Back in good time when Steven Spielberg directed “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, it is was considered as an anti-Hindu movie which represented Hindus as evil creatures in the world; Steven’s imagination projected them so evil that they ate monkey (not to forget Hindus saw image of Hunuman Ji in monkey) brains and drink blood and indulged in human sacrifice. The negative portrayal of Indian Civilization was not limited to western cinema; it deepened its root in Indian cinema too. Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s cinema represented the worst of Indian Civilizations ethos; Ms. Nargis Dutt charged him for selling Indian poverty abroad.
Movies are rich source when it comes to learning, especially for children; however, if they are based upon negative education they will serve ulterior motive nothing else. Swami Vivekananda aptly said about the impact of negative education-“A negative education or any training that is based on negation, is worse than death. The child is taken to school, and the first thing he learns is that his father is a fool, the second thing that his grandfather is a lunatic, the third thing that all his teachers are hypocrites, the fourth that all the sacred books
are lies!” (Source: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 3/Lectures from Colombo to Almora/The Future of India.)
In recent times, there has been a series of anti-Hindu movies in Bollywood. Filmmakers attack Hindus in general and Hinduism in particular. For example all Hindu saints are shown in bad light, Idol worship is mocked and the beliefs held by Hindu society are criticised. One such movie is PK that is directed by Rajkumar Hirani with master artist (as claimed by many) Aamir Khan in the lead. It is said about Aamir that he takes up the assignment after intensive research on the topic so that no angle is left out. But if we look at his recent film PK, he seemed to have not researched thoroughly before accepting an assignment which is anti-Hindu in nature.
Boycott call has been given by many prominent Hindu organisations and respected leaders; to which Aamir Khan reiterated that “Don’t watch if you don’t like it”. It has been also said that PK is not against Hindus or Hinduism but against the evil practices of all religion. I agree with Aamir Khan to a certain extent that few God-men use religious sentiments and fear for business; and that we must not follow these false Gurus or god-men blindly.
But before we come to some conclusion, let us discuss the movie in first place and try to find whether the movie criticised evil practices of society or whether Aamir through this movie suggests us to leave essential practices along with the non-essential. Everyone will agree with me that Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism is reformist in nature and that Hindus are tolerant in nature. Hitherto we assumed that PK criticised various evil practices across all religion and only asked to leave non-essential practices.
Priest and Temple: It was shown that a temple priest forcibly takes money from the actress in the movie. Certainly this is an evil practice if a temple priest indulges in such an act. But dear Aamir we Hindus have never seen such a thing happen anywhere across Indian geography. If you want to point out the bad practice of having “Dan Patra” installed in temples and you want to represent it as an allegory of bad practice of money collection then let me share that “Dan Patras” in temple are under government control and a temple priest or for that matter Priests have nothing to do with it. I am left wondering that a guy who stresses on quality research before taking up an assignment failed to analyse “Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act (HRCE Act) in 1951 which provincialise the administration of Hindu Religious Institutions.” Dear Aamir the money collected at temples goes to government treasury and you know the sizable portion of that money is spent on none other than Hajj Yatras. Let me here share an example: there are 2 lakhs plus temples in Karnatka and the total money collected by these temples amounts to 72 crores and government in-return spend only 6 crores on these temples, and sir, do you know where the government spends the remaining 50 crores-On madras’s and Churches. How beautiful is it that the Secular Intellectuals from Indian Secular Republic make law regarding administration of Hindu temples and then the money collected in these temples goes to Hajj, Madrasa’s and Church and social reformer Aamir present “Dan Patras” in bad light as it is one of the bad practice as per his perception.
Hindu God-men: It was shown that Hindus blindly follow the Babas. I agree Hindus goes to Babas for prayers, Bhajans and spiritual discourse; does he do any harm to society? If we Hindus donate money for temple construction due to our devotion; it doesn’t mean anyone is forced to donate money. Yes I agree there are some cases where few Babas use religious sentiments for materialistic gains; does it mean every Hindu Baba is fraud? Why PK is silent in the case of God-men like Zakir Naik or Paul Dinakarn?
Cows Food Issue: Offering food to cows is mocked in the movie; but a movie which claims to criticise bad practice in every religion ignored the fact that millions of innocent animals are slaughtered in the name of religion during Bakra-id
Temple Construction: Temple construction has been mocked by expressing strong sentiments that “Why don’t you build schools and hospitals instead of temples?”; this portrayal simply ignored the facts that thousands of service projects which includes health care and education centres are run by various Hindu temples across the country. Another facet ignored by the movie is that for us Hindus-“Nar Seva is Narayana Seva”-The best way to serve God is service to Mankind. And if Aamir Khan or for that matter the Director of the movie wants to see Health care program, educational program and social service program run by any Hindu leader or temple or math, they can visit the Kanchi Sankara Matham or any other temple across the country.
Idol worshiping and Pilgrimage: Idol worship has been mocked but the script failed to realise that Hindus worship both Sakar (Form) And Nirakar (Formless) God; so if anyone worships Sakar form it is not a bad practice at all. If Hindus take pilgrimage to holy shrines it doesn’t mean Pilgrimage is an evil practice. The movie attacked Hindus pilgrimage but ignored that fact that semitic religion like Islam stresses on visiting Mecca once in lifetime for every Muslim. It is worth noticing that in the name of criticising bad practices very core of Hinduism was attacked but semitic religion was left out in process.
In the end, I must say that at least the movie maker and Amir accepted the fact that Hindus being tolerant are soft targets. Hinduism known for its reformist nature and SHASTRARTH gives ample space to discuss different opinions-History is replete with evidence. Being “Intellectual Kshatriya” is need of hour so that we can put forward our case strongly because it has been preached from centuries how semantic religion is true and how Indian traditions and other local traditions are wrong, and I believe PK movie has been directed and produced based on the same perception.
Hitesh Rangra (The writer is a social media activist)