The saga of Yamuna's coin divers caught on film
Posted on: 04:40 PM IST Aug 23, 2012
New Delhi: Faith is an integral part of the Indian culture but did you know that a section of homeless people eke out their daily living from the modest coins dropped as offerings into the Yamuna river?
A nearly 22 minute-long documentary titled 'In Search of Destiny (Coin Divers)' by Aakash Arun attempts to throw light into the lives of coin divers numbering around 400-500 and living near the much polluted but equally, if not more,revered Yamuna that flows through here.
The film begins with a train chugging on a bridge and people 'offering' coins to the Yamuna and subsequently praying for their wishes. It is followed by a shot where a child is seen hurling a dumbbell-shaped greasy object into the river and tugging the rope. The camera zooms into the dumbbell-shaped object and you see one shining coin stuck to it. Later on the scene focuses on two men who narrate how they receive sustenance from the Yamuna in the form of coins.
"The men are part of the marginalised section which is not only homeless and helpless but also are susceptible to the hills of addiction, says Arun. Nearly 60 per cent of these coin drivers in the national capital are in the grip of some form of addiction. These people are not to difficult to find out. Most of them are present in a radius of 4-6 km of the bridge over Yamuna that can be reached from Kashmere Gate, according to the film's narration.
"Coin divers on an average find coins worth Rs 100 daily," says Arun adding that earning goes up on few occasions when luck smiles upon them in the form of trinkets, heavy metallic objects that fetch decent prices. The documentary was shot entirely using a DSLR camera which, he said, could be brought out in the open only after he could gain confidence of the coin divers.
The fact that Yamuna plays a pivotal role in these people's lives can be easily grasped by viewers. "Yamuna is all encompassing. She gives shelter to all who
comes to her. We sleep under the sky and sustain ourselves from her largesse (read coins)," says an elderly man in the documentary.