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The Final Solution is a 2003 documentary directed by Rakesh Sharma about the 2002 communal Gujarat Riots that arose as a response to the Godhra Train Burning incident on February 27, 2002, where 58 Hindus were burnt alive on a train carriage. An official estimate states that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed during the riots, with 223 more missing. The documentary consists mostly of interviews, with both Muslims and Hindus, of multiple generations, and both sexes, with different views regarding the causes, justifications, and the actual events of the violence that occurred, as well as their prospects for the future. The government of Gujurat at the time, led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was highly criticised throughout the documentary and was accused of inciting much of the rioting and not doing enough to halt it. Written by
I saw this quite a long time ago, but I'll comment on it now. It is a very good documentary, probing into the horrendous massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, in 2002, as well as all things pertaining to Hindu nationalism and communalism. It employs the technique of interviews with minimal commentary, allowing for a very nuanced and interesting flow/style, and allowing for a relative open-ness for your own critical thinking to ferment.
Despite that however, this documentary seriously lacks a certain kind of depth. It is... it is naive, deceptive, snide, and... essentially catered; catered to westerners, outsiders to this issue, for the intended sputtering response of OMG FASCISM! and for garnering western 'critical claim'.
To start off, this film provides no ideological backdrop to Hindutva, and spends a great deal of time talking to dipsh*t cadres, basically assuming from the beginning: Hindutva is wrong. It also steers clear of the difficult task of tackling the extremely complex historical and political backdrops regarding how Hindutva came to be, why it came to be, and what sustains it. It makes foreign the idea of examining legitimate Hindu frustration regarding past colonialism inflicted by external Islam and Christianity, and most importantly the present colonialism inflicted by internal Nehruvianism/Communism. It doesn't talk about India being the most beleaguered and terrorized nation in the world, with it's largest minority out of many minorities, being so fiercely secessionist, anti-integrationist, anti-secular, and anti-majority in so many aspects and through so many of its dealings ever since losing power a century and a half ago. Within the movie, I could not fathom the absurdity (and therefore hilarity) of two short but crucial scenes. The one first was a Congress Party rally, making it quite clear for us that it is the good party, the defender of secularism and freedom. Oh yes. "When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes", am I right? ... The second took place in a mosque, with the Imam asking for calm and unity. Now, how easy that was. With such speed and efficiency, we've been assuaged. Islam is a religion of peace; there's your proof. That case is closed, now lets move on to other things. ...
It is this method of 'just' interviewing the people, which, while good on one hand, is bad on another. This method lends to a disproportionate analysis of the Indian Hindu-Muslim conflict. Though the following example doesn't fit perfectly, I think it's sufficient: think about a hypothetical, analogous film condemning the racism and extremism of the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam. Of course, racism and extremism are worth condemning, but all of us living in North America know that there is much more to the issue than that, and would be quite exasperated if such a hypothetical film were about that and nothing else. (Now... a film I'd like to see would be one about the FULLY REALIZED fascism of Pakistan, lol.)
So, in closing, this film definitely is great, despite having like, 90% of my review made up of criticism. Though, you know, still, keep that criticism in mind. As for myself, I am an atheist of Hindu descent, but I don't identify with the corresponding atheists in Indian society, the masochistic Nehruvianist/Communist elites. Instead, out of the warped political landscape of India, the Hindu Nationalists are the least bad and most sensible, therefore I identify with them in that capacity. Of course, they're a conservative religious party, and looking at grassroots cadres, have elements of violent and bigotry, they, at a political levels push forward a few very progressive and correct ideas: uniform civil code, liberalizing markets, Ram Mandir (which definitely should be built; Muslims should come to say, "out of the thousands of mosques built of demolished temples, we'll let you have this one back, which is your Mecca, Medina, or Al-Quds"), and striking down article 370 (giving special status to Kashmir). The existence of the Hindu nationalists is quite justified, despite this blemish (of blood), and they may be one of the best things to happen to India.
Ultimately, I think, what India needs is a prominent straight-forward liberal party, a liberal nationalist party that is pro-capitalist, pro-modernist, (truly) secularist, egalitarian, feminist, free speech / libertarian, and assertive with Pakistan. India should have, from the beginning, followed the ideological and philosophical example of the United States and the practical example of Japan.
* And just to add, did you notice how laden with English everybody's Hindi was? I've read that this mixing is prestigious, but to me it just sounds SO idiotic! Childish would be another way to describe it; as would the words gimmick and caricature. Hindi is going down the drain... perhaps an 'Urdu' of English will develop is this isn't kept in check.
As for Narendra Modi, call him a murderer, but LOL, can that guy ever orate. It's sad how for Indians one standard for which I accord respect is simply knowing the words of their own language. Too bad for his Hindutvadi subordinates, those defenders of of Hindu culture, LOL. They had no problem in indulging in the Anglo-vocabular smörgåsbord... linguistic colonial chains more like it. And even more absurd, is how Muslims are not OK, but their words are (duniyaa, zindagi, khoshish).
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