As a veteran filmmaker from India residing in New York for a quarter-of-a-century, I experienced my first "cultural shock" that most foreign overseas social workers in India undergo.
A five weeks assignment with SFF/IRRAD as PR/Media and Fundraising Consultant, I visited some of the poorest of poor villages in Mewat district, Haryana State, and eye-witnessed the surge of "child marriages" in rural India. Following R & D My report that this violation is wide-spread across the country in both Hindu and Muslim families in the poorest of poor environments. No wonder the family planning campaigns since the mid-60s, 70s, 80s abd 90s failed, when over 70% of the population live in rural India, illiterate, poverty-stricked and starving (earning $1 to $5 a day) !
Produced a short 4 min. 4 sec. video clip titled: EMPOWERING RURAL INDIA's GIRL CHILD that can be seen on www.vimeo.com/12770343. Solutions to the problem will mean producing a dramatic Bollywood film with major movie stars like Sabana Azmi and Jaya Bachchan in roles of uneducated mothers and grandmothers who are the main people that permit "child marriages" as a matter of cultural traditions - involving religious implications. They are the ones that must be educated to change and transform through India's Bollywood films. It is the older conservative generation that is holding modern India at the roots ... refusing cultural changes towards the younger generations' progress ...