We started Dalit Camera in 2011 with an ordinary still camera with a rudimentary video recording facility. Now with kindred support from various quarters we own four cameras, working in two states, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. One could describe Dalit Camera (DC) as a team of volunteers. We take videos of protest, public meeting, discussion, talks and upload it on the Internet. Expenses are usually met for by voluntary contribution.
DC is a YouTube Channel, through which we document perspectives on/voices of Dalits, Adivasis, Bahujans and Minorities (DABM). The first incident covered by DC was on the desecration of an Ambedkar statue in Hyderabad. Though we did upload a few sporadic videos earlier, this was the first time that we started taking the perspectives of different voices on an issue. This was primarily because we were fed up with mainstream English channels that were outdoing each other in accusing DABM people. As a response and a counter-view to the cartelised-hegemony of the English news channels, we started documenting different views from Dalit communities activists, students, intellectuals etc.
Another issue we dealt with at length and which would earn us some visibility at the time was on the Osmania University beef issue. Our position found resonances in many campuses across India like the English and Foreign Languages University, Osmania University, Hyderabad Central University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University, where Dalit-Bahujan and Minority students mobilized in large numbers and strength to conduct beef festivals (as a struggle towards basic food rights) in their respective campuses.
The next issue we took up was on the Ambedkar Cartoon controversy. This was soon followed by a critical discussion on Hindu religious festivilas, Onam. The videos taken by DC in this regard played a vital role in examining the history of Onam from different DABM perspectives and several campuses across India to revisit the way Onam was being celebrated and a hegemonically ‘neutral’ but violent Kerala identity was being constructed through that. Recently one of our videos on Dr. Satyanarayana’s perspectives on Prof. Ashish Nandy (Is Prof. Ashis Nandy a Sacred Cow ?) was re-telecast by NDTV. It should be remembered that, although we were blighted by limited resources, some of our videos were transcribed, printed and the issues taken up by popular Manuvadi media like Business Standard, Kafila, NDTV, The Sunday Guardian, Reporter TV and Prajavani.
We were the winner of Dr. Ambedkar International Award issued by FFEI, USA for the year 2013. We welcome individuals interested in contributing videos to our channel. We also seek whatever financial contribution friends and supporters would like to make to our organization.
Jai Bhim !!
- Ravichandran Bathran, Founder
- …and volunteers!