Madhya Pradesh, India
The Cheetah population became extinct in India in 1952. In 2022, the Indian government introduced cheetahs to India’s Kuno National Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) from Namibia. The cheetah technical report also recommended Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary (NWS) in MP as another potential site. Following these recommendations, the forest managers have been preparing NWS for future cheetah introduction by relocating villages outside the sanctuary. This process includes paying compensation to the villagers. The film presents how the villagers wait for compensation and speak up about the questions of inequality, exclusion, and justice in the relocation processes in India.
The film set out to share the experiences of a village during the process of conservation-induced displacement. As an ethnographer, I heard the word “hold” for the first time during my visit to this area. I asked what hold means. People explained they have not received the full compensation and the government has put a hold on their compensation money. To get the full compensation, they have to first break down and clean the surface around their houses. Breaking down their own houses in which they have lived for generations and moving out to an unknown place share the sense of trauma which many families have to go through in relocation practices in India.