The recent inactivity on my blog seems to have worried one entity in this world greatly. And that’s none other than the Government of India! How else could I justify the excesses they have been committing through the past few weeks and thereby stroking my hitherto dead creative juices that get powered by anger and resentment! Hardly had people in this part of the world got out of the shock of the quota and its aftermath, there came yet another proof of the shortsightedness of the goofs who claim to rule us. But for them, I would be in one of the multiplexes today to watch the first day release of the ‘Da Vinci Code’! But presto! Our erudite I&B Minister and his loonies planned a Machiavellian move to scuttle the release of a movie that has seen the light of day in proclaimed Christian countries of the world! But then we live in a secular nation, don’t we? Somehow I seem to forget that essential nature of our polity!
Secularism for a vast majority in this country means majority bashing and minority appeasement. Well, before I get branded as a member of a certain reviled Parivar of Indian politics, I must emphasize that I hold the scantest of regard for their ilk as they do more harm than good to the cause of those they claim to represent. But that notwithstanding, the fact remains and is borne out by repeated acts of omission on the part of the ‘secular’ brigade of India. From when did the I&B Ministry decide that it was an expert in either theology or in filmmaking? Since when did they consider a ‘re-look’ on films that are cleared by the Censor Board of India? And why have a Board if you don’t trust its judgments? Preposterous claims were made by the man who initiated this whole juggernaut when he said it was because 200 Catholic Organizations had appealed to him to ban the movie. Well, does he or his Government, which takes people’s opinions so seriously then sit up and roll back the quota proposal as lakhs of students are appealing for the same? If this is not vote-bank politics, if this is not appeasement what is?
With due respect to the followers of these faiths, I must state here that India today has a harmonious and secular existence only because the majority of its people are Hindus- people who understand that there is no ONE path to the Truth, people who have eternally believed in the principle of co-existence with views opposed to one’s own, that they might differ with another’s opinion but defend till their death the other person’s right to dissent and most importantly people who can introspect on the evils within their societies and even poke fun on themselves and their gods. Time and time again in the past reformers have challenged the traditional and orthodox ways of life and to that effect Hinduism has been a growing and evolving religion. It speaks volumes of the inherent strength of the faith that has stood 1000 and more years of onslaught, first of the Islamic invaders and then the wily British and their insidious Missionaries. But here you have a group that feels a simple, stupid movie can shake their faith? Just sometime back in the past we had another virulent group whose faith was offended by cartoons! And these are the very groups that claim that the country is going down the communal warpath? Strange, isn’t it? Films in the past have been as derogatory to Hinduism, its gods and goddesses or social customs. If a Deepa Mehta makes snide remarks on lesbianism in Hindu families or the plight of widows in Varanasi she is being creative; if an M. F. Hussain paints Saraswati or Bharat Mata clad in air, then he is being a visionary of a painter; but if a Ron Howard directs a work of fiction that claims Jesus was a normal heterosexual male or a Danish cartoonist exercises his creative rights, then all hell breaks loose! And who supports these endeavours- the secular brigade led by this irrational government and of course the Page 3 kind of intellectual celebrities. Where have the Javed Akhtars, Shabana Azmis, Mahesh Bhatts (who has an opinion on and a solution for everything from Kashmir to stopping riots to defining pornography to how to correct an erectile dysfunction!!!) and the rest of the ‘secular’ thinktank disappeared; they are usually well-rehearsed when they have to fight Hindu fundamentalism, aren’t they?
Secularism and harmonious co-existence is essentially of the give and take nature. One would be naïve to assume that there would be no backlash in the face of such blatant partiality. Catholic priests thundered on television screens that the film would sway people who could not read and write and hence not be able to read the disclaimer! Well, that exposes two truths. One, it’s a tacit admission on the part of the Indian Church that these are the very target groups that they have been working on for generations- people who cant read and write and hence can be lured by goodies or by irrational acts of miracles by Benny Hinns and his counterparts in India. The second truth is of course the pig-headedness of these folks- it rather amused me to think that people who cant read and write would actually consider going to an English movie in the first place! Aren’t we stretching the arguments and our hyper sensitive sensitivities a bit too much? Do we care a damn for the fundamental rights of others? If the same movie can be screened all over the Christian world, if Dargahs and mosques in avowed Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia can be demolished for such mundane acts as road-widening, why is it then that in a so-called secular country like ours films like these get banned or riots get sparked in Vadodara? Why are people in India denied the right to read books like ‘Satanic Verses’ or ‘Lajja’ just because the Government of the day feels it might offend the sensitivities of people who cant read and write? But spoofs on the Mahabharata, anything that can buttress the claim that Lord Ram actually walked this land and ruled Ayodhya, any portrayal of Ancient India as a land of sex maniacs who wrote the Kama Sutra and engraved nude figurines on temples, any video footage to show that Hindu places of pilgrimage are havens of illicit activities, naked Sadhus, ganja& marijuana, any denial of the veracity of the Epics even while places mentioned there are all around us---all such activities will be welcomed with a warm, broadminded and the most secular bear hug! How long would this go on?
As much as I want my blog to be alive and kicking, I would pray that atleast the Government of India gives me no more chance to add posts to vent my anger. I’d rather have a dead blog than one inspired by their wondrous acts of foolishness and blatant injustice!