Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey—the Review

205 Comments

Our freedom struggle has many great stories that need to be told, stories of courage, heroism and supreme sacrifice. I have always been frustrated by how the Hindi film industry, while looking to copy-paste Hollywood and Korean flicks, choose to turn their faces away from the rich material that lies hidden in the pages of our own history.

Two people whose lives I have always felt would be great material for rousing biopics are women freedom fighters. One is Matangini Hazra, a 73 year old woman who led the non-violent march to the Tamluk police station. Despite being shot, she still kept walking till she died still holding the Indian flag, an act that inspired the great Tamluk rebellion which led to large swathes of Midnapore district becoming independent of the British (till Mahatma Gandhi made them stop the struggle). And the other is Pritilata Waddedar. A brilliant scholar and feminist who wrote a famous letter asking for women to be a more intrinsic part of the freedom movement, she walked into Pahartali European Club (a place closed to brown-skins and dogs) guns blazing and after a pitched battle, cornered and running out of ammo, committed suicide at the age of 21.

After watching Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey” I can say I am happy that more directors have not attempted such subjects. Screwing up “What’s Your Rashi” is one thing. Taking one of the most inspiring stories of our freedom struggle and turning it into an abomination is something else.

Where does “Khele Hum Je Jaan Se” go wrong? Well where can I start? Should I start with the name reminiscent of the Dharmendra-Monica Bedi 90s disaster “Jiyo Shaan Se” ? Should I start with the horrible pronunciation of Bengali words—with Surya Sen unable to pronounce Chattogram properly calling it “Chotto” gram? Should I start with the idea of throwing in Bengali scraps of dialog for the purpose of being cutesy (like the Ishhh of Devdas) even more so when words were being hacked by the largely non-Bengali cast? Should I start with the totally sophomoric and soporific direction which reduces exhilarating sequences to yawnfests, making one wonder who actually directed Lagaan? Should I start with a story devoid of tension and pace, with minutes of people simply running about without focus, where the audience is not allowed to connect with any of the characters? Should I start with the horny kid from “Tauba Tauba” going about this movie with the same expression of clueless lust on his face? Should I start with the perfectly made-up Kalpana Dutt, essayed in all plastic glory by Deepika Padukone, who even when caught in the blast of a bomb still looks as clean as she is in a Liril ad? Should I start with the Abhishek Bachchan’s listless performance as Masterda Surya Sen ?  Or should I start with the total hash they make of Pritilata Waddedar’s radical feminism, with the depiction of her as  a love-lorn woman who commits suicide, with no pressure of death, just because she wants to join her dead love (the romantic story I personally am hearing for the first time here) a total subversion of what she stood for ?

Suffice to say, it’s really bad, all the more criminal because of the source material. Of course it didn’t need have been so. For instance, the Bengali “Chattogram Astragar Lunthan” (The Chattogram Armory Raid) , an out-and-out commercial movie, made in 1949 on a shoe-string budget was light-years ahead of this drivel, hyper-dramatic perhaps but at least it struck a chord. Unlike this concoction. And so our wait for a truly inspiring modern biopic on our great revolutionary heroes continues.

I shall leave you with a link, about Pritilata Waddedar’s elder sister, which I urge you to read. Not just because it is a pathetic indictment of how we treat people from our greatest generation but because it reveals a kind of proud idealism that we today can little fathom, far less capture on film.

Advertisements

205 thoughts on “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey—the Review

  1. It never fails to wonder me that there are always rounds of protest in “historical” movies about the depiction of Mangal Pandey, or Akbar. I dont recall such protests on production of such BS, inspite of them being much more recent.

  2. “making one wonder who actually directed Lagaan?” — Exactly!
    I also wonder, was it Sanjay Leela Bhansali who actually directed ‘Khamoshi’?

  3. Well written…first review of yours which i believe has thoroughly criticised the movie.

    Hope to read a review of rakth charitra from you

  4. So good I decided to give it a miss. The moment I saw Deepika in that well-conditioned hair, straight out of Fiama Di Wills bathing bar commercial, in a movie trailer with freedom struggle backdrop, I knew it would be tripe.

    A mockery they make of our history, to say the least.

    Sadly, I think most filmmakers dont wish to make a ‘truly inspiring modern biopic.’ All they want to do is gather quick money & accolades for seemingly having attempted one.
    And like you said, in your RDB review, all they do is make the audience “feel a charge-up—-an emotion that will disappear before you know it and the only change you will have accomplished will have been to enrich the movie maker’s pockets.”

  5. Exactly what I expected from Gowarikar, who has a tendency to romanticize everything Bollywood ishtyle. I did not watch KHJJS and have asked all my non-Bengali friends to read about it, rather that watch the monstrosity AG is likely to have produced.
    Yes, a very good point..did he really direct ‘Lagaan’?

  6. Hi

    I havent seen the movie; however, one point you mentioned struck me. You say

    “Surya Sen unable to pronounce Chattogram properly calling it “Chotto” gram?”

    I’m unaware how familiar you are with Bengali pronunciation (so forgive any presumption on my part); however, having lived there for nearly two years, I can confidently say that is the correct way of pronouncing it in Bengal. Here, people tend to use ‘o’ for ‘a’ whenever possible, so even a simple Rasagolla becomes “Roshogolla”, and a name like Parama will be pronounced “Poroma”.

  7. Pratik,

    You having lived there for two years. I have lived for friggin 35 years as a Bengali and no one pronounces Chattogram as Choto-gram. No disrespect, but it’s people who have lived for two years who think Bengalis put “o” in everything.

  8. What if Gowarikar set out to make a historical fiction? They do that all the time in Bollywood. Ashoka was a total fabrication, Jodha Akbar was horrible so why should this be any different. Truth is we as a nation have no respect or any sense of history.As long as something looks old and ‘kinda authentic’ we are happy. For all you know this is Gowarikar’s tribute to Tarentino.
    Btw did Jr B also mispronounce Kalpana (Raja Sen’s review mentions that so I got curious). But all he had to do was ask his mother. Really!

  9. Aditi,

    Historic fiction? He says “True story” at least twice. Its a pathetic bit of historic fiction then because it under-heroizes every hero there, especially Pritilata Waddedar. And yes that AB Junior did so…

  10. U r right sir.. Even Im doubtful that what happened to the great Ashutosh Gowariker whose mind used to work with an infinite power. What an imagination that guy had. His Swades is so beautiful. Hope he comes back with a bang.

  11. Being a Bengali, I didn’t find the movie going any wrong in portraying the way Bengalis are except for the pronunciations you have made a great deal of. I am not denying that this aspect is a major drawback of the movie.

    I cannot resist mentioning that i know scores of people (read Bengali) from Kolkata who add ‘o’ to everything. I am surprised that you confidently think otherwise.

    Once you stop being cynical, the movie is a very good watch – slow, comparatively real and thought provoking.

  12. You have got it absolutely correct. For our mega directors, choosing a historical subject with grand sets, good camera work and some slick editing is enough to pass there’s as a good movie. They forget that screenplay, performances and authenticity are more important for the kind of subjects chosen. One area where almost all the directors miserably fail is placing the narrative firmly in a geographical area. It is too much to ask, for example, if the story could be placed in East Bengal if the actors struggle to pronounce Bengali in general- whether the eastern accent or the western accent. Even the much acclaimed Pipli Live had characters speaking Hindi in Awadhi, urban Bhojpuri, Brij, Haryanavi and Rajasthani styles in their dialogues. Second is the Hindi film directors obsession with romance. Rajkumar Santoshi injected it in his Bhagat Singh movie and here you say is Gowarikar doing it. He did it with Jodha Akbar too, without any authentic accounts of these affairs. The choice of background music is another major fault where these directors fail. A historical stroy with the most modern musical instrumentation and style almost immediately kills the authenticity.
    Our Hindi film industry has to also learn that there is something called subtleness,sometimes capable of affecting the audience even more than the hyper melodrama which they infuse anywhere and everywhere.

    • I feel that in Peepli Live, it was done deliberately to avoid sticking the issue to one particular region. As it was fiction.

  13. My sister’s name is ‘Moyna’, not ‘Myna’. My surname is ‘Mondol’ not Mandal or Mandol. Doesnt that say something about Bengalis putting ‘o’ for everything? Thats the way the language is!

  14. And I would like to disagree with most assessments about Lagaan. To me that too was a mediocre film. It only struck us as a good because the average flick from Bollywood is even worse.

  15. I have to say, that as a Bengali (who was born as one), I have to agree with greatbong in his pronunciation of :- Chatto-gram.

    @ Nisha
    Why is ur sister not called Moyno?

    Cholo, eibaar onno kotha bola jaak?

  16. At least Gowariker attempts different films. Different from people like Bhansali and Farah Khan. Same old romantic trash.

    So looks like you only like to criticise things. Movies, politics, media.

    I dont mind saying this to you. Commenting about Shabari mala on twitter was uncalled for. If you are such a patriotic Bengali, I am sure you know nothing about Kerala and its heritage. what do you know about the Shabari mala tradition? And if pronouncing Bengali words wrongly hurts you, commenting about a deity’s traditions without knowing much about it might hurt a lot many more people. Difficult to understand?

  17. Rohit Nair,

    Unlike you, I am not “hurt” by mispronunciation as I am not a patriotic Bengali like you are a patriotic Keralite. It is bad film-making to do have a local language without doing research into how the words are pronounced.

    As to Sabarimala, my comment was that not allowing women into temples isn’t tradition. Its discrimination. By your logic, apartheid was also tradition. Welcome to the 21st century. I am sure it has also arrived at the place you stay.

  18. Patriotic or not, you surely did not like that they pronounced it wrongly.

    You feel people who have spent only 2 years in Bengal are wrong in thinking there’s an ‘o’ in every word. Same way I feel people who have just read articles/news about Shabarimala have no right to be talking about its practices as they know nothing. I have lived as a Malayali all my life. You are a non-believer but isnt it important to respect the thoughts and practices of believers?

    Do you know that the tradition of not allowing women between the age of 11yrs to 45 yrs in Shabarimala was started FOR the good of women? And just because we are in the 21st century, traditions be damned?? Even women have accepted it and are fine with it. Aiyappa is a celibate God and he expects his devotees to follow very difficult rules which women may not be able to, owing to their physical power and menstrual cycles. Certain things are different for men and women. Is it so difficult to understand?

    Every place/temple has its own set of rules. In Tirupati you cannot click pictures of the main devotee. Most Tamil temples like Meenaxi, Tanjore Shiv temple or Kabaleeshwar, even small ones dont allow people to touch the idols. At Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak, you cannot go by short cut, no VIP entries allowed. You have to go in with the general public.
    So what’s wrong with following rules?

  19. Great bong the link you shared was indeed tragic.
    Its hard to imagine her plight.
    Its waste to do something for country.
    and top of it the politician,governer who knows who grants 500 rs to her monthly honoarium.
    think of it this way
    A 106 year old lady has to manage her household,get medicine pay rent etc .can it be managed in such a paltry amount?
    sometimes i feel ashamed to be an Indian.hope this doesnt get moderated and deleted.

  20. @ Rohit Nair – Your comment makes me laugh and shudder at the same time. It shows that there may be an entire generation out there perpetuating a culture that tells them they have no control over traditions, however flawed they may be.

    “Do you know that the tradition of not allowing…good of women?”
    Well, I do know that eons ago, Sabarimalai temple was established amidst 18 hills and devotees had to walk it through dense forests and inaccessible routes and *so* women were asked to stay out. This is how it traditionally began. And I don’t understand how that’s for the “good of women.” (Oh, unless you mean the swarm of men that walk along, might grope them and all, in the rush of things). However, over the years, its taken the shape of a rather boorish law because the powers that be feel that menstruating women (the said age group) are “impure” and all that high literacy rate in Kerala couldn’t cleanse this line of thinking.

    21st century brought with it ‘rational thinking,’ that tells us what tradition is valid in today’s time and age and what isn’t, however old they may be. Which evidently, in your case hasn’t happened.

    “He expects his devotees to follow very difficult rules which women may not be able to,..”
    Did HE tell you he expects?? Am curious really. And how do you know women “may not be able to do?” The only major rules are refraining from sex, no smoking, no liquor, no meat, bathe twice, chant, not hurt anyone verbally or physically, being bare foot, not eat food cooked by women, eat only once a day, etc. None of these rules are so majorly bone-breaking that its humanly impossible or something. I am amazed how you concluded women cannot do. In fact, I wonder how many of these rules the *men* themselves follow given that not many Indian men cook their own food or go bare foot to work.

    Comparing Sabarimalai with the rules of other temples is idiotic. Tirupati doesn’t say that ONLY women cannot carry cameras and that men can. Tamizh temples like Madurai Meenakshi or Tanjavur Brihadeeswarar Kovil (since we ARE talking pronunciations, etc. at least get the names right, if not the spellings) do not allow *anybody*, whether man or woman to touch the idols as a matter of basic hygiene/cleanliness. So no discrimination against a particular sex or community. And Oh, I am not a patriotic Tamizhian, lest you get ideas.

    “At Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak, you cannot go by short cut..” LOL. You’re kidding me! I have lived in Bombay for 26 years. From PMs to CMs, from Bachchans to Kapoors, from Munnabhais to Munnis… all use the short-cut and don’t know any other way.

