This has to be a first for me - writing about a movie . However this is something that I have long ruminated about - the rise of Hindu Fundamentalism in India.
It starts for me with being back in the hallowed halls of my alma mater - IIT Bombay. And to the war that was fought there..and of Virtual Kshatriya and Kensy Joseph. Even then using the battlefields of electronic media and Usenet. I still remember the clashes in iitb.general over the need for India to return to its roots - something that was part of another world, another society, another era - against the call to look, to see and to absorb culture from around us, from the media and from the world (which did and still does predominantly mean American culture).
If I try (real hard) to ignore the echoes of those times and focus on what I want to say, I can only think of one thing that is of relevance from back then.
When you absorb culture from around you, you also absorb your own - it is definitely not exclusive. However when the entire basis of a society is exclusion of some values, culture, race …hell, even cuisine, too much time is focused on segregating what is, and what is’nt and gives rise to an entire clique of people that act as the guardians of civilization. And what is lost… is society itself. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
I talk about Water, the movie by Deepa Mehta that was forced to be made underground because it was accused of being anti-Hindu. And of the sad reality it quotes. There is no civilization that is virginally pure (Salem Witch Trials anyone?), however a society evolves higher when it is able to criticize itself.
As President (sic) Andrew Shepherd once said
You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil; who is standing center stage advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.