Born at Home
(English subtitles, 60 min./ 2000/ India)
by Sameera Jain
Produced by Matrika
Born at Home observes indigenous birth practices and practitioners in parts of India (rural Rajasthan, Bihar, and the urban working class area of Jahangirpuri in Delhi). Poised between social reality and the eternal mystery of childbearing, the film poses a critical question. When dais or midwives are known to handle about 50% of births in India, why does the state not recognise the inherited and low-cost skills of the almost one million traditional practitioners in the country? The film presents an intricate delineation of the figure of the dai who is almost always a low-caste, poor woman. Unlike medical science to whose life-saving power the best of dais pay homage, indigenous birth methods are holistic, conceiving of childbirth not as pathology but continuation of organic life.