"Father, Son, Holy War" is not the most artfully filmed and skillfully edited documentary one might see, however, what it lacks in mechanics is more than made up in subject matter.
About 6 years ago I entered a screening of this film hosted by the filmmaker completely unaware of the plight of women in India, unaware of the religious conflicts and violent riots between the Hindi majority and the Islamic minority, and utterly ignorant about the cultural foundations in India feeding the subcontinent's unimaginable overpopulation problems.
This documentary gives the viewer an understanding of the belief system at work with both Indian Hindu's and Indian Moslems and some history of the practices that have victimized Indian women. Current day woman rights activists are seen working with secular organizations within India. And this is clearly where the director places hope for the future.
Looking at the overpopulation issue, one part of the film that remains clear in my mind shows the viewer a Muslim leader telling his male followers to never masturbate because their sacred duty is to father as many children as possible so that one future day the Muslim people can become the majority and gain control of political power. We then switch to seeing a Hindu leader telling his followers to have at least seven children so to earn the respect of the community and defend and preserve the heritage of Hindu's in India.
Another interesting subject explored is male aggression and machismo, and how it is supported and encouraged by cultural leaders.
Do Indian leaders use religion and male macho-ism as tools of control? The answer is yes and "Father, Son, Holy War" shows us how.
Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan is a Harvard University educated atheist and I am proud to say that I have met him. I hope he continues to make more films.
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