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Firaaq Movie Review

March 25, 2009

Firaaq (separation) is a docu-drama of the immediate aftermath of 2002 Gujarat riots. We are taken into the lives of a multitude of characters, both rich and poor, and shown how the riots impact their lives. The movie, despite it being a docu-drama, moves at an even clip and makes you feel in a way a documentary never can. The accusations against this film, that it does not show the other side are true enough, but I agree with the director Nandita Das when she says that there is no other side. How can there be an “other” side when it comes to the slaughter of innocent people? There is never any sane reason to set upon innocent people is there! In a way Das makes a very powerful statement by not showing the “other side.” This is her vision as a director and I laud her for it.

The movie has some powerful actors like Naseerudin Shah, Paresh Rawal and Deepti Nawal. There is something starkly dramatic about the performances of these three. Shah plays an old man (musician) who does not want to see the ugly side of the Hindu Muslim divide, living as he does in the past. Paresh Rawal plays the role of a middle class Gujarati man who has been involved in the riots, and plays the character with subtle aplomb. What is disturbing is the way the director depicts the relationship between Paresh Rawal and Deepti Nawal who are husband and wife. The man is shown to be dominating and cruel, treating his wife almost like a slave. I think this is an important point because when it comes to murder and mayhem, rape and looting, good people are not drawn into it. Those who participate in riots have an evil side and their family members are often at the receiving end. They can beat and abuse their family members behind closed doors, secure in the belief that they will never be found out. It is the same with rioters. They are secure in the belief that they will never be found out and as shown in this movie, the police are in on it too and protect the evil-doers.

There are other important characters in the movie, like Muneera (Shahana Goswami of Rock On fame), an autorickshaw driver’s wife who is devastated when she realises that her little home with its new sofa has been burnt to a cinder. Her desperate attempt to find the answer to Who and Why almost make her turn on her best friend, Jyoti (Amruta Subhash). Shubhash’s acting is good too. A central character in the movie is a little boy called Mohsin, whose family has been killed in the riots. His life intertwines with the life of other characters.

Ravi K Chandran’s cinematography adds to the charged atmosphere and so does the clever editing which takes us from one story to another without any jerks.

This movie is not just about the aftermath of the Gujarat riots, it’s about people. As the movie progresses one forgets that one is watching a film that has something to do with Hindus and Muslims. It is a story about human beings. There is a character that all of us can identify with and the movie ends with hope.

Firaaq is good cinema. A serious dark film no doubt but it has its lessons for each one of us. A great effort by Das. And it’s just her first film as a director.

(Photo is from Rediff)

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130 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2009 9:36 am

    Been meaning to watch this movie, now all the more determined to!!!

    neat review :)

  2. March 25, 2009 9:37 am

    I disagree with you, i think for the first time, that there is the other side. Our media is obsessed with pro-muslim stance and anti-hindu subjects. I don’t deny that riots were wrong but then what about the carnage? Was that right?? No? then how come thats not been shown anywhere or talked about? Oh, of course, they were hindus who were burnt alive… so who cares!!!

    I am a rational person and if one is really rational, then both the sides have to be seen.

    Media simply loves getting footage out of this Hindu-muslim riot in gujarat and they simply close their eyes when it comes to ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri pandits!!!

    Gosh, how non-secular we are!! Or are we really???

    Nita, this outburst is not towards you… its towards the sentence up there “there is not other side…”

    • March 25, 2009 9:59 am

      Nita, Sakhi,
      I am not at all impressed by Nandita’s statement that “there is no other side..”. When it comes to riots of Hindu-Muslims, both sides are responsible for it. Sometimes one side is more responsible than the other. But its never one sided. Or say I don’t believe that its ever one sided.

      Am I misinterpreting the sentence?

      • March 25, 2009 1:06 pm

        Well, you could only be in one of the two sides. Murderer or victim. The first one is just not an option for a free-fair society. The second one could be labeled by any difference (religion, say). The fact is some people end up being marginalized and exploited and murdered. So, ‘there is no other side’.

    • October 17, 2012 3:49 pm

      Firaaq is an eye opener…… A muslim fears to voice his muslim name fearing he would be killed because he is a Muslim,, shame on …………………….

    • Raj_Sharma permalink
      April 15, 2013 7:36 pm

      what nonsense??it is a movie,not an investigation report of the post-godhra communal riots in Gujrat and its causes…it is basically a story of emotional breakdown after the communal riot…why u expect it to tell u the other side of the story??

    • Raj_Sharma permalink
      April 15, 2013 7:53 pm

      1.Media simply loves getting footage out of this Hindu-Muslim riot in Gujarat and they
      simply close their eyes when it comes to ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri pundits!!!

      why do u want the media to scratch the wounds of the Kashmiri pundits by telling them the stories of their ethnic cleansing??what good purpose would it serve??Do you get some sadistic pleasure from such things?

  3. March 25, 2009 9:56 am

    In Godhra Carnage, two little girls lost their mother and father .. They both were in the train which was burnt by a mob of 2000+ muslims .. In few seconds, those two little girls became orphan ..

    I would have loved to watch this movie if it was potraying life of these two little girls after they have lost their family .. But who cares?? .. Those two girls are hindu and her parents were hindu too .. So neither our own media cares about it nor Miss very-secular, very-scholar, very-academic , very-thinker Nandita Das ..

    In Gujarat riots 750 muslims and 350 hindus were killed .. There were many hindu families which felt the pain but no one cares about it .. Why?? .. Because they are Hindus .. Turning a blind eye to hindu pain and appreciating and giving undue credits to wrong dids of minority community is in fashion these days .. But it is a real big threat that I’m feeling which will divide India soon ..

    I’m not watching this movie. Period.

    @Sakhi: You stole my words .. That exactly what I wanted to convey .. But you had put it in more better and effective way .. But I guess being a gujarati and having been stayed in Ahmedabad during riots, we know the truth better .. Hats off to you..

  4. March 25, 2009 10:06 am

    Violence in any form can not be justified. Same time, let us not ignore the fact that no violence takes place anywhere without a spark or trigger.We conveniently look into the “Effect” by ignoring the “Cause”.

  5. March 25, 2009 10:09 am

    Amazing review.

    Short, crisp and not revealing any details, but leaving the readers with exactly the right feeling (to watch the movie) !

  6. March 25, 2009 10:39 am

    Soham, Sakhi, Suda, Old Sailor, I know how you feel because momentarily (while watching this movie) I felt it too but the feeling passed. My take is that this is the vision of a person, the director. She made a movie on what she felt. She has the creative freedom to do it. If there was something she could have mentioned is a brief background before the start of the movie in text form. This would have put it in perspective for foreigners.
    Overall though I felt the movie was about humanity more than anything and this was what I felt when I walked out of the movie. In fact I was very proud to be a Hindu then, proud that Nandita Das was a Hindu but she could show the side of the Muslims.
    Also I strongly disagree with anyone who believes that attacking innocent people because of a carnage by unknown people is justified. I guess if any one of you feels that the violence is justified because of that then we can agree to disagree. Violence is never justified. Normal people do not go out and start killing and raping and looting innocent people because some unknown people from their community are killed. And certainly the police do not participate or show sympathy to the killers. If some people pull the trigger on innocent people I blame them.

    • March 25, 2009 10:55 am

      Nita,
      I guess Suda (thats me :D ) and Sakhi and Soham are just pissed off because few people see blaming Hindu and sympathizing Muslims as a fashion or something. It just came out here.

      As you say, Nandita has every right to make a good movie on such a subject and I am certainly not against it. :)

      I feel that last para of your comment should be written on posters and walls allover the world. :)

    • March 27, 2009 12:19 pm

      I agree with you Nita. when we talk of ‘the other side’ we are obviously trying to look for some justification. And violence against innocent citizens is never justified.
      And it is true that normal people do not go out and kill innocent people …. Those who are involved in violence and killings are not ordinary people, these are anti social elements who got a chance to do what they anyway do, but this time they have no fear of punishment.

    • Anuj permalink
      April 1, 2009 6:13 am

      even movies like AAmir was also made by a hindu, but it was not about Bashing, She just did it for quick fame. How many of us remember deleting of Scenes from RDB relating to congress etc, Manmohan singh and Sonia Gandhi saw the movie before release.

      This release has a political connection.