  21. @Rohit Nair
    this is getting off topic. Even though sati was a centuries old tradition, it was wrong. I am sure a lot of people made arguments like “this is good for these women” ..
    Wrong traditions must go. If a healthy woman who is willing to take on the hardship of the journey, wants to go that temple, why should she prevented?
    And the periods argument!! Puhleeeze.. like GB said, come to the 21st century. periods don’t prevent women anymore.

  22. @GB agree whole heartedly on the gruesome murder of the Bengali language in the movie… Also agree on the ‘far from good’ actors in most roles but I actually liked the film… Mostly because it is much better than the regular tripe we get served week in and week out… Also these characters are not famous out side our state and they need their story to be told to the wider audience… yes the story could have been told in a much better manner but at least these much forgotten heroes have been introduced to the larger nation… I at least like AG for the movies he makes because they are not over the top or shrill! (BTW Whats your rashee does not count for the above statement:D)

  23. @Rohit Nair – Seriously dude, who ARE you?? What were you thinking writing that comment? This is off topic but do you also think gay people are mad because it defies tradition of marriage?

    @surya I really appreciate your reply to this joker. Lovely! One question. Are you a woman? Your reply suggests so but your name doesnt. No offense 🙂

  24. @GB Boring movie. Bachchan Jr is the worst choice for the role of Surya Sen. Rahman’s music was sorely missed. “Chottogram” should have been “Chattogram.” Another legend of a character Surya Sen screwed after Mangal Pandey disaster.

    Surya joggo jobab diyeche Rohit er kothar. Ami thik etai bolte cheyechilam.

  25. Non-Bengali cast was the problem! I am not a Bengali but I could see the pronunciations were wrong. The story is not clearly told either. Worst movie of the year? or is it Raavan?

  26. GB da, film ta khub baje legeche

    Surya,
    “Oh, unless you mean the swarm of men that walk along, might grope them and all, in the rush of things.” – ROFL!

  27. Rohit Nair, I am a malayali, yes the whole 30 years of my existence, so as per your logic I can have some opinion on this matter. So my friend, according to me this whole business of not allowing women to Sabrimala is pathetic, shameful and disgraceful to the boot. If it was left to you and other people on twitter, then the so called lower caste and OBC would be still waiting for entry to these temples. The main guy who was offended by Arnab’s tweets was supposedly an agnostic, so if he can have an opinion on who should be entering temples, why don’t the ladies/females can have their opinion on this matter. You may say that it is mentioned in some sacred books, but then treating a section of people as untouchables is also sanctioned in some of those books.

  28. Worst film of the year, I agree GB. AB Jr should really stop acting now after 3 flops in a row.

    “high literacy rate in Kerala couldn’t cleanse this line of thinking” – brilliant and so true!

  29. Greatbong, I quite liked Khelein Hum. One of the better movies of 2010 after all the nonsense like MNIK and Dabangg.

    Surya, you are surely one of those crazy radical, senseless feminist types who thinks women should be denied nothing irrespective of what the implication. But lets face it. Certain things ARE different for men and women. You are not being discriminated against. It is only an endeavor to maintain the sanctity of the temple. And why do you so desperately want to cling to a God/temple that doesnt want your presence there?

    Rathesh, I am also a Malayali. And my opinion is different sadly. I dont know what ‘vratham’ means then if we are fine with relaxing rules and that too at a temple that is celebrated world over and has a rich mythology story behind it.

  30. GB, the link u shared makes one teary. How pathetic it is that there are politicians in this society who can’t get enough of the thousands of crores of public money. I’m from Punjab and am ashamed to belong to this state. Here the 2 major parties congress and SAD both literally compete with each other as to who can siphon off more public money. The badals of SAD are multi billionaires, Capt. Amarinder singh of congress had to auction his great grandfather’s turban ( a sikh never does that) to meet his expenses before coming to power. Once in power it is said that he acquired 500 crores worth of property in the US. On the other hand, a 75 year old woman comes to our locality to offer her services for dishwashing and gets a measly 40 rupees a day. Am I the only one who feels that people at the helm of the affairs are absolutely unscrupulous? And why don’t people who have a conscience do something about it rather than have a good life? When I say that mukesh ambani should have some shame for building the ostentatious monstrosity of a house, my dad disagrees with me by saying he earned it. Am I wrong in thinking so?

  31. I disagree with you, GB. I think KHJJS was a good attempt and telling a historic story. There might have been mistakes but then which movie doesnt have them? Overall a good watch!

  32. @ all argueing about rituals on both sides

    It may be better to use the word “deity” for the word “idol”.
    And btw, I did not understand how this topic erupted in this discusssion?

  33. To all those who are arguing whether traditions have to be reconsidered because it may not be apt in this 21st century:

    I respect your years of experience in the intricate and indepth study of rationality in Indian estorical sciences and willingness to change everything that is not 21st century.

    Thanks..

  34. @Arnab and @Rohit Nair,

    The movie must be banned following traditional practice of banning controversial movies in India. Don’t you agree? 😀

    My own take on the movie is that it is a middle class attempt by Ashutosh Gowariker notwithstanding my father’s view the other day when he wondered the lack of initiative by Bengali filmmakers on making movies on subjects pertaining to Bengal.

  35. @Surya,
    I am trying hard not to abuse you on public domain. If you have such a big problem dont pray to the deity. Nobody is forcing you. Yes, Kerala has the highest literacy rate and its because so called “modern” people like you do not live there. Its stuck to its roots and its rich culture in spite of the education. Women here do not joke about groping.

    @ Greatbong
    I havent watched the movie. Heard Abhishek has done a decent job. Thanks for the review. Hope this comment isnt moderated.

  36. It is not without irony that people like Rohit Nair and Ajith Nambiar have decided to uncork their brains on a thread that follows a post in which I mention one of my heroes—Pritilata Waddedar. In the letter she wrote a day before her death and in other correspondence she had throughout her life, she had talked eloquently for the need for women to participate in the Swadesi movement as first-class citizens and not as merely facilitators for men. Women, she said, were not weak that they had to be protected and had every quality that men had. Now one may say that in this day and age, everyone knows that. Well true. Till you see people like Rohit, Ajith and Rudra.

    What is amusing is how their fundamental misogyny and chauvinism shines out, wherein one believes that there are hardships that women may not be able to, owing to their physical power and menstrual cycles (of course it’s another thing that women bear babies, possibly one of the harshest and painful experiences human beings can go through) while another thinks that the “sanctity” of a temple is compromised by women. And yet another says, with not a trace of awareness of the supreme irony of his statements—Kerala stuck to its roots and its rich culture in spite of the education.

    These people are beyond rational arguments.

    As I also said on twitter, how do you you know what the Lord wants? Did he whisper it in your ears? Was it the same God who whispered he doesnt want untouchables?

    And Rudra, if you have the urge to abuse on a public domain, here is my advice. Don’t comment here. Nobody is forcing you. Your logic.

  37. my two bits on the completely off topic discussion. I went to sabrimala last year. They have something that is called phataki archana. This is essentially blasting a very loud cracker as a prayer to the lord. Last year it just cost 5 Rs. to get the blast going, little wonder then that there was one every 5 seconds or so. I went to investigate the economics and found that instead of a one-use cracker, they use reusable GI pipe pieces stuffed with the material.

    The shrine is inside a reserve forest, and one dense enough to remind one of Chattisgarh – the densest in India. It is a significant wildlife habitat and the poor animals are subjected to these ear splitting blasts- which reverberate in the valley- a few times every minute.
    The operation is otherwise well managed for an Indian religious place with the temple authority regulating prices of everything sold there to prevent profiteering. It was also quite clean though I had gone in November and am told that by January it becomes dirty.
    One wonders whether the barbaric phataki Archana (certainly a recent addition to the traditions) would be stopped some day.

  38. Dear Mr. Rohit Nair,

    You can argue that greatbong is not a Keralite, and since he doesn’t know anything about malayali tradition, he has no right to comment on this particular topic.

    I’m a women, a malayali, and have lived in kerala for a few years. Could you please explain to me how not allowing women is GOOD for us? And yes, because we are in the 21st century, we need to let go of such traditions which discriminate against a particular gender. By your logic, sati should be legalised. It was a tradition, wasn’t it? And if you know women who have accepted it, then it’s because they don’t know better. No self respecting woman would accept traditions that say she isn’t as good as a man. And are you seriously, in this day and age, saying that women are not physically capable of doing what a man can? Yes, it is extremely difficult to understand.

    And none of these rules which you have mentioned discriminate against any category of people. Its not the same as the shabarimala case.

  39. @greatbong,

    your logic is as irresistable as Malcom McDowell’s character in Caligula.
    by the same logic, isn’t it thoroughly discriminatory for women not being allowed to freely go around topless? afterall men do it all the time!

    if you can practice what you preach, you should (logically) start topless practice at your home.

  40. I haven’t seen the movie but considering the fact that a Bengali Manini Chatterjee, who I think is related to Kalpana Dutt, was creatively involved in the film, the film should have been a masterpiece. I think there is another film on the same topic where Manoj Bajpai plays Masterda and I think that film will be more palatable than this one.

  41. @bondorer. seriously? topless women? thats your argument? And yes, i think its discriminatory that a woman is not allowed to go topless if she so wishes to. If a man is allowed to, so should a woman. If it’s something I wanted to do, i’d like to be able to do it without getting arrested.

  42. Every line on Surya’s comment is a strong message to all men who think Sabarimala is doing the right thing. I was appalled at the court’s verdict last month. Am happy somebody raised this point. Because I believe after the Pink chaddi campaign all feminists in this country have stopped taking any offence and raising their voices about any issue. It is sad to see that there are men like these who believe in age-old redundant stuff and also verbally almost abuse someone who’s genuinely made a point here and that too a very sensible one.
    Like GB said, what irony this is. A post about one of the strongest feminists in the political history of this country and the comments section just reflects chauvinism.

    And last thing, the groping joke was too good. LOLing at it.

    Nice review, GB! Will give the movie a miss.

  43. Ajit, we don’t have to agree on any of the points, but please tell me why any of the ladies should give a shit about what do you think ‘Vratham’ is ,or for that matter what are your views on anything. Most of the insanities which were prevalent in our country were part of some ‘rich’ tradition, so please don’t pass it as an argument.

  44. “making one wonder who actually directed Lagaan?” i think lagaan is made out to be that great because it came in oscar Top-5. for me asutosh’s best film is “swades” and as far as pronunciation of ‘o’ goes i also belive bengali say ‘o’ inplace of ‘a’ that is why a kajal becomes kajol.

  45. on the topic of pronunciation. the lead actress even pronounces her last name wrong. some one should tell miss padukone that that is not padu cone but padukoné

  46. I could argue all day and use all kinds of logic to support my point, but i realise it’s not going to have any effect on men like rohit nair, ajit nambiar, rudra and bondorer who use traditon as an excuse to hide their small mindedness and chauvinism.

    If left to men like you, sati and untouchability would still exist, women still wouldn’t be allowed to work and still considered as dust on a man’s feet.

    If anything, i feel sorry for your wives and daughters for what they have to deal with, and it makes me all the more thankful for parents who never told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.

    And finally, if left to me, I would cleanse this country by having a giant bonfire where men like you are burnt alive. Maybe then you’ll know the pain that a women suffered when she was burnt alive with her husband’s corpse.

    Also, it makes me happy to know that people like surya, rathesh, GreatPong2 and greatbong still exist in this world. Maybe there’s hope for this country after all.

  47. On the matter of what the Lord wants;

    If I remember correctly there are periodic divinations called “Ashtamangala Devaprashnams” where entry of young women is a recurring moot point. The results of such divinations are given enormous weight; for example there was a recent one in Guruvayoor which said that the divine presence has left the idol and now resides on top of the golden banner. Apparently a lot of corrective poojas were conducted to coax back the presence. Even then there was a lot of commie trash shrieking themselves hoarse about “black superstition” and “impartial observers” asking for more transparency and Dalit power types asking why Dalits should not be allowed to conduct the devaprashnam and all… BTW, Guruvayoor is another hard case which denies entry to the Christian Yesudas (the man who has sung almost ALL Hindu devotional songs and is openly a Krishna-Yeshu-Ayyappa-Devi-bhakta too!) and conducts cleansing rituals even if offspring of inter-religious marriages have been found to enter the premises. In fact one case happened to feature the scion of a cabinet minister. IIRC Sonia Gandhi had to face an “interview” before being let into Sree Padmanabha Temple (in Tirupathi they let her off with just signing a register). Anyway, let’s get back to Sabarimala…..

    There was a recent Devaprashnam in Sabarimala in 2006 and the ummm…. Results say the Lord is unhappy ‘coz many cardinal rules are broken these days. The findings were as follows;
    1. Many devotees skip the shrine of the Muslim Vaavar (a Muslim warrior and martyr and part of the Ayyappa mythos) which is an essential part of the pilgrimage
    2. Many don’t adhere to the strict vratham lasting 41 days.
    3. Young women apparently are visiting the Holiest of Holies; they were VVIP parivaar or VVIPs themselves and they pressurize the pandus in smuggling them in.
    (And the last time this divination was done a 40 something Kannada actress claimed she had indeed made a recent pilgrimage and even touched the deity. This soon snowballed into a controversy with the chief priest alleging such a devaprashnam did not even take place and the astrologer was in cahoots with the actress etc etc. Then a sex scandal exploded….. a quite sordid one with this priest pictured buggering a reputed soiled dove and being in close contact with a Dawood henchman. The priest lost all credibility and as far as I know this astrologer is VERY much in demand for the last few decades.)

