[Reader-list] Police stops screening of Jashn-e-Azadi]
anjalisaga at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue Aug 7 17:35:33 IST 2007
Any kind of prejudice based on religion, colour, gender, caste etc is
negative and destructive. Contemporary cosmopolitan society is built on
tolerance. In the case of your rather rude guests, I would advise that
you negotiate with them and maybe try out some new dishes .. I am sure
your wife or mother would be relieved to get out of the kitchen for a
few days, months or even years !
Difference and the understanding of difference is how cosmopolitan
society functions and is built as far as I can see on negotiation that
is quotidian, perpetual and requires reiteration, patience and
willingness to change. Sometimes it is also has to emerge as
spectacular, radical and violent as with the civil rights movement in
The rise of nationalism and racism worldwide is rather depressing and
comes out of territorialism, ignorance and aggression. The level of
ignorance is so high, sometimes it feels as if the people who cannot be
bothered to fight for tolerance are the types who would happily watch
public beheadings, the burning of witches (women), lynchings etc, and
those people are various and on all sides, be they Islamic, Hindu, or
Christian fundamentalists, homophobes, misogynists, racists etc .. I
really think that self examination is what counts here ..it is boring
and maybe obvious but true.
Anyway thats my tuppence's worth..
Vedavati Jogi wrote:
> 'Since I am neither an Indian nationalist or patriot nor a Kashmirinationalist or a patriot, I find it difficult to say which variety ofnationalims and patriotism should be given more importance. Both seem to be sentiments that attach to different configurations of territory. Ihave tried for many years to work out a set of evaluative criteria bywhich sentiments that attach to one configuration of territory can bejudged against sentiments that attach to another configuration ofterritory. If you give value to any sentiments that attach themselves toany bits of territory, I cannot quite understand why or how you woulddeny other people their sentiments to the bits of territory that theylay claim to. How can we call one more valid than the other? I do nothave an answer to this question. Does anyone else on this list have asatisfactory answer?' - Shuddha
> I will try to answer this question,
> Imagine a situation, 10 people, say your friends or distant relatives come to your house & start staying with you, they expect you to accomodate them permanently, they expect you to do everything for them, they try to do away with your wife's/mother's authority & establish their supremacy in the kitchen.
> And ultimately they ask you to leave your house & take refuge elsewhere.......... Can you afford to be liberal in this case? Will you not try to protect the rights of your wife/mother?
> Be honest & give me the reply!
> These guests are outsiders and you will definitely try to throw them out. In a way you are showing narrowmindedness but you can't do without that. Because that is not in your family's interest.
> Same thing is applicable to your nation.
> 'Nationalism means doing everything which is in the interest of your country' (e.g killing terrorists in Kashmir or flushing out Bangladeshi Muslims from Bengal or Assam.)
> Still if you say that 'you are neither a nationalist nor a patriot' then I am sorry to say so, but you have no right to stay in my country!
> > Date: Sun, 5 Aug 2007 20:06:29 +0530> From: shuddha at sarai.net> To: reader-list at sarai.net> Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Police stops screening of Jashn-e-Azadi]> > Dear All,> > I have been following with interest the thread that began a few days ago > on the Reader Listregarding the interrupted (or should I say prevented) > screening of Sanjay Kak's documentary film 'Jashn-e-Azadi' in Mumbai, > courtesy the Mumbai Police. It appears from the actions of the Mumbai > Police that that the citizens of Mumbai are more in need of protection > from various kinds of stimuli than those of us who have happily sat > through more than one screening of the said film in Delhi, and in > Srinagar without any harm being done to our minds or bodies.> > I am not writing to defend the film here, because I think a film, or any> work of art does not need a 'defence'. A film, or a work of art, or any> instance of communication is not an accused in a criminal court, we are> not attorneys, advocates and lawyers, a mailing list is not a court. I> am more interested in trying to think through some of the issues that> have been addressed in various postings.> > Those who have called for a ban on the film, or have endorsed the> Mumabai Police's actions, or have written angry mails protesting about> its screening basically have the following arguments, and I will list> them all. Do correct me if I miss any.> > 1. The film is one sided, it does not (adquately) represent the point of> views of displaced Kashmiri Pandits.> > 2. The film gives space to people that some of the correspondents on> this list consider to be 'terrorists'.> > 3. The film is not patriotic or nationalistic.> > I do not disagree with any of the above points. (though I have a> qualified disagreement on point 3, to which I will come later). But even> if all three points are agreed to, I still see no reason why the> automatic response to them has to be a call for a ban. Or for a> vilification of the filmmaker.