HOME | ABOUT US | Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | www.CenterforPluralism.com | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com You can send an email to: MikeGhouseforIndia@gmail.com
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
DaVinci Water Behezti
Jun 1 2006 11:33PM comments rss:
MOVIES, PROTESTS, SOCIETY & THE PROGRESS
Da-Vinci Muhammad water Behezti
The protests against the following movies deeply concerns me about the direction our society is heading: Da-Vinci code, Water, Muhammad, and Behezti are affecting Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities respectively, are they really?
We do not have a choice to live in an Island, all by ourselves. We have to learn to live with others. First of all living with a spouse is a greater challenge today than ever before, working with different people, living with Parents, living in diverse neighborhoods, communities and the Cities is a reality we have to deal with.
Societies have evolved developing rules to accommodate every one, if not it will be chaotic. The rich or the powerful cannot live in peace when there is imbalance, even a dictator cannot live without the fear of reprisal and reversal. So, we have to figure out living and accommodating each other. Working out security and peace is a must. It would be a mistake to railroad any one today, as tomorrow they will do the reverse. Every dog has its day, so to say.
You would be alone, desolately alone, and perhaps an oddity if you have not interacted with people from other cultures, languages, faiths, races and nations. We are not Islands any more. Gone are those days when you grew up in Sitarampur, married a Sitarampuri and lived there for generations without ever meeting any one other than a person from your own caste.
LAW & PUNISHMENT
In the long haul, every one will be better off learning to accept the differences and live with each other. If we don't cultivate this culture, we will face a serious breakdown in functioning of the societies. Whether the factionalism is within the religion or inter-religious, the danger is imminent.
The laws of land have to be open, just and stronger to punish any civil disruption of freedom of expression. If it were not for the laws of the United States, guys like Robertson or Falwell would have created havoc worse than Bin Ladin. They would have bombed Mecca, assassinated Venezuelan president, harvested Indians to follow their creed (their creed, not Christian creed) and at the end there would have been no one left, as Robertson and Falwell would have been at each others throat. This is how we keep these extremists under the tab, through strong and just laws of the land.
Religion frees us from the negative engagements. When we truly believe in God and the oneness of mankind, we have accepted God’s greatness and parity of human beings. We may want to laugh at ourselves for having two mouths: With one we say killing one life is like killing the whole humanity if we are Muslims, and Vasudeva Kutabam if we are Hindus, and so on and so forth with other faiths. On the other hand we have 911, Godhra, Gujarat, Vadodra, Staines and all other crap. We are the bad guys not our religions. Indeed, the world is a better place today because of spirituality, without which there would be chaos. All the religions are on the same side; that of goodness for mankind.
I believe that the purpose of all faiths is to bring peace and happiness to each individual and connect humans with the divine. I strongly defend the goodness of each religion. I believe that political motivations have deliberately blamed the wrongs of the world on religion. It is our belief that you will always find evil individuals who are responsible for the wrongs, and uphold the honor of each faith.
None of the movies: Da-Vinci, Muhammad, Water or Behezti have the power to dilute the faith of the believer. It is a shame that radicals among us behave the same, whether they are Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs.
Just because they don't agree with screening of the above movies, they are depriving the 99% of others from seeing the movies. You can compute this out – you will not find radicals in any groups more than 1% of that group.
Religion is not at the core of the problem, it is the evil in us to control others that is the issue. The protests and the subsequent bans assume that, they do not trust their people, they believe by seeing the movie, the faith is somehow going to evaporate like thin air. Do we need a faith like that?
We do have aggressive gangs amidst us, and we need to handle them with kid's gloves. Challenging them will not achieve the results, neither taking a u-turn does. We have to build our audience. Let public debates start and when those loud voices know that it is a fiction, out loud and clear, they may not have the steam to protest.
In the interest of having our populations learn to accept and respect various expressions, and divergent views, we may have to work on a PR campaign thru the media and prepare them to see the following movies and go for strong laws that would be applied honesty to one and all. Da-Vinci Code: It will not change Christian's faith in Jesus Christ, Christians are not that weak. Those few (less than 1%) should not worry about this fiction or at least should not deprive others from seeing it. They can stay home.
Behezti: It will not bring any shame to the Sikh community, what happens in life is a part of it; let’s learn to live with it. Let them not see it, we will go see it.
Water: The movie is not anti-Hindu; it is depicting what exists out there and what needs to be done. We cannot run from the realities of the life. Those of you (less than 1% of Hindus) who do not like it, don't force your views on others, go home and sleep, let others watch.
Mohammad: I have gone back in History, as Muslims had protested showing the movie in Indian cinema halls way back in 70’s. By God it was a movie made by a Muslim and they made so much fuss about it. If those less than 1% of Muslims don't like this movie and Da-Vinci code, that is their choice, but let others have their choice to see the movie.