    Contd…

  48. Contd…

    Anyway, point is many temples in Kerala follow extremely strict traditions and there are a slew of divinations and poojas even before repairing a stone tile….. This may sound silly and regressive and MCP but they are followed by the temple authorities and the devotees. Some strange traditions include offering the choicest abuses to the deity (the Mother Goddess!), men dressed as women (and temple IIRC is open only to men those few festival days), men should wear a mundu and not cover their upper body in most temples etc etc.

    I think more than aversion to women entering a Men’s only club or pure MCP-ness ain’t the reason why many resist. Also, Kerala’s Hindu religious milieu hold women in esteemed position… most temples have a strong Sacred feminine-Divine Mother tint and there are widespread phenomenon/practices like “Amman Kovils” and “Nari Pooja” and “Pongala”. So I think the acrgument about “putting women down in kerala society” doesn’t hold….
    It simply is a feature of ONE particular temple.
    BTW, there are a million other Ayyappa temples in Kerala…. but only Sabarimala has this rule. It’s due to the unique Ayyappa mythos (which I will briefly mention here).

    The Ayappa mythos has a central element of female betrayal (the Lord’s stepmom did a Kaikeyi-times-ten on him), he was born of union of Mahadeva and Mahavishnu (Mohini avatar though…. but still a sausage fest at the basic level, eh?) and his purpose in life was to destroy the female demon Mahishi. There’s also the belief that the Ayappa is actually Buddha who was “appropriated” by yeevil Hindu Borg Collective in the 6th century AD and the strict vratham, females barred during menstruating age are remnants of a splinter Southern Vajrayana cult. And BTW, Vajrayana Buddhism is kinda high strung on body functions…. “plugging the leak” of human vital fluids and purity of body fluids is still big in vajrayana. Go General Ripper!
    And the mythos explicitly say that when Ayappa “walked into the sunset” he explicitly asked to bar women-on-ritu (i.e. menstruating ages) be kept away from the site he is going to rest. Perhaps it may have something to do with him lives a strict brahmachari life during his time on earth.
    And how did he find this site? He asked Lord Parashurama to let loose an arrow into the forest and he simply followed the dart and disappeared for ever. Later, Parashurama fashioned an idol and installed it on a hillock on which the arrow was found…. he also hew the 18 steps with his bare hands and set locations for the co-deities and friends and family of Ayappa.

    Many feel the devaprashnams themselves reiterate the God’s wishes…. many feel Hindu beliefs and traditions are picked on unfairly….. some fear a slippery slope which may lead to abolition of further practices. In fact some claim that if you keep doing away with traditions due to contemporary socio-political exigencies soon there will be a time when there ain’t no recognizable temple as such in Kerala. And all the while nobody seems to question similar practices in Xianity and Islam where women are barred from priestly duties. Some ask if political correctness and secularism are key, why should the shahaada be allowed? After all 5 times a day the muezzin is shouting that “There is no God but Allah”. Heyyyy…. what about Jesus, Yahweh, Parabrahma, Elvis, Prabhuji and Singbonga? I OBJECT! I WANT TO RESUBMIT THE CALCUTTA QURAN PETITION! RRRAAAAHHHHHHH!

    Contd…

  49. Last part heh heh….

    I personally don’t care if they let in women or not…. I am a Guruswamy myself (18 pilgrimages) BTW, but I think there’s a point to “where should the line be drawn” question. I mean it’s easy for us to say “Astrology Bah Humbug! Tradition Bah Humbug! We are all in the 21st century…” ……but then there are many who still cling to the 10th century when it comes to religion. And if we should persist with reforming practices why stop at the women entry issue? Please indulge me while I take the slippery slope argument….

    Why shouldn’t we do away with the whole temple and dense jungle tracks and put Ayyappan “open air” in JLN Stadium Cochin with helicopter pads, escalators, moving walkways, cable cars and direct disabled access with a Jumbo Tron telecasting the darshan 24 X 7. Well, won’t this be beneficial for all and a true 21st century shrine?
    And why shouldn’t Kali Maa’s “grotesque” idols be replaced by a “Yo Jesus” or Dashboard Jesus ishtyle U-rated, friendly, clothed image? Doesn’t the traditional depiction scare poor wee children? You bet there will be some shrink/commie singing this tune soon….
    And why should Lord Shiva ride a poor bull when he could bloody well walk his ass down Kailash. Isn’t he setting a bad example to his devotees? And talk about Kailash….. isn’t it in China now? Should we dress Lord Shiva in a Mao Suit so that the Chinese are not offended?

    Finally, methinks if there is a nationwide and strong movement in favor of women entry into Sabarimala…. let it be! Otherwaise, why zimbly make a prablem out of a mol-hill onlee? Let wimmen wait till they turn into aundies before making theerthadanam to Sabarimala, wokay? Till then if they really really want to meet Ayyappa there’s a great Ayyappa temple right next to the Commissioner’s Office in Trivandrum; a temple which is supposed to be just as powerful as the one in Sabarimala.

  50. @GB,
    In defense of AG, just think what would have happened if
    [1] David Dhawan tried this. Master-da would have been bashing British with empty hand.
    [2] or Anil Sharma tried this. Mastar-da would be firing a rocket launcher … Rambo-style. Don’t believe me? Watch Shaheed-e-azm Bhagat Singh movie.
    [3] or Swapan Saha attempted it. We would have seen a voluptuous Pritilata doing a “Munni Badnaam hai”.
    [4] or Ekta Kapoor started with this material. Master-da would have got two wives and four plastic surgeries in one hour.
    I would probably watch the film just to thank the Bollywood God for his generosity in letting AG direct it. If subtlety was his strong point he would not be making movies in Bollywood.
    ————————————————————————
    To add fuel to the fire of the “topless” debate, here are two known facts:
    1. There is a temple in KN-MH border which I once visited. I forgot the name. Men are mandated to go inside topless while women are not. A guide told me that it was even mandated for women but “civilized” government instituted by British stopped it. No judgment here, a mere fact.
    2. In islands of Bali and Java, women are used to go topless (just like men) until colonial dutch government banned that to keep the “moral of the dutch army”. Both the islands have strong Hindu culture which, as per speculation, has come from southern India. Once again, no judgment about good or bad. Derive your own logic here.

    @Pratik,
    Both Rosogulla and Bangla is our product, I see no reason in being so apologetic about how we pronounce our own native language. If anybody has a problem it is their problem. And yes, “true story” does demand that location/character names are pronounced with authenticity.

  51. To all those (Pooja Menon ESP.) screaming hoarse comparing the Sabarimala practice to Sati-I say -please refrain. Sati and untouchability are not even in the same league as this issue. Remember-no woman is actually harmed because sh is not allowed to go to Sabarimala. Sati -if you remember-was a practice HARMFUL to women-not just discriminatory.

  52. Swades was surely Ashutosh’s best. I liked Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se for the simplicity of the plot. Acting and music average. As someone said without Rahman, his movies are not that effective.

    As for the Sabarimala debate, GB I think you should write a separate post on it. Its a good topic. For me, all temples are places are crappy places. The groping joke was THE BEST! LOL!

  53. Arnab,

    I haven’t seen the movie and hence would neither agree or disagree with your comments. My point is- (a) even if it is a “half/ partial true story”, isn’t it good the people know about the movement rather than being completely ignorent about it? (b) are we being too purist while looking at movies like this?
    I was actually happy that efforst are being made to tell about freedom fighters other than Bhagat Singh.

  54. dj – “…as far as pronunciation of ‘o’ goes i also belive bengali say ‘o’ inplace of ‘a’ that is why a kajal becomes kajol.”

    Exactly, but the point is its not also pronounced kojol, right. Thing is, in Bengali an “a” sounding word word may be pronounced “o”, but does that make way for pronouncing everything with a artificially inserted “o”. So as much as people may like to believe otherwise, “rosogolla” is still pronounced in Bengali as rasogolla and “chottogram” chattogram.

    @GB – Apt review. But I will not be as scathing as you and give some credit to AG for bringing out such a topic. At least people will ask – who was surya sen, and might just google him.

  55. why make such an issue of women of certain ages not allowed in sabarimala ?? its their rules – tough ..!! just lump it – !! you dont like it- fine .. !!
    not everything in life is fair ..

  56. It doesn’t surprise me one bit to notice that the temple discussion has grown to this extent without a single person questioning the the sensibility of “tradition for the sake of tradition”. This mentally servile notion can only be justified if we additionally make the false assumption that all traditions have value, regardless of their nature. Obviously there have been many traditions have have wrought unimaginable misery and suffering throughout history (some of which were mentioned earlier in the discussion). It baffles me that the self-anointed defenders of exclusionary tradition refuse to realize that their predecessors thought exactly as they do, for the same reasons. This sort of idiocy perpetuates itself like an inter-generational virus because its hosts shudder to analyze the nature of their infection and its history of propagation, instead preferring to sacrifice their intellectual autonomy to practices of the ignorant.

    Of course, as one of the defenders so casually mentioned earlier, I have no “right” to comment on this matter as I’m not a Keralite. I’ll spare that person an LMGTFY link to the Wikipedia article on “rights”.

  57. The only credit I give to the director is his not resorting to jingoism. I would also like to point out that Hindi cinema continues to suffer from another problem, that is the characters spout ideologies and not dialogs. They never seem to be embedded in their environment, not speaking remotely relatable Bengali is an essential part of it as you pointed out.

    In the name of historical authenticity mere facts would be used but the director would be fine in using love songs etc. The point being you can’t have an “entirely” true story. For few things you have to use your imagination which is true to the spirit of the times, place and the characters of the story.

    Another aspect that should have been highlighted was how Chittagong armoury raid was unique from other armed resistances in Indian independence movement. An essential part of it was that when Surya Sen had unfurled the Indian flag, he declared a national government. It was not a hit and run attack but a well thought of plan to establish a control on the region free of British Rule. This aspect of the spirit of the movement got lost somewhere in the movie. I think the director failed to invoke any empathy for any of the characters.

    I was unable to watch the movie till the end, does it has Netra Sen’s betrayal and his wife’s consequent revenge in it?

    But I think even if the movie was not well made it serves one purpose, of dragging these heroes out of pathetic text books into popular imaginations and hopefully pave the way for better movies which are much more sensitive.

  58. @bonderor please come out of this ‘topless’ fetish.

    @Ajit, HARM ? keeping untouchables out of the temples didn’t harm them, so the tradition should be continued, right ! . And buddy, the temple will be open to everybody sooner than later, save the logic of ‘life is unfair, deal with that’ for that time.

    @BalaSangh Parivar : So roads can be built to make the journey more easier , but women cannot be allowed as it will destroy sanctity. And good work, never leave an opportunity to bash Muslims and Islam , specially when you have a sangh parivar attached to your name

  59. Extremely boring movie. I walked out in the interval.

    GB da, this Sabarimala discussion is very interesting. Please write a post about it. My thoughts about the issue are exactly the same as Surya’s. This tradition was started with a particular purpose but has lost its way and logic. No amount of education has changed this opinion amongst men. though I have some mallu friends who think otherwise and who support the idea of allowing women.

    “..there may be an entire generation out there perpetuating a culture that tells them they have no control over traditions, however flawed they may be.” .. very true! This is exactly what even many mallu women think and that’s why they have accepted it mentally.
    Rudra, it takes a lot of sporting spirit for a woman to joke about groping and that too on public space. women in Kerala(that you know) must be boring then. Being a GB fan you should have some sense of humor.

  60. Thanks for providing the link about Pritilata Waddedar’s elder sister. It reminds me of the song from Hirok Raja-r Deshe: Dekho bhalo jone roilo bhanga ghore… Mondo je shhe singhashone chhode…”

    P.S. I cannot even imagine how such a glorious story has been reduced to this drivel. Lets hope “Chittagong” starring Manoj Bajpai will do justice…

  61. GB – Watched it alone since nobody wanted to. Extremely dissappointed and hurt the way movie has has come out.. Have more things to write………

  62. @Rathesh

    Sir, coming to fetishes, you are looking at me through your own mirror.
    for me skin,food or anything else is only a tool to make a point.
    you seemed to missed the point but noted an unintended fetish!

  63. Ashutosh Govarikar is an overrated directeor just like SLB. Lagaan was kept on a tight leash by Aamir. Minus Aamir, Ashutiosh is simply an idiot. I saw What’s Your Rashi and am still demanding my money back from Ashutosh. It was so trashy!! Swadesh was preachy!! Jodha-Akbar was a stupid film where I almost screamed in frustration, “come on guys, do it and get over with!!”

  64. Mr Greabong, you seem to have a lopsided view about me and my thoughts on the matter. I am not at all a misogynist. I am a married man and I love women. I just feel rules are rules. And they need to be followed. Period.

