RRR movie: Rajamouli’s Madness in promoting Hindutva 

   Welcome to Defender’s Voice. I am Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. I had to go to India to attend a conference and to organize a medical camp. So, I took a two week break and now I am back to answer your questions. This month we are raising a fund to help Ukrainian refugees. Please visit our web site www.doctorpaul.org to make a tax-deductible donation. 

   Today’s question: Indian director Rajamouli released his new movie RRR which is smashing the box office. Is his worldview correct? 

   Excellent question. Indian director Rajamouli and his dad K.V.Vijayendra Prasad have been rocking the film industry in India and around the world. There are a lot of good things we can say about them. They are brilliant, creative, hard working, professional, and entrepreneurial. But let us look at the underlying themes of their movies. 

    The dad writes the stories and the son makes the movies. The dad is a devout Hindu and weaves Hindu concepts into his movies.  Rajamouli says that he does not believe in God. But he ends up promoting these concepts on the big screen. 

    In RRR, the villains are the British rulers of India. They ruthlessly take a little girl into slavery and imprisons her in their fortress in Delhi. One of the heroes, Bheem, would go to liberate her. So, the Britishers are the slave holders. What about Indian slave holders? India is home to millions of slaves. Their masters are fellow Indians. When would Rajamouli and his dad show the plight of the slaves who are oppressed by fellow Indians? 

    RRR showed how the British plunder the poor Adivasis of India. What about the plight of today’s Adivasis in India? Their lands are taken away by big corporations and plutocrats. When would Rajamouli and his dad show the plight of the Adivasis who are plundered by fellow Indians? 

    RRR shows NTR Jr as Bheem and Ram Charan as Seetha Rama Raju. Ram Charan takes the form of Ram and NTR Jr takes the form of Bheem. Ram takes his bow and arrows from Rama to hit the British. The slokas from Vedas are being chanted as he fights the British. We see the saffronisation of India’s freedom struggle in this film. No wonder, BJP leaders are very happy with this movie. Unwittingly, Rajamouli has been promoting the views of Hindu Right through such stories. Individuals like Savarkar, Hegdewar, and M.S.Golwalkar wanted to build an India based on Hindu supremacy. They were openly celebrating Hitler and Nazi regime in Germany. They wanted to replicate the same political philosophy in India based on Hindu supremacism. In their India, only Hindus live as first class citizens in India. Everyone else should live as second class citizens. By the grace of God, they did not win the day when India got independence. 

      In the final song, only individuals like Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose were shown. We don’t see Gandhi or Nehru or Ambedkar who promoted a secular view of India. Rajamouli intentionally ignored them. Gandhi and Nehru saw India as a complex society. Beside Hindus, it has millions of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zorostrians, non-religious etc. Promoting one religion is not healthy to the survival of the nation. They chose secularism as the foundation for the new nation. The Constitution of India elevates equality, justice and fraternity. It promotes equal respect for all religions. It does not promote one religion out of many religions of the land. You can read Articles 27 and 28 of the Constitution. 

       Bahubali takes us to the rule of Kshatriyas. According to Hindu dharma shastras, only Kshatriyas should rule. 95 percent of the population should obey the rule of Kshatriyas. The framers of the Constitution did not go by these Dharma Shastras which put power in the hands of Kshatriyas and other upper castes. They wanted to build a society in which every Indian irrespective of his or her religion or caste will have equal opportunities. Any Indian can aspire to become the Prime Minister of India under the secular Constitution of India. Narendra Modi is the current Prime Minister of India. Going by the Hindu dharma shastras he would not be eligible to be the Prime Minister of India because he is not a kshatriya. It is the secular character of the Indian Constitution that made him the Prime Minister. Ironically and sadly, he disdains the secular character of the Indian constitution and promotes Hindu Dharma as a new law for all Indians. 

      Every Indian citizen should promote the spirit of the Constitution. The filmmakers and celebrities especially should take this responsibility more seriously. Film directors like Rajamouli should make movies which promote equality of all religions. But his movies are only exacerbating the existing tensions in Indian society. In Bahubali, he showed Kalakeyas as dark, tribal savages fighting the fair skinned Kshatriyas. Such movies only promote the rigid caste system. In RRR, he showed heroes fighting the British as the incarnations of Hindu gods Rama and Bheema. It gives us the impression that India’s freedom is a gift of Hindu fighters. It ignores the contributions of Muslims, Christians and secular people who fought for India’s independence. My grandfather, who was a Christian, fought in the freedom struggle. Their contributions are ignored. 

    In the prevailing atmosphere, you can make a movie on Hindu sentimentalism and make a lot of money at the boxoffice. But that is not good for the health of the society. In places like Karnataka, college students are not even allowed to wear a hijab because they hurt the sentiments of the majority. Rajamouli should not be promoting just Hinduism in his movies. In Hollywood, the filmmakers do not promote any particular religion. They create characters with which any audience can identify with no matter what their religion or race. Rajamouli should learn from them and should make more secular movies in the future which promote peace and harmony in Indian society. 

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