Ek dozen pani - Twelve stories on the passage of water in Mumbai and its relation with everyday lives - Films by Aakansha Sewa Sangh, Agaaz, Arts Collective CAMP and Nikhil Anand

This film traces the journey of how residents of Mumbai form relationships with water and its related infrastructure

As part of an investigation into the social life of water in areas in Mumbai, Ek Dozen Paani is a collaborative project between youth of two community organisations namely, Aakansha Sewa Sangh and Agaaz, Arts Collective CAMP and anthropologist Nikhil Anand and includes twelve short films. The films explore/think through questions of citizenship and distribution by looking at how residents of Mumbai form relationships with water and its infrastructures including official water supply, the rains, alternative plumbing, ground water, nallas, and so on.

Source: ekdozenpaani

The films are located in Mumbai, which witnesses the passage of water from rain to sea via lakes, watersheds, pipes, pumps, pots, human and animal bodies, drains and sewers. These hidden passages describe a unique social, chemical and political structure, and help to define, identify or map the people experiencing these passages of water in the context of the modern world.

The films trace the journey of water in Mumbai over the years with development and industrialisation, dwells on the development of cities and the growing problems of overcrowding, lack of resources, and traces the changing relationships between people and water over the years through situations of water scarcity leading to acute water shortages, water conflicts, changing experiences of people and their relationships with water in times of scarcity, the state of traditional water management systems such as wells and bavdis, challenges in water management, allocation and distribution of water in times of scarcity, corruption in water distribution and other events such as floods and heavy monsoons.

As the name of the film suggests, water has several narrative flows. The films have been made with the youth groups shooting on their own, bringing their footage into a collective pool, and writing over images in analytical, diarisitic or essay styles. These twelve stories speak of waters time and place, of leaky systems and subterranean flows, of struggle and/over imagination. For example,

1. Zindagi: This first film talks about the importance of water and the journey of water from the rivers and traces the flow of water from the rivers, hills and mountains to the cities

2. Prashna: The second film dwells on the importance and the need for water to sustain life

3. System: This film traces the source of water coming inside Mumbai from Shahapur district in Thane from the three rivers namely Tansa, Vaitarna and Bhatsa while at the same time informing that it is the farmers from Shahapur and the agriculture production that suffers because of water scarcity because of the diversion of this water to  at the Mumbai. The film thus guides us through the the content of the next fils, which shed light on not only the flow of water, but on the experiences of the people with water.

4.Chakravuyh: This film tells us the story of the wait for water in mumbai, the joy of seeing the flow of water after along wait, seeing the beauty of water through the camera and the message that water as a precious resource should not be wasted. The film  stories on people's stories on dealing with issues related to scarcity, and lack of availability of water, conflicts for water water, the everyday struggle for water and the realisation that all are caught in a complex maze of water from where there is no escape.

5. 26 July: This film describes the massive flooding and the experiences of people witht he floods of Mumbai in 2008

6. Yadeein: This film tells the story of water in Sanjay nagar, the story of a pond and a spring in the area. The film describes how the water from the pond gradually deteriorated and that of the spring, which still continues to flow, people use it for drinking water as well as for bathing.

7. Water bawdee: This film tells the story of two wells, one unused, another one used for washing clothes, bathing and of how when the corporation got public taps, the wells were not well maintained and used and the scarcity people had to face because of stoppage of water from taps and how some people reverted back to using one of the wells that still had water and the need to restore these traditional systems of water storage.

8. 4.30 pm: This film tells the story of the residents of Sanjay Nagar, the acute scarcity of water that people have to face, the long wait for tap water to come at 4:30 and the mad rush that all have for water and how the lives of all seem to be revolving around the incessant wait and scramble for water

9. Vichar: This film also tells of the story of residents in a chawl who share taps for water, after going though the hassle of getting water from long distances, after the water connection was cut after one of the residents did not pay bills, even buying water desperately at the rate of 10 paise for one pot. However, residents say that the flow and pressure of water have been decreasing, but it does come on time.

10. Mithi: This film describes the state of mithi river and how we have made rivers suffer by polluting them, inspite of the advantages that we get because of the rivers, which have been with us since the evolution of cultures nd development of human civilisations

11.Pyasa Premnagar: This film tells the story of Premnagar, which has been declared as an illegal settlement and people steal water by paying plumbers to get water connections for them as people say that this area has seen no development since the last fifty years. The water from borewells is not good, wells have been here since 50 years, but after the corporation gave water, the wells were ignored, and then gradually water became less, so a borewell was dug,  but was not enough. The residents demand for the need to recognise this settlement as legal and have water from the corporation else they would have to keep using illegal water or water from borewells.

12. Rishta: These videos trace the journey of water by highlighting the orgins and cultural significance that water has in our lives, right from the basic need to maintain life to origin of cultures and civilisations, the realtionships human beings have had with rivers, lakes, stream, mountains and nature and the important role that water has played in maintaining , producing, and sustaining life in all human activities.

The films can be accessed at this link

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