It is Ironic that in all the 4 movies, the movies were made by the followers of the same faith. What’s wrong with another point of view? These movies reflect part of our heritage and conflict; we have to work to get them to be shown. This is what builds tolerance and acceptance of the otherness of other. Let this movies be presented as debates within the groups and not conclusions. May be this will enhance the acceptability and reduce the fanaticism.
A PR campaign is a must and I hope it would be financially rewarding to the producers of the movies to do that. If not they will end up getting vandalized as it has happened. We have to confront the extremists but that should be the last, very last option. Without any doubt we need to wake up the silent majority of our population to speak up. For every extremist voice, if we can generate two sensible voices, the extremists will back off. They are no different than the bullies in the class room. Mike Ghouse www.Mikeghouse.net www.foundationforpluralism.com
A few media reports... the gist is the same.
Andhra Pradesh bans The Da Vinci Code[ Thursday, June 01, 2006 08:07:48 pmPTI ]
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday suspended exhibition of The Da Vinci Code film in the state. The film was to be released in the state on Friday. On the representations from Christian and other organisations, the government decided to suspend exhibition of the movie in English, Telugu and other languages, according to a government order issued in Hyderabad.
Yet again we cave into religious bigots. And this time they're Hindus http://arts.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1784709,00.htmlNick CohenSunday May 28, 2006The Observer
The Satanic Verses, Behzti, Theo van Gogh's Submission, Jerry Springer: The Opera, the Danish cartoons of Muhammad ... now we can add the London exhibition of the work of Maqbool Fida Husain to the rapidly expanding list of works of art and satire targeted by militant religion.
For readers interested in Indian culture, the show at the Asia House gallery in the West End's fine art district should have been essential viewing. Husain is the grand old man of Indian art. He began as a boy painting cinema hoardings for six annas per square foot before getting his first break at the Bombay Art Society in 1947. His international appeal lies in his mixing of classical traditions with modern styles. Art from all over the world inspires him - Emil Nolde and Oskar Kokoschka were early influences - but you only have to glance at his pictures to know an Indian must have painted them.
Indian High Commissioner, Kamalesh Sharma, claimed at the opening that Husain was India's greatest modern artist. The exhibition was to run until August, to allow visitors to decide for themselves if he was right.
They won't be able to now. Asia House closed the show on Monday after threats of violence from anonymous Hindu fundamentalists. Arjun Malik of the Hindu Human Rights campaign assured me they had nothing to do with him, but said his group had been willing to do everything short of violence to stop the public seeing two of Husain's works.
His supporters had already deluged the gallery with letters, phone calls and emails complaining that Husain's 'so-called art' offended the 'sentiments of the Hindu community of the UK'. (Whether it did is debatable, as no one has elected the Hindu Human Rights campaign to represent the Hindu or any other community.) The protesters also went for Hitachi, which had given Asia House plasma TV screens, and demanded public apologies from everyone involved, including the Indian High Commissioner.
They called off a planned demonstration in London yesterday because, like the managers of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre who closed Behzti after the demonstrations by conservative Sikhs and the national newspaper editors who refused to publish the Danish cartoons, Asia House buckled under the pressure to censor.
The apparently separate protests from different faiths are connected. What we are seeing is rival fundamentalists egging each other on in a politics of competitive grievance. Every time one secures a victory, the others realise they can't be left behind. If satirists are frightened of having a go at Islam because they believe they may be killed - and they are - why shouldn't Christian fundamentalists decide to become more menacing?
A comedian who takes a pop at the Pope sends the subliminal message: 'We can deride your religion as despicable because we know you are not so despicable you will resort to violence.' There is a limit to how long the ultras for any religion will put up with that before they change the ground rules.
After abusive Sikh men closed Behzti, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's play about the abuse of Sikh women by Sikh men, Christian Voice upped the ante against Jerry Springer: The Opera. It had previously run at the National Theatre for months without attracting protest. But when BBC2 came to broadcast it, London Christians imitated Birmingham Sikhs and BBC executives suddenly needed the protection of private security guards.
You can see the same pattern in the hounding of MF Husain. The paintings the demonstrators targeted were nudes of the Hindu goddesses Draupadi and Durga. Arjun Malik went into all kinds of verbal convolutions when I asked what he had against them, before coming out with the explanation that 'according to tradition, they should not be disrobed'. The reason for the tongue-twisting is that nude gods and goddesses have been a part of the Indian tradition for 5,000 years. As Husain said: 'Here, the nudity is not nakedness; it is a form of innocence and maturity.'
It is no longer innocent because, after the state-sponsored violence of the Danish cartoon protests, Hindus from the religious Indian right looked around for a grievance of their own. They picked on Husain - the fact that he was born a Muslim made him a natural target - and began a confessional arms race. In February, a Muslim politician in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh offered a large reward to anyone who beheaded the Danish cartoonists. A Hindu politician responded by saying he would pay the same to anyone who would kill Husain.
