By: Maria Wirth
The Pioneer newspaper had recently an editorial titled “culture wars”. It considered ‘the Kashmir files’ movie as a “part of the culture wars” and that the ‘real purpose’ of the movie was to promote the BJP agenda. The BJP agenda, so is implied, is to create a Hindu Rashtra.
Yet not only an Indian newspaper disparaged the Kashmir Files. The Time Magazine had a headline: “The Kashmir Files: How a new Bollywood movie marks India’s further descent into bigotry.”
It made me wonder who are the players in the “culture wars” and why a dominant Hindu culture is usually projected as the worst possible scenario by the wrongly called ‘liberal’ media. The same media seems to endorse the Western/Christian culture. It also is friendly towards the numerous Muslim nations; even towards those which still have harsh blasphemy laws, and also towards communist China.
So why do media and leftists vehemently oppose the Hindu culture? The reason is, they claim, that minorities (read Muslims and Christians) will suffer in a Hindu nation.
This is strange reasoning, because India has an undoubtedly an excellent track record in treating minorities. In contrast, several Christian and Muslim countries have a poor track record. For example, in Muslim majority Pakistan and Bangladesh, Hindus are discriminated against. Yet in India, Muslims and Christians are even favoured by law compared to the indigenous Hindu community.
However, even in India, in Muslim majority Kashmir, Hindus were killed and driven out in 1989/90. Three options were given: “convert, leave or get killed”. To show that they meant it, gruesome murders of Hindus were committed. The perpetrators probably didn’t feel any guilt because “cleansing” the land from Kafirs is a religious mandate, for example in Quran 8.39 (“…fight them till the Deen of Allah is established completely”).
Strangely, media played down what happened in Kashmir.
The rest of India and the world soon forgot those brutally killed and the 400,000 Hindu refugees who fled from Kashmir at that time. Instead, the world hears (and mostly believes) that the Indian army brutally oppresses the Muslims in Kashmir.
But in March 2022, India was reminded of it. “The Kashmir Files” came out which truthfully depicted what had happened. Each scene was based on documents. Of course, violence needed to be shown, but the movie didn’t overly focus on the brutalities. It also talked about the history of Kashmir, that even 800 years ago, it was the intellectual capital of India. The profound philosophy of Kashmir Saivism flourished there, until some 700 years ago Muslim rule started.
The movie was a great success. For the first time, people in India and abroad realized what great injustice was done to Kashmiri Hindus…. by Muslims. Obviously, this made the usual narrative, that the Muslims of Kashmir are brutally oppressed by the Indian state and deserve the support of the UN and world, suspect. Pakistan may have been worried.
But then came the International Film Festival in India (IFFI and the Israeli head of the jury, Nadav Lapid, became a saviour for the leftist media. Lapid stubbornly insisted on his right to make unreasonable comments. He kept calling the movie ‘vulgar propaganda’. He could have criticized the movie on many parameters. But it’s definitely not “vulgar propaganda”.
Propaganda means that the reality is twisted to influence opinions. The reality was not twisted in the movie, on the contrary. It was exemplarily truthful to reality.
So why did the IFFI jury chair call it propaganda? He read out his statement, so he had planned it. And when Vivek Agnihotri challenged him to show any one scene, which is not true, and he will quit film-making, he still stuck to his comment. He felt it demeans Muslims in general.
Does it mean that truth cannot be shown any longer? Incidentally, Hindus never get this velvet-glove treatment. After Nirbhaya was gangraped, the whole world condemned the ‘patriarchal Hindu culture which results in rapes’.
Or remember the rape of a nun in Kolkata? The Church immediately suspected “Hindu fundamentalists” – wrongly, as it turned out. Was there an apology?
Why this unequal treatment? The reason may be that it all is part of the culture wars. When the narrative of the oppressed Muslims in Kashmir got a dent due to the movie, a remedy popped up in the form of Nadav Lapid’s comment: When the Jury of the most prestigious Indian film festival considers the Kashmir Files as vulgar propaganda, the movie all of a sudden looks bad. People would feel, they were fooled. “Oh, it was only propaganda to defame Muslims. How bad of those mean Hindus,” would be the natural reaction of people who are not well informed, and the majority of people is not well informed.
This may be the reason, why Nadav Lapid sticks to his unreasonable comments so fiercely, in spite of the Israeli ambassador telling him that he should be ashamed. He scored for the side of the dogmatic religions and communists, which are aligned against the Hindu tradition in the culture wars.
The sides are uneven. India is the only surviving ancient culture. All others, like Incas, Mayas, Aztecs, Greeks, Egypt, Mesopotamia or China, have been destroyed either by Christianity, Islam or Communism in relatively short time.
Yet Indian culture still stands and the fight against it is on since many centuries. Big parts of Greater India have fallen, and life is painful for the few remaining Hindus there.
But why is there so much effort to get rid of the Hindu culture? Moreover, it is a culture which has contributed immensely to world civilization in many fields, which however is hardly acknowledged. Even today, after all the loot and destruction, India has still some 40 million manuscripts according to Bibek Debroy. Further, the ancient temples hold incredible mysteries and secrets.
The reason may be that the Vedic insights about our true nature, are a danger for the powers-that-be. They would lose the power to control people by dictating what is the truth and demanding blind belief in unverifiable dogmas, if people came to know about their divine essence.
The Hindu tradition encourages a genuine enquiry into truth. Hints are given, for example in the Mahavakyas of the Upanishads. “Ayam Atma Brahma”, means the consciousness in you (Atman) is the same as in the one great Brahman, similarly as the water in a wave is the same as the water in the ocean. The wave is not the ocean, but the essence is the same in all waves and all are encompassed by the ocean, and when the wave loses its form, nothing of substance is lost.
What makes more sense? The Indian view of all being one with the all-pervading pure awareness, Brahman, which is, through sadhana, accessible? Or blind belief in what one person has said about God in heaven, who decides on the basis of only one life, whether we deserve eternal heaven or hell?
The Church got already some taste, what happens, when people know too much about Hindu Dharma:
When in the 18th century, German philosophers read translations of the Upanishads, they praised Vedic knowledge to the sky, and compared it negatively with their own religious tradition. Ever since, the Church lost power, even though it staunchly maligns Hinduism. I for example heard already in primary school about “untouchables” in Hinduism. Yet I came to know about the horrific Jewish holocaust by our own German people only in my teens.
The opposition to the Hindu side is fierce. Hindus are maliciously called all kinds of names – extremists, fascists, rapists, even terrorists, or cow-piss drinkers, often by persons who have no idea what Hindu Dharma is about.
Yet, Hindus have become meanwhile more awake and realized, that their Dharma, which was in a subtle way portrayed as inferior to the Abrahamic religions, is actually the better option for humanity and the world. And many Hindus have now become vocal and proud about it. This is not appreciated by those who want to eliminate the last surviving ancient tradition.
The dogmatic side has killed millions over the centuries in the process to eradicate ancient cultures and each other. Its foot soldiers don’t realise that they are only pawns in a bigger game about control of humanity, and that it is in their own interest, when Hindu Dharma not only survives, but flourishes. Hindu Dharma is truly inclusive and considers the whole world as one family, because we all come from the same divine Source: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.