    Ms. Surya, you do seem like a patriotic Tamilian (though you deny it) from the way you write correct spellings of Tamizh and I agree, its Tanjavur Brihadeeswarar. My bad! You also seem to be pretty shameless with your jokes which is fine, you know. There is quite an audience for jokes like that and they love it. Just like Archana Puran Singh and Shekhar Suman laugh at those vulgar jokes on Comedy Circus. As for your arguments about allowing Sabarimala, I just want to say and add to Rudra’s point that if you dont like the deity, please dont go. Nobody is asking you to force yourself. Smuggling a woman into the temple when the rules (whether right or wrong) was unfair and unlawful. That’s all I hve to say.

  65. @Rathesh,
    I request your sanctimonious lordship to first find what BalalSangh means before bestowing me your Order of the Khakhi Shorts.

    Hint: When you find the meaning you can accuse me of being a perv misogynist criminal “as it reflects in what I wrote”.

    And once again, I DO NOT CARE if they let in women or not. Heck, I don’t mind if they let evangelicals peddle their stuff right at the Golden Steps as long as they do not *badmouth* Hinduism and go about it peacefully! Free country and all,no? As long I can go there as I please mera Baap ka kya jaayega?
    Just wanted to give a little background/trivia to the uninitiated and take a joyride down the slippery slope and clip an IMHO.

  66. Khele Hum…Shabari Mala…logic and “look at me” intellectualism…all for a post. Great Great, greatbong.

    Wish we could really do something for those few freedom figters like Srimati Basanti Waddedar who are left behind instead of using all those silicon interactions…heck who am I to even think like that. It’s a Monday tomorrow…I will pretend to work…will have some Pita with chicken for lunch…will take a train to 33rd street and will do some winter shopping at Macy’s. And oh…this weekend will get a ticket at AMC.

  67. Mr. Rohit Nair,

    A misogynist is not someone who is not attracted to women. So when you say “You are married and you love women” it is evident you don’t know what the word means, unless of course the word means something different in Kerala and for Kerala “patriots” than it does for the rest of the civilized world.

    A misogynist means someone who feels that women should have not equal rights and has nothing to do with being married or desiring women. (Sometimes the more “loving of women” people are, the more “misogynist” they become)

    From wikipedia: Misogyny functions as an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated, societies for thousands of years and continues to place women in subordinate positions with limited access to power and decision making.

    In other words, people who think that men can tell women where they are allowed and where they are not are misogynists.

  68. Agree with the comment from Arti, above my comment.

    I am yet to watch Khelege…, but What’s Your Raashi was BAD. Jodha Akbar was a beautiful set piece with some good bits and some long boring inauthentic romance filled cliched Bollyparts . Swades was a well-made film that sparkled at points, yet also dragged at points. I actually nodded off at a couple of places. Still, a decent enough film. I have even seen Ashu’s Baazi from mid-nineties (on video, a few years back);this was Bollymasala of course, yet watchable, not boring. But Lagaan remains Ashutosh’s best.

    Lagaan was lovely, fiction set in a historical past, never boring even for a minute–and deserved its place in the top 5 at the Oscars foreign film category. Ashutosh gave his all to the film–and was lucky to get a completely committed producer-actor partner like Aamir on his journey. I have read the book ‘The Spirit of Lagaan’ and understand that the team returned from the 6 month shooting schedule with FIVE hours of material–and Ashutosh-Aamir sat in the editing room wondering if they had the right material for the film; wondered if they would have to return and re-shoot a bit–a nightmare possibility considering the international cast had dispersed and the money was spent–then they found the diamond in the dust, having sifted through 5 hours of footage— and managed to produacr a 3 hour plus solid world class entertainer that had class and spunk. To term this film mediocre is blasphemy—or perhaps mean-spiritedness.

    I have read that Khelenge has its heart in the right place, that the tale has been told in a sincere manner, even if the pace is slow. At least Ashutosh had the guts to take up this subject. I am thinking of scouting for the book and reading it. Plastic Padukone looks off putting, but poor earnest Ashutosh and Abhishek deserve a chance–so I will still give the film a shot.

  69. I love Dilbert’s timeless quote –

    “Never argue with idiots. They will drag you to their level and beat you with experience.”

    I am going to listen to him.

  70. @greatbong,

    I don’t know what you did on twitter, but u seemed to have touched several malayali raw nerves with some short tweets.
    I agree with you on KHJJS. AB jr’s momma dear needs to give him more motherland and mothertongue lessons!

    @ the other (me included) topless malayalis, pls quit discussing the gender equality topic on this post. I started reading the comments only wishing to see some good AB jr bashing!!!

  71. I liked the movie for its simple plot and to me it definitely served the purpose of invoking interest into lives of the unknown revolutionaries. I did not find anything wrong with the acting of the key actors, I felt they all did well with good restraint.
    On a seperate note, the title track would have made a better commonwealth games anthem than whatever Rehman dished out, so much for people asking for Rehman’s music in the movie.

  72. GB i agree with Avijit das. atleast the movie will make some people aware of such a large scale event & sacrifices that had been made. I remember I had been to chattogram (chitagong) for the first time I was so overwhelmed in my mind that maybe I could get to see atleast the locality of the place they invaded let alone the astragar itself. but boy o boy very very few of even mid 50s or 60s were aware how I go there & waht had happened really. they were almost like recalling “oh yes heard of something like that but you know I dont stay close enough so I am not aware.” FOOLS. MAYBE SOME DAY MY KID WILL TALK ABOUT B.B.D BAG in this manner some decades later. what a shame.

  73. Should I start with the horrible pronunciation of Bengali words—with Surya Sen unable to pronounce Chattogram properly calling it “Chotto” gram?

    Forgivable mistake really. It *is* a Hindi movie and it’s a bit unfair to expect them to get their Bengali pronunications right.

    Btw, this is the bong spelling: ?????????, pronounced: chOttogrAm. In Hindi-Urdu phonology, the /O/ phoneme (the ipa is, i think, ‘o’ with a carat on top) does not exist hence they’ve gone for the closest fit: chottogrAm.

  74. …unless of course the word means something different in Kerala and for Kerala “patriots” than it does for the rest of the civilized world.

    I was enjoying this read. And then, Wow! The second line gives away the real you! It perhaps says more about the values you stand for than anything else..I’m glad! 🙂

  75. This debate on Sabarimala caught my attention here…

    Instead of taking sides, this is what I’ve to say to both camps (supporters of tradition & supporters of modernity/equality of genders): Hatred, heaping insults, name-calling, etc rarely ever solves the problem – any problem, that is.

    GreatBong, I would not like to emphasize that I’m really not in the business of pointing fingers here, but I guess the purpose of your Tweet was to get people to think about this ‘practice’ and perhaps abandon it, correct? If so, intelligent person that you are, did you really hope to bring about such a dramatic & drastic change in the thought process of an entire community by one Tweet or even the resulting discussion?? You may be logically correct, but think about it, since when has merely pointing out the logical thing has convinced people to immediately abandon their ‘beliefs’ and embrace Logic?? If that were really possible, the world wouldn’t have a fraction of the problems its currently facing. To emphasize, more than correctness, the issue here is of pragmatism. I sure you certainly knew & understood when you made that tweet, that you were commenting on a sensitive topic. Wouldn’t you have been more successful in your aim(I presume) of getting people to think about this practice dispassionately, if you had been, well, a little more sensitive, for lack of a batter word?? And this applies to all the people involved in this argument – from both sides.

    Same with Rohith Nair & his supporters… Agreed, the subject is very dear to your hearts. But wouldn’t it have been wiser & probably more productive, to restrain your emotions & attempt to have a civilised, courteous discussion with GreatBong instead??

    I feel very deeply about this – it is very essential to see sensitivity, restraint and a very genuine, sincere desire to learn more about each other’s positions and solve what one perceives to be the ‘problem’ rather than beat someone down, in our discussions. The sorry fact is that most of the “debates” we see around us – on blogs, internet fora, TV news channels – aren’t really debates; they are more of slugfests. Its really disaapointing for example, to see otherwise highly educated people scream & hurl insults at each other like illiterates on TV channels, egged on by the news anchor(who obviously does it for TRPs). I’m yet to see a single issue get solved by such an unimaginative approach.

    As a parting shot, I can say from practical experience, that the Gandhina approach of turining the other cheek really works when it comes to debate. If even one camp unilaterally doesnt lose its patience and restrains itelf, the level of ugliness in the debate reamins in check & perhaps even reduces as the other camp finally does see reason….

  76. There are a few typos in my post above(a few may be funny). Yet I’m sure ppl can understand the gist of my message & ignore the typos.

  77. ‘cha’ in chattogram is supposed prounounced as ‘cha’ in chalk, whereas Abhishek pronounces it Chottogram as ‘cho’ in ‘choke’

    the movie was trying to highlight a bengal based incident for the non-bengalis, but as bengalis we were looking for higher standard of authenticity, therefore it dissapoints from a story point of view.
    Misrepresentation to suit a script and box office is what bollywood lives by, what can be said? Gowarikar is becoming almost annoying, i so much preferred Nikhil Sir (Kachchi Dhoop)

    the less said about Abhishek Bachchan the better, award season is going like to be like a travesty of creative/artistic justice. Hate it, every year, chamchagiri at its worst. Wonder why the film industry just swallows it in and goes on!!

  78. GB, I kindly request that you use your powers of moderation to correct my own idiocy of confusing the “Name” and “Email” fields. Spam bots are even less amenable to logical discourse than some of the posters in this discussion.

  79. Vikas, it is quite close to a slugfest ‘coz ppl have traded insults & resorted to name-calling. It cannot be denied that there’s bad blood and ill-will on both sides. Plus, no substantaive progress has been made on the actual subject nor is there any indication of a desire to have productive discussion in the near future. So slugfest or not, it has certainly been an unproductive endeavour.

  80. This is been one of the most interesting comments thread which i have read…especially as there seem to 3 or 4 parallel threads carrying on simultaneously- Ashutosh gowariker’s ability as a filmmaker, our handling of freedom fighters, Sabarimala and associated issues and finally, as a side show Bengali pronunciation
    Surprisingly the one which interests me here is the last one because after all the comments i am not very clear what the pronunciation is. While i agree it is rubbish to think that ‘Bengalis put “o” in everything’, i am still unclear on what the correct pronunciation is.
    As I understand it it within the boundaries of Bengali-English transliteration “Chattogram ” can be pronounced in the following ways – and all depend on how one pronounces the first “A”.
    1.The “a” can be pronounced as in the bengali word “chhad” as in roof- very similar to the long “a” in fast or the “matra” in the hindi “naam” (name)
    2. The “a” can be pronounced somewhat similar to the “o” in the English word “cot” or the “a” in “watt” or “what”.
    3. The “a” can be pronounced as the “o” in the Hindi word “rona” meaning crying.

    Now, from what I have been able to fathom from this entire thread is that the film uses option 3 whereas i get the sense that the correct pronunciation is as in option 1. But i am not sure – so could someone clarify.

    As an aside, I think many Hindi speaking people need to understand that Bengali is a different language from Hindi – and just because both have derived from Sanskrit and have similar forms does not mean that the hindi form is the “correct” one or a “better” one. I once tried hard to explain to a friend from Delhi that “no, Bengalis do not ‘eat’ water, they also drink it. They just use the same word for both” but to no avail. It’s fixed in her mind- “Bengalis ‘eat’ water. How funny. Ha, ha ha!” and all the king’s horses and all the kings men would not change her mind.

  81. @ Pooja and others

    Probably, more related to this GB post and somewhat conencted to the Sabarimala issue, what are your opinion about women being fighter pilots and women being in special forces in active combat duties.

    Should the rules and rigors be the same for qualifications or different?

  82. But why Rishi? Why is that relevant? Why your silence on this prejudice against Hindu women? Is it because, as the Net’s most hateful proponent of Hindutva, you endorse keeping Hindu women in a state of Islamic subjugation? Is it because you do not offend to fellow Hindu nut-cases like Rohit Nair? Do throw light.

  83. i have heard an elderly relative of mine pronounce it as “chaatgaan”. (The last “n” is nasal.. like you might say restaurant in french).

  84. The correct pronounciation (and I am amazed that people are going ON about this) is “Cha” as in rhymes with the English word Saw. Not “Cho” as in Bokachoda (AB pronounced it like this)

  85. @ anonymous

    My question was …”what are your opinion about women being fighter pilots and women being in special forces- in active combat duties.

    Should the rules and rigors of qualifications be the same or different?”

    I would love to have your take on that from a Islamic and/or evangelist point of view.

    I take you calling me Hindutva proponent, to be a compliment.
    As you yourself pointed out, the post-9th century CE effect of Islam, on Hindu rituals and social traditions has been catastrophic, especially in terms of how women were treated in the Hindu society.

    But, that does not take away from us (Hindus) the responsibility of introspecting, debating and eventually evolving with time, when it comes to traditions and rituals. It is important to note that women were some of the greatest Vedic scholars. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, incidentally, has played a significantly proactive role training all Jatis and varnas as temple priest over the past 20 years, especially in Southern and Western India. Different Hindutva groups have convinced more and more historical temples to let go of their fear of non Hindus surrepticiously destroying deities, by inviting new reverts to Hindu Dharma into their Garbha Grihas, and things are evolving for the good.

