The prohibition of manual scavenging is true on paper but on our streets, the evil still persists, and the society couldn’t care less. The inhuman practice, which stems out of another anti-human entity — caste discrimination — has killed many socially backward people across the country. Though the protest for the annihilation of the practice and the call for new technology has been going on for years, the progress has been close to negligible. However, now many actors and directors from kollywood have joined to fight the good fight. Videos of Sathyaraj, Vivekh, Karu Palaniyappan, Vetrimaaran, and Ram are some of the celebs voicing their staunch opinions against the heinous practice have garnered the attention of the masses on social media.
The videos were the result of the initiative taken by Jai Bhim Mandram, an organisation which fights for social equality, and Kabali director Pa Ranjith’s production house Neelam. Speaking to DC, Ranjith and Saravanan of Jai Bhim Mandram, talk about the initiative and the social responsibilities of arts and artistes.
Talking about shouldering such an initiative, Ranjith says, “I have always wanted to take political issues to masses through arts and culture. That’s the reason my films and the documentaries I have produced have social justice at their core.”
When asked what the role of artistes and art is in social reform, he says, “In my opinion, art is one of the most powerful instruments in steering the society towards the right path. The masses look up to the actors, and when an actor talks about such social problems, it will at least make people give a thought about the issues. This is majorly necessary to bring about awareness.”
Saravanan, the coordinator of Jai Bhim Mandram, says the response to the initiative has been commendable so far —”More than one lakh people have seen the videos so far. Jai Bhim Mandram has also garnered good followers in a matter of a week. As a next step in the campaign, we are staging a play called Manjal, which will deliver a strong message to the people.”
Saravanan also says all the actors were more willing to contribute to this movement —”Be it Sathyaraj sir or Vivek, all the actors we got in touch with were very forthcoming in contributing to this project. They genuinely want to end these crimes.”
Filmmaker Karu Palaniyappan, one of the celebs who have joined the initiative, says, “Like engineers, doctors, and other professional people, actors have spoken out against this. There is no need to isolate actors alone; they are also like everyone with social concerns.”...