Dear people from the Magar Study center
16 Oct 2006

My Name is Philip Scheffner. I am a filmmaker from Berlin, Germany.
Right now I am working on a documentary film project with the title “The Halfmoon Files”.
In this context I would like to ask you a question – but first I would like to give you some idea about the film project:
The film is trying to find out more about several soldiers who served in the Indian army during WW1 in France and Belgium (Western front)
They were captured by the German troops and have been detained in a POW camp in Wünsdorf, close to Berlin, Germany.
German Scientists recorded their voices on Shellac Records in 1916.
These recordings are still existing in an archive at the Humboldt University, Berlin.
The Film project takes these existing sound recordings as a starting point to collect information about the biographies of the people who are speaking and to search for today living family members and relatives of the soldiers.
So that their voices will not remain “scientific” data in an archive – but testimonies of real people.
People who had a personal history, who had fears and wishes, and a family waiting back home.
A family which – till today – most probably has no idea that there is a sound recording of their great-grandfather existing in a German archive.
One of the soldiers i am looking for was concidered to be a Magar.(so the data of the scientists say)
His name was Bhawan Singh. He was born in Almora and went to the Mission High school.
Later he joined the army in Lansdown (don’t know which regiment)
His cast is mentioned as “Pun”. It is also said that he belongs to a “good” family -which meant that they must have been relatively wealthy…. The soundfile i have is spoken in the language “Khas”. In his text he is speaking about various forms of ghosts.
He is mentioning three different ghosts there: one which is like a rag lying on the street and catching the feet of people passing by. one, which has its eyes in the chest and eating up people. one which is living in the ,mountains with his dog” – also eating up people. Maybe these stories also belong to a mythology of a certain community…
I would like to ask if you have any idea how i could find out more about Bhawan Singh. Maybe you know somebody in Almora who could be helpful or some scientist who is a specialist in Gurkha languages and who could be of any help. I could also send you the soundfile as an mp3 if you want to.
I am planning to go to India in November and try to see if i can find out more….
If you have any ideas or suggestions I would be really thankful!
Thanks a lot for your efforts with kind regards
philip scheffner

– pong Kröger & Scheffner GbR Philip Scheffner Skalitzer Str. 62 10997 Berlin
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