Bollywood, Maoists and Lutyens Media: An unholy threesome

Deconstructing the Sanjay Leela Bhansali and the Dholkal Ganesha issues.

We woke up to two pieces of news this Saturday. The first: public-outcry on Sanjay Leela Bhansali for misrepresenting Rajput history. The second: of a 1,000 year old Ganesha sculpture in Chattisgarh being destroyed by Naxals.

Film director Anurag Kashyap, who isn’t really known for his investigative-abilities as much as he is for his imaginative fiction-writing; magically root-caused the Sanjay Leela Bhansali issue to “Hindu Terror”. The Naxals’ destruction of the Dholkal Ganesha though, was an “act of frustration that comes from exclusion”.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali – The “Victim”

Here’s some proverbial crystal-gazing, which I’m guessing will come true this weekend.

Very soon, the Lutyens media will crowd around Sanjay Leela Bhansali and make a victim out of him.Very soon, the Lutyens media will forget the Dholkal Ganesha. Oh! Wait a minute! They already have.

Very soon, TV anchors from their air-conditioned studios, will set up “debates” on right-of-expression and artistic-freedom. Token historians will opine that Khilji was just a “romantically-inclined” ruler and that after all he was human. Token legal-experts will argue that Bhansali’s film comes with a ‘fiction’ disclaimer. Token victims from Bollywood will claim how they feel trolled and abused. This assorted panel will conclude that intolerance is spreading in the country.

Token journalists, conducting these debates will sprinkle liberally (pun intended), the broad-spectrum-refuge-of-journalistic-incompetence: “allegedly”, “reportedly”, “it is felt” and “many people believe”.

All this will happen forgetting two fundamental facts. That Bhansali is (a) trapping Padmavati in a patriarchal narrative; and (b) is romanticising Khilji, a serial rapist.

In the end Bhansali walks away with free publicity, which he so needs after box-office flops like Guzaarish and Ram Leela.

The Dholkal Ganesha – An “unfortunate incident”

I am tasking myself with illuminating you about Dholkal Ganesha’s history and the social-context. This is an onus that I have to unwillingly shoulder, as mainstream media will just not do it.

l.php

Image Source: http://topyaps.com/

The 6-feet tall imposing, stone sculpture sat on a cliff at a height of 13,000 feet, in the dense Bastar forest in Chhattisgarh. The 1000-year-old murti was discovered only in 2012 and has since become a destination for both religious-tourists and adventure-tourists. Chhattisgarh Tourism Board and many private-operators offer day-treks to the Ganesha, thereby bringing many Indian and international travellers seeking to combine heritage and adventure.

Except for one small problem. The Bastar forests are Maoist-lands. You and I are not welcome there.

Santosh Misra, an IAS officer from the Culture & Tourism department, tweeted “Police suspects it 2 be a handiwork of naxals. Busloads of ppl had started coming to this area.” A senior police official added, “Over the past few years, because of its unique presence, many people were trekking up to the mountain, which may have been hampering their (the Maoists’) work. It is possible that the Maoists have a hand in this”.

What they did very simply, was push the Ganesha off the cliff into the ravine. The thousand-year old murti obviously could not survive the fall, and shattered into pieces in a matter of seconds.

Laal-Salaam-land has no space for civilisation, let alone progressive concepts like tourism and heritage-conservation. Maoists figured that footfalls would mean trade; trade would mean prosperity; and prosperity would mean a threat to their business-model.

So they did whatever any self-respecting businessman would do when his rosy-roti is threatened. Destroy competition!

If you think this is a one-off incident, then think again. We see a process-driven, systematic destruction of Hindu symbols and murtis across India, especially West Bengal and Kerala.

But it is not just about faith alone. They have bombed factories, burnt buses and destroyed bridges, just to insulate their followers from prosperity and development. Pushing a historic-murti off a cliff is the tiniest of moral-dilemmas before them.