  7. vasudev permalink
    March 25, 2009 10:47 am

    sakhi/suda/soham…

    i am glad that there are some voices rising now against these pseudo-seculars who are agents of anti-hindu promoters. these people have hindu names but work against their very own religion (like cancer or anti-immunity agents). in a way it would be better not to encourage them anymore (better ostrasise them). one fitting response would be to get back at such enemies by not appreciating their products and writing reviews against their sordidly tainted ejaculations. such pepole like nandita das/shobha dey/arundhati roy would like to sell hinduism and india for a few dollars (have you ever noticed that all those who win booker and oscar from india are those who show india and the hindus in a bad light?)…they are our internal enemies and need to be ignored. i entirely agree! gujarat riots had the other side. the conflagration was started by the muslims. now they cannot cry saying that they got burnt as well! ignore the muslim agents under hindu garb! may truth prevail!

    • March 25, 2009 10:57 am

      Vasudev,
      I don’t agree with everything you say, may be you are exaggerating few points here. I won’t say which though ;)

    • March 25, 2009 11:00 am

      Vasudev, the meaning of secular is “not religious” and I think that many people like De who are accused of being pseudo-secular are in fact simply secular. I agree with you about Roy though.

      • Rshankar permalink
        March 30, 2009 2:14 am

        Secularism is moreso a belief that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be based on evidence and fact unbiased by religious influence..
        it cant just be termed as “not religious”

        Everyone has their biases and it is very very difficult to be secular.

        The fact is it is in fashion to be elitist and belittle Hinduism which has if scriptures be believed- the most secular credentials engrained in it than any other religion be it Christianity and especially islam.

        Das has right to her movie no doubt and people have rights not to see it.

        In a riot one cannot omit or be silent about the causa proxima , or the other view else the secular element is missing and the movie becomes apologetic and this movie is inherently biased is my assessment if it shows rather vociferously only one side of the coin.

        The character played by Rawal exists in large numbers in society, but if a statistical /ratio analysis be done, how many hindus dominate their wives in comparison to muslims?

        What about the passive brainwashing of the tabligi jamaat who had a big hand in radicalising muslims and the shameless pandering to them by the so called secular partys ? Why has burkha wearing increased in India?

        • March 30, 2009 8:50 am

          shankar, that was not the point Das was trying to make. That Hindus dominate their wives! In fact in the muslim couple that was shown, there was a situation where the woman did not get equal treatment. I think people have completely misunderstood this movie. It’s not about only Hindus being mean to their wives. It’s about the victims of riots. And as for the meaning of secular, that’s already defined but yes you are right, it is not easy to be truly secular. But people who are not religious find it easier. Unfortunately those who want people from their own community to be on “their” side get very upset when they find that this is not the case. That the “sides” are taken based on issues, not religion. Each issue needs to be taken differently.

    • March 25, 2009 1:22 pm

      I too do not agree to all that you say over here. I just wish that whatever/ whoever is taken to task for the wrong doing should be done with a rational thinking and not just because he / she belongs ot a particular sect, cast or religion!!

    • March 25, 2009 1:56 pm

      I’m not a hindu fanatic buddy !! .. I’m secular and I love and respect all other religions and faith .. All other muslims, christians etc are my fellow citizens and I love them ..

      But you have to call a spade a spade .. Godhra was started by minority community and then the backlash occured which was inevitable .. Nobody would be able to stop it as we saw the anger and fury of the people on the day godhra carnage happened .. I stay in Ahmedabad and I’m socially very active .. So even the very well educated white collar people too were furious and they were like ‘Enough is Enough’ .. But I do not justify or defend the post-godhra riots .. it was a nightmare for us all and an act of shame .. but you also have to criticize the root cause and that is burning of 59 men.women,children alive without any provocation, without any reason ..

      After sikh-riots in 1984, congress and rajiv gandhi openly defended it .. so it’s like when my mother is killed and my men butchered other sikhs, it is justified but when someone else’s mother and father are killed and if backlash takes place, it is an act of national shame ..

      Such hypocrites, we are !!

    • Raj_Sharma permalink
      April 15, 2013 10:08 am

      it is very unfortunate and shameful the way Godhra train burning incident is used by some
      people to justify the post-Godhead communal riots in which thousands of innocent
      people were killed in Gujrat…i wish they could go beyond religion and see humans as humans.

  8. March 25, 2009 11:00 am

    If one wants to portray the victimisation of innocents at the hands of facists and extremists taking to unlawful and violent revenge in a fit of anger, a balanced portrayal is of utmost importance. But in her own admittance, Nandita Das has expressed that she “had to tell the story of the genocide that the Muslim community suffered after the Godhra incident in Gujarat”. And then to say that there was no other suffering, gives a tilted view. No attack on innocent victims whether communal or political attacks can be justified, but it is often observed that atrocities against some seem to attract more sympathy than those of the some others.

    gopinath, at no point did she say that there is no other suffering. This did not come out in the movie at all! The very fact that she said she is only showing one side (in an interview) means that she knows that there is another side, but she is not showing it. If you see the movie you will know what I mean.

  9. March 25, 2009 11:04 am

    Reading the comments above is why I am not exactly convinced with the whole Varun saga…of course there is a lot of distance between the places,but then it seems to be a reflex…

    This issue has gone beyond the phrase of “for the sake of my religion/region…”,there seems to be a fear in the society and that is just utilized by a few…..

    But violence is never justified,not against those who can’t fight back….

    I will watch the movie..

    • March 25, 2009 11:08 am

      Vishesh, I think you should because what comes out in this movie is a hatred and fear that some people have of Muslims. I am glad you mentioned Varun Gandhi. Those are exactly the kind of people who participated in the riots, those who always had a simmering hatred for the Muslim community.

      • vasudev permalink
        March 25, 2009 11:30 am

        Nita…again there is the ‘other side’ which pseudo-seculars and bought-out media would like to hide (though by mistake one newspaper did become honest for a while!).

        varun gandhi’s reaction was entirely to reports of hindu minority harrassment and bashing by the majority muslims at pilbhit after the elections were declared.

        i am surprised and chagrined that the hindu is such an idiot who blames his stinging cheek without realising that someone had slapped it! no wonder kalidasas are born only in hinduism!

        • March 25, 2009 12:40 pm

          Varun Gandhi makes me vomit. So did his father make me vomit.

          • vasudev permalink
            March 25, 2009 1:05 pm

            that’s your personal problem! need not be mine.

          • vasudev permalink
            March 25, 2009 2:51 pm

            ok. ok. i apologise to you nita. that one below was a sharp reaction and not intended actually. you are a cool girl! :)

      • March 25, 2009 1:29 pm

        That’s my exact point… why only the hatred towards muslims is to be potrayed??? Why, why, why?

        • March 25, 2009 2:03 pm

          Sakhi, there is no such thing that hatred towards muslims only has to be portrayed. Like Nimmy said if there are so many people who feel like you, why are they not writing a book or making a movie on it? After all there was a movie showing the atrocities on north indians because someone made it. This is a free country and anyone can make a movie on anything.

          • Anuj permalink
            April 1, 2009 6:19 am

            so when do we get a movie on the other side of Hindus ? Forget it never gonna happen its not a quick fame formula. I still wonder is secularism only for one religion, there are parties who openly favor muslims and talk crap about them, when is that recorded :)

            I agree Varun went overboard, but which minister does not, ever seen Sonia Gandhi’s rallies haha i know incidents where i would die laughing.

            Regarding movie, i still feel its release was for quick fame and political support. Govt. in Center makes a lot of difference.

  10. March 25, 2009 11:07 am

    Nice review..
    Got to watch the movie soon..

  11. March 25, 2009 11:52 am

    It would have been a tit for tat and maybe justifiable if hindus (in Gujarat) there had burnt alive or bombed 1000 or 10000 muslims( in Gujarat). But taking revenge was not what happened there. 56 people were burned alive-it is unfortunate. But newspapers in Gujarat (i think Sabari) spread false headlines as “10-15 hindu women were dragged out of train and raped by muslims fanatics in slums” etc etc and later follow up news was ‘Few of these women’s bodies were found with their breasts cut off’.. So,killing 56 people were not enough motivating,and hence the false news of rape(attack on honour on both men and women) were spread.

