Tales of The ‘Secular’, ‘Democratic’ Republic:
Ram ke Naam “Hurt” Hindu Sentiments In Ayodhya
By Devika Mittal
01 February, 2013
If you think that the court verdict for the Ram janmabhumi was the perfect solution, you need to think again. The recent incident during the Awam ka Cinema, a people’s film festival organised annually, when the screening of “Ram ke naam”, a documentary based on babri masjid demolition, ended up “hurting” the “hindu” sentiments, “represented” by the ABVP activists asks us to re-think. When the local media had ignored the statements of Anand Patwardhan(director of Ram ke Naam), civil society activists and chose to highlight the “sentiments” of ABVP politics, I feel there is a need to re-think the “historical” verdict.
When I first heard about this news, I was told that it was a breach of freedom of expression. I have a different opinion and would not like to categorise it under this label at all. Freedom of expression has often be used to voice different opinions and is often “misused”. This is not that. This is not an opinion of an individual. There are many issues involved in this “secular” farce that we have been promoting.
To begin with, Ram ke naam is a documentary that was shot some days before the babri masjid demolition and consists largely of interviews of the karsewaks, the hindu priest appointed by the court and people of the marginalised castes. It was not opinion-based and reflected what the people were saying at that time.
The movie was accused to have “insulted” Lord Ram. But it just could not have “insulted” or meant to “insult” because the title says that what people are doing in the name of god, not what the god is saying.
Now if we look at what the people had said, we will realise where the fault lies, why this incident took place and where did the court verdict lack. There were slogans like “Paste lagao dabur ka, naam hatao babar ka”(Use dabur and remove the name of babur) and “maarenge mar jaayenge, mandir yahi banayenge” (we might die or kill but we will construct the temple). People re-iterated the notion on Muslims being “kiraydaar” (people who live on rent) in this country. They came as invaders. They might have come as “invaders” some seven-eight centuries back but in a country that came into its existence three centuries back. They came as “invaders” just as the forefathers of these interviews must have come about. And if there are voices to say that this is also historically contested with different theories, then so is this entire notion of “muslims” coming, as the contemporary sources did not refer to their religion. But even if we do not talk about history as it may make this piece longer and maybe tiring, it is about that even if this was really a conquest mosque, as the rigged ASI report says, it is foolish to try to undo history. The court verdict, though it did give 1/3rd portion to waqf board, failed to instil this sense of practicality in these mindsets. It was seen as passive by these blind fundamentalists. The ‘truth’ was neglected for a secular farce. These sentiments are once again at the disposal of the hindu fundamentalists.
This issue also raised questions for the nature of the media. It is shocking that the local media has ignored anti-communal voices. It has even ignored the very statement of Anand Patwardhan. The local media is supporting these goons, trying to make loads of headlines and breaking news and putting our ‘secular’ democracy to shame.
But an important thing is this entire scene is the voice of the “poor” Hinduism. Having born in a hindu family and being a hindu by habit, as I put it, I can say that ‘Hinduism’ does not allow taking the lives of the innocent. The religion has survived centuries because of its ability to absorb. ‘Hinduism’ teach people to be accommodating. I also feel that nothing or no-one can hurt my sentiments and atleast, it cannot hurt the sentiments of “my” God!
I would like to conclude with the statement of the Hindu priest in the movie. The priest was appointed by the court. He had remarked that whether it is a temple or a mosque, it is the house of the God. How can you destroy a house of God to replace it with another? The priest was assassinated some days later.
Devika Mittal Bio: Postgraduate student of Sociology(South Asian University), Core Member- Mission Bhartiyam, Core Member- Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign
Blog : http://devikamittal.blogspot.com, http://devikamittal.wordpress.com/
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