Swaraaj -- A metaphor for struggle
Swaraaj -- The Little Republic, directed by Anwar Jamal, evocatively captures the microcosm of Indian democracy on celluloid. Though, the setting might be a small village in Rajasthan -- where people from lower caste and the women have little say, until four strong-willed women try to change things -- but the story is parable for the world we live in today.
Swaraaj, recreates a real life struggle of a ward councilor, Leela, to bring water to her village near Madurai. After a long, harrowing struggle Leela managed to convince the authorities to draw a pipeline to her village. However, just when the water came, all that she had done comes undone in one deathly stroke.
The metaphor of the film is a journey - a journey through the bleak desert to seek within and without. The journey creates a feminine space in the film, where the four women, freed from strict code of conduct in the rural society, relive their histories, draw strength from each other and carve out their destiny for a greater common good.
India has one million elected women representatives in local governments today. Their priorities are different from mainstream politicians.