After the Dharam Sansads at Haridwar and Raipur, where open calls for genocide of a particular community were given, and the recent hate-generating anti-Hijaab movement, the Sangh Parivaar has now come up with a new narrative before the people of this country in the form of the film—‘The Kashmir Files’. The film which is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir during the height of militancy in 1990s, has received unprecedented backing from the BJP-RSS-led central government, including the Prime Minister Modi himself.
Effusive praise of the film by RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar
Speaking at the BJP parliamentary party meeting in Delhi, on 15 March 2022, PM Modi effusively praised the film for having ‘‘revealed the truths’ and lashed out at critics alleging that ‘‘the negative reactions to this film are coming from those who deliberately tried to hide the truth for many years. … The entire ‘jamaat’ (gang) that has been raising the flag of freedom of expression is furious since the last five to six days. Instead of reviewing this film based on facts as well as from artistic point of view, there is a conspiracy to discredit this movie by attributing motives. … Let those who think that this film is not correct, make their own film. Who is stopping them? … But they are surprised that the truth that they had kept hidden for so many years, is now coming out. Those who live by truth, must bear the responsibility to stand by the truth. …’’
The film has been exempted from entertainment tax in most of the BJP ruled states. Two of these states, Madhya Pradesh and Assam, have announced granting leave to their employees who want to watch the film. Union BJP Home Minister Amit Shah also met some members of The Kashmir Files team and commended their effort to show the ‘‘sacrifice, unbearable pain and struggle of Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to leave their home’’. The movie even found its way to the floor of the Lok Sabha when on 15 March 2022, Union BJP Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned about the film while presenting the Jammu and Kashmir budget, blamed the Congress government for failing to help the Kashmiri Pandits and accused the party of denying their pain. Media outlets that support the BJP have been writing articles and organizing debates praising the film and questioning the critics for their position on the film.
The way the PM is holding brief for the movie and the whole government machinery and BJP media outlets are openly promoting the film, does raise questions as to what are the truths which the PM claims the film has revealed and who the critics, that according to him, ‘‘deliberately tried to hide … for many years’’. And if the claim of the PM and the BJP proves to be baseless and distortion of truth, what are the intentions of the ruling dispensation? The BJP PM had not shown any concern at the open calls for genocide of Muslims in the Dharam Sansads held in December 2021 in Haridwar and Raipur under direct patronization of the RSS-BJP and Congress (in Raipur). Similarly, during the recent election campaigning in UP, the PM tirelessly talked about ensuring izzat, (honour) aabru (dignity) and safety of women under his and UP BJP CM Yogiji’s rule. But he did not utter a single word about Bully Bai (a harassment tool created by the arch communal Hindutva quarters to target Muslim women on social media) and a similar Sully Deals Apps widely circulated in social media. Similar was his silence during the brutal rape and murder cases of Haathras, Unnao, Kathua etc. Again when the lynchings of Akhlaq (Dadri), Pehlu Khan (Rajasthan), Junaid (Ballabgarh), Migrant worker Afrazul (Rajasthan) and Zainul Ansari (Bihar) by sanguine Hindutva fanatics invited national and international wrath and condemnation, the PM mildly advised the people to refrain from committing such acts. But everyone knows that in almost all the cases the guilty have not been punished till today. Effusive praise for a movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ while skirting live incidents of killing and spewing hatred against religious minorities cannot but raise eyebrows. So, we need to see how far the assessment floated by the PM as well as RSS-BJP about the film conduce to reality or whether it is a wanton travesty of truth.
Essence of the movie
Let us make it clear at the outset that we are not dealing here with the cinematography and other technical aspects as well as performance of the artistes. Our purpose is to focus on the truthfulness of the historical perspective presented through the content of the film. However, narrative of conflicts festering for decades, like in Kashmir, are inherently vulnerable to distortion by interest groups. They get sucked into the whirlpool of history with truth, falsehoods and the grey areas entangled so densely they end up throwing coloured versions of the conflict for everyone to create and share. Exactly that is the case with this movie. The film depicts a fictional story of the family of a Kashmiri Pandit student studying outside Kashmir. He discovers one day that his parents had been killed by Islamic terrorists in Kashmir during the terrorist upsurge of 1990s. The film then goes on to describe the sufferings of his family members at the hands of the terrorists. The filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who is a known face of the RSS-BJP camp, has have made every possible effort to portray the Muslim populace of Kashmir, who constitute majority in the state, as blood-thirsty, perfidious and sex-maniacs who targeted the Kashmiri Pandits, persecuted them in every possible way and forced them to leave Kashmir. In the movie, different incidents of terrorist attacks having taken place at different places and different times have been interpolated together in the same story to arouse hatred against the majority Muslim community of Kashmir.
