In the Heart of Our Darkness: The Life and Death of Mahendra Karma

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad's 1902 novel, is relevant in today's India. The documentary is, however, not set in Conrad's Africa, but in southern Chhattisgarh. The documentary is about a region of great natural wealth and about a man, a controversial leader of tribal leaders, who was brutally killed on 26 May 2013. The Supreme Court of India, in its 5 July 2011 judgement on how the government of Chhattisgarh was handling left wing extremism, stated: "... we could not but help be reminded of the novella, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, who perceived darkness at three levels: (1) the darkness of the forest, representing a struggle for life and the sublime; (ii) the darkness of colonial expansion for resources; and finally (iii) the darkness, represented by inhumanity and evil, to which individual human beings are capable of descending, when supreme and unaccounted force is vested, rationalized by a warped world view that parades itself as pragmatic and inevitable, in each individual level of command. ... As we heard more and more about the situation in Chhattisgarh... it began to become clear to us that... state action (envisioned)...would seriously undermine Constitutional values."

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