coal mining brings to a tribal community.His films have been screened at national and international film festivals.

Ironically, while his films have been broadcast in various international TV channels and film festivals to much critical acclaim, the television networks in his home state refuse to air them because they view his films as being "too controversial".


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