The film shows that their Muslim neighbours had watched the massacre silently without protest. Sharda Pandit, one of the main characters in the film, is shown being denounced by a depraved Muslim cleric, stripped and chopped up alive by a mechanical saw. The movie mentions a telecom engineer B K Ganjoo who was betrayed by his own Muslim neighbours when he was hiding inside a rice bin. The killers dragged him out of the bin, pumped bullets into his body and left him bleeding on the rice. Ganjoo’s wife was forced to eat blood-soaked rice on which her husband’s body had fallen. There is also a life story of Girija Tickoo, a university librarian, who had gone to collect her salary cheque, and on her way back, was dragged out from a bus, thrown into a taxi, by five men, including one of her colleagues, tortured, raped and finally her body was cut into pieces by using a carpenter’s saw. All such things have been presented raw. If the villain of the piece is the Kashmiri terrorist, in Delhi the bigger villain is the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Again in case the viewer does not get it, Pushkar, the perpetually suffering character, played by Anupam Kher refers to it as ‘‘ANU’’. The prima donna who epitomises a leftist professor, Radhika Menon (played by Pallavi Joshi) is shown to be brainwashing the protagonist-student Krishna (played by Darshan Kumar), a Pandit orphaned by murderous Muslim terrorists. In one scene, the reporter is even shown reporting false news. A friend, Mahesh, a doctor (acted by Prakash Belawadi) calls him by name, in a nutshell describing the overall relationship between the current government and the media. An argument ensues and both end up physically attacking each other. The film goes out of its way to show Vishnu Ram, a Kashmiri Hindu journalist (played by Atul Srivastava) as a spineless reporter hesitant to report truth.
Though some of the incidents shown in the movie have validity in history, yet those have been portrayed in such a manner as to arouse a deep sense of hatred against the majority Muslim community as a whole. If the filmmakers are questioned about the authenticity of data and incidents presented in the 170-minute assay, they could turn around and reply it is not a documentary to faithfully stick to facts. If the film is dismissed as a work of fiction, they could say it is a true depiction of what happened. In short, it straddles fact and fiction and uses both conveniently to suit its overarching polarizing narrative. Thus truth has been distorted and attempts made to hide the rich cultural and social heritage of Kashmir (including Jammu) known as Kashmiriyat (a kind of Kashmir identity that developed in course of that anti-feudal struggle)
Brief recap of history of Kashmir
For better understanding the sinister design of the Hindutva forces ensconced in this film and how the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir has been brazenly subverted all through, a brief recap of the history of it is necessary.
Islam started exercising its influence on the decadent and caste-riven Hindu society of Kashmir roughly from 9th century AD through individual Sufi saints and Babas known in Kashmiri language as ‘Rishis’. Several Sufi saints, men and women, belonging to both the religions, spread the new culture of oneness of God, brotherhood and love. Notable among them were Lalla Dyed, Nunda Ryosh, Baba Rishi, Reshya Peer and many others. Due to abundance of such Rishis and pirs (religious preachers), the valley even now is called ‘Reshya Vaar’. Except for a brief period under Afghan rule, Islam spread its roots in Kashmir not by sword but through love and brotherhood.
By the early 19th century, the Kashmir valley had passed from the control of more than four centuries of Muslim rule (which started on 06-10-1320 with Rinchen who after adopting Islam became Sultan Sadru-ud-din) under the Shah Mir dynasty, the Mughals and the Afghans, to the conquering Sikh armies of Ranjit Singh (1819). It was by virtue of the Treaty of Amritsar (1846) concluded by Raja Gulab Singh, a Dogra general under Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, with the British rulers, that the State of Jammu and Kashmir was purchased by Gulab Singh for a sum of Rupees 75 lakhs. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of J & K State at the time of transfer of power by the Britishers, belonged to this dynasty of Dogra rulers.
