Jobs @ MG
Bollywood goes saffron
By M Ghazali Khan,
Sunny Deol, Amisha Patel
Director: Anil Sharma
It was Hitler’s Cabinet Minister for public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Joseph Goebbels, who had propounded the theory of repeating a lie as many
times as it may appear to be true. His practice has become a golden rule
for pseudo liberals and all those who believe in and practice fascism. In
India anti-Muslim organizations and crypto Muslim haters have found a
great benefit in this rule.
Among the lies that they have been constantly repeating since 1947 and the
propaganda with which they have been poisoning innocent minds since then
is the distortion of historical facts in general and the events that
forced the Muslims to demand for a separate Muslim homeland in particular.
Three generations of Indians have grown up hearing the story that Muslims
alone were responsible for the partition of India, creation of Pakistan
and inciting communal violence in those days of virtual madness. The
intermittent cycle of anti-Muslim riots since then is merely the
expression of the deep hatred with which innocent minds have been
Until recently Bollywood films were somewhat safe from this tendency.
However, realizing the effectiveness and impact of electronic/audio-video
media, especially the films, during the last few years anti-Muslim
elements have engaged themselves in a clever and subtle propaganda against
Muslims and Islam. But the producers of recent controversial film G[h]adar:
a Parem Katha (Mutiny: A love story) has given a new twist to this rather
sophisticated propaganda so much so that a liberal secularist like Shabana
Azmi found some of the scenes as provocative.
The film, set in the partition era begins with a scene of Pakistani
soldiers giving notice, on loudspeaker, to the Sikhs and Hindus to leave
for India by a certain time and an elderly Sikh handing packets of poison
to his daughters and instructing them to consume it "laikin kisi
musalman ko apni ismat na lootne dena" (but do not let any Muslim to
defile your honour).
The emigrating Sikhs and Hindus are attacked by Muslim mobs. The
narrator's voice then explains to the viewers, "aur is trah lakhon
Hindu apne hi desh men ghar se be ghar ho gaey". ("And this is
how millions of Hindus became homeless in their own country). A train full
of mutilated bodies reaches Amritsar on which a graffiti in Urdu reads,
"Kafiro kaatna Muslamano se seekho" (O, you non-believers learn
from Muslims how to slaughter"). It enrages Sikhs and Hindus to
retaliate. They go on the rampage and start killing Muslims.
Among the angry Sikhs is a young truck driver Tara Singh. He has known
Sakeena, the daughter of a wealthy Muslim businessman and Muslim League
leader Ashraf Ali Khan, since her days in a convent school in Shimla. Both
of them had felt attracted towards each other. Tara Singh’s own family
has been killed by the Muslims and he is roaming around in rage when he
comes across Sakeena who is being chased by other members of the Sikh
community. He comes to the rescue of Sakeena and gives her shelter in his
house. The girl is so much impressed by his character that she refuses to
go to Pakistan and join her rich uncle in Lahore. Despite their anger
against the Muslims, Tara Singh’s uncle and auntie reluctantly allow him
to marry Sakeena. She settles with the Sikh family and gives birth to a
Two or three years later Sakeena sees in a newspaper the photograph of
Ashraf Ali Khan and learns that her father had succeeded in escaping to
Pakistan and had been installed as the Mayor of Lahore. She comes to the
Pakistani High Commission in Delhi and informs her family on phone that
she had married a Sikh and had a son from him. The cunning and
"ungrateful" politician circulates the story to the Pakistani
press about the atrocities of the Sikhs on his daughter and her bravery.
The daily Jang, serializes her harrowing tale on its first pages. On the
other hand Ashraf Ali Khan cheats Sakeena to visit him in Pakistan leaving
her son and husband in India and promises to have them there three days
later. But in Lahore she is forced to marry her cousin, an army officer.
She opposes it and resists all of the threats and pressures when her
"brave" husband reaches at the scene and demonstrates heroic
bravery. On the advice of a Qazi (religious minister) he agrees to accept
Tara Singh as his son in law if he is converted to Islam. In front of a
gathering of hundreds of civilians and army personnel the Qazi asks Tara
Singh if he was willing to accept Islam. "Sab se bada mazhab apne
beevi bachchon ko bachana hai" (The biggest religion is to save ones
wife and children) Tara Singh retorts. Qazi angrily asks him if he was
accepting Islam or not. "Yes" replies Tara Singh. But Ashraf Ali
Khan is not yet satisfied. "Islam qabool karne se pahle yeh to dekh
lo ke yeh Musalman hone ke qabil bhi hai ya nahin" (Before he accepts
Islam let us test if he is worthy of it or not.") he says. He then
himself asks Tara Singh to say "Islam Zindabad" and reluctantly
Tara Singh complies. He then asks him to pronounce, "Pakistan
Zindabad." Tara Singh again fulfils the demand with some hesitation.
But being asked to say "Hindustan Murdabad" (death to India)
infuriates Tara Singh.
Displaying Rambo-like bravery he snatches his wife and son away from the
"heartless" Muslims butchering many of them. He is searched by
the Pakistani intelligence and is confronted by the Pakistani police, army
and air force personnel. But anyone who comes in his way is eliminated.
As the film comes to an end most of the Pakistan army soldiers are killed
by Tara Singh, Ashraf Ali Khan shoots at Sakeena from a helicopter. She is
injured and thereat-paternal love overwhelms the father. He asks her for
forgiveness. He then turns to Tara Singh and says, "Mujhe Maaf Kardo
Beta, Damaad ko to ankhon par bithaya jata hai. Main to sab se bade mazhab
insaniyat ko bhool hi gaya tha" (Forgive me my son, sons-in-law
deserve the highest love and respect from their in-laws. I had forgotten
that the greatest religion is humanism) .
To show his secularism and impartiality the director has shown one or two
good characters among Muslims too.
While Muslims in India have condemned the film as anti-Muslim, its
director Anil Sharma and actress Amisha Patel claim that they have
reportedly received phone calls from places such as Lahore and Karachi
praising the film. A review on the film in the Pakistani magazine Mag is
enough to substantiate their claims.
Most strange, bizarre and ignorant comment on the film has come from one
of the most articulate and well-informed leaders of the Muslim community
in India, Sayed Shahabuddin. According to Khushwant Singh (Hindustan
Times, 28 July) in his explanation to Karan Thapar as to why the Muslims
wanted the film to be banned, Sayed Sahib said that the Muslims specially
the Shias found it objectionable because its heroin bore the name of
Sakeena which was the name of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) grand daughter.
Ms Patel who boasts of doing her research and gaining enough knowledge
about Muslim culture is even unable to pronounce simple Urdu words
properly. Even the name of the film Gadar (Ghadar, Mutiny) has no
relevance to the era in which it is set. Anyone who has even rudimentary
knowledge of Indian history, the mere mention of the word Ghadar would
make him think that the subject was about the famous uprising of 1857 by
the Indians against British colonial rule. q