What is depressing is that, apart from a letter to the Guardian, from Lord Meghnad Desai, the closure of a major exhibition by fanatics has passed without comment. British troops are fighting against forces motivated by the religious fervour of the ultra right. British police officers arrest suspects they claim are inspired to kill because they, too, have a psychotic religious mission. Yet every week, comedians, art gallery owners, TV producers, newspaper editors and Home Office ministers give in to religious extremists. This is no way to win a war.
Indian Muslims, Christians Unite Against "Da Vinci"
MUMBAI, May 15, 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) â€“ Indian Muslims said on Monday, May 15, that they would take to the streets with their Christian fellows if the authorities did not ban the screening of the controversial film, "The Da Vinci Code." "The Da Vinci Code is blasphemous as it spreads lies about Jesus Christ," Maulana Mansoor Ali Khan, general secretary of the All-India Sunni Jamiyat-ul-Ulema, an umbrella organization of Muslim scholars, told Reuters. "The holy Qur'an recognizes Jesus as a prophet. What the book says is an insult to both Christians and Muslims,"Ali Khan added. Protest in India against the film have so far been low key, but several Catholic groups have threatened to stage street demonstrations and even to shut down cinema halls screening it. One Catholic organization even called on Christians to begin a fast until death. "Muslims in India will help their Christian brothers protest this attack on our common religious belief," vowed Ali Khan. "The Da Vinci code" is an adaptation of author Dan Brown's bestseller by the same name that suggests that Jesus married his female disciple Mary Magdalene and had a child with her. The 125-million-dollar movie will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, May 17, before it is seen worldwide on Friday, May 19. The Vatican condemns the book and the film, and has asked Christians worldwide to boycott "The Da Vinci Code". "Very Hurt" Dolphy D'Souza, spokesman of Bombay Catholic Sabha, said Indian Christians are "very hurt" by the planned screening. "We will picket in front of cinema halls that show the film. We are very hurt and very angry," she said. Muslim and Christian leaders have already met politicians and police in the western city of Mumbai, urging the authorities to stop the screening of the film. "If the government doesn't do anything, we will try our own ways of stopping the film from being shown," Syed Noori, president of Mumbai-based Raza Academy, a Muslim cultural organization that often organizes protests on issues concerning Islam, told Reuters. "We are prepared for violent protests in India if needed." Last week, small groups of protesters marched in Mumbai and burned a copy of the book. Christians form about one percent of Hindu-majority India's 1.3-billion population, while Muslims make up around 13 percent. Muslim scholars and organizations are seeking a United Nations resolutions, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions against blasphemy in the wake of the odious Danish cartoons that lampooned Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Phenomenon The explosive religious row over the movie has turned "The Da Vinci Code" into a global phenomenon that promises to make the screen version of the cult novel a major blockbuster. As Christian churches launch theological attacks on the movie, Dan Brown's best-selling novel is still flying off shelves and generating furious debate across the world as its opponents brand it blasphemous and even "satanic." "Religion is now and has for centuries been one of the major areas of human interest and inquiry," Robert Thompson, a media professor at the University of Syracuse in New York, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). "Popular culture has now identified this subject matter not as something to shy away from, but as something with which it can capture an enormous audience," he said. While the Catholic Church rarely comments on films and books it finds objectionable, some of its priests and organizations have declared open war on "The Da Vinci Code" amid fears that its plot could damage the Church's image. The book, which has sold nearly 50 million copies, tells of an alleged conspiracy by the Catholic Church to hide for centuries the fact that Jesus Christ was a prophet, and not a god, who ultimately married Mary Magdalene and had children with her, whose descendants still survive and are venerated and protected as Christ's direct bloodline, according to AFP. In the movie, Oscar-winning Tom Hanks takes the role of Robert Langdon, a symbologist called in when the curator of the Louvre museum is found murdered, his body splayed out in a copy of Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing "The Man of Vitruve." Langdon, with the help of the curator's cryptologist grand-daughter Sophie Neveu played by French actress Audrey Tautou, are soon caught up in a web of intrigue, racing against time to decode symbols hidden in Da Vinci's work in a trail which takes them from Paris to London and then Scotland. All the signs point to a centuries-old mystery supposedly covered up by a secretive Vatican-backed organization, which is ready to do anything to stop the world decipher the mystery. Brown has been at pains to point out that the work is a fiction and merely a spring board for a discussion about Christianity.
Aren’t we better off today than we were fifty years ago? Don’t we have quicker access to medical care today than we did a generation ago? Don’t we have more freedom in expressing our thoughts than just 25 years ago? Aren’t we going to live longer than our fore fathers? Aren’t we healthier than our parents?
Are we mentally healthier than our Grand Parents or Parents? Most of us are, but some of us have grown to be extremists.