Coal Milk 1

Coal Milk কয়লা দুধ

Molla Sagar

A vast area of land including the village of Bucchigram in Dinajpur has now had government approval to become an open-cast coal mine. Coal Milk exposes the battle of Bucchigram’s mostly indigenous Santal inhabitants to save their land from mining.  

The Santal villagers in the community are mostly farmers who still use their traditional, sustainable methods of agriculture. Their lives are intertwined with the wild plants and animals of their land. They see themselves as guardians of the land and all the life that depends on it. 

Molla Sagar has helped to create a protest film, to help give a platform to a community who are under threat. The Santal protest that they do not want to give up their land, that they have nowhere to go, and that the land the foreign investors are approved to take has been stolen from them. 

In their words, they farm the land with their blood - they will never leave. Though the Santal community have their own language, perversely children at the pathshala (local school) sing the national anthem in Bangla ‘My golden Bangladesh, I love you’. These children have been taught that we should never leave the motherland, however it is their motherland that is making them homeless and destroying a part of it. 

This film contains upsetting scenes. 

Molla Sagar is a prominent documentary filmmaker in Bangladesh. Sagar makes films with a deep respect and empathy for the people he depicts. The subjects in his work do not live in a space of pity; he aims to show their resilience in the face of impossible challenges.  

Sagar’s films focus on people living in all corners of Bangladesh struggling to attain the basics for survival because of issues caused by environmental disaster. His films cover the killing of a river, the salination of farmland, the consequences of open cast coal mining, land grabbing, protest, and the fight for survival of people living on the coastal belt while they are hostage to the climate emergency.