    That is what makes Hindu Dharma Universal in its message and evolutionery in its approach.

    Something, you, in your way of looking at religion, will never comprehend.

  86. GB,
    If ever your comment space were to be compiled into a book, I promise to be the first buyer.

    Btw, one important question (my wife asked me to ask you this coz she works on patents/IP) – do you legally own the comments on your blogs or is it the commenters?

  87. Bsin,

    I would say those who made the comments are liable for their opinions and their content (in case of defamation that’s what my legal argument will be) and hence they own their IP also.

  88. I am ashamed to admit that I am having some problems with the concept of this movie in the light of the naxal movement. Its true that there are significant differences in the Maoists’ perception of Indian govt and the British Raj( the “antagonists” here are the same people, not people from an island thousand miles away, resources even if “looted” remains inside the country…). But other than that, there are some uncanny similarities like Khudiram Bose killed two women , most likely by mistake, for which he was hanged. While the maoists kills civilians “by mistake” ( in buses, trains…) while trying to attack the policemen. I mean to say, if some unsuspecting Generation XYZ watches a movie showing revolutionaries bombing outposts and attacking policemen and then starts thinking,” wait, this is exactly what the maoists are doing”, then isnt it likely that he is going to sympathize with their cause?

  89. About the pronunciation of Chattogram(Chittagong):

    People who are saying it can not be pronounced by a hindi speaking person is wrong.

    Chat-Toe- Gram

    (Chat as in Chal.. as in chal kahi ghumne chalte hain…just replace the l with T as in AhaT. Toe as in english toe. Gram as in sau gram zindagi.)

    [ about the chaatg(n)a, thats local bengali. Even that could be pronounced in hindi. Chaat as in Papdi Chaat and g(n)aa as in g(n)aao.]

  90. Groups like the HSRA and Master-da’s outfit had strong left-revolutionary leanings. Everyone here prolly knows about Bhagat Singh reading Lenin’s works (or was it the biography) just before his execution and his request to let him read for some more time; “Let one revolutionary meet another” methinks. I believe almost all survivors of Master-da’s revolt were card carrying commies/Forward Bloc/vagera vagera.
    BTW, many revolutionaries drifted into right/extreme-right streams at the other end of the spectrum also. Anyone remember who championed whom against APJ Kalam in the Presidential elections? 🙂 Most of the time such groups had members professing these diverse ideologies, but they stood united against the British. Well, at least till Op Barbarossa was launched…. some commies apparently ditched their organizations (yes, some did exist even after the 2nd phase of Revolutionary Movement was suppressed) or betrayed them outright for the greater good of the international proliteriat.

    I dunno if I am right in comparing aims of movements like those of Bhagha Jatin and Master-da (and not individual actions or small group heroics) to the French and Spanish Maquis. I mean, was harassment and protracted focused insurgency their aim…. did they truly believe they can fight and defeat the British? Even the Chinese communists did not harbor such notions against the KMT (forget the Japs)….. and they were MUCH better placed than the poor brave folk who tried to shoot away the Brits.

  91. About the movie, have not seen it yet. Intend to see it as I hail from an area named after masterda Surya Sen.

    I for once is happy that movies are being made about freedom fighters other than Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, though.

    Off topic, have seen and liked Phas gaye re Obama. The concept is similar to Khosla ke Ghosla, but good anthology to what actually happened before recession. The irony is, people who suffered in recession uses the same thing once again to get out of it..so the circle continues.

  92. @ balalsangh Parivar

    You are right about Bhagat Singh.
    Bagha Jatin and Masterda, as far as I know, were more in the Maharishi Aurobindo Ghosh mould. (before Aurobindo became Maharishi ofcourse)

  93. Oh sh1t! All this while my handle had a typo. No wonder someone here did a J’Accuse at me…. plis to forgive me, birader.

    It ain’t BalaSangh Parivar… but BalalSangh Parivar. With an L as in Lolitaaaaa.

  94. Interesting to see such a hot debate on the ‘right’ pronunciation-just curious-can anyone define for me what is “Right”? Is it what a majority of the people use? or is it laid down somewhere in the laws of bengali grammar?

  95. AG should stick to what’s ur rashee types ..and actually rashee was ok movie. priyanka’s acting was really great.

    Ash-abhi are enjoying the marital bliss and thats the reason they cant concentrate. Kamasutra type sex themed movie may be appropriate .

  96. lol let me tell u first thing move out of bengal…the tradition of sabermalie has its own reasons of its own and sinv=ce u are a bengali u wuldnt understand it and gosh what dat 21 century lol let me tell u wherevr u go or whatever u are just remember u will always follow the traditions and customs for e.g u r not gonna slleo ur whole life wid a women having a living relationship so forget ur nonsense comments and before commenting anything in south india just watch ur own WB i live in kolkata and i noe how god its just a namesake metropoliton…everything sucks and one more i have been to kali temple i felt the temple is a den for gundas (pandas) its no place for worship….and one more thing if u think u r so tough y dont u try the 40 days tradition of ayappa we shall see it will fuck the shit out of u…

  97. fuck u guys lol…dont even dare a word about south indian customs and traditions they are the best..and b4 uttering a word remember which place u are and if it bihar or up just fuck ur mouths shut no need to discuss and if u are bengali retard then u are elimianted u are least qualified to discuss coz we dont discuss with u communist retards who changed the def of communism…and any other state just fuck off not elgible to read this article itself…

  98. @Arun,

    I think what you say is correct about “right” pronunciation. majority rules. That’s how Mumbai became Bombay, Kolikata became Calcutta in the international circuit.

    However, Surya Sen being a Bengali would not have pronounced it the way its pronounced in the movie (as explained by GB).

  99. @ Tamal
    Do not forget, Kerala produced the single most effective Hindu philosopher/seer of the past two millenia, Adi Shankara. A genius in a millenial sense.

    Humanity owes Advaita Vedanta to him and his grand guru Gaudipada. But for him, and everything that happened after them, South Asia would have looked like Saudi Arabia.

  100. I think there is something about the weather of the subcontinent which makes people so passionate about how something is pronounced.

  101. Rishi,

    Your not saying a word in support of GB’s opposition to Hindu medievalism and suppression of women is telling. Good to see that there are people like GB who while being proud of their identities have no problem in calling out discrimination and medievalism wherever they see them. In sharp contrast to sorry Hindutva people like you Mr. Rishi.

  102. you would not have written this comment if you actually read what I wrote above on December 6, 2010 at 5:39 pm.
    I am yet to see you answer my question in the same comment.

    But I guess that is expected from you, who has been obsessed with attacking me for the past 2 years.

  103. Rishi,

    This is what flowed from your pen-finger.

    “But, that does not take away from us (Hindus) the responsibility of introspecting, debating and eventually evolving with time, when it comes to traditions and rituals. It is important to note that women were some of the greatest Vedic scholars. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, incidentally, has played a significantly proactive role training all Jatis and varnas as temple priest over the past 20 years, especially in Southern and Western India. Different Hindutva groups have convinced more and more historical temples to let go of their fear of non Hindus surrepticiously destroying deities, by inviting new reverts to Hindu Dharma into their Garbha Grihas, and things are evolving for the good.”

    What a weak Manmohan-type arguement. Where is the kind of brave voice of condemntation that comes from GB? As a matter of fact, your vitriol is meant for poor me, a humble Muslim. (I am not Muslim, but I realize in your warped mind that is the worst gaali you can think of; and you have already called me a follower of the Prophet before so don’t even deny it). Why don’t you call Rohit Nair and his other followers Muslims? You should, because they echo fully the Prophet’s teachings. But you will not. All you will do is, to quote from your august self, attack me—-

    “Something, you, in your way of looking at religion, will never comprehend”

    Ha ha. Whereas anyone with half a nut would be saying that to Rohit Nair, all you can think of me.

    My point stands. With respect to your every friggin comment, there is nowhere you have called what happens at Sabarimala an abomination. I apologize in advance if I have missed some comment of yours when I make this statement.

  104. @ anonymous

    I appreciate and agree with you completely when you say that GB with his proud Hindu identity has the balls to be look at Hindu traditions critically.

    Unlike in your religion; GB, Pooja, Rohit Nair and Bonderer, all have the freedom and the Dharmic precedence and narrative, to duke it out without being excommunicated, or beheaded.

    I am yet to see you (despite 3 ad hominem comments attacking me), reply to my question—-

    ”what are your opinion about women being fighter pilots and women being in special forces- in active combat duties. Should the rules and rigors of qualifications be the same or different?
    I would love to have your take on that from a Islamic and/or evangelist (Christian) point of view”.

    Dear anonymous
    Since the past 2 years, I have to say that I have never anyone as singularly obsessed in attacking me as you are.

  105. About the debate on Chottogram, I fully agree that there are multiple pronunciations of the proper noun, depending on the dialect. However, the “average” Kolkata “Bangali” would pronounce the first part of the word akin to “chalk”, as someone mentioned i.e. Chawt-toe-gram.

    The other question I had, since I am not about to watch the film – how did they pronounce Surya Sen’s name? Did they actually use the proper pronunciation – i.e. “Shurjyo Shen”?

  106. I saw the movie while I was half way through the book and I completed the book within 1 day of watching this movie.Theres no point comparing the two,as Chatterji’s book is non-fictional but Gowarikar claims the movie to be a dramatised version.Its a different story that there is hardly any drama in the movie.If Bollywood is coming of age and claims to make “hatke” films,they should really try their hands at making a non star cast adaptation of these subjects.Chittagong was all about the zeal and zest of common people,presence of AB’s baby and Dipika(both of them never become the characters)is irritating,more so because of the plastic mannerisms that they religiously follow throughout the movie.There is only one moving moment in the entire film,that is when the titles come up in the end.Bande Mataram in the background,and original file fotos of the Heroes…particularly,fotos of the dead boys from Jalalabad battlefield,really moves you.If you want to watch this film,make sure that the theatre is showing it till the end,including the end titles,and does not drop the curtains before the end credits.

  107. I was not surprised at the ‘choto-gram’ pronunciation.Directors otherwise meticulous in other departments are surprisingly quite casual about these small details. Saif Ali Khan himself being half bong kept saying
    ‘Law-lita’ throughout Parineeta. The director was a Bengali in this case!
    And the less said of the Bangla spoken in Bhansali’s Devdas the better!Even the sentences were weird.

    What irritates me the most is when in real life people continue pronouncing Kolkata..Call-kota !!
    How difficult is it to say ‘Coal-Kaata’?!

    Good review of the film ,greatbong.

  108. @surya: The logic that the dense forest and difficult path were the reason for women to be kept away from Sabarimala sounds wrong. If that were the case, pre-menarche and post-menopause women wouldnt be allowed either! In fact, it the women who are in the prime of their life who are not permitted. So much for your logic of ‘safety during the trek’.

    @others wanting to give women forcible entry: this is secular fundamentalism. Every place has its rules. Some dont permit other religions (e.g. fire temples, some mosques and Trivandrum Padmanabhaswamy temple), some insist on a dress code. Why, even discotheques in Mumbai have weird dress codes and rules – e.g. Indian kurtas are not permitted, but Western suits are! Either you follow these rules, or you stay away. There is no point trying to force your values on such a place – there is no right or wrong in any of this

    A tradition is a tradition – there is nothing to suggest that 21st century thinking is in any way superior to 5th century one. Tomorrow’s generation may value things that are entirely different. That does not make one superior to the other

  109. @RohitNair and Nambiars who share his view….go back to stone age please. Don’t even come back and comment.
    Seriously, what are you doing here. There was no internet, and of course favourite $%$#ing law to supress women.

    @GB – Nice review of movie. The whole post got hijacked with that dim-wit comment.

  110. I had tweeted earlier that I missed the show at Forum and wanted to watch the film with the film’s cast but now I think it is good that I missed it and I wouldn’t want to watch a serious film like this in an empty hall http://is.gd/ikahr

  111. @greatbong: Thanks for the nice review. Yes you are very right and have hit the nail bang on pointing to the very ‘movie title’…it does gives you a feel of one of some 70s 80 dishum dishum movies….no where the title has the inspirational aura of swadesh or mother india, nor even close The Hero: Love Story of a Spy!

    I am yet to catch this movie….and was browsing around various reviews to catch one curious fact….the dialect of Masterda….its very difficult to imagine Masterda addressing everyone in hindi…probably I am demanding too much from Bengali mainstream movie fraternity…probably freedom struggle or historical biopic is not of much interest for budding and creative bunch of new-age Bengali movie-makers.

    I am glad you pointed out the fact :

    ” ….Should I start with the horrible pronunciation of Bengali words—with Surya Sen unable to pronounce Chattogram properly calling it “Chotto” gram?…”

    I will further go ahead and add that probably Master-da with his East-Bengali roots would have had that special dialect/ dialogue delivery style which I am afraid if it ever surfaced to Mr.Gowariker’s mind or not.

    Thank you

  112. @ ramgun – its not *my* logic. Its what the great Mr Rahul Easwar said during this year’s makara jyoti live telecast on SUN TV. (14th Jan, I cannot for the love of Aiyappan, find the link on youtube; pls share if you do) He argued that though the *real* “logic” is that Aiyappan is celibate and that’s why women are barred b’coz *He* would be tempted, it was originally started due to the fact that the trek was strenuous up the hill through dense forests and rocky path. And so women were *told* that this is the reason. ‘Coz most “modern” women essentially wouldnt buy the celibate reason. Now why and how the trek path becomes silky suddenly, after she reaches menopause is beyond my limited comprehension too! And its a loose end in Easwar & Co.’s argument that nobody perhaps questioned.

