2012 | India | Documentary

Quarter Number 4/11

  • Bengali-Hindi-Maithali English 69 mins
  • Director | Ranu Ghosh
  • Writer | Ranu ghosh
  • Producer | Ranu ghosh

This film is currently not available.   

Shambhu Prasad Singh is a typical Indian "Common Man". Nobody would ever imagine him to be a "fighter". His humble tenement – the labour quarters of the erstwhile Jay Engineering Works in South Calcutta, now looks like an anachronism in the midst of 35 story high towers that are coming up all around it. It is Calcutta’s prestigious South City Project – Eastern India’s largest mixed use real estate development. Shambhu has thrown a challenge to the very forces that have been trying to displace him from his own ground.   It was just the other day that this sprawling land used to be a safe shelter for 210 immigrant workers of Jay Engineering Works, a manufacturer of fans and sewing machines. Shambhu’s grandfather, an immigrant from Bihar, got a job here. Shambhu’s father followed his own father’s footsteps. Later, Shambhu also took it up as the first option of earning a dignified living.  In the year 2003, Jay Engineering Works decided to close down the factory and sell off the property to a consortium of five major real estate magnates building high-rise condominiums. In a desperate rush Jay Engineering workers were handed over meager compensations and thrown out of the premises. Shambhu and his 13 colleagues refused the paltry sum and decided to give it a fight. They filed a court case demanding respectable compensation - an amount that would have been their actual earning till the date of natural retirement from service.   They got a stay order from the court. The project came to a halt. Then the South City builders bypassed the court order and planned to evict Shambhu and his colleagues by force. Gradually the 13 other employees succumbed to the pressure and left the premises but Shambhu refused to follow them. He held on to his ground and stayed there at the staff quarter number 4/11 with his family.   The construction work began. The builders disconnected the electricity and water supply line, building materials were dumped all around his quarter, visitors were prohibited to come inside – they virtually cut off the small home from the "civilized world".  The buildings around him have almost touched the sky. But Shambhu is still there.   By following Shambhu Prasad’s narrative, Quarter Number 4/11 explores the injustice that is built into the fabric of the ‘successful’ city, which exhibits only one aspect of a world far more complex than anything that appears in its exotic imagery. The city is undermined by the pain, exploitation and loss which are built into its fabric, and which remain a constant threat even to its most soaring structures and glittering monuments of modernity.   

urban displacement post-industrial urban planning witness