Until 15 August, 1947, Kashmir (including Jammu) was one of the 562 princely states in undivided Indian sub-continent. It was an autonomous state in treaty relations with, and subject to the paramountcy of the Crown of England. Over 90% of the population in the state professed Islam whereas the rest were composed of believers in other religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The Kashmiri Pandit community constituted a very small fraction of the Hindu population.
As per the provisions of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the then Kashmir rulers were free to join either of the two newly formed dominions, India or Pakistan, by executing an instrument of accession with the dominion of their choice. They could also continue to remain independent by signing a ‘Standstill Agreement’ with both the dominions. The Maharaja of Kashmir entered into a standstill agreement with the government of Pakistan who readily accepted that. However, the Indian Government insisted that it would not consider any such agreement as valid until it had the approval of the representatives of the people of Kashmir. Before things could settle down, the Pakistan government started violating the provisions of the ‘Standstill agreement’ by stopping supply of essential commodities and fuel to the State. This was followed by a massive infiltration into the State of Jammu and Kashmir by the tribals of North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan with the active connivance and support of Pakistani army with the intention to annex the territory by force. But the valiant freedom-loving Kashmiri people under the acclaimed leadership of Sheikh Abdullah, leader of the National Conference, were first to resist the invasion by forming ‘people’s militia’ to give them a thrashing reply. The Kashmiri people considered this attack to be an attempt to subvert their azaadi (freedom) and hence developed strong inhibition against Pakistan. Under the circumstances, the Maharaja, who lacked necessary military strength to repulse the attack, was forced to seek military help from India. For providing any military help, the Indian government, wanted to enter into an agreement to this effect for which the signing of the instrument of Accession became necessary. The Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession on 26th October, 1947 with the support of the most popular political party—the National Conference— headed by Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah. The Indian troops landed in Kashmir on 27 October 1947 and with the help of the Kashmiri people’s militia, the invaders were pushed back and with the intervention of the UNO a ‘cease fire’ declared. However, a large chunk of territory of the state of Kashmir, including the strategically important Gilgit area, remained under the occupation of Pakistan, known today as the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).
True heritage of Kashmiri people
While Indian people were struggling for freedom from British colonial rule, the people of Kashmir, under the leadership of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah, built up a powerful secular and democratic people’s movement for freeing themselves from the autocratic feudal rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. This struggle welded all the communities of the state together and based on the concept of democracy, secularism and Kashmiriat, gave a distinct national identity to the people of Kashmir which was neither similar to the Indian nationalism nor compatible with the so-called two-nation theory based on religion put forth by the proponents of Pakistan. Rather it used to bear an admiration for the ethos underlying Indian freedom movement.
Due to the extra-ordinary situation under which the signing of the Instrument of Accession became necessary, the Government of India stated in the UNO that as soon as the situation would become normal, a plebiscite would be held to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people. However, as Pakistan did not withdraw its forces, the occasion of holding plebiscite under the UN auspices did not arise and in the constituent assembly of Kashmir, an unanimous decision was taken to approve the accession to the Union of India with a special status ensuring its autonomy except in the areas of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications. A provision to this effect was made in the Constitution of India in the form of Article 370. Sheikh Abdullah had been instrumental in persuading Maharaja Hari Singh to sign the accession treaty. Spurred by liberal democratic values, Sheikh felt natural inclination towards India which declared adherence to secularism. He said: ‘‘the national movement in our State naturally gravitates towards these principles of secular democracy. The people here will never accept a principle which seeks to favour the interests of one religion or social group against another. This affinity in political principles, as well as in past association, and our common path of suffering in the cause of freedom, must be weighed properly while deciding the future of the state. … Naturally, if we accede to India, there is no danger of a revival of feudalism and autocracy.’’ (Flames of Chinar) He also categorically stated way back in 1948 that ‘‘There is no Hindu or Muslim question in Kashmir. We do not use such language’’.
