DALIT NATION is a transmedia campaign bringing together scholars, artists, and activists with one goal: Eradicate Caste. It came out of the work of filmmakers Thenmozhi Soundararajan and Sati Kaur’s current production: Touchable: The Journey from Untouchable to Dalit. This blog will have updates on the production of the film, as well as feature current writing about the intersection with caste and other transnational issues.
DALIT NATION takes its name from the self-determined name Dalit’s use instead of the term Untouchable. It means broken people, broken under caste but still determined to survive. In that way DALIT NATION is also about connecting people who feel like injustice is a result of a crisis of imagination rather than an immoveable reality so that anyone who has been moved to create a better world is also a Dalit in the sense at they will not be crushed by any system of oppression.
Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a transmedia science fiction storyteller. Growing up as a Tamil Dalit she was driven to tell the stories of marginalized communities. This led to her founding an international media training organization called Third World Majority (TWM). Through TWM she worked in the U.S, France, Tunisia, Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, and India. She was also featured in 2003 in both Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 visionaries under 30 and in Source Magazine as one of the top ten political forces in hip hop. Further, she was in residence at the MIT Center for Reflective Community Practice writing about storytelling, diversity, and future technology. This research inspired her transition to become a 3d director and rock roll musican. As a singer/director she fuses epic stories with complex visuals and melodies. Her films often explore interactivity, stereoscopic imagery, projections, and use science fiction to examine societal issues. While her music blends Indian, punk, rock, and RNB vocal stylings with thoughtful lyrics that draw from diverse themes including science, mathematics, esoteric mysticism, mythology, love, darkness, and hope. Her work in the field has been recognized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, NEH Institute for Digital Humanities, Annenberg Innovation Center, U.S. Social Forum, Alliance for Community Media, Grantmakers for Film and Electronic Media, Producers Guild of America’s Diversity Program, Slamdance, Sebastapol Film Festival, Chicago International Children’s Festival, La 3d Move Festival, Indian film Festival of Los Angeles and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
As a US Army veteran with a background in Journalism, Satinder Kaur brings a unique international perspective to film. Upon returning from her tour in Baghdad, she was inspired to produce the award winning documentary Where Life Is, which profiles three severely injured Iraqi veterans pursuing sport as a means of rehabilitation and readjustment to civilian life. An MFA graduate from University of Southern California’s world renowned film production program, she is a winner of the prestigious Bridges Award for Excellence in Directing. She is also a recipient of Western Washington University’s Multicultural Award for her work in the South Asian community in Bellingham. Recently, she produced a documentary about LGBT rights with focus on marriage equality. The film is unique in its approach to the issue. Her team walked across the country, from Los Angeles to Boston over a course of seven months holding community forums along the way to open a dialogue about the issue. As a woman and a native of Punjab, she has a personal investment in stories about marginalized communities both in India and America. Her fiction and non-fiction work gives a voice to those who are on the outskirts of society.