    Also,gang/mass rapes,stripping women , minors, pregnant ladies on ROADS,splitting open their vagina and wombs,shoving up wooden pieces up the vagina,inserting objects into bodies and in the end,pouring petrol and burning them etc etc are not an ‘at the spur of the moment’ response,but a well planned plot. and this is what makes post -godhra incidents more henious ,more horrific and more brutal incident..

    Next time such a killing(as like Godhra) happens,I suggest all so-called guardians of religion or community to burn or shoot or bomb muslims and I request to you not to do as how happened (Post-Godhra) I would prefer dying with a gun or with a bomb than by the above said ‘smart’ ways’..

    I don’t understand why these people (cry babies) don’t make a film or documentary themselves about the ‘other side’.. What prevents you from doing that? Bottom line is that nobody is bothered about it and nobody is ready to take pain as to do some effort.. Why don’t you yourself make a report on Kashmiri Pundits or about Hindu women getting raped in KAshmir?..Whom are you waiting for? Why don’t you yourself show me the other-side ? Or is it that you yourself aren’t sure of it and that other-side exists only in your imagination??

    I wonder whom are these kind of people making fool of ? What exactly are you talking against? (in this particular case of Firaaq).Is The movie a lie? If so,why don’t you come up with a counter-movie and talk the truth? If media is biased,why don’t you dare to do it on your own and come up with the other-side? Neither will they take some effort,nor will they appreciate others..Cool,keep going…

    • March 25, 2009 12:36 pm

      Thank you Nimmy. Unfortunately we have so much hatred in this country and it makes me sick to the core.

      • Milind Kher permalink
        March 25, 2009 11:39 pm

        Nita,

        A well written review. I agree with you that we have a lot of hatred in this country. This is actually preventing us from being one of the top countries around.

        When intellectual capital is expended by people launching diatribes against each other, and when people drift apart instead of coming together, how can you have synergy?

      • Anuj permalink
        April 1, 2009 6:22 am

        its in every country Nita, racism hatred etc. All i think movies like these try to justify and ignite them. Ppl are hurt, and to add to all why only muslim community is attached to terrorism. I have muslim friends, all of my dad’s clients are muslims i have no hatred for them.

        Just for some insight i would request you to watch a movie made in pakistan “Khuda ke Liye” if you could.

    • vasudev permalink
      March 25, 2009 12:57 pm

      Nimmy

      I am definitely not going to support the hindu attrocities on muslim women and children but what happened at godhra village was also true as i happened to interview a few godhrites about two years ago when i visited halol. the locals themselves told me that the said muslim ‘atyachaar’ on hindu women had indeed taken place. now whether we needto believe or not is different but i would always believe a villager when he says something and that too after all these years. a lot of hindu bashing is taking place now because the current central govt is anti-hindu.

      not that i have any respect for bjp or advani either. those are the jokers who started the whole thing and i believe advani refused to go to kashmir at the end of his ram rath yatra. now what sort of a party is that which makes use of a religious icon for self-sustenance and prosperity?

      no! what i want is a fair projection of truth on either side. i do not want movies made to appease a particular religion and let truth go sail the arabian sea for a while? no! you say hindus do not bring out the other side. that’s because hindus are not a controlled group. hindus are free to criticise their religion (unlike islam). remember mamootty? i know him personally cause he is a family friend. even mamootty had to take a hardliner attitude for sometime because he came under threat of the ndf. aamir khan had to sport beard for sometime because he came under threat. salman khan was criticised widely because he visited a hanuman temple. all that is ok because the hindus are too scatter brained to object objectively. instead they try to smear muck on themselves (no wonder it is only the hindus who celebrate ‘holi’!

      • March 25, 2009 1:23 pm

        Vasudev,I agree with all what you said. But you must understand that majority muslims don’t speak up not bcoz they agree with it,but bcoz they fear of upcoming hulla ballu. But the ice is melting and people have started speaking now.And now,the other group is turning its face and moving away rather than trying to set things right by joining hand in hand.

        You don’t need to belong to a particular community to speak truth . Nandita Das is a hindu and she bothered to empathize. I don’t find any reason to disbelieve the villager you talked to. Many many hindu women are raped in Kashmir by so-called bloody militants. But here,we are engaging in blame game,like, hindu women are raped in Kashmir,so no problme with muslim women getting raped in Gujarat. So,in the end,both of these are let to continue.Is that the right way? Both of them are wrong,period.

        I am not any pro-congress or anti-bjp.Both of them are as murky as it can be. I don’t know if the current govt is anti-hindu,but it is denefinetly not pro-muslim..Both parties are keeping legs in both boats and fooling us both.The sooner we realize that,the better…

        • March 25, 2009 8:37 pm

          “I am not any pro-congress or anti-bjp.Both of them are as murky as it can be.”

          Yet how differently they are treated in the media which does influence people’s views. Varun Gandhi vs. Rahul Gandhi. When was the last time a political leader from Congress/UPA was criticized in strong terms for making communal statements? Syed Shahbuddin regarding Mumbai? Did Akbaruddin Owaisi get the amount of criticism that Varun Gandhi is getting when Owaisi openly stated that someone like Taslima Nasreen should be beheaded? Where was feminist Renuka Chowdhury then?

          As long as there are double-standards and hypocrisy in the media, among politicians and more importantly, people, I don’t see anything changing for the better.

    • March 25, 2009 1:32 pm

      And do you think, honestly, that “Also,gang/mass rapes,stripping women , minors, pregnant ladies on ROADS,splitting open their vagina and wombs,shoving up wooden pieces up the vagina,inserting objects into bodies and in the end,pouring petrol and burning them etc etc ” were the facts and not made up points later on!!!

      Not all what was later portrayed later in media was true and of course not all was wrong…

      In India everything is skewed to the political whims and fancies!! :( Sadly!!

      • March 25, 2009 1:51 pm

        Maybe.I am not an eye witness to any of this..I have no other way except to believe what main stream media portrays. If they are wrong,I cannot be blamed for framing my opinion based on news from various sources,bcoz i have no way of travelling to a particular place and see things for myself.

        And how do we know this is all made up.?

    • March 25, 2009 8:27 pm

      Nimmy, you can find some videos of Bitta Karate on youtube, but our mainstream media is too obsessed with videos of Babu Bajrangi to pay any attention to it.

  12. March 25, 2009 12:27 pm

    Sorry if I was rude,but this sick word called pro-muslim makes me throw up. Media and everybody around have done enough and more harm to muslims by branding them all terrorists and pedophiles and still you say that world is pro-muslim.. ha ha ha ,what a ha ha ha

    Fitna and Danish Catroons are artistic expression,but Slumdog Millionaire and Firaaq is anti-hindu conspiracy .. When muslims complain about hate-speech or atricles against them,they are branded regressive and barbaric,but hanging and improsoning people just for uttering a word on holocaust denial,and making laws as to get every single person on the surface of earth deported to Israel (for the same reason) etc etc is very much right..duh…Slaughtering cows in hurting hindu sentiments..But porks chops is one’s freedom of expression or whatever the hell you call it. Sikhs can wear beard,when muslims ask for it,they are branded pro-taliban . What a fantastic place I live in !!!

    p.s: There are as many s****y muslims as much as there are others of the same clan. So what? A spade is a spade.. Period.

    Sorry Nita.

    • vasudev permalink
      March 25, 2009 1:03 pm

      again at the above…

      i doubt if you are referring to hindus acting thus against the muslims or the western world? i thought it was m.f.hussain who was the aggressor against hinduism? whether artistic or not it is entirely unholy to depict hindu godesses in sexual positions when no hindu puranas state the same.

      • March 25, 2009 1:28 pm

        And I thought it was unholy to depict a group’s Prophet as pig-faced ..And I thought no hadiths or verses state that Prophet was piggy-faced…

        • vasudev permalink
          March 25, 2009 2:40 pm

          of course you are right nimmy! i have nothing to object to except that none of the above scenarios you related have happened in India.

          my only question was: were these objections of yours against the hindus depicting prophet mohammed wrongly or were your objections to these provocative depictions by a western world? hindus, to the best of my knowledge, have neither projected the prophet in any wrong way at any time nor have they projected lord jesus christ or mother mary in any wrong way either. but the hindus themselves found both islam and christianity ‘xxx’ing their gods and godesses! if this is not unwanted provocation then i fail to understand what is?

