SAMUDRA Report

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Issue No:63
  • :0973-1121
  • :November
  • :2012

The Sea Hold

The sea is large.
The sea hold on a leg of land in the Chesapeake hugs an early sunset
and a last morning star over the oyster beds and the late clam boats
of lonely men.
Five white houses on a half-mile strip of land … five white dice
rolled from a tube.

Not so long ago … the sea was large…
And today the sea has lost nothing … it keeps all.

I am a loon about the sea.
I make so many sea songs, I cry so many sea cries, I forget so many
sea songs and sea cries.

I am a loon about the sea.
So are five men I had a fish fry with once in a tar-paper shack
trembling in a sand storm.

The sea knows more about them than they know themselves.
They know only how the sea hugs and will not let go.

The sea is large.
The sea must know more than any of us.

­­—Carl Sandburg

Review / Film

Tug-of-War

Shifting Undercurrents, a 20-minute documentary directed by Rita Banerji and produced in 2012 by ICSF, reveals the problems of women seaweed harvesters


This review is by Aarthi Sridhar (aarthi77@gmail.com), a PhD student at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and a Trustee of Dakshin Foundation, Bangalore, India


In the genre of social-issue-based documentaries, Shifting Undercurrents, a 20-minute film, produced in 2012 by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), is a welcome addition, dealing with the little-known aspects of life on the margins of development and landscapes. The film seeks to sensitize viewers to the conditions of women seaweed harvesters in the coastal villages alongside the Gulf of Mannar National Park (GoMNP) in Ramanathapuram district of the south Indian State of Tamil Nadu.

The subject of the film is fascinating, dealing as it does with how the politics of livelihood and conservation shifts between the logic of marine and terrestrial landscapes. The subtext that I read into the film was even more intriguing—the challenges, freedoms and ingenuity that the underwater world extracted from the women seaweed extractors of the region. Despite poor underwater...

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