Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The inspiration behind Annalemma's India theme

Chris Heavenerfounder and editor of Annalemma Magazine tells Out of Print what his inspiration was for the India issue.   

I had the opportunity to go on a research trip to India with my brother, a documentary filmmaker. We’d met Dr. Joseph D’Souza at a conference the year before where he spoke about his work with the Dalit FreedomNetwork. He and his team showed us around Hyderabad for a week with the hopes of finding a good story to tell in a documentary. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a story that appropriately met the needs of the DFN. But I still wanted to maintain a personal connection with the work they were doing and I wanted to maintain a connection with the country. 

I witnessed the intense and traumatic wealth and resource disparity there, along with the wholesale exploitation of people of lower castes. And in spite of that I still found the country exceedingly beautiful. The people were incredibly warm and inviting. I loved every minute of my time there. 

With the India issue I wanted to explore the contradictions I saw in the country because I see them in the US as well. As a young country, I feel like it’s important for us to learn whatever we can from cultures who’ve undergone centuries of the issues Americans are waking up to. I wanted to offer a point of entry for a Western reader who’s ready to take that first step. 

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