Voices from the Hidden Land (Mayel Lyang Sut Lom) is a 20-minute documentary about the Lepcha People of Sikkim, India, who are leading a campaign to prevent a series of hydro dams from being constructed on the Teetsa river.
“The impacts of the Teesta Stage V Hydropower Project, the first big dams being built in Sikkim, have forced the people to come out of the Mayel Lyang (the hidden land) to manifest their apprehensions and concerns in peaceful protests,” notes International Rivers.
The dams are situated in the Dzongu region of Sikkim, which the Lepcha hold sacred. The Lepcha’s fear that, once the dams are completed, Dzongu’s biodiversity will be devastated, ultimately destroying what they believe to be the birthplace of humanity.
Examined in the film, the Lepcha also fear that their culture will be destroyed, they will lose their identity, and become permanently disconnected from everything they know.
So acute are their concerns, that in December 2008 more than 20,000 Lepchas vowed to die before they would allow the dams’ completion.
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