  13. March 25, 2009 1:09 pm

    @Nimmy
    My apologies Nimmy , but I had to respond to this .

    “Fitna and Danish Catroons are artistic expression,but Slumdog Millionaire and Firaaq is anti-hindu conspiracy ”

    Is Danny Boyle dead ? Is Nandita Das dead or in hiding ? Did you see a large group of Hindu men baying for their blood ? Have they received any death-threats ? If not, then it is not the same . Google Theo Van Gogh , the film director . And please watch the videos of the Danish Cartoon controversy protests on you tube . If the Sangh Parivar does something similar against Nandita Das or Danny Boyle, or any other similarly perceived person, then it would be the same .

    “Slaughtering cows in hurting hindu sentiments..But porks chops is one’s freedom of expression or whatever the hell you call it”

    The cow is revered as a mother , Gau Mata , by many Hindus . That is why cow slaughter can hurt most Hindu sentiments . Pigs do not share a similar status wrt Islam . And as a matter of fact, most Hindus share the same contempt for pigs , as probably a Muslim does , even the non-vegetarian ones . And we still get beef in India, as far as I know .

    “I wonder whom are these kind of people making fool of ? What exactly are you talking against? (in this particular case of Firaaq).Is The movie a lie?”

    I wish the movie was a lie . It is not . It is a bitter truth . But , a sensible movie maker would have shown how it all started as well . Riots do not take place on their own . Something shitty happens, things get out of hand, followed by more crap . It is like an algorithm . I wrote about this in my post, We, the Foolish. If you have seen, Black Friday, you would remember, how the film maker shows the clips of the demolition of the Babree Masjid . And why did he do that ? Because that was the cause , and the 93 blasts and the riots were the effect . That is why it deserves more respect than Firaaq . And would the Pakistani government ever award a movie like that , or one on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits . Anyways, you know my views on Godhra and Kashmiri Pandits . I am not trying to justify why did it took place . But you have take everything into account .

    • March 25, 2009 1:36 pm

      Exactly what i wanted to say… couldn’t put it in such articulate manner!

    • March 25, 2009 1:44 pm

      Is Geert Wilders dead?Is Salman Rushdie dead? I don’t want to argue Kisalay,but I think you too are aware of the group of people who want to take revenge on muslims,for all the aristocracies strating with Aurangazed.. What a load of bullshit..Why do they hate me for something that a man did centuries ago? What can I do now?

      As you know Kislay,I have always talked harsh against so-called muslims who act like donkeys by protesting violently on streets.

      //And would the Pakistani government ever award a movie like that

      Why the hell do you care about them,are they worthy enough of appreciating us…

      I gotta go… Tooo much of work grining at me.I am blog-addicted,but this time,I have no other choice but to control myself..

      Bye

    • March 25, 2009 10:51 pm

      Kislay, you make an important point regarding (some) people’s attitudes, their perceptions and how they treat two different incidents of riots, when they should have one standard with no mention of religion, and should treat all such incidents in the same way as a law-and-order situation.

      It’s actually a good test – to ask people what they think of two riots – one that happened after Babri Masjid demolition, and one that happened after Godhra train incident. As long as we have people who justify the first and criticize the second, there’s work to be done.

  14. locutus83 permalink
    March 25, 2009 1:40 pm

    Hmmm. Gotta watch this movie. Parzania was a very well made film. Let’s see how this measures up.

    The more I see and read about such riots and conflicts all over the world, I am reminded of these two quotes:
    “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it with religious conviction.” — Blaise Pascal

    “Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion—several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.” –Mark Twain

    It only further enforces my conviction that organized religion is EVIL and the root cause of many evils in the world

    In my opinion, people who support or justify the carnage in Godhra and/or the post Godhra riots in any way remotely better have a long, hard peek into their own conscience, whatever little exists.

  15. March 25, 2009 2:10 pm

    @Nimmy
    Wilders and Rushdie are not dead, but they live under the shadow of a multitude of death threats . You know that . I am aware of what goes on . I wrote about it as well . Obviously, you or any other sane and patriotic Muslim cannot be held accountable for what some despotic tyrant did some centuries ago . And about the award, I don’t give a rat’s ass, but Nandita Das did not hesitate in accepting it . That bothers me . An Indian willingly accepting an award from Pakistan . I said it before, I will say it again, you have take everything into account, a wider angle is needed . And please do watch those videos on YouTube .

    • Nimmy permalink
      March 25, 2009 2:55 pm

      :) ok …

      Sorry all,I have no time to engage in an argument and you know why..

      Bye .

  16. March 25, 2009 4:09 pm

    Normally I desist watching such movies, coz at the end of it I am either angry or sad….

    where as my idea of watching a movie is to feel happy or content at the end.

    But your review kinda makes it interesting, the star cast is also full of wonderful actors…

    Let’s see and talk Missus to come to watch this film…. we experienced Godhra first hand in Gujarat and have actually had enough of it.

    Thanks Dhiren. And I think that Godhra is going to haunt us forever. – Nita.

  17. wishtobeanon permalink
    March 25, 2009 7:40 pm

    Hi, I was reading some of the comments and was disappointed to see a Hindu-Muslim angle yet again. Violence is violence no matter what and those humans who commit violence are criminals, be it revenge or whatever. I also think that most artistes(M.F Hussain, Nandita Das etc.) are above religion. They don’t care what religion a person belongs to and want to depict human suffering/emotions as they see it.
    By the way, Nita, I will try to watch this movie.

    • March 25, 2009 8:42 pm

      M.F. Husain actually withdrew his film “Meenaxi” when some Muslims objected to it. So it can’t be said that he is above religion.

  18. vasudev permalink
    March 25, 2009 8:36 pm

    [I also think that most artistes(M.F Hussain, Nandita Das etc.) are above religion. They don’t care what religion a person belongs to and want to depict human suffering/emotions as they see it.]

    WTB…

    I strongly disagree but I will let it pass.

  19. March 25, 2009 10:03 pm

    @Everyone Wow!! A post which has triggered Sakhi and Suda to write long comments and that too many times. :) Well as I always say, Nita’s blog is the only place where people debate over movie reviews :)

    @Nita Sorry for the non-serious comment :) I just tend to take a movie review as a review only. I don’t intend to get into the fray of the whole Hindu Muslim thing going on here.

  20. March 25, 2009 11:23 pm

    vasudev, you said

    “they are our internal enemies and need to be ignored. gujarat riots had the other side. the conflagration was started by the muslims. now they cannot cry saying that they got burnt as well! ignore the muslim agents under hindu garb! may truth prevail!”

    Everybody, pay close attention to the part I have emphasized, because this amply illustrates vasudev’s state of mind. He first declares that the ilk of Nandita Das, Medha Patkar and Arundhati Roy to be India’s internal enemies. Then he calls them muslim agents in hindu garb, implying Muslims are India’s internal enemies.

    If instead of sitting behind a computer screen anonymously and spew his illiterate nonsense, he would actually stand with the poor and displaced and work with the riot affected like Patkar and Nandita Das, he would see things more clearly.

    I trust my friend will now return with a barrage, oh but I have talked to this person and they said this … you dont know the ground ‘realities’ .. do you Muslims do this etc etc ….

    • vasudev permalink
      March 25, 2009 11:39 pm

      @ above

      your para 1 and 2 (with highlight):

      yes. you are absolutely right. i speak wrt context. context here is the movie’s no-show of the hindu story while justifying the muslim story. therefore wrt context these are muslim agents in hindu garb (hindu garb because the name appears to be hindu).

      in para no 2 you have said medha patkar. i never mentioned medha patkar. anyway, sometimes people like you might shout a false ‘eureka’ . you are pardoned for your ignorance and immaturity. now speak wrt context.

      as regards the rest of your comments since you do not who i am and what i do, i dismiss it as another of your hasty immature accusations (without sufficient knowledge) not worthy of a reply.

  21. Naveen permalink
    March 26, 2009 1:44 am

    Nita, Thats a very beautiful header image -saying a lot. I think you could start a competition for ‘best caption’ by leaving a comment box in the header image section. That would be fun.

    • March 26, 2009 8:33 am

      That’s very sweet of you Naveen! This is one of my favourite photographs too and in fact someone wrote an email about this once asking me how I took it! Maybe I can do the caption thing for some photographs of mine but I don’t know whether people will really do it.

