Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Muslim’


obama1Obama’s win has been hailed by many political commentators as the end of the “politics of grievance.” Their argument goes like “now that a black man has come to power, blacks can no longer blame the administration for not listening to their grievances.”

Just because a black is in power, doesn’t mean Afro-Americans are going to get a fair deal.

When A P J Abdul Kalam became the President of India, everyone welcomed a person from the scientific community entering the bureaucracy. Till date, he has been the most popular Indian President in power. But just because he was a Muslim, didn’t mean he in anyway represented the interests of the Indian Muslim.

Everyone knows about the atrocities committed against Muslims during the Gujarat riots. Everyone knows that it was state-sponsored genocide. World-wide human rights organisations, the UN and foreign countries condemned the violence against minorities, but what did Abdul Kalam do? He wasn’t going to antagonize the BJP Government, so he didn’t impose President’s rule in Gujarat or even kalam_veer_savarkarcondemn the violence. He toed the official BJP line and parroted the same things Advani & Vajpayee were saying. When Muslim groups approached him, he carefully avoided even sympathizing with his own community.

Kalam also unveiled the potrait of Hindu ‘mahasabha’ leader Veer Savarkar in the Central Hall of Parliament, after the entire Opposition boycotted the function. Veer Savarkar was the brains behind Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and one of the accused in the case.

Hanging the portrait of the assassin (Veer Savarkar) in the same hall as the assassinated (Gandhi) is an insult to secularism. And Kalam ought to be ashamed of the part he played in it.

My point is just because Abdul Kalam was a Muslim, doesn’t mean he did anything for the welfare of Muslims. The same goes for Pratibha Patil; just because she’s the first woman Indian President, doesn’t mean the 5.6 billion women in India have been emancipated.

The same logic applies to Obama, his win doesn’t mean words like – race transcendence, race neutral, post-racial — hold true.

I don’t buy the argument that Obama’s election proves Americans are living in a post-racial America. Racism still exists. And its not just blacks, America discriminates against other races too; it calls them browns (Indians), Chinkies, Hispanics, Latinos, Jews, Poles, etc.

There are also other questions that rise: Will Obama take a pro-active stance for black rights or leave it to NAACP?

Will Obama be held less or more accountable for issues that affect the black community?

Will Obama’s every appointment of a non-white person be debated at length? Will Obama’s every welfare or non-welfare move be criticized in the light of his skin colour?

Will his election, put advocacy for racial equality on the back burner in the mainstream media?

obama2What will happen when riots in black ghettos break out? How will his administration be criticized? (Though no white President was criticized for the Ku Klux Klan, you can be sure violence by or against blacks will be taken as reflection of Obama’s administration).

Apart from the legitimate questions, there are questions from another realm like: Is Obama black? Is Obama black enough? Is Obama American enough? How can Obama talks about black rights, when none of his ancestors were tortured, beaten up by slave owners, the Ku Klux Klan, white policemen or the state militia? What can Obama know of black poverty in America?

Read Full Post »

The most irritating thing about Dasavatharam was seeing Kamal Hassan in every frame. It being his magnum opus film in no way justifies the fact that the whole film is Kamal, Kamal and nothing but Kamal.

The irritating things about the movie:

Kamal‘s ego. The scene in which social activist Vincent Poovaraghan replies, “Yes. I am a world-class actor” to the villain’s “Who do you think you are? Are you a world actor?” is too irritating for words. K S Ravikumar films have the trademark of K S Ravikumar appearing in at least one shot. But K S Ravikumar crooning about Kamal in the last song Ulaga Nayagane….”You have to be a UN member…You have to get an Oscar award…You have acted in thousands of roles….You are a world actor, world actor, ” Shucks! And K S Ravikumar trying to dance with scantily-clad girls! Too ignominious!
Missing links. Where did Kamal get his cellphone? How did the villains get the number and call Kamal in that scene when Kamal is standing in front of the police station? And containing a bio-weapon with plain NaCl or common salt is plain stupid for a movie that’s trying to be scientific (but fails nevertheless)? And how does a scientist (Govind), who spent most of his adult years creating a bio-weapon for the US so that it can kill millions of Innocent civilians, suddenly develop a conscience and want to save people in India (which he left for a well-paying job in the US)? And many people feel the US itself is a terrorist nation, so why protest the sale of the bio-weapon to a terrorist nation? As if the US is spending billions of dollars on bio-weapons for peaceful purposes.
Pathetic make-up. Kamal is a great actor and without any make-up in Michael Madana KamaRajan we were able to differentiate between the four Kamals. Here the make-up artist didn’t too a good job (Try watching Nutty Professor, you can’t recognise Eddie Murphy in any of the five characters). The faces looked artificial and kind of mummified.
Manmohan Singh, George Bush & Karunanidhi on the same stage? I don’t think so! Donning the role of George Bush and trying to outdo Sivaji Ganesan’s Navarathiri was such an immature attempt at the Oscars. I think Kamal would be better off, if he followed Aamir Khan’s non-special effects style.
Ten roles & a haywire script. Kamal had decided he’d do 10 roles. He decided he’d play a Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim & atheist. He also decided he’d be a tall guy and a short, old lady. So the script is just plain confusion, with the director and script writer trying to fit in all of Kamal egomanical demands.
Too many issues. Kamal Hassan tried to talk about bio-warfare, globalisation, imperialism, terrorism, Shivites vs Vaishnavites, religion, the butterfly effect, chaos theory, discrimination against Dalits, caste feelings, lethargic functioning of the bureaucracy, sycophant government officials, corruption in the govt ranks, the tsunami, ….its just too much packed in three hours.
The Indian anthem being played when Govind lands in India with the bio-weapon. Why the national anthem? When nothing in the film has anything remotely to do with patriotism.
Hiroshima, Nagasaki vs Pearl Harbour. Its so stupid when Christian Fletcher tells Shingen Narahashi “Remember Hiroshima, Nagasaki?” and he retorts with “Remember Pearl Harbour?”. Its so stupid and doesn’t make sense.

