India Habitat Centre on Wednesday showcased a documentary Education Under Fire with a view to spread awareness about denial of education to minorities. The documentary profiles how Baha’is in Iran are denied right to education currently voiced concern over by United Nations under human rights violation.
Produced by A Single Arrow Productions and co-sponsored by Amnesty International, Education Under Fire is a 30-minute documentary that centres around the growth, struggle and spirit of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education.
‘One of the most powerful human documentaries I have ever seen, Education Under Fire is sure to galvanise viewers who will be exposed to an outrage that until now has received little attention, the systematic denial of an entire religious community of the right to pursue higher education in their own country,’ said Elise Auerbach, Iran Specialist for Amnesty International, US.
In 1987, the semi-underground Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was formed to give young Baha'is their only chance for a university-level education. Despite repeated raids and arrests, volunteer teachers and administrators created an independent, decentralised university system that has lifted the lives of thousands of Baha’i students across Iran. In May 2011, an organised assault was launched by the Iranian government in an attempt to shut down the BIHE.
In the documentary, BIHE graduate Shahrzad Missaghi expresses a shared resolve: ‘The government can crush our bodies, but they cannot crush the mind and soul.’
Mojdeh Rohani, a BIHE graduate whose father was executed in 1981, narrates, ‘We can use this experience to not only just think about ourselves and what is important to us, but to look at the bigger picture to think of people of this world as they were our own family.’