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The Legacy of Malthus

During the 19th century Highland clearances in Scotland, poor farmers known as crofters were evicted from their land to make way for sheep – and then accused of being feckless, poor and unable to feed their families. The same process is taking place in India today, claims Indian director Deepa Dhanraj in a film that challenges the links between population, development and environmental destruction. Re-enacting historic court-room scenes, actors playing the Highlands crofters recount the hardship they endured when they were forced off their fertile farms onto the barren, infertile lands of the Scottish seashore. In India, Gyarsi Bai, an old Rajasthani woman, and her fellow villagers paint a parallel picture, describing how their wealthier farming neighbours have systematically deprived them of access to water and land.

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