They remember so we don’t forget


Baradwaj Rangan, The Hindu, 13th September 2015

Abdul Khayer is an angry man, and to get to the root of his anger, we have to revisit the events of February 18, 1983. This is how he remembers the day: “I saw our people leaving their homes and running… I tied one of my sons to my back and held the other one… I ran… I was thirsty… I made my sons sit down… The older one walked towards the river and drank the murky water… Then they started to fire at us… I ran… An Assamese person struck my back with his sickle… The head of the son on my back was split into two… I still have the scars from that strike.” Khayer is one of the survivors of the Nellie massacre interviewed in the documentary What the Fields Remember, and throughout his narration, there’s no background music, nothing to heighten the moment. “What the survivors went through happened 32 years ago,” says the director Subasri Krishnan, “and with the passage of time, there is a certain resignation (among other things) to what has happened. The formal choices we made reflect that.” In other words, the anger is in Abdul Khayer, in his words, in the fact that he cannot sleep even today — but not in the film. “This is how he spoke — not calmly, but he didn’t break down either.”

Read the rest of the article here


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