    However, here’s a link that hints (partially) of the “logic” about ‘unsafe trek’ for women that apparently existed/exists. Do read if you *can* endure the hardcore misogynist nature of this tripe of a piece.(http://www.saranamayyappa.org/Embargoladies.htm) – Its run by the ABASS.

    Regarding your ‘all places have rules’ argument, I have already, in my comment, differentiated between rules by other temples and that of Sabarimala which is basically discriminatory in nature.

  113. From the link that Surya gave –
    “Another factor is the trek up the hill to Sannidhanam. The present trekking path to Sannidhanam is relatively more comfortable than the one that existed in the days gone by. Nevertheless the climb up the hill is demanding… the trek during pilgrimage is strenuous and sweaty.” – Cited as the reaons for why women arent allowed. Seriously, if this doesnt show chauvinism I dont know what does.

    “Garments that one wears gets soaked in sweat and tend to vividly cling to the body in often sexually provocative and embarrassing fashion. Therefore, despite whatever one may vehemently say, the possibility of the male devotees falling prey to this emotional lure is there, should young ladies in their prime and desirable ages, go up the hills alongside them.” – this line made me ROFL!

    Thanks for the link, Surya. Superb!

  114. Surya, the link you have given above makes me sad. And angry too. Hope these boys now see how unfair this whole issue is. God should now come down and speak for himself.
    Thanks a lot!

  115. I have a problem with the movie’s portrayal of Master-da. By most accounts (for me the first defining one was an Amar Chitra Katha issue) shows him as a passionate, fiery and perhaps impulsive man not shy of shedding enemy non-combatant blood. I think AB Jr showed flashes of that aspect though in general he’s portrayed as a rather calm and composed mastermind.

    Talk about masterminds….. there’s a criticism that he did not give sufficient thought to “what after”. The argument goes:- this was the most daring raid in the history of the Indian national revolutionary movement and after this hit-and-run there should have been a solid plan to ensure survival of the group to fight another day. The group fled to the hills without much logistical support and no fall-back plan…. and remember there were no dearth of Rao Bahadur wannabes in British India to betray such people. The revolutionaries were all urban kids and couldn’t use the forests like a seasoned guerrilla could…. and there were no nearby foreign powers who could stand up to the British, aid the movement and provide sanctuary. In fact Raja Sen had made a comment on the training point. It goes something like this:- “The movie showed well drilled BIA troops attacking with the revolutionaries answering with their own military deployment drill. The young folk are shown to build biceps and do push ups but was there indeed any actual military training?”. Also, there’s that argument of the impracticality in dislodging the Raj through might of arms….

    Well, hindisight is 20/20 and I am harping on all that was wrong with the revolutionary movement….. but still I wonder what could have been achieved if things were planned better. Would have been difficult in an age where Gandhiji’s movement strode like a colossus (and left only a few fringe groups or extremists to populate the revolutionary movement) and with a CID system so pervasive and Britannia ruling the waves.

    PS: Anyone got accounts speaking of retired/serving BIA professionals training such revolutionaries? I know of Rash Behari Bose’s failed attempts to join the army to learn their tricks…. and the Army conspiracy cases he led later on but my search is in a different direction. Thanks in advance.

    ———————-
    Coming back to Sabarimala:
    Is it an across the board discrimination? Only women of a certain age group are barred from entering the Sannidhanam. It’s like only married Jewish men who are above 40 years of age are initiated into priestly Kabbalah (NOT Kabbalah-as-a-hobby for which even Madonna and your next door New Age schoolkid dabbles in).

    I must add that the “clothes clinging on shapely female bodies” argument is downright odious. It sounds a bit like “Indeed, the apostle of the Lord said-when a man and a woman are alone there is a third presence….. the tempting Iblis”.
    Coming to the other sexism argument; almost all aged women are carried on palanquins all the way to the peak….. in all my pilgrimages there I have seen *very* few aged women trek all the way. Heck, it’s a difficult trek for 40 yr old men in not-so-bad physical condition!

    BTW, IIRC women can go Pamba which is the a mountain base station-temple complex of the pilgrimage. Heck, I think women can go all the way upto Sharamkutthi (about half a km away from the Sannidhanam)’coz I remember news reports of the erstwhile Devaswom Commissioner, a lady, directing repair operations there.

    Trivia time: Sabarimala it’s named after a female devote too. And it’s smack next to Rishyamookachalam (that’s Rishyamook Parvat for you Bhaiyya-land folk).

  116. Sancho,

    The ‘correct’ pronunciation is the second one:

    The “a” can be pronounced somewhat similar to the “o” in the English word “cot” or the “a” in “watt” or “what”.

    By “correct” I mean as per the Calcutta register of the Bengali language. Different registers and dialects of Bengali might pronounce it differently but Cal Bong is Bong’s ‘highest’ register (similar to Hindi-Urdu among the Hindustani dialect continuum or RP among in English) so that’s a pretty safe bet. Interestingly, Chotgaee’aa—the local dialect—is unintelligible to bong speakers but for socio-politcal reasons is still considered to be a part of Bengali (sorta like how Bhojpuri is a “dialect” of Hindi).

    Of course, it absurd to thing the movie is expected to get all Bong phonemes down pat or that is in any way a flaw. I wonder how many Hollywood movies about, say, Arabia have got their guttural consonants right. 🙂

    While i agree it is rubbish to think that ‘Bengalis put “o” in everything’,

    The confusion stems from the fact that the Bengali language does not contain Hindi’s inherent vowel / ?/ (the schwa) at all. Bong’s inherent vowel is an / ?/ (whihc in turn is not there in Hindi!). Thus a uniligual bong will not be able to pronounce the word “come”. And a unligual Hindi speaker wil not be able to pronounce ‘chotogram’ (or cot for that matter).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet_chart_for_English_dialects

  117. Thanks to those who clarified the exact pronunciation.

    Not having seen the film, I think perhaps the filmakers have tried to be extra smart and ended up with this absurdity. Strictly speaking, “Chattogram” with the “a” as in “watt” cannot be pronounced in Hindi – simply because the sound does not exist in Hindi. I guess that’s why the Hindi for the place is, I believe, “Chatgaon” with the “a” as in “above”. The character could very simply have said that – after all the movie is a Hindi film, why not use the Hindi forms.
    But as Arnab says in his post, they tried to be “cutesy” and be “authentic” by throwing in Bengali here and there…and then got the Bengali all wrong; thereby compounding the error. Rather silly, in my opinion

  118. @ BalalSanghparivar

    First, I loved the way someone used the Bong-ified monicker “Bonderer” (or is it Wanderer) 🙂

    But for SC Bose’s AHF, the revolutionery movement in India never actually posed a strategic threat to the British Raj. Unfortunately, there never was a critical mass of people who supported a aggressive uprising against the British.

    My great grandfather, who used to be freedom fighter of some kind in Midnapore district and a relative of a more famous revolutionery named Prafulla Chaki (i think many people who know about Khudiram Bose may know about him); used to tell my Dad stories about BIA men smuggling arms and ammunitions for the Biplabis. I dont if they gave tactical training as well.

  119. @ Surya – Ma’am looks like you do not respond to emails. Chickened out? this ABASS link that you have shared is indeed the correct explanation to the matter. Thank you for doing that. All arguments put to rest now. Dilbert’s quote works for me too BTW. I wish you had more spine.

    Mr greatbong, why dont you actively participate in the discussions on your *own* blog? I very well know the definition of misogynist and I know I am not one. Being strong about my beliefs about a temple that prohibits women doesnt mean I dont want women to be educated or not have ambitions, does it? Ridiculous!

  120. The movie was quite a disappointment I agree. Though the action scenes in the second half were quite good, overall there was hardly any punch.
    However, one fact which quite disturbed me about Surjya Sen and his revolution was the use of teenagers (and I am thankful to AG for making me aware of this!!). I mean its quite pathetic, right? Those kids were frigging 12-14 year olds, and ready to give up their lives for their beloved master da’s ideology. And the Master, the “hero”, makes full use of that!!! Man, how disgusting can that get. Sorry, no offense to any fans of Surjya Sen, but I frankly did not find any difference between him and the jihadi terrorist camps of today, which also recruit and train 12-13 year olds.
    The movie does not delve too much on the ethical question of using minors for an armed resolution (cant blame AG for that). But one thing if you have noticed, every time a minor is killed in the police shootouts, the older group leaders suffer almost a complete emotional breakdown. Found that a bit jarring, considering that death being a possible outcome on such a dangerous mission was known to everyone!! Was it AGs way of showing that the leaders were suddenly realising their folly of using teenagers and their contribution to their horrific deaths?

    Arnab, have you read Manini Chatterjee’s book? Just wanted to know how faithful AG has been to the book. If the book also talks of Pritilata’s romantic angle, guess there must be some truth in that, no?

    On a lighter side, Arnab you should actually be thankful to AG that he did not cast Deepika in Pritilata’s role, considering you admire her so much!!!!

  121. Well, sorry to reopen the “topless” argument: The very fact that flocks of women are not jumping on any and every male strauting around in all his bare-chested glory, proves that women are a superior menifestation of the human race, atleast when it comes to self control.

  122. @Trayambak,
    I do not believe we men are given an equivalent scenario so that we can do a fair and objective comparison. 🙂

  123. @Sabalil : Exactly my thoughts. But in hindsight I think that had it been Kishore, he would’ve brought VVS Laxman into this.

  124. nice post! (as usual)
    Arnab … I would love to hear your opinion on wikileaks/julian-assange. I think it is very important.

  125. I watched the movie after reading through the entire post and comments herein.

    My 2 cents:
    The movie is too long-drawn in the first half. The story lacks depth and emotion in the first half. The build-up hardly indicates that an armed uprising is in making. Abhishek cannot carry himself as an able leader – the support cast does the job much better with more passion. As I watched the second half, I could not help saluting the young revolutionaries (whatever be the level of their understanding of what and why they were doing it) for their guts. It takes guts to shoot oneself in face of adversity. It takes guts to leave your dead comrades and still carry on with the intensity of the rebellion. And the photographs in the end were really very moving – especially of those who were shot at Jalalabad.
    The real Kalpana Dutt looked more lively (as shown in the photograph) than the pathetic Deepika!
    And chaste Hindi as a replacement for Bengali seemed really out of place with the Bengali pronunciation of names. Whatever small amount of Bengali Hindi that was there in the movie, came across as a breath of fresh air.

    Having said all this, it is a nice movie for nouveau youth like me to know about a hitherto unknown (to me) freedom movement in India’s history! Thanks AG for that!

  126. Regarding the discussion on Sabarimala:

    I have always felt that the “discrimination” against women is mostly because its actually us men who “do not trust themselves and their instincts”.

    Checked out the link shared by Surya.

    And its quite evident here too.

    i.e The Men feel that if they see women around during this journey.. it could lead to “Instances of temptation” .. or “lustful sentiment” etc etc… and divert their mind from “devotional practices”.

    As the article says – “Therefore, despite whatever one may vehemently say, the possibility of the male devotees falling prey to this emotional lure is there, should young ladies in their prime and desirable ages, go up the hills alongside them. ”

    Well … so… probably the Men and the Men of the Shrine board are then scared to openly admit their own failings.
    And hence as has been the practice down the ages, they place the entire responsibility on the women… i.e create a story of a menstruating women being unclean.. And then lets all gang-up and blame the women for inducing vice in men…

    So there you go.

    And dear Women, after having read that article… about the possibility of male devotees falling prey to their lure, a humble request would be to not even attempt this journey!

    A simple and earnest prayer to the great Lord Aiyapa from your desks/homes…is all thats required… The Lord listens and responds equally, whether the prayer comes from a temple .. or any other place.

    Regards.

  127. Since we are kerala, women, liberty and stuff.. heres some food for thought!

    Ever heard of matrilinial societies, parts of Kerala and southern Karnataka are perhaps the only two communities in which follow this tradition in India, which anyways is a complete oddity in a largely patriarchal world. So, here…..names, titles, property.. to name a few, goes to Women

    So, I would love to see Greatbong and the sort, who just speak intelligent and 21st century stuff, actually put thier money where thier mouth is!!

  128. Chiran – so the score is like 93-1 now. Whats the point?

    What Rohit Nair and Co. should think about is – if the historical traditions were set up in a neutral world, there would be as many cases of discrimination agst men as agst women. Why arent there temples where only women are allowed? Why is it that this ratio is so massively skewed?

    If the ratio is so massively skewed and we all accept that, than it surely points to the fact that when these traditions were set-up society was not based on principles of equality. Hence, Greatbong is absolutely correct to question them. And we need to change those traditions rather and cling on to them. Just because a mistake was made in history is no justification for carrying on with it forever in the nameof tradition.

    Even if questioning traditions based in inequality hurts, they need to be questioned. I would be perfectly fine if I saw these “inequalities” spread out evenly, cos that would seem to suggest traditions borne out of fairness. But so much of this across religions is so heavily skewed agst one gender, that not questioning it simply a disservice to the god you worship.

