This will, of course, affect the film industry too. In a certain sense, I feel the film world has been till now a sort of secular space, where merit and talent score above other factors. I’m yet to come across a case where a director or actor or crew member was chosen on the basis of his or her religion or political leanings. Of course, we have our own political preferences, but it doesn’t affect our professional decisions.
I fear that could change. I was shocked that the statement we put out has already invited such criticism and outrage. Those who don’t agree with us, or those who are openly supporting one or the other party and campaigning for them, are saying it has created a rift within the industry, and divided the film fraternity in two.
I’m hoping against hope that the new government doesn’t go off on the anti-minority tangent we all fear it will. As far as censorship in films go, we will have to wait and see if it gets worse. I don’t think the financing, casting and success of commercial cinema will stand to face any major issues under a Modi government, because that kind of cinema doesn’t work on the whims of one person or party. But indie, cause-based cinema will probably have to fight harder. After all, theirs is a fight against the prevailing system, they have to uphold a sense of social justice, and if the upcoming order turns out to be one of oppression, it will reflect on the kind of the films they will make. Will they be allowed to voice those concerns? It’s too soon to say. But I’m also hoping the government doesn’t prove to be regressive enough to put a ban on films that have already been made on the Gujarat riots. That said, if a regressive wave does indeed sweep the country and change India’s direction and its secular principles, the citizens will resist. That much I can predict with certainty.
As told to Neha Bhatt
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Here is from today's news items which shows the stark reality in the ground and the modi hate gang in action. For all of those who bury their heads in sand and do not want to acknowledge the intimidation tactics used by modi and his hindutwa gang, an example to open your eyes:
"Police security cover for Ananthamurthy’s house:
........The threat perception is seen in the light of Dr. Ananthamurthy’s statement in the run-up to the polls that he would not like to live in a country where Narendra Modi was the Prime Minister.
Soon after the election results were out, a group of people started campaigning for Dr. Ananthamurthy’s departure to Pakistan, the police said.
Not only did Dr. Ananthamurthy get several phone calls asking him to leave the country, several hate mails and messages against the writer were posted on social networking sites, the police said........"
Let us all hope that this is not just the beginning of talibanization of the country. The authors' fears are well founded. Just imagine if these goons have the nerve and mindset to threaten an internationally acclaimed Jnanapeeth award winner (Anantamurty is a Jnanapeetha award winner and a Booker award finalist), what will be the fate of a commoner who disagrees with modi and his fanatic gang? I know that some will point to the treatment of Rushdie by the Islamic fundamentalists, but is that where we are headed?
Just stick to your profession you moron.
"I was shocked that the statement we put out has already invited such criticism and outrage."
You can guys can criticize but no one should criticize you!!!
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