Saga of abject betrayal to the cause of Kashmiri people
Having been assured autonomy in regard to the internal affairs of the state through Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah embarked upon building up the ‘Naya Kashmir’ (New Kashmir) on the basis of the decisions of the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir in October, 1951. However, the Hindu fundamentalist elements within the Congress and outside (the then Jan Sangh and RSS) from the very beginning were opposed to Article 370, and worked hard to either abrogate it or make it redundant through amendments. The very first such issue arose with the enactment of the Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, 1950 which was against the interests of the landed gentry (which also included the family of the then Sadr-e-Riyasat and descendent of the Royal family, Dr. Karan Singh) of both the communities. Soon this contradiction was utilized by Hindu communal elements (including Praja Parishad of Jammu region) within the Congress and outside to persuade Jawahar Lal Nehru to arrest the then Kashmir PM Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 on fraudulent charges which could not be proved during his entire imprisonment period spanning about 20 years. After his arrest, the Indian government ensured that all the successive Prime Ministers (later redesignated as Chief Ministers) remained subservient to the interests of the Indian bourgeois governments which throughout were bent upon diluting the provisions of Article 370 and forcibly turn Kashmir into a full-fledged Indian province violating the terms of accession. With the signing of the Indira-Sheikh Accord, 1975, Sheikh Abdullah assumed the charge of the state as Chief Minister. After his death, the history of Kashmir has been a chronicle of betrayal to Kashmiri people, perpetual injury to their feelings, hurting their affinity for Kashmiriat and bullying them into submission to the Indian government. The special status had become synonymous with azaadi to the valley people who then held that while Pakistan wanted to enslave them, India came forward to defend their freedom. But the trail of events that followed had been to the contrary because of the sinister class design of the ruling Indian national bourgeoisie operationalized through the installed Congress government at the Centre. Instead of honouring the special status in right earnest by providing equal opportunity to the valley people to develop their culture and language and putting in motion the correct scientific process of gradual development of sense of identity with Indian nationality, which was in embryo at the time of accession among the valley people, to facilitate voluntary integration with the Indian nation, the direction was reversed altogether.
It bears special mention that due to this rich cultural heritage and strong amity as well as fraternity among all religious communities, there had been no communal killings in Kashmir in 1947 when it was at its height elsewhere in India and Pakistan. Even after criminal destruction of Babri Masjid by frenzied Hindutva brigade and the horrendous Gujarat pogrom by the RSS-BJP, Kashmir had no communal conflict, let alone retaliatory action against the Hindus the Pandits included.
Distorted portrayal of reality in the movie
So, the very portrayal of Kashmiri people professing Islam as bloodhounds and arch communal is absolutely motivated and bereft of even an iota of truth. The film then goes on to bring into play the tragedy of the Hindu community of Pandits in Kashmir. Some of the incidents depicted might have validity in history, but what about the way those have been portrayed? No sensible man supports genocide or a pogrom, nor even an isolated incident of lynching. These are all barbaric where beastly instinct of inhuman frenzied offenders bares itself in a most cruel and savage manner. So whether it is anti-minority pogrom in Gujarat, massacre in Nellie in Assam, anti-Sikh riot in Delhi or murderous assault on Kashmiri Pandits—all these bear testimony of such bestiality. So, each and every conscientious man would vehemently condemn those incidents of atrocities committed against a section of Kashmiri Pandits by some fanatics in Jammu and Kashmir. But then the depiction should be such that people’s rage and abhorrence are directed against the evildoers or killers, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or ethnicity. A criminal is a criminal whereas a victim is a victim. There cannot be any other identity of either of them. Anyone claiming to be depicting truth ought to be careful about that. Secondly, the filmmaker touts his creation to be an authentic history. In that case, any distortion of history or facts on the ground of artistic licence can in no way be justified. But anyone who has dispassionately viewed the film cannot but agree that the tragic episode of onslaughts on Kashmiri Pandits has been used as a camouflage to direct hate at one particular community. From that perspective, this film does become a dangerous call to arms. In fact the so called plot has been merely used as a canvas to illustrate the filmmakers’ obvious anti-Muslim Hindu communal leaning. The movie might touch a chord among a section of Kashmiri Pandits who had experienced forced eviction and had been witness to killings. But it has overstepped the finer line between distortion and artistry. Because, the filmmaker was pre-disposed towards portraying the Muslim minorities as heartless, bloodhounds and bereft of any human feelings.
