Bollywood,Reality TV and Indian secularism

Bradistan Calling

Indian TV has seen numerous Bollywood reality shows, competition where common boys (and occasionally girls) have won places on movies by top directors. The Show that I want to talk about is Bollywood, blind-date and arranged (and staged) marriage all rolled into one big media circus.

The prize is the hand in marriage of a top “Item Girl” (meaning guest appearance in a sleazy dance song) Ms. Rakhi  Sawant.Ms. Sawant became a sensation in Bollywood thru her hard work and determination despite  an obvious lack of education and family background.

The eligible bachelors are invariably unknown wannabe actors and small time professional, without doubting their intentions, at first impression they all look as if they want to use Ms. Sawant’s moderate success in Bollywood movies as a stepping stone to fame and fortune. I do not want to talk about my cynicism  about limited talent and education or the apparent opportunism of the boys.

Last night’s show opened the Pandora’s Box of social, cultural and religious debate, not just for one contestant but also for the whole society of secular India and that’s precisely why, I wanted to write about reality TV in secular India.

The contestant in question is an elementary level police officer in state of Jammu Kashmir, a shy and handsome Muslim “Bachelor” Mr. Ather Parvez, the show started with gossip on the taboo of possibility of a Muslim marrying a ‘Hindu’ girl whose only claim to fame is glamour dancing. The issue of Hindu-Muslim marriage, even in a supposedly secular India, is an explosive one. Hindu  fundamentalist  BJP’s Members of Parliament accused the state  minister Mr. Nitin Raut of being complacent in the national conspiracy of Muslim boys converting  the religion of Hindu girls after marry them for religious motives.

Kashmir is the only Muslim majority state in India and a disputed territory between nuclear neighbors India and Pakistan. Since 1990s Kashmiris , and some outside Islamist groups, are involved in an armed struggle for independence from India. While the Kashmiri groups are predominantly secular, the population is approximately 70% Muslim and remaining 30% comprising of Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist. Prior to 1947 the Country of Kashmir was a British dominion ruled by a brutal family of Hindu Dogras, but essentially a multicultural and multi-religious society. Current troubles and interferences by fundamentalist Hindu and Islamic forces have resulted in a highly orthodox, fragmented and terrorized society.

Jammu Kashmir Police officer are considered brutal agents of Indian rule, notorious for rapes and other torture tactics. Mr. Parvez is not accused of any such crimes, but he had a “dark secret” to hide when he walked through the gates of Rajasthan fort (where the show was being filmed) and presented Ms. Sawant a small idol of Elephant god Ganesha, what a act of blasphemy by a Muslim . Despite his education, etiquettes and articulate language, Mr. Parvez failed to inform Ms. Sawant of his family background. What Mr. Parvez thought was a “minor” issue is a “major” misdemeanor for Hindu society.

The secret came out like a bomb shell in the recording of the show, when one of the female anchors asked Mr. Parvez some personal questions about his family life.  Ms. Sawant and all the male contestants were shocked to hear that the soft spoken police office was already married with three kids. Polygamy is acceptable for Muslims society but not for the major civilized societies whether in Europe, Americas or the current jurisprudence of eastern societies of India, Korea, China or Japan.

Mr. Parvez naivety was evident when he was unable to comprehend the full gravity of the situation and tried to give an honest explanation that his current wife is happy for him to find “love of his life” in Ms. Sawant’s holy matrimony and that as per Islamic law Mr. Parvez is permitted to marry four wives at the same time and that he has duly obtained “permission” from his first wife and his parents. The Policeman left with tears in his eyes for the Love of his life.

The fiasco reminded me of one of the best known defenders of Human rights in Pakistan, Ms. Mukhtaran Mai, who was gang raped by village elders for the punishment of a crime that her teenager brother was accused of. Ms. Mai refused to accept the stigma of rape and campaigned for the rights of women in Pakistan. International fame, profile and funding for her school projects, gave a local policeman the opportunism to approach Ms. Mai for a marriage proposal. When Ms. Mai refused, the policeman blackmailed Mai with threats of suicide and divorcing his First Wife and a divorce for that lady would have meant that lady’s brothers would have divorced their wives in revenge for family honour. In the end Ms. Mai agreed to marry this two-timing  police cheat, thus becoming a victim of the tribal system, she was fighting against, twice.

