By Ali Hassnain
Bahubali 2 depicts an interesting approach by Hindutva spin doctors and strategists. They have borrowed things from different civilizations to create a fantasy film on Hindu civilization. In Greek mythology demigods are like humans, just very big in size, possessing different kind of powers including enormous physical strength. Of course the Greeks have ruins of past glory to brag about. But Pundits of political Hinduism are hard at work, creating an authoritarian state to give the people false hope and false sense of past glory which never existed. Day by day rationality questions their identity. Caste system alone is seen by disgust by academia.
Muslim soldiers have a history, a legacy of hundreds of years of warriors and civilization to be proud of. Makkah, Medina, Kufa, Baghdad, Muslim Spain, Cairo and Istanbul have been the centre of Human civilization for hundreds of years. Muslims gave asylum to Jews in Istanbul during Spanish inquisition; most of the Jews in Istanbul today are descended from them. Muslim Barbars of North Africa even reached Paris once (only to be disappointed). The Ottomans ruled Balkans and claimed Jazia (tax) from most of Europe; they even invaded Austria but had to pull back mainly because of Timor Ling. Hitler’s only surviving henchman, Albert Speer, wrote a book named ‘Inside Third Reich’. He mentions how Hitler was told that had Ottomans won that one Austrian war, Germany would have been Muslim. Now we the Muslims have had civilization, and a long glorious history. What do Indians have? Asoka’s “Buddhist” era when the capital was in Taxila, and small fiefdoms called ‘Rajwaray‘. Not undermining their history but it is dwarfed by the Muslim civilization.
Now political Hindus are in power and they are very well aware of this fact. They are desperately looking for heroes; bandits like Shivaji have been glamourized but who can match the heroics of the Sultans? Can they even begin to grasp the services of Dar ul Hikmat Baghdad? Can they begin to match their leaders to Sultan Nur ud Din Zangi or Sultan Salah ud Din Ayubi? Mehmood Ghaznavi is larger than even their fictional heroes.
Interestingly there is a touch of Iranian mythology with larger than life super powerful Rustom o Sohrab style humans. Pakistanis would find it hard to believe but the Indians have a whole new tale on how Prithviraj Chauhan survived the war and eventually killed Sultan Shahab ud Din Ghauri; it’s named Prithviraj Raso and Hindus listen to it with religious fervour. They actually have a TV show running on how great a ruler Chohan was. Indian NSA advisor attributed the independence of British India to a Nazi Sympathizer Subhash Chandra Bose. This is height of historical revisionism and depicts his Hindutva mentality.
India desperately needs Hindu heroes so they are mixing a few Hollywood films and visual effects from 1990s combined with Tamil cinema style to give Indian public an illusion of a glorious past civilization that did not exist. Subtle use of technology in this film is particularly interesting knowing Indian PM actually believes that aircrafts flew in India in 10,000 BC. They can malign our heroes through their sympathizers or agents but they have not and would not succeed. Not even in fiction.
Take the example of Indian film Mughal e Azam for instance. As a student of history I can tell you that the Anarkali story is absolute fiction, but that film had some class in it. You can see the civilization and even the ruins of Mughal era that are a reminder of the glorious past civilization. Jehangir’s Zanjir e Adal still stands in today’s India as a proof of equality and justice. They themselves consider Akbar as “Azeem us shaan Shehenshah”. Indians rule India now and they idolize Akbar but do not follow him in actions. Come on dear neighbours, feed the hungry Indians, give them jobs, give them healthcare, don’t waste money on creating a false sense of identity.