The Impact of Government Dam Projects on Villagers in India and the Loss of Cultural Identity

Category: Death
Last Updated: 02 Apr 2023
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Ivana Aleksich November 1, 2012 Film Review: “Drowned Out” The way this documentary was filmed shows the people who contributed to the film to living and working alongside the villagers and I found this helped capture the candid interviews and the honest and realistic impact of the way villagers of living in India due to the government dam project. Not only do people have to make a choice of whether they Move to the slums in the city, accept a place at a resettlement site or stay at home and drown. This place is not just a piece of land where they live but it is their home, their identity.

This reminds me personally of my connection with Serbia. My family has to leave their homeland because of war and invasion. My family did not see this as moving to a better place, but saw it as their homeland being destroyed. Who they are as people dead in a place that no longer exists like it once had. This is how I see the people in the villagers, they are being forced to say goodbye to a certain part of them, their family, and ancestors forever. In the student presentation relating to the world bank and dams refers to something very important to villagers. Non-material things are what are important to the villagers.

After the dam is built, I will drown out the cultural traditions of the villagers, create development of affected communities in isolation, and cultural shift, new lifestyles and attitudes. The documentary follows the villagers of Jalsindhi. This village is in Madhya Pradesh on the banks of the Narmada River about ten miles upstream from the Sardar Sarovar project. The 76 villages struggle through a battle against the dam. The lead character is Luharia Sonkaria, who is the village’s medicine man, a role that was his father’s and grandfather’s before him. The government provides them no viable alternatives.

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The government offers unusable land a hundred miles away or a small sum of money in compensation for their river-side land. The film documents hunger strikes, rallies, and a six year Supreme Court case, and finally follows the villagers as the dam fills and the river starts to rise. The documentary features Arundhati Roy, who has been an outspoken activist bringing international attention to the controversy. Government aims to provide electricity, irrigation and drinking water to tens of millions of people. Government is confident in this claim. The government has a completely difference views of the impact of the dam.

They believe the dam will help the people and make them happy. But the government has nothing to lose from this dam project because the people in government do not live in the area that the dam is supposed to floor. The villagers have everything to lose and millions of them did. This brings up the struggle between the rich and the poor/the powerful and the less powerful. The big question that is stated in this documentary is, “For whom is this development for? ” The government tries to convince the villagers that this is for them and their benefit, but in reality the villagers are not being taken into account for this dam project.

This dam development is solely for the purpose the one thing that is universally valued: money and the power of government. Villagers and poor people are not at level in society where they can rely on money and power. They believe in things that the government and money could never find important. Villagers value their traditions and their old lifestyle. The government and the world bank is working to become more modern and to gain more money. For this reason alone, the government is aware of what will happen to the villagers but the government could not understand how hard this project will hurt the villagers and their lives.

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The Impact of Government Dam Projects on Villagers in India and the Loss of Cultural Identity. (2017, Jul 12). Retrieved from

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