The entire drama over the release of “Padmavati” has started to die down slowly, with the movie doing pretty well at the box office. This can be regarded as a failure for all the fringe groups out there who were protesting immensely to ban the film throughout the nation. Well, as a matter of fact, they partially succeeded in whatever intention they had, as the film was not screened in four ‘highly sensitive’ states.
This brings me to a question. Where are we actually headed? In the 21st century, when Silicon Valley is busy filling its roads with electric cars, we are busy deciding what is suitable for our adult citizens to watch.
And what’s even worse is while that the misrepresentation of an on-screen character has offended a group of people beyond imagination, the same group of people is completely unaffected by the brutal rape of an innocent girl at gunpoint in the real world. Leave alone protesting, they don’t even have time to react to it, not even on social media.
Well, by this I simply wish to highlight how ‘considerate’ and ‘concerned’ these groups are about social welfare. I also wish to state clearly that their support for that cause is neither welcome nor required. But who cares, the top news channels, the top politicians and most importantly the top protesters – all of them are busy channelling their energy in deciding their future line of action, that will allow them to cash in on the popularity of this episode in full measure. Afterall, that’s what’s best for business.
There is no mention of the common people here because if you remember, they are already busy coping with the ongoing protests. They are already focusing on a subject of much higher importance (at least that’s what they have been made to believe), so they neither have the energy nor the direction to stand up for women’s rights, again.
This situation is of extreme concern for all of us because the unjustified riots in the name of “Padmavati” (and yes, I still call it by that name, because I find nothing wrong with it) are nothing but an unscrupulous way of hogging the limelight and promoting an extremist agenda, which is to remind the people that the colour of the topmost stripe of our flag is saffron. Another sad part is that in the past few years such protests have increased both in number and intensity, but the rationales behind these protests have gone only south. If this is what democracy, freedom of speech, or right to free expression have to offer, then I am better off without them.
And looking at these protesters, I feel angry, I feel ashamed, but more than anything, I feel pity for them. Who are these people who target innocent children in school buses? Where are they from? I wonder why and how God has created such creatures who lack basic compassion and humanity. I wonder how they are not reminded of their own families while engaging in such totally unacceptable and condemnable actions.
However, this is not strange for people who are aware of the harsh reality of the brainwashing involved in the process of development of all such groups. Now such arguments can give birth to a whole new array of questions as to who they are backed by, which party they support, and the most popular one since the inception of the Modi government: what stand the PM should take on this, or why he is still silent. It’s hilarious, isn’t it – the manner in which this country has learned to ask so many questions, but not the right ones. Especially since May 2014, every issue has somehow ended up becoming a political battle.
There’s nothing wrong in informing the common masses about the content of an artwork. The Karni Sena is welcome to question the portrayal of their dignified queen as it is their right, owing to the beauty of democracy. As is popularly said, freedom of expression of one is intact only as long as it does not hurt the freedom of expression of someone else. But here the manner of expressing one’s objection is crucial and needs to be subjected to many filters. Damaging public property and hence disturbing the normal lives of so many people, and in addition to that, putting the lives of innocent children at stake: I call upon the president of any of these groups to justify these actions. Even Karni Sena should not forget that the stay on the film’s screening came only after a legal process which involved the court’s order, and if the court had ordered otherwise it would have been really interesting to see how these people would have tried to force themselves even over law and order to forward their agenda.
Sure, the Anna Andolan taught us to raise our voice, but I think we need another Andolan to teach us to shut some voices up this time. It’s high time that the entire nexus of such groups like the Karni Sena is reminded that there is a lot of space for dissent in this nation, but none for upsetting its peace!