  129. Chiran,
    Come on. There might still be matrilineal societies in Kerala who give all the property to women. But, I can guarantee that nowhere in Kerala is women given respect. Kerala is probably the unsafest place in India for travelling women. And if it is after 6 in the evening, God save them. And before people jump on to me, I am not an outsider passing judgement. I am a Mallu male. So, we, the hypocrites of Kerala have no authority to mount the moral high horse.

  130. @whomever..yoman! trickyspeaky..

    @ other..move on now. life is full contradictions and challenges.just heard that the deadly duo has been cast together in more movies as we read aand write.

    RUN.HIDE

  131. @pooja menon,rohit nair and greatbong

    abt ur comment on Sabarimala…watever the reason may be,women are nt allowed to enter Sabarimala since ages…c’mmon now please dont try to be a raja ram Mohan roy and start talking abt the traditions in kerala, sitting somewhere ion US….

    and one more thing,in kerala there s also a tradition in which men are nt allowed to wear shirt inside the ‘Sreekovil’ whereas women are allowed to wear their ‘Melmundu’/blouse/saree..

    c’mmon is nt this also some kind of Apartheid/indiscrimination against men?

    you may be a celebrity blogger and a well read human being,but please dont think that u have an answer for nething and everything under the sun….

    ****8sorry for being offtopic*****
    a malayali/keralite since 26 years.

  132. @greatbong..

    pls try to avoid twittering on ‘sensitive’ topics like this..
    yu are intelligent and a celebrity blogger,we all know that….
    that doesn’t mean that yu know anything and everything under the sun….

  133. Swades was a rip off of a kannada superhit movie “chigurida kanasu” (budding dreams…loose translation mine)..for which AG did not have the decency to thank the original producer/director..let alone buy the copyrights for the movie…so much for the bollywood buffoons who try to pass off as genius directors 😦 Not to mention about his other super duper hits(?) Lagaan and that other farce called Jot(d)ha Akbar which was neither historical nor a master piece as claimed by AG

  134. Shabarimala issue – The only five people who have spoken any sense, refrained from personal attacks, sticking only to the subject matter on this entire comments section are Greatbong, Surya, Rathesh, Pensive and R. Everyone else is only name calling and fighting. Sigh.

    I and many others at my office (work with a leading political magazine in India) think this discussion is fantastic and we couldnt have expected it on any other blog other than GBs. You’re the best, GB! And you have the best set of readers.

  135. Shabarimala issue – There was once a very assertive feminist organisation, headed by a militant leader. Tall and athletic, she was every inch the Amazon.

    The group dressed up in male attire, and trudged up Sabarimalai. Nearly at the top, she threw away her shawl, baring her bronze breasts to highlight her feminity, and demanded to be let in.

    The priest politely refused.

    “It is my right. My divine right” she thundered. “I have a divine right”.

    He took one good look at her. “You have a divine left as well. But I’m still not letting you in”.

  136. To all thosw people who think supporting women entry in shabrimala is anti kerala, wake up. GB would have blogged, twitted etc supporting women entry even if the temple was in Bengal.

  137. please note that there is a temple in tvm,’Attukal’ called as ‘women’s sabarimala’,
    cmmon is nt this injustice to men too?

    @ ALL CRUSADERS OF social justice,
    there s a lot more happening here in kerala,those who sit in posh air conditioned rooms in sopme random country and twitter abt these social injustices’, just realise that yu are pseudo intellectuals…..

    a lot of other things are happening out here for yu ppl to ponder on..
    even the malayali women dont have pblm with it,then wat s there in it for an outsider to comment on it?

  138. Well thanks god for small mercies… AB’s baby did not decide to try to make a promotional video a la bluff master flanked by some Bengali babes (in Khaadi of course) with Deepika a.k.a Idli Chops gyrating to some psuedo hip-hop. Then Shit would have truly hit the fan.. I know it’s bad but seriously it could have been worse…. Gowarikar could have decided to make it whats your Rashee length 😦 … BTW Rohit Nair respect for culture and traditions to my mind cannot trump over basic civil rights… I guess going by your arguments Sati was a wonderful thing… Truly hope you are reborn as a woman in a parallel dimension in the 19th Century… Enjoy

  139. SABARMALAI – IF THERE IS MALE-ONLY WORSHIP, SHOULD FEMALE-ONLY WORSHIP BE ALLOWED
    ==========================================================================
    It should. And it is. See the following for examples where female devotees are given far more prominence than men:

    A – Chakkulathu Kavu temple – Near Tiruvalla (Kerala)
    —————————————————-
    This Bhagavati temple is devoted to the veneration of women. During the 12 day Pongala celebrations every December, a major festival is held, that is exclusively restricted to women. No man, of whatever age, is allowed. Some call this the largest female-only gathering in the world.

    Even outside that time, women are given far higher status than men. On the first Friday of December, an annual rite called Nari Puja is held, where the male priests wash the feet of female devotees, revering them as incarnations of Chakkulathu Amma (Devi).

    Nearly 75% of the 300,000 annual pilgrims are women. That is roughly 1,000 devotees a day.

    The temple is believed to be 3,000 years old.

    B – Mannarsala temple – Haripad (Cochin – Trivandrum highway)
    ————————————————————-
    All the priests here are female. Couples without children visit this temple to bear a child.

    C – Kottankulangara temple – Chavara, near Kollam, Kerala
    ————————————————————
    The Kottankulangara Chamaya Villanku is a unique festival held in March or April (10th and 11the Meenam of the Malayalam calendar) every year.

    During the festival, men dress up as females to arrive with lamps in their hands and place offerings to the presiding devi Bhagavati.

    In a separate comment, I will post why I support the Sabarimala restriction. And no, I am not a misogynist.

    Thanks, H2B2

  140. @nikhimenon
    I am a Mallu for 35 yrs. Have a mother, sister & wife. They have travelled & lived all over South India (so maybe I should have said the unsafest place in South India). These were comments by them. And these are not isolated comments. If you can read Malayalam, there was this series of articles written by female journalists in Manorama where they talked about the kind of harassment they faced in public places all over Kerala. Go read it.

  141. @Anonymous(the one who claims that great bong twits will defend the chastity, morality and the dignity of all the women and not just the ones that feel slighted by Sabarimala)

    of course,
    there is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures the great bong has allowed(twitted) to live

    also, great bong doesnt research information he simply stares at the google search page till it coughs up the information

  142. @Deepak

    My name perhaps gives a clue, Im no mallu, infact have spent most of my years meeting all the wrong kind of mallus which has made me give thought to some of the generalisations aout the state/community.

    On the issue, Im all for women being allowed. Infact, I have found it hard to the various other kind of dicriminations which happen in some of the southern temples, based on cast etc.

    But I have an issue when writers making sweeping comments based on largely partial knowledge. A case in point, GB in retorting to a comments writes that things could be different in Kerala as compared to the civilised world!! Thats talking down for me and holier than thou. And, I think writers who have mass appeal like him should be a little more sensitive on such touchy issues and not sit in judgement, unless completely aware.

  143. GB you have support in form Anurag Kashyap.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/Big-B-stalled-release-to-save-Abhis-career-Kashyap/articleshow/7063635.cms

    But I still feel that though the movie wasn’t good the intention of AG and AB should be appreciated. Atleast mainstream actors and directors are bringing trying to tell stories which deserve to be told.

    How many would have watched Chittagong if not for KHJJS.

  144. Well the movie review was quite acerbic as greatbong felt it was puerile stuff and I guess AG referred to the “Movies on Indian history for dummies” as reference.

    Contrary to what others think, I feel a few of the folks above me are confused between what is free will and what is discrimination.

    If the shabarimala is a privately owned gentlemen club or belongs to private sector. Then they can enforce any rule they wish to. I feel all religious institution fall under that blanket.

    Religious Institutions are there by allowed to practice whatever they want to as long as it is not a nuisance to society. That is what secularism stands for.

    Unfortunately some feel secularism leaves them open and they feel bending over to the society. When some institutions are threatened by others

    For eg: Being a hindu I cannot enter mecca, even though I might revere muhammad in all his glory. Can I call it bigotry or discrimination? A certain sect got way too excited and started calling folks misogynist and what not!

    By that logic education should be allowed to all and there must be no all-boys or all-girls school.

    For once can’t we all sound civil and politically correct at the same time? [Rhetorical question].

    Do I think it is unfair that women cannot enter shabarimalai?. Well I have my opinions which I wouldn’t like to share, but saying that I wouldn’t be mighty pissed and cry wolf if someone doesn’t agree to what I think.

  145. @j11

    i hope u are referring to the p.e.usha case which happened a cpl of years back..i do agree that isolated incidents have occured..but that doesnt mean that kerala is the most unsafe place for women….atleast,kochi, the place i live is nt for sure…
    ps: i do have a mother and a sister..but no wife…..!

  146. On the Sabarimala issue –

    I think people are getting a bit confused on the discussion around Sabarimala not allowing women devotees:

    From my point of view – It is not so much as the women devotees not being allowed there…as much as the reason why they are not being allowed.

    If you are going to associate terms like “unclean” etc with women as the reason, then thats definitely not going to stand in this day and age.

    Unless you have a pretty good reason, people will not accept it today. And this could be for a seeming discrimination against any other aspect too.. You will see people challenging a lot of status-quo around today, even if they are not related to that particular aspect. And this trend is going to increase. And this will be the “tradition” so-to-speak…of this generation and this society…
    (Case in point -> it doesnt really affect me personally if Barkha Dutt sucks up to Radia… but i am not going to tolerate it… and i am going to question it. The more you say – its Barkha’s personal choice on whom she sucks up to.. it will only roil the people more… and get them to question it more)

    And all those talking about “tradition” – please note that only those traditions that have kept pace with changing moors of the society have survived and in-fact thrived. Thats the strength of a tradition – one that is as relevant today as it was when it was first conceived.

    Once again, case in point – thats why Mahabharat is as revered today. Thats why Shakespeare’s works are as cherished today.

    And for us lesser mortals…thats what the practical interpretation of the Bhagwad Gita is too -> Keep pace with the changing times .. thats the true Dharma for us.

    And to be honest – its more practical today to have “women-only” temples etc because we know that “men can fall prey to their lusty sentiments at any time” …. 🙂

  147. @Dhanesh,
    I dont want to comment on what you are saying is right or wrong, because I am confused myself. A few days ago, I happened to watch a Rachel Maddow interview with Rand Paul, the senator when he was about to launch his campaign. Apparently there was a huge buzz at that time because of his supposedly anti-civil rights bill stand. When asked to clarify, he said he is all about 90% of the bill which called for ending seggregation in the public institutions , thus ending institutional racism. But, he has concerns on extending it to private businesses because its the govt infringement on private property. The interviewer contended that it allows private institutions to frame their own rules about whom to serve or not, while the senator all but admitted that its a problem, but still the govt should not interfere. And after that, I started thinking of whether this argument can be extended to religious institutions as well. If yes, this sometimes would probably violate certain rituals/norms ( otherwise admissible and non-threatening to democracy) and thus make the whole thing a farce. I am still confused because both sides seem to have an equally valid point.

  148. R said:
    “And all those talking about “tradition” – please note that only those traditions that have kept pace with changing moors of the society have survived and in-fact thrived. Thats the strength of a tradition – one that is as relevant today as it was when it was first conceived.

    Once again, case in point – thats why Mahabharat is as revered today. Thats why Shakespeare’s works are as cherished today.”

    The first sentence is almost tautological. By the very definition of tradition, its followers preserve it not due to any perceived intrinsic value, but because they feel obligated to do so (their ancestors did, thinking the same thing). To reiterate, the inference “it’s tradition, therefore it has value” only makes sense if one assumes that all traditions have value (which is clearly false). The strength/relevance statement is a non-sequitur. Conflating longevity with “strength” is pure rhetoric. Nor does longevity automatically imply relevance.

    The Mahabharat is revered by Hindus. I certainly don’t see it as anything more than a work of fiction, nor do the vast majority of people on this planet. Regardless, the whole reverence thing is another red herring. Truth isn’t decided by popular opinion.

    (I don’t care much for Shakespeare’s works either. In any case, they aren’t cherished by fans of literature due to tradition.)

  149. Screwing up “What’s Your Rashi” is one thing
    ————-

    Haven’t seen “What’s our Rashi”, but that movie is based on a Gujarati novel “Kimball Ravenswood” by Madhu Rye. So Gowarikar screwing “…Rashi” is akin to Bhansali screwing “Devdaas”

  150. Beiggune Chauttogram loi ere khotha kaur..beiggune nijere expert bhaaber jya…bhaber jya khoilata ucchaaraun diyere chaaatgaainya explain khoribu…

  151. Dear Pensive,

    I would beg to differ -> longevity does imply relevance.

    The moot point could be – what is that exact longevity period to decide the relevance of a tradition.
    Some have shorter expiry dates… some have longer relevance periods… But during their duration of existence, those “traditions” do continue to remain relevant .. to some section of the society or other.

    The Sabarimala tradition continues today .. bcos there is a section of people that still believes in it…

    But will the following generations find it relevant to keep continuing with it? Thats to be seen isnt it.

