Friday, January 2, 2015

Hinduism and PK

Let me start with a disclaimer. I have not watched PK. All that I say about PK is based on news paper reports, tweets,  etc. Second disclaimer is the post may initially look controversial but I don't intend it to be and it is not.

So here is a film which seemingly makes light of going to temples, babas and Puja,  etc. There are people who are offended by that portrayal, justifiably or other wise. Some places people are demonstrating and in some other places they are boycotting the movie. The political discourse, now a days, is such that movie contents have become secondary and politics has become primary. Hence UP and Bihar govts (self appointed protectors of everything secular!) have made it tax free. I am ready to risk a prediction that soon Bengal govt will follow suit.

But that is not the theme of what I write today nor what is portrayed in the movie. It is about the movie and the Hinduism. First of all let me state few facts. First one is (often quoted by everyone) Hinduism is to do little with religion and more with lifestyle as it a way of life of people of this nation for many centuries.

Second is, even if it is a religion, it is open, adaptable and capable to change itself when needed. It has reformed over a period of time because of various internal reformist movements or to adjust to external threats and influences or  because some of its facets had become out of date. Adaptability is its most important quality Hinduism has. Another great quality it has is to take criticism of itself and only absorb that part of criticism that makes sense. It is one of the greatest quality.

These qualities of openness, abaptability and resilience are also the reason that this religion or the way of life has stayed on despite many invasions and attacks. In fact it has assimilated many such people in its fold. Those who did not join into its fold also had to Indianise or hinduise (both wards may not be official words) their life style. That is where others try imitation like making Mother Mary look like tribal lady and such other attempts.

Therefore, even if PK makes a light of some of the facets of Hinduism, if the satire is on a valid 'Ku riti' (bad practice) we should correct ourself. If it is something that needs no change lets laugh it out. After all our people have the capability of cracking jokes on ourselves and our gods (as for us, they are not outside us but they are our companions, remember our prayer, 'Tumhi ho Bandhu (brother) Sakha (friend) tumhi ho').

Next issue is, why the movie does not criticize faults in any other religion? Some of the religions of the world are very rigid, not open to change and therefore even if one critises some things that are not so good in them it is not going to change.

That brings me to the one of the concept of Hinduism of 'Supatra' or Able, some one capable of receiving and gainfully using whatever is given or made available to him. It is said in Hinduism that if Daan, Gyan or even advice is to be given give it to Supatra. That person will use it properly and build on it. If you criticize a Supatra, he will learn from it and amend himself if needed. I think the film maker knew the futility of doing parody or criticism of others because he knew that those people will not appreciate the lighter side of it on the first part and are not likely to mend.

We need to be what we are, people following Hindu way of life. When foreign rule did not diminish us, who else can. In any case, like the freedom of making film of any kind rests with the film maker, the right to watch or to not watch rests with us and us alone. If the contents of the film are really objectionable, word of mouth will bring it out. We can then exercise our right to NOT to watch it.

Consider this, why demonstrate, break glasses and give additional free publicity to this film, that too publicity that the film maker has not paid for. Let us not do undeserved favour to PK.

PS - The world is made up of various people. In my opinion there is nothing in the post to offend any one. However, if some has a different opinion and feels offended, my sincere apologies,

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