Review by Mike Ghouse
The film has a lot of truth and reflects the reality and humility Dalits face in India; I have witnessed many of the practices depicted in the film and have fought against them. However, it has not presented Hinduism’s beauty and passed on Manusmriti (Manu Laws) as Hinduism, the caste (slavery) system, and misogyny are the biggest part of Manu laws.
As a pluralist, I had difficulty watching the film towards the end.
The story is about how the Aryans controlled the indigenous masses by manufacturing messages and claiming that they came from God and instilled fear.
It is a raw narrative about how the Aryans conquered India by the oldest technique known to humankind; divide and rule. They claimed themselves superior to the natives and created the varna systems, also known as the caste system. The Brahmans were on the top, whereas most of the native population was considered subhuman, placing them in the lowest rung of the society called Shudras, the untouchables. The natives were told that the varna system was God’s word and instilled fear among them to obey the Brahmans. The Shudras suffered severe humiliation and deprivation of all human rights. The Brahmans declared that God created the untouchables to serve them, and the Shudras believed it was their duty to serve the Brahmans, as it was God’s law.
They spread this narrative, “The Varnas were created from the body of the Brahma, the creator of the world. The Brahmanas were created from his naval; the Kshatriyas from his hands; the Vaishyas from his thighs, and the Sudras from his feet.” In Indian culture, feet mean inferior.
I watched a documentary on Al-Jazeera about the plight of Dalits https://www.islamicity.org/81475/indias-dalit-revolution-l-101-east/ – and what struck me was this statement, “We hate ourselves for what God has given us. and we question how we came into being.” This is such a sad statement! To be Dalit is God-ordained; hence, they did not rebel against the injustices, mistreatment, and oppression.
Healing is a very difficult task, the discord and division will continue as long as Modi is at the helm and has a deep-seated hatred for the others (Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Dalits) continue. You can see the depiction in the film and how the upgraded Shudras were ‘Used’ to keep their flock at the bottom. The “divide and rule” has worked in the past, and will continue to work, which we witnessed in the UP elections. Modi is not a Brahmin but an upgraded shudra to keep the others as enslaved people to serve his masters; RSS, Ambani, and Adani.
The film is divisive, like the Kashmir Files mixing a lot of lies with a few facts. The acting is terrible, and the screenplay is poorly written. But the film makes the point and it is worth watching.
The film deals with Manusmriti, a brutal ideology of the supremacy of one group of people over all others. It has deeply penetrated the psyche of many Hindus. Even though it has nothing to do with Hinduism, it has become a part of it. Manusmriti is against human rights, justice, and the US laws of equality for all humans. Our Immortal declaration of independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that their Creator endows them with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness“.
The film points out that Manusmriti was the creation of one supremacist man, Manu. It is time for Hindus to collectively reject it, but unfortunately, otherwise, the RSS plans to make it the law of the land. It will mess up India. Indian women will be reduced to slaves of men, and the Shudras and other minorities will not have a vote or can even speak. If they do, they will be thrown into jail.
The substantial part of the movie is the shameless treatment of fellow humans, labeling them as Shudras. As a teen, I have witnessed that humiliation and have fought against that on the street corner water taps. Thanks to my father, who invited the Shudras into our home, we ate from the same plates, and my mother made tea, and they drank it from the same cups. He made no distinction between human beings when discrimination and mistreatment of the Shudras were common everywhere.
Even though discrimination is illegal in independent India, it is embedded in the psyche of many but not all Hindus, and it has even migrated to the United States. We need to stop our nation from such pollution. We need the United States to remain the nation we found when we came.
Thanks to the organizations like Hindus from Hindus for Human Rights, Sadhana, and others who are liberated from the clutches of Manu and subscribe to the Immortal declaration of our independence wholeheartedly. We must admire them.
1:53 Minutes movie at https://youtu.be/-JOPGAB4IEM
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a Social Scientist, Public Speaker, thinker, author, newsmaker, and an Interfaith Wedding Officiant. He is deeply committed to Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, Human rights, and religious freedom. He is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism, Director at World Muslim Congress, a think tank, and a wedding officiant at Interfaith Marriages. His new book American Muslim Agenda is available on Amazon, and “Standing up for others” and “Madame President” are coming soon. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him at TheGhouseDiary.com