> > Since it appears (or at least that is what I have been given to> understand) that we live in a nominally free and open cultural space,> there should be no problem at all for anyone to make films that they> think best represents the position that they hold. Either we agree that> this is the case, or we agree that your 'freedom of expression' has to> stay within the narrow limits of what is permissible under the world> view of Indian nationalism. In which event it does not remain freedom of> expression any longer, rather it (the capacity to be expressive) turns> automatically into a monopoly that only Indian nationalists can enjoy.> > In any case, nothing stops, or has stopped till now, anyone from making> any film that -> > a). adequately represents the points of view and experiences of the> Kashmiri Pandit community> > b) gives adequate space and consideration to those gentlemen in and out> of uniform who unleash terror on the majority of the population of the> Kashmir valley> > c) that oozes patriotism or nationalism from every frame> > (On this point I have a slight qualification to make, it seems to me,> that there would be some, though not by any means all, perhaps mainly> Kashmiri nationalists and patriots, who would not be disturbed by> 'Jashn-e-Azadi'. So it is inaccurate to say that the film has to be> rejected if you are a nationalist or a patriot. It all depends on which> kind of patriot or nationalist you are.)> > Since I am neither an Indian nationalist or patriot nor a Kashmiri> nationalist or a patriot, I find it difficult to say which variety of> nationalims and patriotism should be given more importance. Both seem to> be sentiments that attach to different configurations of territory. I> have tried for many years to work out a set of evaluative criteria by> which sentiments that attach to one configuration of territory can be> judged against sentiments that attach to another configuration of> territory. If you give value to any sentiments that attach themselves to> any bits of territory, I cannot quite understand why or how you would> deny other people their sentiments to the bits of territory that they> lay claim to. How can we call one more valid than the other? I do not> have an answer to this question. Does anyone else on this list have a> satisfactory answer? Does anyone even know if a satisfactory answer lies> within the realm of a theorectial or a practical possibility.> > But this is a debate that we can continue on some other occasion, at> least for now, let us return to the film that is exercising everyone so.> > So, those who are so disturbed by 'Jashn-e-Azaadi', might think about> how they can make their own film instead of trying to ensure that one> that exists is canned. Similarly, those people in Kashmir, Iran, the UK,> Indonesia, India, Egypt and Syria who stage spectacles calling for the> assasination of Salman Rushdie, or Taslima Nasrin, or the authors of a> batch of cartoons drawn in bad taste, might consider writing their own> books, or drawing their own cartoons. Killing an author or banning a> film or a book results in a net diminishing of cultural material.> Writing a book to argue against one that exists, or making a film to> counter another point of view, (even if jejunely) at least results in an> incremental addition to the body of cultural material available in> society at any given time.> > After all, Sanjay Kak, the maker of 'Jashn-e-Azadi', did not, as far as> I recall, call for bans on documentary films that were considered to> give an 'adequate' representation of Kashmiri Pandit experiences - like> 'Tell them the tree they have planted has now grown' or 'And the world> remained silent' . (In fact I do not remember any discussion of whether> such films should be banned.) I also do not remember any obstructions by> angry slogan shouting young men of films that have given more than> adequate representation to the foot-soldiers (formal and informal)of the> Indian state, engaged in fighting terror (and non-terrorist civic> action) with terror in the Kashmir valley. Nor has anyone, to my> knowledge, asked for feature films like 'Roja', 'Dil Se', 'Mission> Kashmir'. '16 December', 'Fanaa', 'Sheen', 'Maa tujhey Salaam' (and I> could go on, because there is an emerging sub-genre of the 'Kashmir'> film in the Bombay film industry) to be banned - all of which are set in> Kashmir, more or less all of which are explicitly sympathetic to the> Kashmiri Pandit point of view, all of which ensure that 'militants' are> portrayed in a purely negative light, and all of which are more than> adequate exemplars of Indian nationalism and patriotism. Needless to> say, several of these films were critically well received, granted> 'entertainment tax exemptions', awarded with state honours and applauded> in the media. The chances of your film doing well if you toe the Indian> state's line on Kashmir are quite high, so it would be some amount of> dissimulation to suggest that films sympathetic to the predicament of> Kashmiri Pandits, or generally supportive to the Indian state's claim on> the territory of Jammu & Kashmir, are somehow marginal, silenced,> censored, obscured expressions. An objective assessment and audit of the> kind of films that have been made on Jammu and Kashmir over the last> twenty odd years would show evidence quite to the contrary.