• November 23, 2015

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Gender & Governmentality

The Durga Puja, a religious festival, is a joyful event. However, while the goddess is celebrated many Indian women live another reality, much less revered.

“I dreamed of a handsome and tall husband, who would make me happy. One who was intelligent, well-behaved, who listens to his parents. Who loves people, and who is loved by people. But dreams never come true,” says Durga, married off against her will at age 14 to a man tens of years her senior. Her intimate secrets tell a tale of tradition stronger than the law.

Child brides are officially forbidden in India, but it remains the place where more girls are married off before reaching eighteen than anywhere else in the world. Most come from the most impoverished village areas and are condemned to staying in an unwanted marriages because of illiteracy, isolation from their families and total dependency of their husbands. UNICEF reports that girls aged 10-14 are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than 20-year-olds, with about 50,000 succumbing in this manner each year.

One of the most effective ways of preventing such marriages is to assure girls access to education. International humanitarian organizations are helping in this regard, and one has helped Durga continue studying, allowing a sliver of hope into her difficult life.

This haunting visual poem examines the contradiction between the spiritual worship of femininity and the brutality of domestic violence.

Paramita Nath

Paramita Nath is an independent documentary maker based in Toronto and New York. She works in both traditional and emerging platforms, experimenting with new approaches to storytelling. In 2012 she founded Chitra Film & Media Inc to support her creative vision.

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Source URL — https://roarmag.org/films/paramita-nath-durga-film/

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Magazine — Issue 11