Shasan valo, sun lo aaj - Hamare gaon mein hamaara raaj (Listen to us, you who rule - our villages, we control). A boat carrying that cargo of defiance begins an urgent journey through the Narmada valley. For more than 15 years people of the valley have resisted a series of massive dams on their river, and in their struggle have exposed the deceptive heart of India’s development politics. The struggle has forged unusual alliances. Adivasis in the hills, farmers from the Nimad plain, sand-quarriers and fishermen on the river, and middle-class activists. They are ranged against the powerful apparatus of this chosen model of development - Ministers, Magistrates, Police Commissioners, the World Bank, and in this era of privatization, multinational corporations. This is a dialogue with authority that is usually conducted across barricades. But through the tumult and slogans, we make our way to the transactions between power and powerlessness, between truth and untruth. The film was shot over a period of two years, after the Supreme Court lifted the stay on the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam, and pushed the resistance into its most critical phase. In a world where the use of violence has become the arbiter of all political debate, Words on Water is about a sustained non-violent resistance, that almost joyous defiance, which empowers the people as they struggle for their rights, yet saves them from the ultimate humiliation of violence.