Video | Food Sovereignty Gambhira on Agroecology

An educational documentary from Research Initiatives, Bangladesh and RLS South Asia

Gambhira on Agroecology

A grandfather and a grandchild converse with each other in a musical dramatic performance to narrate the ongoing agrarian crisis in Bangladesh. This is a popular traditional folk art form in Bangladesh called gambhira, which has been used by many cultural organizations to raise awareness. Gambhira on Agroecology explores issues such as the harmful effects of pesticides in agriculture, the benefits of ecology-based agriculture, and the need to form collectives. Resulting from long-term engagement with farmers in Bangladesh and their struggles to cope with the agrarian crisis, the film shows how a cultural form can be used to spread knowledge about sustainable agriculture among peasant communities as well as consumers.

Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) engages with farmers in different parts of Bangladesh through participatory action research to identify and promote suitable alternatives in agriculture. In their day-to-day work, the community researchers also explored popular folk-art forms as a means of popular education. The popularity of the folk art form and the cultural means to connect with the issues of the masses encouraged the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation to support the endeavour.

The lyrics evolved during conversations with farmers during participatory action research meetings, creatively translated into a script by Suraiya Begum with inputs from Md. Anwar Hossain and Md. Iftekhar Ali. Jamuna Theatre Group, a group of local artists, extended their support passionately to translate it into a full-fledged performance. Finally, Bangladesh Film Institute collaborated in the project to produce the documentary. In many senses, it was a participatory production.

Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) is a partner of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in South Asia. It is a premier institution of right to information and participatory action research in Bangladesh, and works on alternatives in agriculture with a focus on gender, youth, marginalized groups, and small-scale farmers.