  22. rags permalink
    March 26, 2009 9:52 am

    I wanted to watch this movie but now I’m not too sure…..
    I’m sick of every fimmaker thrusting his/her agenda on people but I guess that’s artistic licence and no one can complain.

    You know, I hope someone makes a movie on Kashmiri Pundits if only to shut up the critics. Its long overdue….

  23. Vinod permalink
    March 26, 2009 12:10 pm

    Weren’t Kashmiri Pundits driven out by muslim militants from outside India or was it the local kashmiri muslims involved?

    Wasn’t the “Hindu story” of the Godhra incident highly disputed by the investigations into the causes of the fire on the compartment?

    • rags permalink
      March 27, 2009 9:45 pm

      No, KPs were driven out by terrorists with active support from the local Muslim population.

    • March 28, 2009 12:02 pm

      Vinod, yes the real causes of the Godhra incident have been disputed. The truth is that this incident could have been an accident, a horrific accident (train fires are not that uncommon and in India people cook with stoves on trains), or it is possible that Pakistani terrorists were behind it. Maybe even some Indian Muslims were in it, but one cannot be a hundred percent sure of what actually happened. In any case it is clear that Das herself does not set much store by the burning of the train otherwise I am sure that she would have mentioned it. As I mentioned, this movie is her vision and I laud her for it. Yes, I think it needs courage considering that there is a strong Hindutva mood in India nowadays.
      About Kashmiri Pundits also you are right. It is the militants and not the local population who drove away the Kashmiri pundits. Sure, a small percentage of local extremists were involved, but certainly this movement to drive out the Kashmiri Hindus was not instigated by local people, not led by the local people and nor did the majority population support it. There are many news sources which confirm this so this is not my opinion. One of the sources is here. It is only a blog but at this time I don’t have time to find more links. If I ever do a post on this, I will surely do detailed research on this subject. But if you have links you are welcome to provide them.

      • vasudev permalink
        March 28, 2009 12:46 pm

        nita
        all the more reason firaaq should have brought out the true other side boldly! no one wants to force any muslim conflagration angle. if it is not the truth it is not the truth and nandita das should know the real truth and expose it instead of leaving a sentence half said.

      • Rshankar permalink
        March 30, 2009 2:34 am

        Vinod/nita
        u said
        About Kashmiri Pundits also you are right. It is the militants and not the local population who drove away the Kashmiri pundits

        this is a sweeping statement….
        chk history
        some or a large nos were moved out to jammu and delhi camps by them governor jagmohan to protect them from ethnic cleansing

        ask a kashmiri pundit … chk out http://www.panunkashmir.org/

        Terrorists simply killed hindus or forced them into converting ..In1990s i had a kashmiri pandit college friend who had a morbid fear about the lives of her parents in srinagar .
        …also why was Mufti Sayeed is called the Butcher of Anantnag?

        Shankar, you have actually agreed with me and even the link you mentioned clearly states that “Islamic religious fundamentalists” wanted the Kashmiri Pundits out. It is the terrorists who drove out the Kashmiri Pundits. The local population is not made up of Islamic religious fundamentalists and if you look at the history of Kashmir you will see that the Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims lived happily together for hundreds of years before the terrorists arrived. In fact a Kashmiri Muslim journalist has written a book on this issue. He has lived in Kashmir all his life and now lives in New York. He has separatist leanings but he said that Kashmiri Muslims, even the separatists never wanted their neighbours to leave. Terrorists from abroad wanted it and some groups, because of their common leanings (wanting an independent Kashmir) joined these terrorist outfits. – Nita.

        • Rshankar permalink
          March 31, 2009 6:20 pm

          when id been somewhere north had met a pandit who had assessed about the muslims there as the most nice gentle people but the other thing he told me was that it is difficult to believe that those very people became monsters once out of a mosque fresh after hearing the mufti or mullahs sermon, and the acts they could do … its also croud mentality
          and the vatavaran in kashmir is forever dushit ..
          About the ny guy it is easier to talk than act and i do think people there are no more that nice … case and point the recent behavior during the amarnath episode..

          shankar, you are basing your judgments on a personal experience. I have given just one example of the famous ny guy but it is by no means the only instance. There are many sites which will collaborate what I have said, including the link you have. Yes its true that some Kashmiri Hindus will have a hatred because of what they have suffered and I fully sympathise with any refugee who has been driven out of his home. As for the amarnath episode, it was sheer politics. – Nita.

          • Rshankar permalink
            April 1, 2009 12:28 am

            id rather base my opinion on what i consider an interesting conv than some writups etc , i respect ur view but i disagree, i think that terrorists cant work without local support or pockets of support at least
            and that amarnath proved their despotic idea that they were separate from India when the reality is plain and simple that they are economically unviable without Indian support as proven by the failure of even something as basic as apple export to pok due to lack of payment by pakistanis.

    • March 31, 2009 10:54 pm

      Wasn’t the “Hindu story” of the Godhra incident highly disputed by the investigations into the causes of the fire on the compartment?

      Vinod, you can check the wiki page on ‘Godhra train burning’ as well as the citations and references. If you totally reject Nanavati Report, and even refuse to consider its conclusions as a possibility, then I guess there’s not much left to discuss.

  24. March 26, 2009 12:22 pm

    i too agree with what she said .
    there is no other side when it comes to killing of innocent people
    and obviously who would want to know the truth which actually does not exist.
    does one still look for if a person is hindu or muslim when he/she is killed?
    ultimately that person is a human first ,such segregation on basis of religion is creation of society
    and i think the movie was meant to bring the idea that riots only bring destruction and sorrow and does no good to society.
    police protecting the evil doers is nothing new . in fact you never know that those in khaki dresses might be the one who actually start the riots ( credit entirely goes to the insane politicians for influencing their thought process)

  25. archanaccp permalink
    March 26, 2009 3:36 pm

    Good review. Plan to watch the movie….

  26. vasudev permalink
    March 26, 2009 4:26 pm

    movie makers would make movies. even after 16 yrs the topic is kept alive basically by movie makers and by novelists/journalists. anyhow, that’s how they make their living. let’s not blame them. their truths need not be the real truths. they swing to the current gallery. it might irk a truth seeker, all those lies. but it may be a consolation as well…generations of movie makers and novelists have come and gone and yet they could do nothing to change anything. if at all one must point out powerful writers those were the rushdies and the taslimas. they became famous because there was a junta willing to react.
    maybe 10 yrs hence we might witnes a sensational movie titled: ‘what really happened at mumbai on 26/11?’ and there the opening shots might reveal semi-nude, ash strewn sanyasis wielding prehistoric weapons pouncing upon the sleeping mumbaikars at vt station, spearing and hacking them to fearfully horrific, blood-curdling cries of: ‘har-har-mahadev’ or ‘jai maa kaali’ or ‘bum-bum-bol’ or whatever. yet again one such great piece of artisitic, intelligent work which has ‘no other side’ but only the side which the director likes to see. it is a free world and it is an even freer india. let the freedom of expression thrive and may the expressionists continue to spin their fairy tales. we, the public, like to enjoy newer yarns!

  27. March 27, 2009 2:36 am

    Murder pillage and rape are not crimes against followers of particular religions, but against humanity. As a human being it bothers me that people, like the ones on this forum are against the portrayal of what they term a “Muslim” or “Hindu issue”. It is not, its a human tragedy. It diminishes each one of us- Hindu, Muslim, or atheist. People who form mobs are wrong, no matter what ideaology they follow. As for balance, there cannot be any balance in any crime. Or would those screaming of a more “positive portrayal” want every criminal’s “side” to be heard. Destroying lives does not allow for “balance”, just for punishment. As for keeping things alive, they need to be, else one lulls ones humanity into a somnolence from where there is no escape.

  28. March 27, 2009 2:57 am

    I have not even heard of this movie before. Thanks for bringing it to my notice. Will definitely watch this one.

    I think you will like this one Amit. – Nita.

  29. March 27, 2009 7:34 am

    Nitin, wishtobeanon, Arpit and Allytude, it really warms my heart when I read comments like yours. I agree with your sentiments a hundred percent.

