Hatti, we exist

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Himachal Pradesh is home of several distinguished tribal communities. One of the Tribal communities that prevail in the district Sirmour in the lower part of Himachal Pradesh is ‘Hatti’. The community is named after their age-old professional practice of selling their home grown crops at small markets called ‘Haat’ in nearby cities. The Hatti community is divided from Sirmour by the ‘Giri’ river which surrounds Hatti with another river called ‘Tons’. Tons river marks the natural border between Sirmour district and Jaunsar Bavar area of Uttarakhand. The latter used to have the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district under its territory. Both Jaunsar Bavar and Trans-Giri areas used to be part of the royal former Sirmaur state until the separation of Jaunsar Bawar in 1815. This shared history fact makes these clans of lower Himachal Pradesh to exhibit similar culture and common occurrences of inter-clan marriages.
The trans-Giri area displays the social divisions in terms of economy and education from the people living across the Tons River. Over the years Jaunsar Bawar has produced a significant number of government officials and civil servants. On the other hand people across Trans-Giri River live a rather hard life full of struggle and moil.

The film provides a glimpse of the life and culture of Hatti Community. The film commences with a traditional wedding set up in a small village called ‘Mohrad’ situated on the banks of Tons river. The filming picks up its pace with a local girl’s marriage celebrations and follows through the fascinating experience of the rich heritage, culture, traditions and festivals of the Hatti community. The filming covers the wedding that takes place between the girl from Mohrad village and a boy from a village in Jaunsar Bawar from across the river. Throughout the filming, the life of Hatti people is also depicted which is significantly not an easy one.
Nevertheless, the whole village joins hands together and help the bride’s family in wedding arrangements. The groom who is from across the river has to cross a bridgeless river on a makeshift trolly in order to enter the marriage venue. The journey by road would take whole 6 hours which makes it an unpopular option. After the wedding is over, the film shows departure of the bride and groom on the same trolly.
The film also incorporates some political issue where the caste status of Jaunsar Bawar’s Hatti community is observed to be Scheduled Tribe, which was granted to them in 1967. However, the people of Trans-Giri area do-not have the same status despite belonging to the same category as of Jaunsar Bawar’s Hatti people. This has lead to a series of their ongoing demand for the same.
The ST status comes with added benefits for the needy and unfortunate in the area. The dedicated funds are granted under the tribal sub-plan which makes acquisition of ST status vital to these people. In terms of education, more reservations might open up in the ST category in institutions. With such initiation, employment rate will definitely get the much needed boost that will improve the lives of people of Hatti.

Director – Viveck Tewari

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