What I did like about the movie despite all this, was the subtle criticism he dared make about the present system:

  • He says that both God and science betrayed human beings during the tsunami. In his own words in the last scene, “I didn’t say I don’t believe in God. I only said it will be nice if there was one” (Meaning that God is not there. Why quibble about it?). And that the stone (Vishnu statue) is just powerless. As it didn’t save Vishnu followers (including, the skeletal Ranagaraja Nambi) and got cast up on the beach due to the tsunami not its own powers.
  • He says that people have always killed and got killed in the name of the God in India. Even before Christianity or Islam made its entry to India, people were killing each over communal riots.in this case Shivites vs Vaishnavites.
  • When he’s protesting the sale of “bio-weapons to venture capitalists,” his boss tells him not act like a unionist. I liked how he showed that industrialists try to buy off people with unionist tendencies; when his boss tells Govind he will be paid hundred thousand dollars to go with the tide; and when Vincent’s men are bought off by the sand-mining industrialists here.
  • When he hugs the sanitary workers (most probably Dalits with no offense, but only empathy for that community) and the sanitary workers are surprised that he’s touching a person, who works in the drains.
  • When the old, mad woman hugs the dead Vincent and they tell her not to touch him because he’s from another caste. But the old woman rejects what he says, leaving us with the question who is really mad? The old woman who embraces a stranger as her son or the Hindu fundamentalist, who thinks touching someone from another caste is sinful?
  • when he shows the rampant sand mining taking place on the Palar river bed. He has imitated real-life activists in portraying the anti-sand mining group
  • when he shows the blind faith and prejudices people have due to religion
  • when he makes a hit at Vaiko and Vijaykanth. In the interrogation scene, Balram Naidu questions Govind’s loyalty towards promoting the Tamil language, to which Kamal replies “Telegu people (Vaiko/Vijaykanath) like you will promote the language for their own benefit.”
  • when he criticises Jayendra Saraswathi. When Balram Naidu wants to interrogate people in the Hindu religious mutt, he asks “Are there not criminals in mutt?” (A hit at the recent murder case in which the acharya was arrested and many brahmins protested the move)
  • when Kalif’s dad tells the govt officers not to think “every Muslim is a terrorist”. Kamal of course phrases it in his roundabout way as “don’t think everyone who prays to Mecca is a terrorist.” I feel there’s too much of branding going on. Just because the US govt, UK and other European countries didn’t like Communists; Communists were bad and terrorists. Now the new villains are Muslims. Because the US would love to occupy the oil-rich lands of the Middle-East, the natives or Muslims become evil and terrorists. Even the BJP and RSS get votes using the same platform that “Hindu Rajaya must be born, after killing all the Muslim terrorists in India.” In Gujarat, I guess the Modi govt was partially successful, but it was interesting to note the subtle criticism the film makes of the Gujarat riots and the more than 2,000 Muslims killed in the riots.

Read Full Post »

FLDS women are in the news! Even since Texas authorities rounded up 460 children from a polygamist camp, we have been seeing more and more photos of polygamist women in their pastel-coloured long frocks and poofed-up hair.

Fashion, according to the FLDS and LDS women is wearing  oversized puffed up garments. Reminds me of the hand-me-down frocks, kids get from older siblings to wear on Sundays.

Seeing them, I felt like I was transported back to the 18th century.And they don’t look too happy either. But neither would I be if I had to wear a pink-coloured frock for a 70-year-old man, who was my husband, and six layers of clothing underneath in the blistering heat of Arizona and Utah.

They also never cut their hair, because they’ll need it in heaven. Didn’t understand? Well, remember the story of how one woman out of love for Jesus washed his feet with her tears and dried it with her hair. So these women,  need their hair, if they want to have the privilege of wiping Christ’s feet in heaven. And did not Paul, say that a hair is a woman’s crowing glory? So there you have it! Crowning glory!  

But they are not the only suppressed, brow-beaten, conservative women wearing such goody-goody clothes.

All conservatives seem to have dress codes:

1) For instance take women from the Pentecostal Mission, they have to wear white, unseemly dresses and cover themselves from head to toe. This is so that they do not entice any man to sin by lusting after them. Similar to the Mormon women they also wear their hair long and do not cut it. Pentecostal women don’t wear pants. Because if you wear pants, you have a gender identity disorder and you will behave like a man, so most pentecostal women in conformity with the general church wear “feminine clothes.”

2) Next come the Muslim conservative women. But I guess the way they dress is really not their fault. In many cases its the government, society, their husband and incidents like ‘honour killings,’ which dictate the way they dress.

But they should draw the line somewhere, when it comes to dressing infants. Why should infants be clothed from head to toe? Beats me! Anyway 10 bonus points for you if you can spot the similarities and differences between these two pictures:

3) Another late manifestation is the desire for many women to jump onto the time machine and wear something that’s about two centuries old. You can see it among many traditional, conservative Christian women.  Whether in the US or in India

In the US:

These women are dressed this way because they believe Christ told them to do so. If you don’t believe me read here.

In India:

A pic of Pentecostal women in their uniform white & white. Black is forbidden in church as it represents the Devil. I wonder what colour suits the bridegrooms wear on their wedding day? In India, there are lots of pastors telling the woman folk that they have to submit to their husbands and Christ….so the veil worn in churches is to….er denote their submissiveness. I think the practise originates from when, Paul said, “Women should cover their heads in church; they must be silent in church; they most love and obey their husbands, etc.”

Read Full Post »