“Bhoomitra” (friends of earth) is a project about the severe environmental crisis or Ecocide going on in the fertile Northern plains of India and Pakistan. A thick smog starting with the festival of lights and rice harvests every year in Nov has become a major problem. 90 percent of this smog comes from burning rice stubble. In Punjab there is an ongoing cancer epidemic and increasing infertility due to the persistent use of pesticides, GM crop technology and increasing levels of uranium in the groundwaters. All this has been well documented and the Government is fully aware of the situation. There have been policy changes, however, the impact of such changes have clearly had a negligible impact on this current and escalating crisis.
In BHOOMITRA we will capture the lives of Natural farmers, doctors, wildlife experts and artists who are sowing the seeds of change.
It will document the work of Dr Sunny Sandhu who has been involved in the conservation of river dolphins (“Bulanaji”). He has been working on raising awareness about the preservation of wildlife, the protection of forests and the promotion of Natural farming. We will follow his journey, meeting the people involved in positive environmental actions in India.
We will also document the lives of the Gond tribe in Madhya Pradesh who paint Trees of life. This will allow us to contrast modern agricultural life against primitive cultural life. This is particularly relevant as the Punjab agricultural model is being copied everywhere else as the best model.
How it all started
It all began when in 2011 Dr Sunny Sandhu discovered that 30 kms from the house he grew up in, the waters of the river Beas were home to the endangered river dolphin. He realised the disconnect between him and the ecosystem that he grew up in. In 2011 he started a project to help conserve the river dolphins of Punjab. He has been conducting workshops in schools and organise ecotours for students and tourists. He has also been actively involved in promotion of Natural farming.Natural Farming uses earth friendly methodology to grow food. It involves protection of all life and utilising what’s available at the farm.
Punjab is just 2% if the agricultural landmass in India and it has been producing 40-50% of the grains for the country. This small region lays claim to the most prolific use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in the world. Between 2011 and 2012 Dr Sandhu worked with groups of organic farmers and activists to create an Environmental Health Action program, which lead to the first cancer screening program in Punjab.
In 2017,185 kms of the river Beas has been declared a conservation zone for River dolphins. After receiving this news, Dr Sunny Sandhu decided to start on Bhoomitra and document the ecocide issues that have plagued the area by interviewing the people he worked with for the past six years. Their stories will be heard through this documentary. It’s the journey of the Friends of Earth - the Bhoomitra .
Day trips, short term stays and long term stays are available for Organic farms in punjab, Beas conservation reserve(to see river dolphins) and Kukanet forests for more info contact
For more info on Bhoomitra Follow our page www.facebook.com/bhoomitradocumentary