In recent years, the Indian film industry has undergone a nationalist transformation. It is a complete 180-degree shift from the usual Bollywood decoration of invaders, fake emperors, mafia-underworld dons like Jodha-Akbar, Tipu Sultan, films on Daud, Hazi Mastan, Lateef, etc. to the unsung heroes of our glorious past with the likes of Baahubali, Kesari, Tanhaji, Rani Lakshibai. The new generation of filmmakers, writers, and performers are well-versed in and awakened to the warped truths offered to the youth. They are committed to demonstrating the country’s actual history.
This has not gone well with the mafia controlling Bollywood’s nerves for the past five decades. The transition to OTT platforms has given them carte blanche to attack, denigrate culture, and smear the greats of this country. We’ve seen a lot of web series that show our Gods and culture in a terrible light. This is due to forces at work behind the scenes. This type of content is being produced with monies from across borders to slander Bharatiya culture and divert the new generation away from its essential foundations.
We were introduced to a Turkish online series called Ertugrul Ghazi during the previous lockdown. He has been described as a cult figure of brevity and devotion to his Deen. The web series went viral around the world, and Ghazi became a new heartthrob. While Ertugrul was a 13th-century invader who belonged to the ‘Kayi tribe’ who invaded and killed thousands of people in the name of Islam, capturing various regions in Allah’s name. Suleyman Shah, an Oghuz, was his father. Osman, Ertugrul’s son, rose to the throne in 1299 and formed the Ottoman Empire. At its peak, the barbaric regime spanned most of south-eastern Europe, including present-day Hungary, the Balkan region, Greece, and parts of Ukraine; portions of the West Asia occupied by Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Egypt; North Africa as far west as Algeria; and large swaths of the Arabian Peninsula.
Ertugrul Ghazi was as ruthless as Taimur Lung, Ghori, and Mahmud of Ghazni, whose strength, belief, loyalty, and strong Islamic belief enabled him to move forward with one goal in mind: to fight non-Muslims and establish an Islamic caliphate over the world.
Barbaric Ertugrul’s character is portrayed as an embodiment of morality, courage, sincerity, loyalty, and spirituality in the series. This play depicts the whole change of a brutal invader who used the force of the sword to convert thousands of people to Islam into bravery, courage, faith, dignity, and honour. Though he was a soldier of Islam who was harsh against non-Muslims, he was depicted as a messiah who showed pity to the needy and dealt fairly with non-Muslims to change his image and portray him as the world’s saviour. Ertugrul Ghazi rallied Muslims against the Crusaders/Templars and Mongols, conquering half of the globe and converting them to Islam.
It was a despicable attempt to change Islam’s image and gain sympathy for Muslims. And another big message to the world Muslims is that we are from such a fierce race, so don’t get deterred by the Islamophobia going around; it’s kind of a booster dose for them and a message to world not to mess with Muslims.
The achievement of Ertugrul Ghazi galvanised the Jihad machinery in India as well. Various web series have attempted to demonise Hindutva to generate such an image makeover and gain sympathy in the last few years. The “The Mughal Gave Greatness to India” campaign began in academia, the intellectual community, the media, and political organisations. Invaders, looters, and rapists, Islamic ethnic groups are being glorified in a concerted effort. It is speculated that they brought art, music, poetry, culture, cuisine, and architecture to India, and as a result, we became a country. The basic fact about Islam is that it is opposed to music, food and poetry: how could a community that fights a daily battle for food have culinary skills? Imagine a palace like the one depicted in the web series ‘Empire’ in Afghanistan today. We still have magnificent palaces, monuments, and mandirs, but where have all of the great palaces gone? The basic issue is that Muslims from Wahabi and Deobandi schools do not recognise the Sufis as Muslims because of their dance and poetry. We can imagine the kind of fake history that has been taught to us for decades!
The Empire web series is an Indian version of Ertugrul Ghazi, glorifying the Mughal conquerors. Babur was shown as a descendent of Genghis Khan, whereas Genghis was a Mongol, not a Muslim, and he conquered Muslims across Eurasia several times, making Muslims fearful of him. The Muslims who were affected by his bravery stole the Khan surname from him. While the series depicts Babur granting combat privileges to her sister, it is solely intended to improve the image of Muslims respecting women. In contrast, the Quran says: women are made for your enjoyment; use them as per wish. Her grandmother is seen dictating decisions to his father, a Qabeela’s Sardar but depicted as an Emperor. This indoctrination is done to affect the youth by depicting the looters in the series through heroism. Imagine if Bharat was ruled by a Qabeela Sardar who was unable to free his people from the slavery of Uzbek invaders.
It is speculated that the Mughal brought art, music, poetry, culture, cuisine, and architecture to India, and as a result, we became a country. The basic fact about Islam is that it is opposed to music, food and poetry: how could a community that fights a daily battle for food have culinary skills?
The truth is that Mughals were neither great nor archetypal, nor did they ruled the entire Bharat; they just ruled tiny territories surrounding Delhi and Agra. The Mughals didn’t have time to build palaces or monuments because they were too preoccupied with fighting Rajputs, Marathas, Bundela, and Sikh states to do so.
Imagine a palace in Kabul, Multan, or Uzbekistan similar to those in Jaipur, Udaipur, or Gwalior. The invaders were nomads who had no place to live or food to eat, and their entire lives were spent in the search for food. Attracted by the wealth of Bharat, they came here and stayed back since there was nothing else to attract them back home, and they had no choice but to return.
Imagine a tribal Qabeela Sardar and his descendants who could not protect their Qabeela from an Uzbek invader and were forced to flee. It is a misconception that the Mughals made India great; the Mughals were made great by paid historians. Bharat is great from the past immortals; it has no effect on who comes and goes, it has been thus and will remain so no matter how ferocious the onslaught is, it is a living nation, it is Bharat Mata, who cannot be defeated by the adulation of invaders, be they Mughals or other Islamic crusaders. But such glorification certainly helps Muslim youth to regain the fighting spirit in the name of Islam which is a real danger to already radicalised Muslim youth.