  30. March 27, 2009 1:15 pm

    A lot of commenters seem to feel that mob violence is violence by ordinary people on other ordinary people.
    Anyone who has been in the middle of mob violence or even in the same city will tell you that those who are killing are rarely instigated by religion, the killers are a bunch of hoodlums who have an opportunity to kill without punishment.
    A small number of people who do come from backgrounds with no past experience in stone throwing or killing are also not really ‘normal’ people (meaning they have psychological problems).
    From the review I gathered that a man who is violent at home is more likely to kill in the safety of a mob.
    We are led to believe that what we have is spontaneous mob violence, as a reaction and it just happens but many times what we have are ‘pogroms’.

    • March 27, 2009 1:51 pm

      Thanks IHM. This is exactly what I have been trying to day on my many posts on mob violence and riots, that ordinary people rarely go out and kill. But the politicians, the state and the criminals who instigate and lead these riots want people to believe that it is the anger of the ordinary man. These criminals may live in decent localities but that does not make them ordinary people. I think it’s time we realised that people who form the mobs and rape and loot and kill are not ordinary people but a bunch of murderous goons who use this as an opportunity to do their thing. These same people will come out in hordes and do exactly the same if for some reason there is some sort of blackout or any other emergency which will cover their crimes.

  31. March 27, 2009 1:48 pm

    The bone of contention here is that the story should have been told from the beginning to the end . It is not about the “more positive portrayal” . It is just that , the human tragedy, should have been portrayed in its entirety . What started it, what followed, how it ended, and the current situation . Black Friday or 1947 : Earth did a much better job .

  32. March 27, 2009 7:40 pm

    I do not get the “from the beginning to the end”. What is the beginning? The Godhra incident? Or what happened before that? And what happened before that? And before that and so on and so forth for a million years?

  33. vasudev permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:52 pm

    all such movies only help the movie goers to keep the flame of hate and self-pity alive.

    all those who go to movies aren’t intellectuals who can rationalise and find a balance.

  34. rags permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:40 pm

    I feel we shouldn’t expect fimmakers to portray stuff the way we want to, how much ever we disagree with them, its their take on the events after all… Its their right to do the movie and its our right not to watch it…

    • March 27, 2009 10:38 pm

      rags, you have put it exactly the way I felt. Thanks!

    • March 28, 2009 5:01 am

      rags, while what you say is true, Nandita Das does wear her politics on her sleeve, so that makes her film more of an agenda-driven political statement and propaganda, disguised as a work of fiction. And if she comes in for some criticism because of that, it is all part and parcel with her politics and ideology.

      I haven’t seen the film yet, but IMO making a film on a real-life event like Gujarat riots and not even mentioning anything about the Godhra train burning (if that is the case here) is somewhat disingenuous and is close to propaganda. It’d be similar to making a fictional film showing the LA riots of 1992 with black people going berserk, but not even mentioning or showing the preceding events of Rodney King (a black person) beaten up by LA police and the acquittal of white police officers by the jury.

      Again, just to make clear, this is not to justify any violence or riots, but to put it in context.

  35. March 28, 2009 1:16 am

    @Allytude
    In this context, the beginning would be the train burning incident, the middle would the devastation that followed, and the end, when it stopped . There is a vicious cycle of cause and effect involved, since eternity, but obviously, it would be beyond any filmmakers capacity to depict that as well. And I do not think it is too much for me to expect an unbiased filmmaker to bring that into the picture as well . Remember Black Friday ? And Mumbai Meri Jaan ? Or Dev ?

    Abzee’s review

    • vasudev permalink
      March 28, 2009 2:15 am

      KC…you are dot-on on what you said about Firaaq at your blog site. Couldn’t post any comment there because it wasn’t accepting me. Normally when I move from Nita’s to member blogger sites I seem to get a free pass. This time it didn’t work. But anyway, I am using this space[sorry Nita :) ] to express my appreciation.

  36. March 28, 2009 2:14 am

    Good post Nita.It is ironic to see that almost all who commented about the film have not seen it.I have also not seen it and will surely try to see it if I can. Fortunately I am not in Gujarat so I may be able to see it.
    As Nimmy said why the well meaning proud ‘Hindu’ friends who is so angry with the film [before seeing it]make a film of similar quality showing the other side or if possible both sides? The truth about Gujarat riots is[in my opinion] there is no significant other side.Nandita Das meant it and we should all be proud of her guts to say it. All those who commented here against the film says they are not Hindu fanatics.Then why should they be so upset abt making a film on Gujarat riots showing the role of Hindu fanatics? In a way all Hindus should be happy that such a film is made trying to isolate the fanatics.Such films may help in liberating Hindu religion from the hands of the fanatics.

    Charakan, I too believe exactly that. That there is no significant other side because there never is when it comes to innocent people being murdered or killed. I was personally glad to see that such a film was made and I am glad (and am proud) that a Hindu and an Indian made it. As you said, let someone make a film of similar quality on the “other side” and show it to international audiences. Firaaq is so beautifully made that it shows the director’s immense talent. And ofcourse the content was fantastic. Without content a film is nothing and perhaps that is why the so-called other side of these riots have not yet been made by any talented filmmaker. – Nita.
    p.s. It is worth reading this talented woman’s biography here.

    • vasudev permalink
      March 28, 2009 12:52 pm

      charakan…simply because the muslim fanatic angle has not yet been obviated. hence for practising hindus this might be a leading step by some interested paries to make hindus look abominal.

    • Milind Kher permalink
      March 28, 2009 8:12 pm

      Nandita Das does have an impressive track record.

      Women need to come out on top in some key areas to usher in a new world order – film making, writing, healthcare and politics.

      These are all creative/care giving vocations at which women excel. I salute women achievers in these fields in particular.

  37. March 28, 2009 1:22 pm

    @Vasudev
    Thank you .

  38. March 28, 2009 4:27 pm

    Vasudev, what’s all this about making Hindus look abominable? This movie does not do that at all!! In fact there are more good Hindu characters in this movie than bad ones! Even the bad guys are shown to be just bad people not Hindu fanatics. There are no orange flags or even symbols like in Slumdog Millionnaire. This movie is about bad people and good people. Period. If there is one movie which makes people stop thinking in terms of Hindus and Muslims, it’s this one. It made me think like that and I am grateful to Nandita Das for making me see it from that angle. May her tribe increase.

    • Milind Kher permalink
      March 28, 2009 5:40 pm

      Nita,

      When everything today is acquiring a communal tinge, then if somebody makes a movie on a sensitive subject like this without imparting that tinge, it is really creditable.

      There is a need to appreciate people like this without jumping to conclusions about them showing any community in a bad light.

    • vasudev permalink
      March 28, 2009 5:41 pm

      nita

      you say that? you mean this is not any of the usual hindu fanatic-bullied- muslim-devastated-family story or something?

      if not then what have we been discussing so far? :)

      wasted emotions!

  39. Rashid Faridi permalink
    March 28, 2009 10:21 pm

    Very well written post as usual, but Firaaq is not separation, it is search with a negative overtone.

  40. March 29, 2009 1:07 am

    Nita, thank you for visiting my blog and your comments there. Its not about being non-religious, just about seeing people as people not representative of a religion. It is also about trying to see other points of view, no matter how much one may not agree with them, allowing others to have opinions too. I know it is difficult but that is what maturity is about, not about screaming from the same set of talking points. Unfortunately the screamers are the last ones to see their own irrationality.

  41. March 29, 2009 8:28 am

    : Congratulations to Nandita Das for her strong directorial debut!

    Enjoyed reading your review, now it is a must-see.

  42. openlight permalink
    March 29, 2009 12:37 pm

    I have not watched the movie and will do so in couple of days after, reading the reviews.

    But not showing of godhra and only focusing on carnage only echoes similar incidents in Indian history. Its like showing partition horrors and not showing due to whom partition took place (under what circumstances) and thus lack the holistic view to an incident. If criminal case is taken up in courts or are investigated, the cause or inspiration for the act is searched and logically worked on and just presence of someone on crime scene will make the person guilty.

    Nandita Das, as per above comments, have shown the ‘bad’ element and their acts under the garb of religion or settling score or whatever, should also had why the ‘bad’ people were seen as saviors or score settlers for a particular religion, what led to this situation. But, this is missing from the film.