Truth that the film obfuscates
While showing persecution of the Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-90 by terrorists, the film hides the fact that from December, 1989, it was the Janata Dal government headed by VP Singh, a Congress dissident, backed by the BJP which failed to handle the crisis or deliberately allowed it to precipitate to widen the communal gulf in a state which had never witnessed communal killings and hatred. It also shields the fact that BJP during those days, in quest for political power, was rabidly pursuing its fascist Hindutva agenda which culminated in a Rath Yatra led by the BJP leader LK Advani, eventually leading to the fall of VP Singh government on 10 November 1990. Also hidden has been the fact that to fish in the troubled waters of Kashmir, Jagmohan, a bureaucrat known for his notoriety who had already proved his anti-Muslim credentials during the infamous Turkman Gate demolition drive in Delhi under Indira Gandhi, was appointed as Governor of Kashmir. The film also is silent over the fact that the very day (19.1.1990) Jagmohan took over as Governor of Kashmir, he let loose a reign of terror, branding every Kashmiri Muslim a terrorist, started massive house to house searches and arrested 300 youths in downtown Srinagar. There were allegations of misbehaviour with women by security forces and this, coupled with indiscriminate arrests of common Kashmiri citizens, triggered massive protest demonstrations on 20 and 21 January, 1990. On 21st January, the infamous and horrific Gawkadal massacre took place in which 52 people were killed and 250 were grievously injured as a result of indiscriminate firing on unarmed protesters. Question arises as to how a Governor without assessing the ground situation in consultation with the advisors or taking into confidence the leader of the elected government resorted to steps which made the whole population hostile. This itself proves that the plan he executed immediately on his arrival was pre-meditated and prepared at central level involving the Ministry of Home Affairs then headed by Mufti Sayyed and the BJP, the dominant supporter of the then Central government.
Most significantly, the movie simply skirted the fact that it was Governor Jagmohan who urged Kashmiri Pandits to leave the valley and even facilitated their exodus promising them transport, rations, shelter, financial help and continued payment of salary to government employees. This was despite appeals from the joint committee of leading citizens from both Kashmiri Pandits and the Muslims who had met Jagmohan and requested him to stop the exodus of Pandits, provide them security, be strict in dealing with the terrorists and take measures to instil confidence among the general people. Jagmohan, the selected agent of the Hindutva brigade, did just the opposite. This can be verified from the writings of former IB Chief AS Dulat, former Chief Secretary, Ashok Jaitley, renowned writer and politician, Balraj Puri, renowned writer Tavleen Singh and several news reports by Kashmiri Pandits themselves. The film also did not even refer to the fact that the target of the Pakistani backed terrorists—namely the Hizbul Mujahideen and Al-Umar were not the Kashmiri Pandits but anyone connected with the media, telecom services, defence, police, intelligence services of the Indian state, and even some political leaders irrespective of his or her religion. Obfuscated in the movie is the truth that the number of Muslims killed by the terrorists is far more than the number of Kashmiri Pandits killed. Because, terrorists do not discriminate while indulging in violence nor can they be ascribed to any particular religion. Further, while the movie claims that 4000 odd Kashmiri Pandits were killed during insurgency in the valley, the figure provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs is only 219. (Times of India 7 April 2022). Another media report says that as per government record, the number of pandits and Muslims killed by the terrorists in last three decades is shown as 89 and 1635 respectively. (ABP 14-04-22) On 21May 1990 the most popular, moderate religious and political leader Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq was assassinated by terrorists. People in Kashmir widely condemned this act, and participated in his funeral procession in great numbers. Considering the importance, the Governor was requested by his advisors to either place a wreath on the slain leader’s body or send someone else on his behalf to his residence to pay the respects. Jagmohan refused to do so. On the contrary, under his directive, the peaceful mourning procession was fired upon indiscriminately which resulted in the death of 47 persons. BBC claimed the figure to be as high as 100. A golden opportunity was thus lost to isolate the terrorists and win the confidence of the people, which could have helped in improving the worsening situation. Instead, the confidence of the valley people on Indian administration was further lessened much to the advantage of the terrorist-fundamentalist outfits. This very Jagmohan was later rewarded by being appointed a minister in the Vajpayee-led BJP government. In 2016, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan by the Modi government for his loyal services to the RSS-BJP. All these facts which prove the complicity of the BJP in the sordid states of affair, do not find any place in the film. In fact, the film has sought to use the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits for fanning up of communal passions and hatred and to reap electoral benefits outside J&K state, whereas the then NDA Government headed by Vajpayee during its five years of rule from 1999 and the present Modi government during its eight years of rule, have virtually done nothing to alleviate the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits or to help resettle them in Kashmir.
