January 25, 2013

The 'Vishwaroopam' Ban: The rise of Muslim extremism in South India and the short sightedness of Indian Politicians

Islam is a religion which teaches peace and harmony.Hope the extremist groups understand this basic fact

                   The month of January 2013 is turning out to be a significant one for the Muslim extremists in our country.Just a couple of days after the Home Minister of India made the infamous speech on 'Hindu terror' (apparently based on 'some random media reports'!) which was lapped up by gentlemen from Pakisthan like Hafiz Saeed and likeminded hardliners within the country in no time,the Tamil Nadu government has gone a step forward and banned a high profile Tamil Film Named 'Vishwaroopam' which is based on Global terrorism written and directed by Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan.
                                        When I first watched the promotional theatrical trailer of Vishwaroopam about a month back it had left me with mixed feelings.The movie looked like just another addition to the long list of Indian movies based on terrorism with the same old sepia toned frames,bland action sequences and jingoism.Even Kamal Haasan himself had tried the same theme in his past two movies 'Unnai pol Oruvan'(a remake of Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday) and 'Dasavatharam' with limited success.So there was nothing innovative as far as the concept was concerned.Moreover the superstar himself looked too old to play an action hero.So the 100 crore magnum opus looked like a sure shot disaster(atleast for me!). 
                     A good one month and a couple of controversies later(read DTH),the movie (which has the approval of the Censor Board of India)has been banned by the Government of Tamil Nadu following the request by a little known Muslim extremist party called TMMK(the new version of the banned Militant group 'SIMI' and the Tamil counterpart of the kerala based extremist groups like SDPI and Popular front of India.(TMMK were in the news during the 'Innocence of Muslims' protest in Chennai,last year ).C'mmon,I don't want to bore you people with long blocks of prose,let me come straight to the point-What does this ban really mean? Is it only a  matter of  faith v/s freedom of expression as 'those intelligent people debating on TV news channels' say or is it really exposing something else which is much more terrifying?
What the ban really means and why it is terrifying?! 

1. Before going onto anything else,let's see the history of the cry babies ,TMMK who have called for a ban-
1.11998 Coimbatore Bombings (From Wikipedia)-1998 Coimbatore Bombings (From Wikipedia)-Within hours of the blasts, the Tamil Nadu Government banned the Muslim fundamendalist group Al Umma and the Jihad Committee. Al Umma founder-was arrested in Chennai; explosive materials and weapons were seized from his house in Triplicane, Chennai. Leaders of the Jihad Committee and the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) were arrested in a State-wide crackdown. Among those arrested were Jihad Committee president R.M. Haniffa, TMMK president and college lecturer M.H. Jawahirulla and treasurer G.M. Pakkar. 
1.2 Anti-Islam film: US consulate attacked in Chennai-Members of a Muslim outfit resorted to vandalism at the office of the Consulate General of the United States here.Volunteers of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) staged protests before indulging in stone pelting and damaging a CCTV surveillance camera at the consulate. The agitators also burnt the national flag of the US, smashed light domes and pulled down visitors’ information boards. By 4 pm, hundreds of TMMK men gathered on the Peters Road-Anna Salai junction without police permission. When the agitation was underway, about 150 members from the Kancheepuram District unit barged into the protest venue in five vehicles. 
        Any sane human being who has gone through the above two reports will appreciate the irony in the decision by the government of Tamil Nadu in banning an inoffensive film(which would have flopped badly otherwise) made by one of the legends of Tamil cinema ( which also has been cleared by atleast three censor boards of this country-the film is releasing in Tamil,Telugu and Hindi versions) on the request of an extremist group which itself is a derivative of a banned organisation!
2. If the state can't provide adequate security for an inoffensive film which has been cleared by the censor board fearing threats by a small group of people with vested interests,then it means that the government is a spineless and inefficient establishment.It has to be remembered that in a similar case last year (Prakash Jha v/s state of UP),SC had clearly stated that it is the duty of the state to ensure the law and order situation and that it can't ban a film which has been cleared by the censor board of India.The majority of Muslims in the state shouldn't have a problem with the movie as Kamal Haasan is not someone who will portray a particular community in bad light to gain cheap publicity and revenue!

