Indian fishing doc hooks viewers with sharp message

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While India's fisheries seem like a world away, Canadians still struggle to help out. The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute will show the film Fishing in the Sea of Greed at the University of Calgary on Nov. 25.

The documentary looks at the rape and run effects of industrialization on the fishing industry in India. Overfishing of India's waters has devastated those that rely on traditional fishing practices such as rice growers and fish workers, the film claims. It also explores the environmental impact of the pollution of these industrial factory ships.

The institute is an international organization with the membership of 39 Canadian and 49 Indian universities. They work to build a positive relationship between Canada and India through academic activities. It is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the on-campus film festival.

"The goal of the film festival is to make students more aware of India and the challenges it faces," said Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute program officer Alana Froese.

The 1998 film discusses issues that still resonate in India.

"I don't think this is an issue that's been solved by any means," said Froese.

The institute believes it is important to understand one another's cultures in a globalized world by offering internships and fellowships, funding research and hosting seminars to strengthen intellectual and cultural linkages between Canada and India.

"India and Canada could learn a lot from each other," she said. "[There is strength in] bringing people together that wouldn't have the ability to come together otherwise."

As students realize the importance of internationalizing their degrees, the institute can support them by offering study abroad programs, said Froese.

U of C development studies associate professor Dr. Aradhana Parmar is a member of the institute and has done a partnership herself. She credited the institute's success to the collaboration between Indian and Canadian scholars.

"We live in a globalized world and they have to be in touch with rising economies," said Parmar. "It used to be the U.S., now it's China and India."

She added that the shift in booming economies further promotes studying India, especially to those who want to benefit from trade.

With private capital and international lending agencies, the government has made a profit from fast industrialism, but not everyone in India has benefited from this path, claimed Parmar.

"Governments have always protected big companies," she said.

However, the prospect of technological progress eradicating tradition is not an option for the institute or Parmar. They agree change will come in time.

"It's the question of people being committed in their ways," said Parmar. "When we work collectively to solve any problem, we can solve it."