Hinduism is very secular religion, filmmaker-activist tells Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now
GN Bureau | April 5, 2022
Filmmaker and social activist Ashok Pandit has said that the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus was known to everyone for over 32 years, but political leaders, political parties and celebrities refused to accept the truth. Instead, a false narrative was spun to muzzle the voice of Kashmiri Hindus.
Now, however, the revolutionary film, ‘The Kashmir Files’ has turned the tide and the world over everyone is talking about it. “Not only our own country but entire world has found resonance in its thought process and want to know why no one spoke about this issue earlier. A volcano has erupted and there is no stopping now.”
He was speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now during the webcast as part of Visionary Talk series held by public policy and governance analysis platform.
Pandit said the fact that ‘The Kashmir Files’ is releasing in the UAE without cuts has irked many people in the country who feel the film will incite violence. “They are provoking people. They should know that an Islamic nation has accepted the truth in the film and exhibiting it in their own country.”
Responding to a question if Indian audiences are now open to commercially accept hard-hitting and pure content-driven films like ‘The Kashmir Files’, considering the amount of business the film has done, he said, “A film which is honest and truthful is bound to become a commercial success. Stars are not going to pull crowds. It is the content that is going to decide what will work and what will not.”
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Earlier producer-director Vidhu Vinod Chopra had played safe by portraying a “balanced narrative” about the restive region in his films, ‘Shikara’ and ‘Mission Kashmir’, he said, adding, “these films did not appeal to audiences.”
Pandit said in 1990 he made a documentary on this subject, followed by a film called ‘Sheen’ on the same subject in 2003, but the voice was suppressed.
“Three and a half to 4 lakh Hindu Kashmiris were displaced and thrown out of their homes and land in the worst possible genocide. Everyone has been talking and debating about it for more than 32 years,” he said as he added that Mumbai bomb blasts tragedy surpassed the genocide of Hindu Kashmiris.
“We are passive people who refuse to accept facts and push things under the carpet. Genocide took place in the annals of the nation, in your own neighbourhood. If you say you are not aware of it, it is unbelievable,” he said adding that that on various international and national platforms Kashmiri Pandits had cried for help, but no one heard them.
“An entire army of ‘urban Naxals’ – Tukde Tukde gang, Shaheen Bag gang, other gangs and the Lutyens media set a false, make-believe narrative that Kashmiri Hindus left their homes on their own. The language of terrorists, Farooque Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the language of Hurriyat Conference was spun around which people accepted as truth.”
He blamed media for crushing the voice of Hindu Kashmiris and said that a certain section is active on that front till date.
He also said that an inferiority complex around Hinduism was created by “Italians”, foreigners, communists who received money from overseas to break the country when, in fact, Hinduism is very secular religion.
“But we now see that the government has become stronger after the results of the recent state elections. After Narendra Modi became the prime minister, and Article 370 and Article 35A were abolished we knew things will change for the better.”
Asked if under the present regime, film shootings can now be held without fear in Kashmir, Pandit said many production houses, film and TV producers and OTT platforms are already shooting in great numbers in Kashmir and things are moving in the right direction.
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