‘Daughters of a lesser god’: A harrowing depiction of the pristine shackles of poverty

Published: October 3, 2012


A short documentary about the lives and struggles of home-based female bangle-makers in Hyderabad unveils the irony of poverty. These women cannot even afford to wear what they make. ‘Daughters of a Lesser God‘ is award-winning documentary filmmaker Ammar Aziz’s latest look at the oppressed communities of Pakistan.

The documentary was earlier shown at labour conferences in the United States and Europe, but was screened for the first time in Pakistan at Kuch Khaas on Monday.

The film explores the exploitation that takes place at multiple levels during the complicated process of making bangles. The workers’ interviews are interspersed with images of them working on their machines.

Aziz told The Express Tribune that he used this technique to intensify the mood and tone of the film. The topic, he added, is an undocumented phenomenon in Pakistan that reflects and speaks to the many struggles of socioeconomically oppressed communities.

“After realising the miserable conditions of women in Hyderabad, I felt an ideological responsibility to document the subject,” said Aziz. He added that it is always a challenge to maintain harmony between stark realism and cinematic aestheticism, but he feels he has managed to achieve that in this film.

The film had a limited budget and a crew of two. It was produced by Labour Education Foundation and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Aziz has been featured in the Christian Science Monitor’s “30 under 30” people from all over the world for his art and activism and is the only Pakistani filmmaker to be selected for the Talent Campus of the Berlin International Film Festival 2012.

However, he has also faced numerous obstacles in making his films.

While working on the film Taqwacore, he faced death threats after the Jamia Binoria seminary issued statements against him. However, such hurdles have not stopped Aziz from speaking his mind and showcasing the lives of the marginalised.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (4)

  • Khalid Pathan
    Oct 3, 2012 - 9:11AM

    Aziz is doing a remarkable job by producing documentaries which highlight the flight of poor workers like Daughter’s of a lesser God, making Bangles on machines and paid a pittance. It is only the external pressure that compels the industrialists to treat their workers as human beings, otherwise these laborers will continue languish in a sort of bonded labor.


  • Zubair Ali
    Oct 3, 2012 - 12:50PM

    Looks interesting….Cannot get the beautiful little girls tears out of my head.


  • Shahram Azhar
    Oct 4, 2012 - 6:05PM

    As far as I remember this documentary was made by Umair Bilal and Ammar Aziz. It would have been better if the correspondent had interviewed both the film makers as that would have enriched our understanding of both perspectives.


  • Sandy Reis
    Oct 4, 2012 - 9:53PM

    I have noticed that in some eastern cultures nepotism and classism/chaste is the cause for so much poverty and how very little done to change the oppressed communities situation. Im glad documentaries like this get made because when traveling or thinking of the third world, people only think of the upper classes or the tourism. The poor people who made the goods we buy abroad or when we visit deserve credit for their expertise and appropriate payment for their labor/experience. They should earn so that they wont be in such poverty.


More in Pakistan