    In India Muslim appeasement is evident as followed by congress in its 50+ years of rule, haj subsidy, no common civil code have been the bone of contention for decades and congress shows it as its achievement, that see even if Muslims are minority (not now at 30%) congress doles favors to Muslims in Hindu dominated India as they might had got in Pakistan. But apathy is that these same Muslims change their tack in US / Australia and become the law abiding citizens.

    Further, situation is worsened by media and other politicians who are more interested to have investigation into Batla House encounter and no word on the two missing terrorists, daily focus on the so called ‘Hindu terrorist’ but no focus on well educated 19 lakh CTC earning Muslim terrorist,focus on pakistan and its Let and no focus on spread of Islamic terrorisn in Kerala or how LeT terrorists got local support from ??

    All these just adds to discontent amongst Hindus and will prove detrimental for India and as well as congress in long run who only needs Muslim votes and power.

  43. Milind Kher permalink
    March 29, 2009 1:14 pm

    Openlight,

    Please let me know which census you referred to that shows Muslims to be 30 % of the population. The census that I have access to shows it bo be less than half of that percentage.

    Muslim appeasement is a myth. Do they have reservation in professional colleges and in jobs? Are they on the dole? Are you giving them scholarships?

    If they have a personal law, so do the Hindus. Talk about Haj subsidy. When a majority of Muslims can scarcely make two ends meet, of what use is theHaj subsidy?

    Stop spreading this hatred and creating a communal divide. India is working hard in every sector of business to be amongst the best in the world, and the last thing we need is to have a nation divided against itself.

  44. March 29, 2009 8:23 pm

    “Stop spreading this hatred and creating a communal divide.”

    Milind, you have given the answer to those who are wondering why people don’t make movies showing the “other side’s story.” Whenever an attempt is made to discuss issues, there are comebacks like yours above. In such an atmosphere, honest debate is impossible as it kills the conversation. Everyone knows that all political parties in India are communal and there’s already a communal divide, so the question of “creating a communal divide” doesn’t even enter the picture. There’s no doubt that Haj subsidy and Shah Bano case are as communal as they can be. The way forward is to accept that (instead of denying) and work to make India truly secular, where no doles are given based on preferential treatment for any religion.

  45. vasudev permalink
    March 29, 2009 8:55 pm

    am angry!!!!!! at the treatment meted out to varun gandhi. what did he do different from what hardcore juma masjid imam and some goons in UP proclaimed against hindus?

    the thought that whatever you think as a common man, there are better equipped consultants advising the various major parties in india gives me the shivers.

    everything is a ploy? varun shot into fame by giving the muslim hate speech. bjp distanced itself from varun. advani wanting to become pm is splashed on every site i wish to surf (haven’t checked porn sites yet). varun goes to jail like mkg (his end-namesake), declares from his pen that given a choice he wouldn’t have said all that he said (who asked him to say what he said?). advantage gandhi family whichever way the dice falls?

    rahul keeping quiet…sonia maintaining the stiff-upper-lip (fed-up of 5 yrs looting? nothing more to loot? let bjp rule the trash? of course! varun (from the family!) is there to collect the left-overs! those at pilbhit (idiots!) who smashed (my blood-tax paid bought out furnitures) vouch for confirmed votes either way (advantage bjp, advantage congress, advantage communist…who cares…we are all collaborating?)

    communal? ha! ha! poor me, you and the dumb-struck dog!

  46. Milind Kher permalink
    March 29, 2009 9:02 pm

    Amit,

    No Muslim has asked for a Haj subsidy. So, even if you withdraw it, nobody will object.

    As far as the Shah Bano case is concerned, wrong enough though the judgment may have been, it did not affect any other community. If you believe that there should be a UCC, no problem.

    Actually speaking, if every community is treated as an absolute equal, everybody will be happy. Why play favorites?

    • Vinod permalink
      March 30, 2009 7:43 pm

      Anybody here familiar with the budding field of ‘legal pluralism’?

  47. vasudev permalink
    March 29, 2009 9:26 pm

    [Actually speaking, if every community is treated as an absolute equal, everybody will be happy. Why play favorites?]

    ah! milind. amit isn’t wrong, afterall!

    [Everyone knows that all political parties in India are communal and there’s already a communal divide, so the question of “creating a communal divide” doesn’t even enter the picture. There’s no doubt that Haj subsidy and Shah Bano case are as communal as they can be.]

    trouble!

    we think only ‘straight’!

  48. openlight permalink
    March 29, 2009 10:37 pm

    @Milind Kher :
    30% – census you are talking about is highly contoured and deviated and anyone who has been living in any city in India observes this ‘growing’ population and their ghettos donning carcasses of cows and goats. You also add Bangladeshi (in lakhs) and pakistanis (in 000s) added yearly.

    Haj subsidy – Other than haj board no one else in India is taking it and only Muslims are going,using it.

    UCC and shah bano – When Muslims can not digest the shah bano case, I am sure that they will never agree on Universal Civil code ( till the judgement day). Hindus have personal law but they don’t chart their own course, they go to police and courts and follow the law of land and not 4th century book.

    + Muslim appeasement is evident in every election, govt. is ready to break temples but not mosques if obstructing roads why ?? — appeasement.

    + Death of police inspector, so inquiry for encounter and no search of two terrorists went into ghettos — appeasement.

    + Abu azmi, bukhari, and many more UP and bihar Muslims making anti-social and communal speeches and acts but, no action — appeasement.

    + Varun Gandhi supposedly says anything for Hindus so, arrest but Kidwai says, no action — appeasement.

    + Malegaon bomb accused home, and details to be shown repeatedly on media but, 19 lakh CTC taking Muslims, doctors and engineers bombing cities, no details

    Reservations, Muslims have many universities across India having liberal central grants and reservation– appeasement (eg. Jamia Milia Islamia — where terrorists responsible for Delhi blasts study)

    Other than Islam no other religion talks of follower and non-follower and treatment to be given to them. Mau riots, Godhra, Marad riots all testify to the attitude of Muslims. The only point Hindus and Muslims can come together is Sufism and dargahs as, Hindus can say ‘allah-ho-akbar’ but Muslims will never say ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

    But, there are Muslims who condemn terror but are afraid to do so due to religious pressure and many are happy to live away from it and continue to do so. I remember a news, an Hindu would-be-bride who refused dowry and sent her would be in-laws to jail, got marriage offer same day but later similar Muslim would-be-bride did same but, didn’t got any proposal and no news later on.

    Regarding equality, it is given to all irrespective of community, caste ,creed or whatever in India and that’s why we have people making their contribution to country whether in arts,music,films,science,etc. And this is what ‘real India’ is and this alone had stood time and again, tolerance and respect to others has prevailed irrespective of the time and circumstances.

  49. vasudev permalink
    March 29, 2009 11:12 pm

    openlight

    mumbai:

    ulema ‘dares’ congress to give it minimum 5 seats or face defeat!

    [did not see so-called secularist m.j.akbar (famous! famous!)/syed sahabuddin/ normal mussies rebuke in favour of secularism?]

    advantage: the charismatic or staid leadership of islam which says ‘dare show me even one amongst my ilk who is a secular!’

    now imagine :

    thakeray does the same and gets the pseudo-secularist hindu snub (indiawise ‘how dare he?’)!

    we never changed from those hindu idiots who, aeons ago, said ‘athithi deyvo bhava’ (pseudo-secularism is another name for cowardice).

    disadvantage: the characterless, repulsive and directionless teachings of hinduism!

  50. Milind Kher permalink
    March 30, 2009 9:24 am

    @Vasudev,

    You may dub the teachings of Hinduism as characterless, repulsive and directionless.

    However, Hinduism gave the world the wisdom of the Upanishads and the Vedas, as also that of the Gita.

    Do not underestimate the achievement of the Bhakti cult for achieving communal harmony and presenting simplified religion for the people.

    The Hindu ethos has created an environment where so many different cultures and civilizations have flourished.

    • Rshankar permalink
      April 1, 2009 12:39 am

      Milind, who told u that hinduism only meant ahimsa , that was essentially budhist or gandhian ideology merging into hinduism

      dharma also means fighting for what one things is right and virtuous and that fight need not be peaceful.
      secondly if history be a teacher gandhi could manage humanizing radical islamists
      Why was there a direct action day massacre in bengal ?

