Manipuri theatre legend Sabitri has two families. One is her own and the other is the theatre group Kalakshetra Manipur, which she founded with her husband, Heisnam Kanhailal, in 1969. In Bobo Khuraijam’s award-winning documentary Ima Sabitri (Mother Sabitri), we spend time with both.
The first encounter with Sabitri is through sound – we hear her powerful voice and then watch her perform a scene from a play that suggests gang-rape by Army personnel. The performance is an adaptation of Mahasweta Devi’s short story Draupadi, but also has tremendous local resonance. In July 2004, Thangjam Manorama was taken into custody by soldiers of the paramilitary force Assam Rifles from her home in a Manipur village and shot dead. The soldiers claimed that Manorama was a member of a separatist group and was shot while trying to escape. The bruises and bullet wounds to Manorama’s genitals told a different story, resulting in protests across the state. Five days after the incident, a group of women walked to the Assam Rifles headquarters in Imphal bearing banners that said “Indian Army rape us” and stripped themselves.
Sabitri evokes gang rape in a symbolic fashion. She is covered by a camouflage blanket and surrounded by the actors playing the soldiers. It is one of many powerful set pieces from her plays that feature in the 57-minute documentary.
“The plays of Kalakshetra Manipur have sharp political edges,” Khuraijam said. “But at the same time the group does not believe in propagandist theatre. The kind of plays staged by the troupe indicates their deep cultural and political involvement. People of Manipur have witnessed various forms of human right violations. Like many, the director Kanhailal and his creative partner Sabitri were also disturbed by what was happening around. The play is their resilient cry against the misdoings.”
Khuraijam’s documentary won the top award for the Best Documentary (under 60 minutes) in the National Competition section at the recently concluded Mumbai International Film Festival. The independent production initiated by Khuraijam benefitted greatly from the access granted by Sabitri and Kanhailal. “The film is an independent production,” the filmmaker said. “Heisnam Kanhailal was kind enough to warmly welcome us to a unique theatre family.”
Heisnam Sabitri was born in 1946, and started acting at the age of eight. In 1962, she married Kanhailal, and the theatre company followed seven years later. Ima Sabitri captures the bond between the couple, their working relationship with members of their groups, rehearsals and snippets from their performances. In between, Khuraijam throws in warm moments of domesticity – Sabitri sorting out vegetables, spending time with her son and grandchildren.
Since the film was shot over three years, Khuraijam was also at hand to witness Kanhailal’s cancer diagnosis (he died in October 2016) and the handing over of the Kalakshetra baton to their son. Throughout the film, Sabitri emerges as a constant, looming over the rehearsals and grabbing attention wherever she goes.
“Professor Richard Gough, who teaches theatre and performance in the University of Wales, mesmerised by the performance of Sabitri remarked that in Japan she would be a national treasure,” Khuraijam said. “Perhaps the answer lies in the statement itself. She is a rare gem in the theatre world. I consider it a lifetime opportunity to make a film on someone like her.”
Could the film have focused on Sabitri alone? Since the documentary is strictly observational in nature, we remain with her in the moment, and learn little about her past or her philosophy towards her acting beyond such declarations as “I want the audience to feel my heart beat as well as my pulse.”
“She is a motherly figure of the theatre group who nurtures and inspires,” Khuraijam explained. “The film is an intimate portrayal of her. And while portraying her one cannot commit the mistake of missing the group, which is her family.”
The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes
Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.
The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.
This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.
Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.
The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.
Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.
Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry
The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.
There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.
The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.
The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.
The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.
The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.
Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.
Case studies for technology-led changes
An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.
Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.
In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.
In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.
The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.
Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.
The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.
This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.