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BY: VINOD MIRANI
The phenomenon of film actors joining forces with politicians is not a new thing. In the South, it happened much earlier while the Hindi film actors took the cue a bit late. One of the reasons the Hindi film industry kept away from politics for long was that the rulers and, as such, politicians were seen as enemies of film folk. Not one, there were many Swords of Damocles hung over the film industry by the rulers and usually used as tools.
If at all, film folk wanted to be part of politics, the only option was the ruling party. The ruling party was well armed with excise duty (on prints), import duty on film raw stock (India kept making the highest number of films but never did anything about setting up a manufacturing unit for raw film), there were last minute income tax raids a day before a producer’s film was due to release, blocking censor certification and so on.
So, when the film men’s move to politics started, it was all towards the Congress. Starting with Sunil Dutt and followed by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna and so on, who joined the bandwagon. I think the filmmakers got bolder after 1977, in the post emergency period. Dev Anand along with some likeminded industry folk had also gone ahead and formed a political party (The National Party) to contest elections to be able to put forward the film people’s views. This era also coincided with a new generation of film men, the educated and the aware lot. Sunil Dutt was among the first ones to join electoral politics.
Quite a few actors who joined politics were disillusioned quickly and gave up after a while. Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Govinda were those who called it quits. Those who were inducted through the Rajya Sabha, seemed least interested except for Jaya Bachchan. Raj Babbar is the one who has become the true blue politician, changing parties and surviving; from the Janata Dal to Samajwadi Party to Congress.
Things started changing a bit since the emergence of a stronger opposition to the ruling Congress as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as a party to contend with. Filmmaking and all things about films is a business of instincts. Somehow, since the emergence of the BJP, more and more film people seem inclined towards the party and this time it is not only the stars. It may sound a bit odd but, of late, most of the film people either joining the party or advocating their cause is the BJP! And, those joining the BJP are not joining because they are either scared of the ruling party or want favours done.
Of late, even the films that are being made and are working at the box office are those promoting social issues and nationalism. That is in keeping with the national mood (as said earlier, film folk have great instinct).
But, things have changed now. Film folk are no longer moving to politics as an alternative when their film career is over. Looks like they are no longer scared or shy of coming into the open. For or against the ruling set up. Yet, claims of all of them are not to be trusted. For example, Vivek Oberoi, who has played Modi in a biopic, claims to have been approached by any and every party to contest elections.
There is no reason to believe his claims. As against that, Sunny Deol has been roped in by BJP in place of his father, Dharmendra, to defend Gurdaspur constituency, represented by the late Vinod Khanna. From the look of it, the BJP seems to be getting more saleable stars (in the film industry, they are the ones who matter).
Coming back to film folk, this coming election got into news vis a vis the film industry because of some six hundred people like Naseeruddin Shah forming a group to promote anti Modi sentiments! The problem with this lot is that none of them has a popular appeal. Also, they have no explanation for why they want Modi to be defeated! They just wanted Modi out.
Curiously, there is also a lot that has a grouse against the present day dispensation that there is no freedom of expression! Whatever the problems, film people never risked talking against the government. The fear of victimisation was always there. But, things seem to have changed now. While the popular film stars are joining the ruling NDA, a section of film people has branded it as intolerant. What is surprising is that most of these people have no assignments nor have anything to do with the government, directly or indirectly! This lot organized a signature campaign against the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Fine, what now? What are these signature worth since most of the signatories carry no appeal at the box office nor do they enjoy a fan following.
Many in the media and otherwise including these signatories have made it their business to badmouth the Prime Minister and continue to do so. Can’t call that intolerance by any yardstick! What is worse, even in the entertainment industry, nobody seems to care for the opinion of this lot as more and more popular film personalities are either joining the Modi bandwagon or are associating with him.
@The Box Office
*”Kalank” was released last week on Wednesday, to take the benefit of Mahavir Jayanti holiday. The film also got an additional holiday for Good Friday. Both these holidays gave the film an extended weekend of about Rs 61 crore. But, come Monday, the collections nosedived and the film could manage the nine day first week of just Rs 71.5 crore.
*”Tashkent Files” has maintained steady collections in its second week though on a smaller scale. The film has collected approximately Rs 6 crore for two weeks.
*”Kessari” added Rs 1.5 crore in its fifth week to take its five week total to Rs 152.5 crore. (IANS)
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
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Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.
The Mysore kingdom became a popular tourist destination after India became an independent country. The Wodeyar dynasty who succeeded Tipu Sultan are still royalty, but they do not rule the state. Their heritage and culture have become what Karnataka is famous for.
Among the many things that Mysore offers to the state of Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is one. In north India, various cultures have their own headgears. They wear their traditional outfits on the days of festivities and ceremonies. Likewise, in the south, especially in Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is worn.
Made of the traditional Mysore silk, the Peta is usually a white turban decorated with a gold silk thread. It is worn by the Maharaja of Mysore during Dasara, or any other public appearance. This tradition has been preserved and is used all over the state by prominent leaders.
Politicians who want to appease older, more experienced politicians, offer a peta as a sign of honour. International guests are welcomed into the city with a peta and silk shawl. In universities, the peta is worn as a replacement to the black caps, as a sign of graduation and scholarship.
Even today, in the court of Mysore, petas are worn and given out as tokens of honour. The peta of the king varies from the ones a courtier wears, and even among them, there is a difference according to status. Petas are made by a particular family and passed down from generation to generation.
Keywords: Mysore kingdom, peta, silk, Wodeyar