Screening and discussion on rivers by Minket Lepcha
Screening on river Teesta documentary titled Voices of Teesta
Synopsis of the Film
Before the formation of this holy Rongnue (Teesta) from the bottom of Kongchen (Khanchendzonga),
We used to narrate the parentage of River Rongnue,
Water of the river Teesta we use to offer during the ritual,
If this water dries up, there will be a drought,
Rongnue is a holy water, it is a god of water..Achulay, we narrate as a song,
Rongnue is the god of water”
With hydro energy being one of the convenient and available energy source for the development of any given State, the film tries to understand the relationship between various groups and communities of Sikkim and West Bengal with River Teesta. This film tries to trace the faint and unheard voices of local people who are affected by these developments. It travels from the source of River Teesta till the tip of the plains of North Bengal, traverses through mini and mega hydel projects to capture these naked voices and their bond, angst, adaptation and reconciliation with River Teesta. The story particularly revolves around the unique practice and beliefs of mountain communities and they express their significance of the river through their folklore, sacred ritual and scriptures. Communities from downstream struggle to balance their faith and religion with such developments and others confess the helpless need of sustaining and adapting to the changing economic patterns and surmounting unemployment. The film eventually ends with a question if Teesta will ever speak for herself.
About the filmmaker
Minket Lepcha is born and brought up in Darjeeling. She has been working on various projects like documenting stories and folklore based on ethnic communities like Lepcha, Bhutia, Tamang, Magar and others in and around Darjeeling and Sikkim. Along with Acoustic Traditional, an NGO based on documenting folklore and stories, she initiated exhibition and awareness programme based on the Relevance of Oral Stories in a new Millennium in Gangtok, Darjeeling and New Delhi. Prior to that she spent 13 years of her life in Delhi, studying and working in advertising firms like Ogilvy and Mather. In Darjeeling she has been actively promoting local art and culture through an outlet called Life&Leaf. Currently, she is a school teacher in Darjeeling. She is also a freelance filmmaker and loves to collect stories and share with the children. Her effort has been to create environmental changes at a grass root level and has been an ardent supporter of Affected Citizens of Teesta Movement. She also believes there is wisdom in oral traditions of various communities around the world.