Dr Jane Dyson, who will begin a two-year Junior Research Fellowship at Somerville later this year, has co-directed a new short film about life in a village in the Indian Himalayas.
The social geographer first visited the village, which lies in a region known as ‘Land of the Gods’ for its beauty and altitude (at 2,500 metres) in 2003; the film shows how radically life has since changed, as the village now has a telecommunications tower, (irregular) electricity supply and a passable road. Many villagers now use mobile phones and education, limited to primary level just five years ago, now extends through to secondary level too.
The village lies in Chamoli district, close to the border with Tibet. Dr Dyson conducted her doctoral research in the district and is planning a longer documentary in the future. The film’s launch was featured on the university news website.
Jane’s current work focuses on the social and political activity of young, educated, unemployed people in northern India as part of a wider project comparing experiences in northern India with Nepal and Sri Lanka. The emerging picture from Jane’s work shows positive and negative aspects – there are instances of young people running tutorials for local children, protesting about poor government services and launching anti-corruption demonstrations but there are also examples of people working as contractors embezzling money ear-marked by the government for the poor.
The film can be viewed at http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/arts-blog/film-explores-huge-social-shifts-indian-himalayas