‘Untouchable Love,’ in multi media

Jan 31, 2014
Photo by: Meghan Vigeant The multimedia presentation “Untouchable Love” tells the tale of a young Nepalese couple.

Camden — Rockland resident Meghan Vigeant will present “Untouchable Love,” her multimedia documentary about inter-caste marriage in Nepal, Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the downtown Camden Library. It also will be presented Friday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. at Sheepscot General in Whitefield.

Vigeant’s presentation uses a mix of photos, audio, video, animation and live narration to tell the story, something of a cross between a documentary video and a PowerPoint presentation, she said. Attendees can enjoy a cup of Nepali tea before the half-hour presentation, and a question-and-answer session will follow.

“Untouchable Love” centers on two young dance teachers in Nepal, Nisha and Raj Kumar. They kept their love a secret for five years; when they finally eloped, Nisha’s family reacted with rage, violence, demonstrations and kidnapping because they did not want their high-caste daughter to marry an “untouchable,” the lowest rung on the social ladder of the caste system. Their story offers a surprising discovery of freedom.

Vigeant traveled to Nepal in November 2012 specifically to document Nisha and Raj’s story, and to research the caste system in Nepal. She learned that the caste system is not unique to Nepal and can be found in more than 12 countries. Unions between different castes are still taboo in Nepal, despite new laws; many of those at the bottom of the caste system suffer from everyday inequalities, as well as horrible acts of violence and injustice. Some untouchables call themselves dalits, meaning “broken people.”

“I wanted to show audiences how discrimination can be subtle,” Vigeant said. “There are so many disheartening stories of the struggles dalits face such as rape, violence, aggression and institutionalized discrimination,” she said.

“Untouchable Love” is a story of hope in the midst of those struggles. Nisha and Raj represent an emerging trend in Nepal and Southeast Asia, and their story reveals a new Nepal where people are judged, not by caste, but by their hearts, Vigeant said.

Vigeant also is a personal historian who helps people to write and publish their family history and memoirs. More information about Vigeant and her business, Legacy Preserves, can be found at legacypreserves.com. To watch a trailer of “Untouchable Love” or to find links to learn more about dalits, visit untouchablelovestory.wordpress.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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