This is pathological behaviour, and their cash-flows depend on it. It was only a matter of time that the Ganesha would be destroyed; and was purely a “business decision”. That a Hindu symbol was destroyed, was an emotional bonus for them; a red-cherry-topping on the red-forest cake.

So what does Ganesha have to do with Bhansali?

Other than the seemingly unrelated coincidence of timing, there are some deep, insidious parallels in these cases.

Both were attacks on Hindus and Hinduism. One was sophisticated, under the garb of a progressive filmmaker; the other was crass, by a bunch of frustrated Naxals.

In both these cases, our friends in media will start painting the perpetrators as victims.

While no one should condone the violence, Bhansali will soon forget that what he is doing to Rani Padmavati’s memory is much worse than getting slapped.

While no one should condone the violence, Maoists who continue to destroy India’s Past (heritage), Present (villages in Bastar) and Future (development projects), will continue to be romanticised by Bollywood and the media.

Both of them spark a provocation, only to benefit financially from it. Both of them (probably) want to get slapped around once in a while. After all, sympathy is a huge currency.It is sad, but that’s how it works. Khilji tried to rape Padmavati once.  Its time Bollywood, Maoists and Media stopped trying to do it again.

Feature Image: dainikbhaskar.com

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
Anuraag Saxena is the Regional CEO with World Education Foundation. He is passionate about Indian heritage and culinary-history; and runs the India Pride Project (www.ipp.org.in). He is based in Singapore. He tweets at @anuraag_saxena
  • Kp Sudhakar

    Very good expose of today’s communism & capitalism…Jayaho!

  • Kevin McAvoy

    Nobody saw the Naxalites pushing the statue over the cliff.
    It was reported by a group of teenage hikers that the Ganesh was missing.
    I would suspect the teenagers first.
    Just wait, a video will show up somewhere of them doing it.

  • Martya

    Removal of Ganesha idol: There may be some hidden agenda behind this. To install some thing like a tall statue like the one in Rio de Janeiro or once attempted spiking a cross before the construction of Shri Vivikananda rock memorial in Kanyakumari.

  • Abhijeet Goel

    Live with Maosists for some time before reporting such issues.. Their is always another side of story… Like in Avatar movie.. story of the natives..

    • PV

      Nonsense. Naxals are known for crushing the bones of their opponents and you pontificate on living with them.

      • Abhijeet Goel

        who told you this ? Media … Build your own judgements..
        Do you know personally someone troubled by Naxals ?

    • This is not the statue installed by some outsider. It was the place of worship of natives only statue was there from last 1000 years. I’m not sure why you are bringing story of a movie here but you are completely missing the point by bringing it.

      • Abhijeet Goel

        God is in every place.. not single statue.. May be this tourists were doing some nonsense activities.. Understand the other point of view too.. before forming judgement.

        • God is everywhere, it does not mean you ridicule and abuse their places of worship who see him in statues. If tourists were doing nonsense activities, how can you ask someone to understand their point of view. Is there a point of view in nonsense also? It is said that don’t smoke in public place, if you do you will be judged by everyone as an anti-social element. Once you get involved in public life, out of your home, you will be judged by your actions be it nonsense or not.

          Are you trying to score some point here by asking me to understand someone’s nonsense. And on top of that you are asking me not to judge it as a nonsense. 🙂

  • IndiannotAmused

    Destroy the “Padmavati” set.

  • Jnana Veer

    We should not let the Maoists get away with it! Let’s start a movement to restore the Ganesha and restart/grow the religious pilgrimage volume again! #RestoreDholkalGanesha

    • Anuraag Saxena

      There IS already a much larger effort. See @IndiaPrideProj

    • Anshul Singhal

      time has come that we must use full force(Army+Air Force) to eradicate these Moaist cum Christian terrorists supported by evangelists/commies/jihadi-islamisst/khangressi/ISI/China with the help of some Jaichand nationalists anti nationalists polity bussinessman beurocrates. we also need to use IB to break the nexus and bring them all to fore who have hand in supporting them in any kind in any way and punish them severely (hang them in public after torching)