Tuesday, February 12, 2013

IN THE NAME OF GOD (Documentary) (1991)

“One problem with our democracy is that a rigid class and caste hierarchy coupled with gross gender inequality has kept large sections of our population without a voice. But having no voice doesn’t mean having no brain! On the contrary the voiceless have much to say and we can learn so much from their ways of seeing and thinking. Feelings of humanity seem to survive much better amongst the powerless than among the affluent and powerful.”

Kudos to Anand Patwardhan who made this brilliant, insightful & politically charged hard hitting documentary I’ve ever seen. The documentary is one tight slap on the religious fundamentalist face that gained its momentum in of a joint family of VHP, BJP & Bajrang Dal (‘The Monkey Army’ formed by Ram to cross waters of Lanka in Hindu epic and formed by VHP-BJP in 90’s India especially to grab youth activists wing for Ram Janmabhoomi conflict). This un-holy trinity used controversial religious conflict of Babri Mosque-Ram temple issue to cement their political gain and encash financial gain came in form of huge donation amount. It not only gave rise to genocide as its aftermath of mosque’s destruction in December 1992 but also made an unprecedented rise of enmity between two community otherwise living peacefully in the region and country. The film unashamedly records the chronicle of history of the conflict, its manipulation,its campaign and ruling government’s stand, mad hysteria of mass & also registered the opinions & voices of ordinary Indians, both Hindu & Muslims, who kept their sanity and humanity in the midst of communal frenzy. As part of its horror aftermath, the country witnessed communal violence that spread in most of the states and killed thousands of innocent people.

Somehow I feel that religious fundamentalism is more horrific than the terrorism that keep striking our nation time to time. Charging and brainwashing the uneducated mass with religious fanatic poison and then gaining their support to solidify political interest of majority Hindus brought so many ugly repercussions that not only shattered the nation but misled the directionless youth.  These are inside termites of society cheating the mass who surrenders their ideology to them. It’s so ironically sad to see the opinions of that generation of youth who without knowing any history, facts of the conflict or their Hindu scriptures joined the bandwagon of Bajrang Dal activistism clad in saffron cloth and a naked sword in hand. Then ruling V P Singh government’s stand on Mandal commission brought lot of anger of upper class majority. And it was aptly encashed by these so called Hindu torchbearers who wanted to redefine India as ‘Hindu nation’. ‘Hindu’ is the term that touches to all majority mass irrespective of multitudes of castes and community and hence it set up a flame that burned the whole nation. The only grace and hope of the whole issue lied in what the priest of Ram temple of Ayodhya, Pujari Laldas expressed in his noble views in entire documentary but its so sad to know that a year later he was too murdered by some fanatic faggot.

Anand Patwardhan is surely leading filmmaker who’s been making investigative documentaries for thinking men for over three decades. Most of his documentaries won number of prestigious National & International awards in documentary section and covered multiple points touching socio-political-cultural undercurrents about the enigma called India. But what is so sad and ironical is that over the years, most of his films and his reluctant stand either faced censorship and wrath of the ruling elite due to his stand to reflect unabashedly the hard fact hidden inside the veil of soft lies. His many films led him to court action and released much after years when the issue he addressed erased from the mass memory and took turn into another one. Perhaps Kabir’s golden words encapsulated the point that runs in the ending titles of the film; can’t resist quoting them:

Saints, I see
The world is mad
If I tell the truth
They rush to beat me
If I lie they trust me
Hindus claim Ram as the one
Muslims claim Rahim
Then they kill each other
Knowing not
The essence
With prayer beads and caps
And brows of holy paint
They lose themselves
In sacred hymns but
Know not their own souls
Many holy men I’ve seen
Teachers of holy books
Who acquire disciples
Venerate graves
But know not God
The world goes on
Like this and yet
They call me mad
But Kabir says, listen
Who’s the one insane?
Need I have to say the film is an essential watch for all thinking Indians.  


Blue Glass Grasshopper said...

Well what strikes me about Anant Patwardhan is his dedication and patience. His movies take time and he is in no hurry. Ram Ke Nam is dedicated to the priest of the Ram Janma Bhoomi temple who is killed a little after the movie as the security is withdrawn. There is a new book on the genesis of the ayodhya affair:http://www.indiaplaza.com/ayodhya-krishna-jha-dhirendra-k-jha/books/9789350296004.htm

HIREN DAVE said...

Thanks for this pointer :)