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Anjali Jayakumar, Omkar Khandagale & Aditya Thakkar

The Sugarcane Industry in Maharashtra is a highly lucrative and profitable business. However, a large portion of this business is built upon the labour of migrants who work under highly exploitative conditions. Between the droughts that force them to migrate in search of employment and survival, and the harsh working conditions at the plantations, sugarcane cutters have found themselves in a self-consuming spiral that has lasted generations. Facing neglect from the Government and the factory owners, these labourers are left to their own devices in order to survive on a day to day basis. Through Droughtlands, we aim to capture the lived experiences of the sugarcane harvesting labourers while at home during the monsoons, the only time of year they’re able to cultivate the lands they own, through conversations. At the same time, we will try to understand how this cycle perpetuates through the system in place

Anjali Jayakumar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the UK Biochar Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. A filmmaking graduate from Whistling Woods International, a Mumbai-based film school, Omkar Khandagale grew up in a family from the OBC (Other Backward Caste) Community, hearing stories of family members facing caste discrimination, and taking part in workers protests. Over time, he has developed a penchant to work with narratives that help lend a voice to the voiceless. 

Omkar Khandagale continues to be actively involved in social and caste-based issues, and plans to inculcate them in his storytelling.

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