    On the point of Mahabharat – You could interpret is as a work of fiction. And so do i. But that does not mean .. that we do not find it relevant in today’s day and age. We continue to do so, right? We continue to make movies on that theme even to this day…

    How many such works of fiction have been able to keep their relevance through these years/centuries?

    Further… i agree with you… Not every tradition has value, simply because not everything is a tradition.

    Over the ages… you will find vested interests that would want to propagate their beliefs… and their points-of-view among the masses. And the best way to do that is to create a sense of fear using the garb of religion .. And then that particular belief starts as a tradition that people begin to observe … (A lot of the “traditions” do have strong religious linkages)…

    But then… whether those traditions survive, thrive or die… depends on how relevant the following generations find it in their lives.

    Regards.

  152. I saw the movie today by downloading it from the net. I wanna know whether they showed Netra Sen’s betrayal. Coz this was not there in the print that I downloaded. But if it was not shown in the movie then what was the logic for omitting this important fact.

  153. @Chiran:
    Matrilineal society is the norm and not an exceptio fr many people in the North East like Khasis. But then how many “indians” can even name all the north -eastern states at one go?

  154. The movie looked tripe ever since the 1st trailors wer out

    AB ,(mis)cast as a revoultionary & the leggy DP in a Sari,dont look the part at all.

    wOWEE,SURPRISED to see ppl actually play Badminton then(the way they do now)

    Hope Gowariker comes out of this tripe-making phase & returns to good cinema -making

  155. well, havent watched the movie, and i dint want to anyway… so thanks for the review.
    the movie was bad, i figured that out from the trailers. i am just glad he picked up a topic like surya sen. we have forgotten a lot of heroes who have given us the independence we today enjoy.
    however, it just saddens me that the indian actors, especially the leads, dont research and work on their roles. i was recently reading a review of Mary Poppins(the famous Julie andrews movie) back in 64 it was criticised for the accent that dick van dyke had for the role of Bert. Many actors work on their accents and their looks to suit the roles they are playing. it doesnt matter whether they need to scarred or wrinkled or be fat to play the character. I dont know why indians dont do that. Its almost as if they dont really care how much effort it is needed to do a role that can be remembered for eons. they lose 2 kilos and newspapers go on and on about what sacrifice they have made for the character. we just believe our actors to be larger than life and thats all they are.

    as for the other topic of discussion… lets not have women ruin the temples sanctity… can you call something or someone god or pure if the mere touch of a menstruating woman can ruin it?
    let them think they won this argument by making us realise how “TRADITIONS” were made by god who faxed them the “Do and Donts”… we are fine by that. no amount of logic or argument can convince them that not all traditions are right, and have a reason. most were made to suppress a certain class of the soceity. whether it be the schedule caste, or women, or some other religious belief, or simply to assert power over human life. so maybe they can all take three dips in the Ganga to wash off all their sins.. and we shall remain sinners and be happy…

  156. @ aparna
    Interestingly, the concept of washing one’s sins or the concept of “sin” itself is a Judeo-Christian influence on Hindu traditions, just like celebrating the seasonal solstices is a Hindu influence on Judeo Christian traditions.

    Not that there is anything wrong in it. Every religion in the world has traditions that developed through local and global infleunces.

    Soteriologically speaking though, Karmayoga, Gnanayoga and Bhaktiyoga remain the fundamental means of achieving Moksha for all who are Hindus and who want to be Hindus. The order of which of these three gets more importance depends on the darshana, one follows.
    For example, Advaita Vedanta may give more importance to Gnanayoga and Dviata Vedanta or vishsitha advaita may give more importance to Bhaktiyoga. And theertha (pilgrimage) fall under the category of Bhakiyoga.

  157. They are actors and need to learn pronounce words correctly!

    Firstly, the correct pronunciation of the word as the Bangals would call it, (ie the people from East Bengal, where Chattogram is located) is Chaw-tto-gram NOT Cho-tto-gram. The alphabet “a” is pronounced as “aww” and not “o” in bengali. Some basic research was lacking on AG’s part here.

    Secondly, back in the day, Bangal women never wore sarees without a Chemize. What was the deal with Deepika revealing her shapely waist from under her saree?

  158. Pingback: Khele Hum Jee Jaan Se – 17 yays, 28 nays, 9 okays | Channel Desi Film News

  159. @ APARNA – MARY POPPINS – IN 64 IT WAS CRITICISED FOR THE ACCENT DICK VAN DYKE (DVD) HAD.

    Aparna, not just then, DVD’s bizarre cockney is derided even today as one of the most embarrassing moments in cinematic history. It wasn’t because the accent was not Cockney, it was because his attempts at Cockney were so pathetically abysmal, that millions fall off chairs even today splitting in laughter.

    DVD defended himself by saying that he was SO focused on his dancing in the film, especially since he was 40 and performing among extras half his age, that he forgot to attend to his accent.

    He was a great dancer. He danced even better in the kids classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (written by Ian Fleming, the James Bond author!!) filmed four years after Mary Poppins, when he was 44!!

    @ APARNA – IT JUST SADDENS ME THAT THE INDIAN ACTORS, ESPECIALLY THE LEADS, DONT RESEARCH AND WORK ON THEIR ROLES.

    Is it accent or resemblance that defines success in portraying a role, or the atmosphere created?

    Accepted that there are some personages that are so well known, and so constantly in the public arena, that deviation from their true features will impair a role’s plausibility. Hitler will HAVE to be pasty, white and of mid-height, sporting his hair-cut and toothbrush moustache. Stalin will HAVE to bear his famous drooping Colonel Blimp whiskers. Gandhi will have to be bald, wearing a nappy, and wielding danda and full-moon specs. Anything less will severely diminish the role’s authenticity.

    For personages not so famous, or belonging to a bygone age, thespians have a lot more freedom to create atmosphere. Wyatt Earp has been played by Herny Fonda, James Garner, Burt Lancaster, Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell. All with fantastic box office success. Doc Holliday was played by actors as opposite as the gaunt, lanky Jason Robards to the immensely-muscled Victor Mature.

    Who was the best Al Capone? Rod Steiger? Robert De Niro? They both had heavy make-up to even look like the real Capone. Yet arguably the best portrayal of Capone is Jason Robards (St Valentines Day Massacre), who did not even REMOTELY look or sound like Capone. It was the terrifying persona he created that made people accept him as Capone. It was not about what Capone was like. It was what people believed Capone to be like.

    So, as you said, resemblance is not always required. Yet neither is too much attention to diction. Of course, diction has to be within the reasonable bounds of acceptability; a soprano playing Hitler will fail as miserably as DVD`s massacre of cockney in Mary Poppins.

    IMHO it does not matter that Sawtograam (Mastarda would have called it Chawttograam) is pronounced Chottogram in the movie. The issue is whether the magic, the enigma of Mastarda, and the inspiration of the uprising, has been remotely conveyed.

    And at the very least, as denizens of an avowedly, proudly non-patriotic country, we few nationalists should be grateful that taboo issues like patriotism are being addressed on-screen, even if poorly so.

    My dream is for Bagha Jatin and Aurobindo to be successively filmed. Many issues raised above, like absence of planning and organisation by Indian organisations like Jugaantor & Anushilon can be addressed in one fell swoop. Jatin co-ordinated actions with the German Army Intelligence. He met the son of the Kaiser, the German crown prince. He had contacts in Afghanistan, and sent emissaries to South America. He certainly did not lose for lack of organisation, but disgusting treachery, as of course, there were many demented Diggy Rajas and retarded raj-putas then as well.

    @ APARNA – AS FOR THE OTHER TOPIC… LETS NOT HAVE WOMEN RUIN THE TEMPLES SANCTITY… CAN YOU CALL SOMETHING OR SOMEONE GOD OR PURE IF THE MERE TOUCH OF A MENSTRUATING WOMAN CAN RUIN IT?

    Is that the issue here Aparna? I think, like most things Hindu, people have conflated a simple issue in to something completely different, just like an NGO.

    – Many NGOs hector hapless Hindus that women are not allowed in Sabarimalai as Hindus consider them inferior. A tremulous Hindu meekly points out that certain women ARE permitted, only those of young to middle age aren`t. So this argument may not be correct.

    – No problem. The NGO`s argument rapidly changes, and the reason is now because Hindus are petrified at the deity being touched by a menstruating lady. However meek Hindu still points out that this is not the reason as the denizens of Sabarimalai themselves say so.

    The Vedas restrict the actions of menstruating women for the risk of infection to sanguinary functions like open wounds and menstruation, yet are menstruating women despised? In fact, apart from restricting women from entering temples during the 1st 4 days of their cycle, is there any ‘general’ Hindu tradition that discriminates against menstruating women? There was a local custom in a few remote villages of Nepal where women were confined to sheds as impure for the whole cycle, but even that TRACE practice has been stamped out.

    In fact, Shakti practices revere the energy generated in menstruation. In Kamakhya, during Ambubachi, the red cloth of the deity is believed to possess special powers, including assisting barren women to conceive. Thousands throng to touch it.

    In orthodox Judaism, menstruating women have to follow the severe practices of niddah, where they cannot even pass an object to a male, far less even touch him. This is not so in Hinduism.

    Sabarimalai is not about leakages, whether from peeing kids, mensing women, vomiting adults, or bowelic octogens.

    – The real cause is because Sabarimalai yatris are enjoined to remain celibate during the yatra, & the sight of women may excite their passion. Sabarmala itself says so. They are clearly admitting it is due to the weakness in men … (we`re such beasts, aren`t we?) … and not due to any defect in women. How clearer does it need to be explained?

    Whether this is acceptable or not, especially in today`s age, is the second question. Question 1, is this custom enjoined because Hindus wish to discriminate against women? Like whipping women for wearing trousers under sharia? The answer to NGOs is a big, fat no.

    Question 2, is this causing society a great deal of harm? A bit of harm? Any harm at all? Or does anyone give a rat`s rear? I have pointed out three clear examples above where men are `discriminated` against. Do I care? Do they care? Or do men enjoy this quirky nuance to the traditional practice? I think the restriction of women to Sabarimalai is nothing more than a quaint quirk. It has no bearing, no implication on anything. Not worth raising any hullabulloo about.

    And finally, what are the `foaming at the mouth about Sabarimalai’ NGOs doing about REAL issues, like the regular tyranny against Hindu women in border areas? Or the cruel plight of Kashmiri Pandits wallowing in abject misery? Or about anything of any importance? That`s right. Zero. After all, those are real issues which may involve repercussions from some very, very nasty people.

    No. Far better to sit back and gain paper martyrdom by conflating harmless Hindu practices and spout venom against them. Who knows, if enough venom is spouted, the neknojor of the foreign press may descend, and a few inches may even appear in a foreign rag!!

    @ APARNA – LET THEM THINK THEY WON THIS ARGUMENT BY MAKING US REALISE HOW “TRADITIONS” WERE MADE BY GOD WHO FAXED THEM THE “DO AND DONTS”.

    Boy, oh boy, oh boy Aparna. You must really, REALLY relieved that you have been born a Hindu, [edited]

    @ APARNA – NO AMOUNT OF LOGIC OR ARGUMENT CAN CONVINCE THEM THAT NOT ALL TRADITIONS ARE RIGHT, AND HAVE A REASON. MOST WERE MADE TO SUPPRESS A CERTAIN CLASS OF THE SOCIETY. WHETHER IT BE THE SCHEDULE CASTE, OR WOMEN, OR SOME OTHER RELIGIOUS BELIEF.

    Disagree. Most ‘Hindu’ traditions were NOT made to suppress. Customs perhaps, but not traditions. There is a serious difference.

    Both traditions and customs are a series of actions that have been performed for a long time. Yet a tradition is when it forms a vital part of the spiritual practice. A custom is something that is performed because it has been done so before.

    A tradition is righteously defended, jealously protected. People are proud of their traditions. A custom can be changed with the least resistance, especially if its anachronistic disuse or futility can be cogently explained.

    Thus Suttee is a custom, and Jehad a tradition. Suttee was never enjoined by ANY Hindu spiritual text. Even the few lawbooks that praised it were not really advocating it as a universal practice, but adulating the courage of Hindu women who undertook it. Further, it was Hindu thinkers themselves, realizing the futility of suttee, who zealously campaigned for it’s legal censure. While a small hard core group tried to preserve it, they were dwarfed by its detractors.

    On the other hand, Jehad is actively promoted by Islamic texts. No orthodox preacher has ever spoken out against. If anything, it is gaining momentum and popularity all over the Islamic world. And thus it is a tradition. Of course there are many key traditions of Islam, that are benign, like the tenets of zakat and namaaz.

    Suttee is the custom. Yoga is the tradition. Most of the key Hindu tenets, the ones that most Hindus would vigorously defend, are its traditions. Like pluralism, right to free worship, respect of sadhus, reverence for nature, protection of animals, the ashrama system, belief in a multitude of difference paths to reach God, yoga, non-violence combined with violence against criminals to preserve the peace, respect for Sanskrit, respect of the Upanishads & Gita, puja, belief in karma, belief in the soul, etc, these are the traditions of Hinduism.

    All of these are far from exploitative. In fact, they are highly benevolent, not just for Hindus, but the entire universe.

    Do you see, Aparna?

Have An Opinion? Type Away

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s