3. South India (kerala,Tamil Nadu,Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh)is slowly but surely turning out to be fertile lands for terror groups in the country.We can't turn a blind eye to the emergence of strong extremist groups from thesestates.It's not long ago that reports like these about the Popular front of India emerged from the kerala.The organisation along with it's political counterpart-SDPI  is pretty strong in somepockets like Perumbavoor,Manjeri,Mattanchery,Aluva,Muvattupuzha andin the malabar regions of the state of kerala.The changing Governments of the state have always downplayed the impact of these radical groups as they dont want to hurt their Vote Bank.
            The Coimbatore blast accused-Abdul Nasser Madauny issue is another example. It's sad that the short sighted approach of even the political parties for petty political gains is slowly but surely resulting in total religious anarchy and intolerance in the state and the country.The Hindus(Nairs,Ezhavas of the state) have expressed their displeasure already!Meanwhile IUML which is presently a coalition partner in the ruling government IN kerala is becoming more and more extremist in it's views with each passing day.The state of affairs in Karnataka and Andhra are equally bad.One gentleman in Andhra was spewing venom the other day in a way which would have put even a Varun Gandhi to shame!   

4.The protest by this hitherto little known outfit is nothing but a legend bashing exercise by the Muslim outfit to increase it's visibility.However what is more terrifying is that the Government ofTamil Nadu has bowed down to the demands of these radical groups by banning the movie thereby indirectly supporting the growing base of islamic extremism in South India.A Couple of weeks back,we had this shocker from Kerala-Prayer for Ajmal Kasab inKochi,kerala.!
               Conclusion:What the 'Vishwaroopam Ban' teaches us! 

1.Banning of Movies,books and creative art forms owing to the pressure by certain unconstitutional bodies is something that has been existing in India since 'The Satanic verses' days.Even Tamil Nadu has it's own history of banning movies.However unauthorised bans on inoffensive manifestations of creative expression and  growing levels of religious intolerance in our country is something which should be curbed at the earliest
2.Majority of Muslims In India are peace loving people who don't want to create un necessary issues in the name of religion.However the deliberate attempts by a small sectionof extremists to create communal tension and disharmony in the country should be condemned by straight minded people of this country belonging to all religions.The fact that a section of radical Indian Muslims have started sympathising with Afghan terrorists and Taliban(who are shown as villains in the film) is scary and points to the growing base of Islamic radicalisation in South India.
3.Vote bank politics might be a short cut to momentary electoral gains.But short sightedness from the part of our political leaders is only going to be detrimental in the long run.We have a very good example in our neighbour-Pakisthan,a failed nation!
4.Is India slowly becoming Pakisthan2.0?
5.Right thinking Indians along with the Indian Film fraternity should wake up, stand united and protest against this so called 'ban' on Mr Kamal Haasan and his movie which is nothing but a straight forward case of 'cultural terrorism'.The movie doesn't have anything against Islam or muslims neither does it attempt to denigrate any community.After all,how can a movie which is entirely shot in Newyork and which talks about Afghan terrorists and Taliban offend the Indian Muslims?'Today,the victim is Kamal.Tomorrow this can happen to any of you people!'
6.If religious extremism goes unchecked in the Southern parts of the country,Kashmir South India will soon become the 'terror capital' of India.We are already witnessing it's signs,now it's only a matter of a couple of years!

