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Mine - Story of a Sacred Mountain

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One of India's most remote tribes. A mountain they revere as a God, and a multinational mining company, with its sight set on the mountain's sacred stone. The stage is set for a bitter struggle against the backdrop of eastern India's dramatic landscapes. As the bulldozers draw closer, what will one tribe do to save their forest, their mountains, and their God? Mine - story of a sacred mountain There's a place where rich forest shrouds the hillsides. Where the summer's monsoon rains turn the streams into rivers. And the mountains are revered as Gods. These are India's Niyamgiri hills. Home to one of the subcontinent's most remote tribes. The Dongria Kondh. In the beginning, their mountain God created Niyamgiri as a homeland for the Dongria. And, they say, he's been watching over them ever since. Niyam Raja is our God and we worship Him. We worship the rocks, the hills, our houses and our villages. The mountain is our temple and our God. High on the hillsides, a family tends their garden. We grow millet, peas, beans... we grow everything. We get leaves, paeri fruit, bamboo, roots and our medicine plants from our mountain. Why are you not speaking? I'm doing all the talking! Dongri Kongh men spend much of their time in the forest, collecting a different kind of harvest. They're gathering juice from the forest's giant palm trees. The palm juice is mildly alcoholic. It gives the men the energy they need to keep walking through the dense forest for hours on end. I've traveled across all these mountains I could show you everything here. Palm juice from trees in the forest, which fills our stomachs and gives us strength. Bananas and sweet roots that give us our health. You must film them as well. But it's not the bananas, or the sweet roots which are now attracting outsiders. The mountains are rich in bauxite. The raw material for alluminium. And it's this that's brought London-based mining company, Vedanta Resources, here. It plans a vast, open-cast mine on the top of Niyangiri the Dongri Kongh's most sacred site. Lodooh is the leader of Lac Bodha a village that lies inside the area leased to Vedanta. He's taking survival researchers to the mine-site in the forest, above his village. They want to take these rocks from the mountain. These rocks are the reason our children can live here. Because of these, the rain comes. The winter comes, the wind blows, the mountain brings all the water. If they take away these rocks, we'll all die. We'll lose our soul. Niyamgiri is our soul. The company hopes that blasting the top of the mountain away will reveal 70 million tons of bauxite. Through the trees you can see Vedanta's aluminum refinery in neighboring Lanjigarh. These wide plains - far below Niyamgiri - are home to other, neigbouring tribes. And Lodooh sees their fate as a warning. You should go to Lanjigarh and find out how the refinery came to be there. Life is so hard there that old women and children are dying. Now that people there have realized what is happening, they are speaking out against it. Initially, they welcomed the company, but now they realize their mistake, because they live like dogs. Now they realize they've lost their land and their homes, forever. Vedanta has stolen everything from them. Go to Lanjigarh and see for yourself. Vedanta's refinery dominates the plains around Lanjigarh. Its toxic waste is dumped into enormous pools, and then seeps underground. You can even hear its hum from high in the Dongri Kongh's forests. But Lanjigarh wasn't always like this. We used to eat and drink well. We lived on fruits and vegetables from the forest, and the farming was good. Nowadays, nearly everything around Lanjigarh has the word Vedanta written on it. But even talking about the company is something that makes some people here nervous. The company came and told us... and told us to leave our land, and take money in exchange. Most people said "we'll not leave our village". But the company tried to force them out, and harassed them a lot. When people said they wouldn't leave, they came with bulldozers at night and demolished their homes. After losing our land to the company, I can't begin to describe what troubles we are going through. The site where the refinery is now, the sources of water were in abundance. But now the bauxite dust is mixing into the wells and the streams. We're in great trouble, nothing is right here. But alongside the pollution, and the reservoir, there's something remarkable. Resistance. Now they're trying to tell us that the company will do good things. But we say, "You don't have to take care of us." "We can take care of ourselves." "We'll lead our lives the way we know." Vedanta is trying to terrorize us. People here are extremely agitated now. They are ready to lay down their lives to protect Niyamgiri. Back in Niyamgiri the pressure is mounting. Roads are being bulldozed deep into the hills. We will not allow Vedanta to come here and, because we didn't know earlier, they were able to build the refinery in Lanjigarh. But now that we know about them, we won't allow them to come here at any cost. We don't need roads up to Niyamgiri. We don't have any vehicles to use this kind of road. And so the Donghrias have blocked the roads into their sacred hills. They're not waiting for their fate to be decided in a corporate boardroom. Vedanta does not have any right to touch our Niyamgiri mountain. Even if you cut our throats, even if you behead us, we are not going to allow this. We'll see how they are going to take over our mountains. Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters, did you hear everything? We need people from outside to stand with us, then we have to fight. Then we can survive. We can save our land. And we can be in charge of our territory. We won't give our forest to anybody, Even if you kill us, even if you hang us. We'll carry on living here peacefully. All us women will go to jail. How many people can they keep in jail? How long can the police keep us for? They will give me rice and meat, so I'll live in jail. I'm not going to leave my Niyam Raja until I die. It's not just about us, we need people like you to join our struggle. We have to drive Vedanta away from here. Where will us children go? How will we survive? No, we won't give up our mountain! We asked Vedanta Resources plc for their response to this film. We received no reply.

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 160
Posted by: innasub on Feb 22, 2010

What will one tribe have to do to save everything they know?
Mine, narrated by Joanna Lumley, tells the story of the remote Dongria Kondh tribe's struggle to protect Niyamgiri, the mountain they worship as a God. London-based mining company Vedanta Resources plans a vast open-pit bauxite mine in India's Niyamgiri hills, and the Dongria Kondh know that means the destruction of their forests, their way of life, and their mountain God.
Music by Skin and Robot Club.

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