  51. vasudev permalink
    March 30, 2009 10:53 am

    [The Hindu ethos has created an environment where so many different cultures and civilizations have flourished]

    @ Milind

    Precisely.

    But at the cost of Hinduism.

    • Milind Kher permalink
      March 30, 2009 12:07 pm

      @Vasudev,

      You would think that way if you look at it as a zero sum game.

      However, think of it from a standpoint of abundance, and you will find that INDIA has been the richer for it.

    • Vinod permalink
      March 30, 2009 6:36 pm

      I think there is indeed a lot of muslim appeasement going on. However, I also think it is justified to slam statements made by the likes of Varun Gandhi.

      In my view muslim assertions of their identity and rights are regardless of the existence of ‘any other’ identities since Islam tends to have a fixed set of doctrines that defines the identity of the individual and the community.

      In contrast, Hindu assertion of rights usually has an implicit or explicit threat towards other communities due to the fact that Hinduism has not had a fixed set of doctrines about itself and has not been a single-community-forming or a single-identity religion and that the only way it can be used as an instrument to marshall its followers is more by a show of aggression towards other communities rather than an appeal to any fixed intrinsic set of doctrines. While doubtless it has universal wisdoms and truths, most of it is submerged and lost in the myriad beliefs and practices.

      In general, for a belief system to have a unifying hold on its adherents it has to have a controlled set of central tenets and some degree of centralized administration/interpretation of those tenets (the Friday jummah and the Sunday Mass are effective forums for that among muslims and Christians). Hinduism, for good or bad, lacks that core central tenets which one could say defines a Hindu. It’s good side is that it has allowed for the co-existence of multiple faiths and even those of atheists within its fold. It’s negative side is that, there is little in it that can marshall the followers together. To put it differently, it lacks centralizing power due to its decentralized and customized belief system.

      This does not mean, that Islam does not show aggression towards the other. It does. The kafir-muslim mentality is a intrinsically divisive. But my point is that there is more unity and cohesiveness to the identity of Islam derived from its doctrines about God, life and afterlife than the doctrines about ‘the non-believer’.

      Therefore, it is possible for muslims to feel sensitive about invasions into their personal law. I’m not sure that an equivalent phenomenon exists among the Hindus who are fully comfortable with a secularized legal system for themselves.

    • Rshankar permalink
      April 1, 2009 12:42 am

      interesting parallel
      The moorish kings (around spain) were the most intelligent of islamic rulers of the east, and their very tolerant existence lead to the early demise of their rule, both at hands of radicals and of barbarians of the west or what some might call the crusaders and east and the caliphate …

      • Vinod permalink
        April 1, 2009 8:02 am

        Early demise? Relative to what? They ruled Spain between 9th century AD and 12 century AD. That’s quite a bit of time, no?

        • Rshankar permalink
          April 1, 2009 11:35 am

          look at which brand of islam is dominant now… The ideology they espoused died with them

  52. April 3, 2009 6:49 pm

    Nita, I guess religion is such a touchy topic and everyone, absolutely everyone, has a take on it. My last post was also on Firaaq and it’s the same type of comments that are coming in. As a Mahatma once said – “There are so many people who are willing to die for religion but so few willing to live for it”.Sometimes, symbols become more important than what they stand for – just like religion becoming more important than what it was intended for – enlightenment.

  53. Cool permalink
    April 4, 2009 11:31 am

    Nita,Iam posting a true story from Gujarat,as told by a muslim boy.Just to highlight,what muslim women are undergoing when their near and dear ones are accused of terrorism.
    I live in Mumbai,India. 7 years back, march 2002, after the anti muslim riots in gujarat state, my abbu was falsly accused of being a terrorist & arrested. The cops then agrees to release my abbu from jail on the condition that my ammi & aapa(elder sister) have sex with some politicians & government officers. I was just 14 at that time but I cannot forget the day 5 hindu men entered our home at midnight & took my ammi & aapa to the bedroom. I was too young to understand what was happening, but when i heard my ammi & aapa moaning loudly i became curious & quietly entered the bedroom. What i saw then is still embedded in my mind as if it was just yesterday. The 5 men raped them for nearly 3 hours before they left.
    But things did not end there. This continued for 15 days & each day different men would come. Finally they let my abbu go without charge. But things did not stop here, the cops made sure our hindu neighbors know of the sexual conquest the cops had with our family ladies. Then hindu men from our neighborhood started to harass my ammi & aapa. Since my abbu didn’t know of the agreement my ammi made with the cops, she couldn’t complain to him, also she feared the cops might be helping our neighbors.
    My ammi was 35 years old at the time & my aapa just 17, probably because of their young age and their lack of worldly knowledge, they succumbed to those evil men. From the year 2002 to 2007 I was but a mute spectator to the sexual perversion & orgies that continued in our home. Finally I asked my father to move to a muslim dominated locality from the hindu majority area we were living in. It was only then that this bad dream came to an end. My abbu still doesn’t know what went on behind his back & I still cannot come to terms with what i have been seeing all these years. may allah guide me to the right path.
    This will never come out in the media but their are countless such stories which we cannot even imagine.Voiceless muslim women are the most affected when such voilence and terrorist accusations happen.But where are all the hindu activists who want to fight for muslim women rights?Supporting and justifying Modi and gang.

    • Mark permalink
      April 5, 2009 11:58 am

      i heard this story before but it was narrated by a female daughter, who was 13 yrs then. apparently no son in the family, i guess rumors evolve over time.

      • Cool permalink
        April 12, 2009 9:06 am

        Its easy to call any true story a rumour because it is not in the mainstream media.But,when it is a fact that muslim women where raped,chopped and burned alive with state support ,being blackmailed and raped comes across as a less barbaric story completely beleivable story.

  54. Yogesh permalink
    April 4, 2009 11:13 pm

    So my post did not make it through the scanner??? Pity! I think it was because I used the word Ass!!!

  55. Yogesh permalink
    April 5, 2009 1:28 pm

    I had posted a comment which resulted in a message “your comment is awaiting moderation”, it has not appeared. Even the Puneri Patya generated the same message. But it has appeared. Such a pity.

    I don’t remember that comment Yogesh. I am sorry if it was a clean comment and it got deleted by mistake. – Nita.

  56. Yogesh permalink
    April 7, 2009 12:26 pm

    i heard this story before but it was narrated by a female daughter, who was 13 yrs then. apparently no son in the family, i guess rumors evolve over time.

    Like you can have a male daughter

  57. Yogesh permalink
    April 12, 2009 10:09 am

    Hey! There is a problem in this system, the above comment isn’t mine.

    Yogesh

    • April 12, 2009 6:06 pm

      I wonder how that is. I mean, the same location and the same email id? I think it is too much of a coincidence isn’t it for the comment to have your name, your email id and the location.

  58. April 14, 2009 11:54 am

    Gujarat Riots: Special Investigation Team (SIT) says that many incidents of killings and violence were cooked up, false charges were levelled by NGOs and social activist Teesta Setalvad. Read Times of India report dated April 14: NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT.
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4396986.cms

  59. Kumar permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:41 pm

    It is interesting that after Old Sailor’s comment above one week back, this thread has died suddenly.

  60. Venkat permalink
    May 5, 2009 6:17 am

    Excellent link, OldSailor. I wish Nita and everyone (and especially Nimmy) read that link.

    It is really amusing. Whenever, the media publishes anything that points Muslims as culprits, it gets blamed for tarnishing the image of Muslims.

    If the same media publishes anything that points to Muslims as innocent victims (and Hindus as rapists, murderers who cut open foetueses) then suddenly that media is “truthful and unbiased”, and whatever they write has to be believed blindly.

    Of the 58 victims who were burnt alive in the Godhra train incident, 35 were women and children. Wonder what happened to Nandita Das’s feminism/feelings for those women and children, who too are part of the story. Oh yes, “there is no other side”.

    Nobody here is justifying the brutal Gujarat riots, but when you are basing your film on a real story, it is your responsibility to show the complete facts and effects (which includes the other side too). But our film-maker’s (especially those outside the mainstream) craving for recognition from the West, makes them readily spit on their own culture and heritage.

    The ultimate irony was the situation of the dialouge “Insaan insaan ko mar raha hai is baat ka gam hai”

  61. May 31, 2009 10:59 pm

    you’re right. there is no justification or other side to violence. i’d love to watch the movie…

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