The Seeds of Vandana Shiva (2021)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on December 13, 2023 @

The Seeds of Vandana Shiva (Prime) is a tribute to a human force of nature.

The indie documentary is the compelling tale of Vandana Shiva, a woman from India who became a worldwide activist against corporations plundering the land. She stood up for small farmers and what they stood for. She said that the small farmer was the last free person.

At times, she may have been against science, but she was always for humanity.

Vandana Shiva was a disciple of Einstein. She calls him "the shaper of the dream of my life." She started out studying quantum theory, but changed to wider pursuits. She says, "Food is a weapon." Her thesis is "when you control seed, you control life on earth."

She became a leader of the food movement. In her commitment to save the planet, she taught the small farmer to save seeds - there were 1,000s of different seeds for rice. The big companies wanted farmers to use only one seed - theirs. Monsanto became her enemy with their pesticides and the risks they entailed.

They sold their products to the small farmer, but eventually many were driven out of business because they were unable to keep paying. This reportedly caused a drastic rise in suicide.

The companies took control of the land. The small farmer was being forced out of existence. She says, "When money is your master, then conscience is no longer your guide."

In 1973 she visited Himalayan region where women took a crucial stand against the logging industry. The timber market and the logging industry were cutting down all trees and ruining the environment. The women reacted in a celebrated action. It was called the "Chipko movement." The poor women who were uneducated and who didn't speak English, became tree huggers. It became a symbol around the world.

In 1981 the government of India listened to women - among them Shiva -and acted against logging.

Shiva wrote several books. One was Staying Alive , about eco-feminism.

She travelled all over India, Africa, Switzerland, the United States where she talked before the United Nations.

Directors and co-screenplay writers Camilla and James Becket capture the spirit of Shiva and the land. The cinematography of Jim Whitney is evocative.

Vandana Shiva has a strong personality. She wears a large red bindi on her forehead. "I carry the dot to remember," she says.

She wants us not to forget.

© 2000-2023 Tony Macklin