In Pakistan, a couple of days ago, a devout Muslim man killed his wife and their three daughters in the shame of not having son. The same night I saw; this lady British Judge and a convert to Islam Ms. Marilyn Mornington(visiting for course on ‘cultural diversity’)tell the interviewer from Pakistan TV, quote “Prophet Mohammed was The Biggest Feminist in the World” unquote.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Bollywood,Reality TV and Indian secularism

  1. Onyx

    Did this guy just call the prophet a misogynist?

    Yeah well done dipstick. Feel free to inundate us with more verbal diarreha regarding your pathetic analysis of Indian reality tv. Idiot.

  2. sarah

    err…so what’s your point, bradistan calling?

  3. Salma

    Polygamy is acceptable for Muslims society but not for the major civilized societies whether in Europe, Americas or the current jurisprudence of eastern societies of India, Korea, China or Japan.

    But major civilised societies have there problems too yes they may not be legal wives but their are men who have mistresses seceond familes etc who are totally invisable.

    Also these “civilised” societies as stated above have other various issues such female infancide, high levels of sucides, 1 child policy etc

    No system is perfect and polgamy is far from perfect as is practiced but many muslim men these days but to single out just one society seems unfair.

  4. This article is a joke. The author should try to get a job in the London Paper – what with its high level of scandalous reporting combined with its quote ‘literary standards’ unquote (incidentally, the quote, unquote bit – a little too dramatic even for this piece of writing), he/she will end up being a respected (?) journalist (?).

  5. Prior to 1947 the Country of Kashmir was a British dominion ruled by a brutal family of Hindu Dogras,
    That’s nonsense. Maharaja Hari Singh made primary education compulsory in the State, introduced laws prohibiting child marriage and threw open places of worship for the low castes. Maybe that’s “brutal” by some standards?

    The issue of Hindu-Muslim marriage, even in a supposedly secular India, is an explosive one. Hindu fundamentalist BJP’s Members of Parliament accused the state minister Mr. Nitin Raut of being complacent in the national conspiracy of Muslim boys converting the religion of Hindu girls after marry them for religious motives.

    well, part of the blame should be on the Islamic law as well which permits marriage of Muslim boy with a non-Muslim girl (where the girl converts); but bars marriage of a Muslim girl to a non-Muslim boy (where the girl converts). Shouldn’t it work both ways? if not, then shouldn’t the society ask why not?

    Current troubles and interferences by fundamentalist Hindu and Islamic forces have resulted in a highly orthodox, fragmented and terrorized society.

    Again, from the 1990s when the Pakistan-sponsored and backed terrorist groups started the fighting and forced the Kashmiri Pandits’ exodus, the extremists like Yaseen Malik and Bitta Karate were anything but “secular” (as suggested earlier) [check out the links in this post for more information: http://drishtikone.com/?q=blog/victims-imaginary-virtue-cannot-be-expected-be-its-guardians%5D.

    None of the Hindu groups have been active in Kashmir. If they were and fighting the Pak-sponsored extremists, probably the brutality against Pandits would have not happened.

    The truth is that Kashmir WAS FREE to begin with in 1947. Pakistan attacked it. Then it was repulsed. But not enough before Nehru ran to UN for plebiscite. Pakistan there after changed the demographic and the ownership of the area.. Among them were the agreement to transfer 5800 km2 of Trans-Karakoram tract in Kashmir by Pakistan to China (to get military favors in return for Kashmiri land). So any talk of “Kashmiri Freedom” is hollow and hypocritical. Specially when it comes from a Government which sold the land which it held in trusteeship!

  6. Susan

    err.. a correction
    Mr Parvez had gifted Rakhi a “pashmina shawl” and not a Ganesh idol.Please check. Ganesh idols were given by other contestants.
    Here’s the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHioPSg3W18

  7. amit

    This article shows the narrow mindedness of Mr Bradistan. People like bradistan calling are so obsessed with india,its soaps, in general anything which has got something to do with india that even if someone in india scratches his ass, people like bradistan would write article/blogs about it describing it as…………… exposing indian secularism……… plan by indian agents to de stabilize pakistan………..oppressing people of kashmir………………india’s war strategy ……………..provoking pakistan

  8. bonobashi

    Surely you are not the same Amit commenting elsewhere on another thread?

  9. amit

    no.amit is common name in india,something like imran in pakistan.

  10. tick tack toe
    pussy in the soe

  11. Luqmaan

    >no.amit is common name in india,
    >something like imran in pakistan.

    Would I be surprised if we found more Imrans in India. I have a dozen cousins (both sexes) and a dozen collegues by that name.

    No!

    Luqmaan.