A study of micro level example of city and dwelling including migration, migration policies and local community and a changing of narration


Bella Farnia Residence, Sabaudia province of Latina. The residence of Bella Farnia is an example of building and dwelling where a residential complex intended to be used as a senior citizens housing project became a seaside vacation residence during the summer and over a period became the dwelling of migrants working in agriculture.


The need for making a video where the migrants and the territory come out as protagonists and at the same time tell their own story and that of their “dwelling” has been the main objective for doing this research-based video. In the process an attempt to change the narration of how the Indian migrants are narrated in the mainstream media over the last few years.


The video itself is a study on the ground of how migrants of many years with background as farm hands who have evolved to be an entrepreneur and a local leader involved in contrasting the phenomenon of “caporalato” on the very ground level and has been an artifice in organizing the first ever agriculture workers strike in area of Latina along with the national level agricultural workers unions like FLAI CGIL and UIL etc.
Gurmukhi Singh has become a known figure in the territory of Latina and Terracina and is followed by many farm workers and is considered a leader fighting for the rights of the migrant workers. A few years ago, the workers were paid between 2.5 euros to 3.5 euros per hour but over the last years especially after the strike of 2016 the workers’ pay has increased to 5 to 5.5 euros per hour. He himself worked as a farm hand 30 years ago and knows what people go through in the agriculture industry.
Over the years many local level projects funded by various ministries including the NGOs have provided their services at Bella Farnia. We have Sarbjit Singh Chauhan who has been an intercultural mediator with the NGO called “Emergency” and who himself has been a farm worker in his early years in the territory then through a process qualified himself and took his present role of mediator. He worked with emergency over a period of three years providing basic health services with a mobile clinic visiting Bella Farnia and over the years have assisted and listened to many migrants residing at Bella Farnia and has experienced the realities and difficulties of this small area.
We have the testimony of a local social worker Marco Saputo who is involved in a project funded by the European Union’s – AMIF – Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Marco shares his insights and experience with Harvinder as filmmaker and social activist of the community of creating cultural events and the need for continuous presence of language courses in the area of residence, a permanent presence of a cultural association involving migrants and locals along with the administration.


The video lets us create empathy and at the same time provide vital and important information. Even the language spoken by migrants is not perfect as that of “Accademia della Crusca” but the emotional impact and at the same time the information that a serious policy of providing Italian language and cultural courses is required.

The video interviews were shot over a period of two days. Though various pre-production discussions took place about the importance and practical aspects of realizing the video, even though nothing was scripted and only the idea of expressing oneself without hesitation or any time limit or the fear of being manipulated was there. The message, the voice, the expression should come out with its own flow and words, without the interviewer influencing the interview. During these three interviews many subjects were expressed, from the problems faced by the migrants for their day to day living in the residence to the more complex issues of integration – inclusion – melting pot and access to information.
The process of editing the interviews has been selective in terms of being specific to the original idea even though many issues were discussed, and opinions were expressed.

Expected results

Finally, the migrant’s point of view without filters or manipulation is what has been communicated through the video and this is the expected result from the point of view of the production. The other is the impact on people who see it. The video has been shown to experts in the field of social work and professionals who work in projects related to migration and agriculture, their opinion about the video has been positive. The video has been presented to a few Indian YouTube based channels and they are very much interested to show it though we will need to dub or subtitle it in the Punjabi language to have an outreach in thousands. The video has been able to stimulate discussion in the professional and academic spheres and also in the Indian diaspora.

Previous work on Bella Farnia

As Harvinder his earlier journalistic work on Bella Farina in 2011, the link below has the report of that video which has won award from the Newspaper La Stampa :
Si aggiudica il primo premio della giuria tecnica per la qualità giornalistica a tutto tondo il video «Tan Kosh» dedicato alla difficile vita della comunità Sikh nell’agro pontino, un documentario collettivo che porta la firma di Saverio Paoletta, ma anche di Harvinder Singh (Sikh trapiantato in Italia) e Giordano Cossu
Link to the work : https://www.associazioneuniversarte.it/tan-kosh/