> > If the culture we all participate in (as partisans, protagonists,> spectators, producers and bystangers) is so willing to accept the> presence, circulation and adulation of one point of view, (the Indian> nationalist, explicitly pro Kashmiri Pandit position on J&K) which in> fact has a dominance, a near monopoly on the representation of the issue> of Jammu and Kashmir, at least as far as the moving image in India is> concerned, why then, is it so difficult for this cultural milieu to> tolerate the presence of one or two or maybe three films that try to do> something else?> > A film is not a bomb. A film is not an unsheathed sword. A film is an> argument in words and images. If the dominant argument in words and> images have the lion's share of attention, then what is wrong in another> kind of argument in words and images making itself known. Or is there an> actual anxiety that the case of the dominant argument is so flimsy that> the mere presence of one or two films that act otherwise will blow their> cover?> > Remember, the post 1947 history of Jammu and Kashmir is taught neither> in India, nor in Pakistan, nor in Kashmir. In such a climate, it is very> easy for flimsy arguments to rule the roost. In such a climate it also> becomes necessary for those who live by those flimsy arguments to try> and stop anything else that happens, by any means necessary. Such as> calling the Mumbai Police to stop the screening of a film. I know that> similar things happen in Bangladesh or Pakistan when documentary films> about the fate of the Ahmediya community are sought to be screened.> > I remember having been present at more than one screening of a film such> as 'Tell them the tree they have planted has now grown' or having sat> through film after Bollywood film that bedecked itself with the fake> blood of fake Kashmiris. I saw no reason to call the police. I saw no> reason to raise slogans in or outside the auditorium, or to try and> obstruct the possibility of a reasonable discussion. Did anyone on> the list try and call the police, genuflect to the censor board, or make> a noise, or try and obstruct a screening when any of these films were shown?> > If those of you on this list who are endorsing obstructions to the> screening of 'Jashn-e-Azaadi' did not object to the screening of all> those films that have entertained us with the agenda of the Indian> state, then I think that it is only fair, reasonable and decent that you> either let films like "Jashn-e-Azaadi' be screened, without interruption> or obstruction or, as a logical corollary to your concern for the> sentiments of those affected by the conflict in Kashmir, call for a> moratorium on any form of expression, including your own, that takes any> stance (or even no stance at all) on the issue of Kashmir. It may be> possible that different kinds of people can find different nuances of an> impoverished and pared down dignity in the ensuing silence.> > It will be more respectful than the clamour of your words today.> > with regards,> > > Shuddha> > > > > > > > > > > > Nishant wrote:> > > Police stops radical film on Kashmir > > > > Disrupt screening of Jashn-e-Azadi at Bhupesh Gupta Bhavan on suspicion that the documentary may be provocative and inflammatory > > > > Mumbai police on Friday disrupted the screening a radical film on Kashmir called Jashn-e-Azadi on the suspicion that the feature-length documentary could be "inflammatory and provocative." The 2-hour, 18-minute long documentary, directed by Sanjay Kak, was just about to begin when cops barged into the Bhupesh Gupta Bhavan at Prabhadevi and seized all the dvds. > > > > "We were told that the documentary is provocative and inflammatory. Therefore we requested the organisers to let us watch the movie before it was screened", Deputy Commissioner of Police, D N Phadtare, told Mumbai Mirror. But getting the cops to play censor was not acceptable to the show's organisers, Vikalp. "We told them in that case it would not be possible to allow them to screen the film and confiscated the DVDs," said Phadtare. > > > > Ironically, Jashn-e-Azadi, which has already been screened in Bangalore and Delhi, without anybody getting inflamed or provoked, explores the implications of the struggle for Azadi in the Kashmir Valley. As the blog on documentary ( http://kashmirfilm.wordpress.com) says: In : In 2007 India celebrates the 60th anniversary of it's Independence, this provocative and quietly disturbing new film raises questions about freedom in Kashmir, and about the degrees of freedom in India. > > > > When contacted director Sanjay Kak said: "I've been holding a number of private screenings across the country for filmmakers and other interested viewers to start a conversation about the film and get feedback. The Osian film festival in Delhi was the first and only public screening we've had. The screening today was in a private property for a small group of invitees. Vikalp got a call in the morning from the police asking for a copy of the film. When we landed at the venue there was a battalion of cops and they asked us not to screen the film. When we told them to watch it with us they were not willing," said Kak, adding that the cops refused to tell them who had filed the complaint or what the problem was. "All they were willing to say was, 'hamare seniors ka order hai,' and till they had seen the film they could not allow us to go ahead," he said. > > > > (Source: Mumbai Mirror)> > > > > > ___________________________________________________________> > Yahoo! Answers - Got a question? Someone out there knows the answer. 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