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“The final Solution” on the Gujarat riots.

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This Saturday afternoon was spent in watching the movie documentary “The final solution” by Rakesh Sharma, which I obtained from a blog titled Kalabaaz. It was not the most pleasant way to spend part of the weekend, but it definitely was thought provoking.

I will not claim that the movie tells us what “really” happened in Godhra and Gujarat, as the whole matter is a bit too complicated for me to decide what reality was from some newspaper articles and a documentary. It has interviews of people who were affected by the riots, some recording of hate filled speeches and rallies by the VHP and other goons and some more interviews of people who lost their family members in the burning of coach S/6 of Sabarmati express in Godhra. What the movie does accomplish is to expose the scary face of Hindu fundamentalism, which I find as revolting and dangerous as its Islamic, Christian or any other religious fundamentalism there is around.

It cannot be denied that Islamic rulers have in the past targeted people of other religions because they did not follow Islam. It is also undeniable that the current mood of fighting fire with fire and launching a campaign of hate against Muslims is not the right way to go. If people set about avenging every act of violence in history, we would probably still be gassing the Germans, shooting the Japanese, colonising the British and the French and nuking the US. We will have the ex-lower castes warring with the higher ones and the women warring against the men, in short, we would be in a huge mess. It may sound flippant of me to sit around and ask people to forgive and forget when I have not undergone the horrors they have, but nevertheless, I feel it is necessary to have more directed action towards curbing violence than having a bunch of armed people running around like headless chickens slaughtering anyone who comes in their path. Islamic terrorism must be countered by hitting the terrorists and hitting them hard, but not while targeting the Muslim corner shop owner who probably does not care two hoots about religious conversion and would just want to go about his business. The ideal would be a nation built with laws that do not favour any particular religion and people should either follow the laws or if they do not like them, then they should be free to leave and go wherever they want.

This new brand of Hindu fundamentalism is scary because it is a bunch of people with swords and more testosterone than brains. The people who have the brains sit in the political office and make speeches inciting the rest of the testosterone filled crowd to go and do their bidding. The result is that we have the 9/11 attacks, incidents in Godhra and when religion no longer provides enough mileage, the MNS “standing up” for the Marathi speaking people in Mumbai. Hindu fundamentalism is scary because for Hinduism there is no concept of conversion. Caught in an authoritarian Hindu state, you are either a Hindu or you are in trouble, with no choice of conversion to save oneself.

The film has a short section in which Hindu and Muslim men have a go at each other (verbally of course) on what ails each other’s communities and what should be done about it. The discussion shows that there are issues with both parties and it is impossible to say that only one of them is to blame. The civilised way would be that the leaders of the two communities to take an active role in finding the bones of contention and trying to resolve the differences, by improving their own communities and by cooperating with the other party to remove prejudices. They would encourage people to get educated, or push for education facilities where they are not available. They should encourage people to think for themselves instead of blindly following the hate mongers. They should also play down parts of the scriptures that promote violence and subjugation and put in in perspective that maybe that enthusiasm was acceptable in the dark ages but not now. That is the only way I see this whole problem going away. Unfortunately, the leaders in question are probably themselves filled with hatred and they merely transfer the hatred to the testosterone filled idiots who then go around waving saffron/green flags and feeling important. They play up the differences instead of erasing them and fracture the electorate, enabling them to hold on to power. Uptil sixty years ago, the British had the same divide and rule policy and it is quite a shame to see it still being used with such success. Religion and casteism has been such a huge success for dividing the Indian people that the thought does creep into one’s mind that maybe the policy of the early Chinese communist government of banning religion is a smart way to go. But then, can’t expect the politicians to give up their cash cow so easily can we?

The scariest part of the movie was the short interview with a young boy in the Shah Alam refugee camp who witnessed his relatives being murdered during the riots. This boy wants to be a soldier when he grows up, so that he can avenge his family by killing the Hindus. He is ripe for picking as a future Jihadi and one can almost feel the glee of the recruiters for Islamic terrorism when they watch this boy speak. If this boy does grow up to become a terrorist(which I hope he doesn’t), he will not be a product of Islamic aspirations of world domination, but the product of Hindu fundamentalism.

As the movie ends…”In the hope that such madness never recurs”. Also in the hope that the fanatical Hindu zealots never get to run amok again.

p.s For all those interested, the movie can be downloaded from here or can be watched from the Kalabaaz site. In my opinion, it is worth the time downloading this movie, even over multiple sessions if you have a slower net connection. Following a ban from the then BJP government, the Film director Rakesh Sharma had to follow a “pirate and circulate” policy for the film. So point any of your friends to this link, just so that they may get thinking about this whole issue.

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Written by clueso

September 22, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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2 Responses

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  1. Glad you found The Final Solution thought provoking. I know its very disturbing to watch.

    One point I think is important to bring to notice though. You said:

    Hindu fundamentalism is scary because for Hinduism there is no concept of conversion

    You’re right that traditionally Hinduism does not have a proselytizing system. But the Sangh Parivar is working to change that. The Missionary Position may be of interest to you.

    Navneet

    September 26, 2008 at 12:26 am

  2. @Navneet: Thanks for pointing me to the other article of proselytizing by the new found protectors of Hinduism. I only guess that a couple of hundred years from now, people will be studying about the “Hindu Crusades” and reacting with the same kind of horror as they do for the Christian ones today.

    Not pretty at all…

    clueso

    September 28, 2008 at 11:36 pm


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