The Intellectual Chicanery

The chicanery of some of our intellectuals is disgusting. Dalits have every right to portray their struggle cinematically in whichever way they like and others have every right to criticize or praise the cinematic qualities of such portrayals. I consider Kaala to be a very average movie with some cliched symbolism. There may be others who may think that the film is brilliant and with some original ideas and imaginative directorial touches. I have no objection against them. What I object vehemently is the thrill with which some of these guys who when writing about the movie equate Rama with Hindutva and proclaim in a rather triumphant voice that Ranjith has turned the Ramayana upside down.

Ramayana says that it is wrong to kidnap and force a woman against her will. Has this been turned upside down? Ramayana says goodness will triumph over evil and the fall of evil will be spectacular. Has this been turned upside down? Many Hindus who worship Rama have nothing to do with Hindutva and it is idiotic to hurt them. A great many of them support the just causes of the Dalits.

Let me say this plainly. It is very easy to insult any god or his son or his messiah or his prophet (first, middle or last) or his avatar. It doesn’t take much intelligence to do it. But it takes courage and honesty to do it when the religion under discussion is either Islam or Christianity at least here in India.

Let me give two examples.

Let us say a person from the Kanyakumari district takes a movie in which he portrays a Christian priest as a villain who indulges in child molestation. He however gives brilliant sermons regularly in the local church. A godless man finally exposes him. Will the defeat of the priest mean that the Bible has been turned upside down and Satan has suddenly become acceptable?

Let us say a movie portrays Aligarh in which a khatib who rapes and kills young girls and who never misses his Friday Khutbah is finally killed by a person who is not very overtly religious. Does this mean that the Holy Quran has been turned upside down and Iblis enthroned?

I don’t think so. But I think the guys who are quick to turn Ramayana upside down will either keep a deathly silence or lament loudly that the minority feelings have been offended.

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