2.25/1/13 10.40 PM-Vishwaroopam banned in ?Trivandrum,Kollam,Palghat districts of kerala! (Official order soon)
3.26/1/13 5.00 PM- Vishwaroopam gets a warm welcome in kerala!-the few cinemas which had suspended the screening of the film temporarily decide to resume shows from tomorow-27/1/13
 8.31/1/13 12.40pm-TN CM-JJayalalithaa says she is okay with the release if kamal chops off the objectionable scenes.Meanwhile film journo S.Pillai reports that the movie will release in TN with heavy cuts soon.The Muslim groups will see to it that all the scenes 'hurting' them will be removed!At the same time in UP, quite expectedly SP leaders say that they are going to ban  the film as they think it hurts Muslims!
9.Bollywood hungama reports Kamal Haasan has death threats!
10.2/2/13,4/2/13 KH agrees to mute some scenes,the 'ban' is lifted by TN govt and the movie is set to release there on 7/2/13 
11.8/2/13The movie releases in TN and is all set to be the biggest hit in TN till date!

image by-Satish Acharya,
                                  The guy who censored VR is a Muslim!



maneesh said...

very well written.appreciate you for such a brave and bold piece.

xavier said...

good's high time the government acted on these anti nationals!

vimal koshy thomas (via FB) said...

Hey good article .. Pretty frank

abhilash said...

a bold,well written piece.
religious fundamendalism should be opposed and defeated.

Anonymous said...

Very good,well wriien article based on facts!!
Good work my friend

nikhimenon said...

Thank you all for your feedback.

abdul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ihatekamalhaasan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
anoop2534 said...

wow.. proud of u nikhi..
ur thought process is logical n well appreciated..
no one had problems with kurbaan, new york, wednesday... etc..
simply put.. its t shoot t messenger syndrome...
the creative /artistic freedom of the director cnt be curtailed.

but our own media also to be blamed who go by stereo types..

some play it safe... the villain roles in suresh gopi s I.G. were equally divided amongst various communities..

high time we started giving precedence only to what is imp to india and indianness and nt for hindu /muslim/ region/vote banks..
let them take a cue from the armed forces, the only truly secular institution in india which follows secularism/indianness in letter n spirit......
jai hind..

anoop2534 said...

wow nikhimenon..proud of u..
well researched article n a bold one too..

enough of bowing to fundamentalism
high time we all considered india/ spirit of indianness as priority

not as hindu /muslm/region/votebanks
we can tk a cue from the armed forces who many say , are amongst the endangered species of secular institutions
jai hind

nikhimenon said...

anoop 2534..

Thanks bro,for the feedback..

But here the irony is that kamal haasan is the same guy who tried to balance the muslim terrorism thing in the tamil remake of A Wednesday-Unnai Pol Oruvan.In the original tamil movie,all the terrorists were extremist jihadis.Where as the poor kamal,tried to balance it n the tamil version by making one of the villains in the tamil movie,a non muslim....!
now the same kamal is facing the wrath of the tamilian jihadis...!

the fact that just until a few years back(kurban ,a wednesday et al) no one raised a problem and now a poor tamil movie with the same theme is facing a ban due to protests by some jihadis indicate that the extremists are getting stronger by each passing year,right?

It's also true that the indian movies shud stop portraying the usual stereotypes when they show muslim characters.But as prakash raj,the actor has said recently,it's not who lost but who won in this matter,that's scary!

yeah,the armed forces s the only truly secular institution in india.Jaihind!

saffron terror said...

very nice post..keep posting..

sandhesh said...

brilliant write up....kudos to the blogger

david john(via FB) said...

good that you had the courage to write about all these things.

good work....

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Anonymous said...

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SMS Jokes said...

Hi Brothers, do not take this issue such a way effect our country. Now other commnities also will come up to make the issues against the scens in the old and up coming movies which effect Hindus and chirstians related. when you compare some of the other movei scens which compare the Hindus and chirstians this may not really a serious issue. and Do not forgot that censor board is already given the permit to release the movie. I dont think Kamalhassan is the personality to heart any commnity purposely. Listen the coment from AmeerKhan and bolly wood muslim actors who born and brought up in India.

nikhimenon said...


true..but who started all this first?