Interpolating of incidents
Although the Nadimarg killing of 24 Kashmiri Pandits by terrorists took place on 23 March, 2003, that is thirteen years after 1990 and during the rule of the BJP government at the Centre, the incident has been selectively interpolated into the film to rouse anti-Muslim feelings. However, mention of another massacre which took place much earlier on 20th March, 2000 at Chhatisinghpora of Anantnag district, wherein 35 Sikhs were brutally killed, has been deliberately avoided. It is so because the massacre at Chhatisinghpora was followed by killing of five to seven persons on 25 March 2000 by security forces at Pathribal forest area of Anantnag district in fake encounter branding them as foreign militants responsible for the attacks. The local villagers, however, claimed that the men were ordinary civilians who had been killed in a fake encounter. Due to growing public pressure, the bodies were exhumed and CBI after investigations told the Supreme Court of India that the fake encounters at Pathribal ‘‘were cold-blooded murders and the accused officials deserve to be meted out exemplary punishment.’’ However, the Army which tried the accused in the Military Court, closed this case on the pretext of non-availability of enough evidences. The question is why the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ has avoided mention of such massacres while highlighting atrocities against Kashmiri Pandits? Is it because here Sikhs and Muslims have been the victims and their lives do not matter? And is it because these are acts of state terrorism?
The PM’s satirical remark about the critics
It is easy for PM Modi to give a call to the critics of the film to ‘make their own film’…. ‘if they feel that this film is not correct’. What a farce! It is known to all that any dissent against or disagreement with the BJP government or the doctrine of Hindutva in public is inevitably stamped as ‘anti-national’ or ‘seditious’ and the concerned persons booked under different Acts for punishment. Even some filmmakers have also invited wrath of the ruling dispensation for highlighting truth. Were not original copies of the film ‘‘Kissa Kursi Ka’’ by Amrit Nahatta destroyed by Indira Gandhi government? The present Hindutva brigade under PM’s leadership is no exception to this fascist autocratic design. Rahul Dholakia’s ‘Parzania’ (on Gujarat pogrom) ‘Fanna’ of Yashraj Films, Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Traffic Signal’ or the film ‘Padmavat’ which had all been cleared by the censor boards but later stopped screening by the RSS-Sangh Parivar with the backing of the BJP government. Even a masterpiece like ‘Garam hawa’’ by M S sathyu based on the tragedy of partition faced unofficial ban.
Why so much ado about The Kashmir Files
The film is neither meant for the audience of Kashmiri Pandits nor for the people of Kashmir. The film has in view the audience of Hindus outside Kashmir for fanning up communal passions against the Muslims, for firming up religious polarization to reap electoral gains. The motivating force of the movie seems to be to demonize the religious minorities, who happen to be the primary domestic targets of the Hindutva brigade, rather than to shed crocodile tears for the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. The role of the Kashmiri Pandits in the film is shown merely as lifeless corpses on which some grotesque sequences can be stringed together.
The movie wants the countrymen to believe that the Indian Muslims who have been part and parcel of Indian society for more than thirteen centuries are aliens and the real cause of all the ills. One wonders how is it different from the fascist policies pursued by Adolf Hitler who rose to defend German capitalism from the crises of the 1930s of the last century by targeting Jews as enemies of the German nation.
What separates facts from knowledge is proper context. This context-narratives that help us weave together facts—is what makes them intelligible to our human mind from a broader view. These narratives, if used in a deliberately misleading way to serve motivated sectarian ends is to be categorized as sheer twisted propaganda devoid of truth not to speak of containing even the basic elements of art. In absence of a united powerful sustained democratic movement under correct revolutionary leadership based on higher proletarian ethics and morality, the socio-cultural milieu is also controlled by the fascist autocratic rulers. Hence, production like ‘The Kashmir files’ which is teeming with so many situational as well as factual errors, distortions and crude violence receives patronage from the power that be whereas movies which seek to portray truth of life in the form of aesthetically satisfying art are either not dared to be produced or are banned by the ruling quarters for obvious reason. ‘The Kashmir Files’ is a sinister attempt to hide, distort and erase the glorious chapter of history of Kashmir and show the Kashmiri Muslims in bad light. So there is so much ado about a Goebbelian propaganda masqueraded as film.
Danger inheres here. All right-thinking people, artistes, film makers, intellectuals and cultural activists need to close their ranks and unitedly resist the increasingly draconian onslaught on freedom of expression and artistic creations, as well as raise their voice of protest against deliberate distortion of history and reality to buttress a heinous prejudiced agenda of the RSS-BJP.