Sunday, June 21, 2015

Welcome to Karachi is offensive in too many ways

I recently had the misfortune of sitting through the "comedy" film called Welcome 2(?) Karachi whose "plot" can be summarized as follows- two Indian misfits and simpleton end up in Pakistan where they end up with the Taliban and hounded by the CIA because they mistake them for the Taliban. They make their escape only to be detained by Pakistani authorities but a good natured and beautiful ISI agent(?!!) ensures their release all the while foiling a terrorist plot by the Taliban. All the while feted by both India and Pakistan.

Firstly the movie is not very funny even as it is supposed to be a slapstick sort of comedy. The actors are talented but there is only so much they can do with such an ill conceived and semi literate script.
However the movies contains a great deal of post colonial tropes and memes and pretty little lies that modern day Indians are particularly attached to.

Firstly let us examine the treatment of Americans and their mission in Afghanistan and the tribal lands of Pakistan. Ill conceived as it may be , it is highly unlikely the CIA station chief would be cackling like the Joker in Batman as he watches drones pulverize their victims. The CIA like any other intelligence agency recruits only sober ,analytical and somewhat cold blooded individuals for such positions and not those who are near orgasmic as they watch their enemies get obliterated. Furthermore drone operators are stationed in Nevada or Florida and not anywhere near the kill zones.

Soon enough they are apprehended by the CIA. This gives the film makers the opportunity to introduce more ill informed racial politics- It is noble black operative who sees the injustice of it all and commits a court martial worthy offense by freeing them. I don't know in what world these Bollywood dopes are living in. Indeed black servicemen in the U.S armed forces would be the first to find such a scene offensive. And anyone who believes that African Americans are less racist than their white counterparts is living in a parallel universe. Survey after survey shows that blacks in America are the most opposed to immigration-both legal and illegal and are incredibly hostile to Asian and Indian Americans in particular. The dim witted Indian Americans thought they would placate blacks and show off their liberal credentials by voting for Obama in record numbers. Obama may have a soft corner for Indian Americans as he named nominated Indian Americans to the position of CTO, Surgeon General as well as a top prosecuting attorney for the highly prized Manhattan district.
Also not too many Indians or Indian Americans are losing sleep over the drone attacks in Pakistan. Well one guy is, but why care about the opinions of unstable cranks?

OTOH it was the same Obama who during the 2007 primary challenge chided Hilary Clinton as a representative for Punjab due to her support for outsourcing. Also he used Preet Bharara as both - his attack dog and shield as he prosecuted mostly Indians such as Rajat Gupta, Anil Kumar and Raj Rajaratnam (An SL Tamil billionaire but was with the in crowd of Indian Americans) for relatively trivial offenses  as "insider trading" even as the economy was torn apart from far graver acts of malfeasance by those in Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and financial entities close to the administration.

Let us not forget the Devyani Khobragade episode. How often are ambassadors from friendly countries jailed and stripped searched even for serious allegations, forget dubious ones?

All of this doesn't matter to our dim witted film makers who have been trotted out the tired old Magic Negro/ Indian as savior from white bigotry at least since the incredibly ridiculous and offensive feature My Name Is Khan. This odious film even embarrassingly features an actor playing the current U.S President assuring the titular character that "your name is Khan and you are not a terrorist" right after Khan saves some black lives in the aftermath of a hurricane(a reference to hurricane Katrina where many blacks did die not due to the indifference of the Bush administration but the corruption and incompetence of the mostly black New Orleans city officials.) Bizarrely that movie also features a cringe worthy sub plot where a random white guy keeps taunting a Pakistan immigrant as "hey you fucking Paki" every day in New York City. Apparently none of these geniuses who made the film every spent any time in New York City which is famous for its deranged transients and homeless cranks of all races who pester pedestrians with all sorts of nonsense. One such individual tormented my sisters college friend because in the words of this learned man- chicken tikka masala helped start the French Revolution! And since she is Indian, she is surely responsible! Speaking of Pakis and cranks....

W2K also features a lithesome ISI agent played by Lori Gottlieb who is unconvinced that these two neer do wells captured by Pakistanis are Indian agents and convinced the good natured Pakistani government to free them and are eventually embraced by the hearty Pakistani people This again functions to serve two more lame Bollywood messages

a) Foreign women or women in general are naturally inclined towards compassion  and possess the right insticts in dealing with Indians

b) Most Pakistanis are basically good

First lets deal with a). The literary device of foreign females falling in love with native men is really a symbolic victory and conquest over the enemy or occupying force.
In Bollywood , the frankly silly film Lagaan popularized this notion but it has older roots. Shyam Benegal ,if anything was consistent in making awful and politically correct films. In his time honored tradition of glorifying Muslims he portrayed a British woman falling in love with her Pushtun abductor in Junoon. Other movies from Mangal Pandey to Rang Bansanti and Pazhassi Raja all portray British women as enlightened anti imperialists which was either a cause or consequence of them falling in love with an Indian man usually a freedom fighter. This has very little to do with historical reality(apart from the frankly half mad Annie Besant who wasn't even British but Irish) but more to do with the Indian screenwriter's fling with some liberal white girl either in India or in his studies abroad in U.S or UK

The film maker simply transposed post colonial political correct talking points of college age 90s Western women onto the unwieldy mouths of Victorian era characters. British women couldn't give two hoots about the condition of Indian men or women as long as they were benefiting from it materially.

Here they scored a twofer by getting Lauren Gottlieb to portray the ISI agent. A western actress playing a member of the dreaded intelligence bureau of an enemy nation.

                                                          Average ISI agent

And since when are Pakistani women known for compassion towards India? During the atrocities against Bangladeshi women (both Hindus and Muslims) by the mostly Punjabi dominated Pakistani army , Pakistani women were asked as to how they felt that their men were raping who at the time were technically their fellow citizens. To which they replied- at least the issue of the rape would be better looking(due to Punjabi genes)

This is the reality of women (and men). What the limp wristed omega male writers and directors who pedestalize women don't realize is that compassion and sympathy are limited in both women and men and hence they prioritize these attributes for those closest to them. Women in general are keepers of the hearth and in most societies including India were fierce defenders of their homes and would goad their men into offensive wars against the enemy. As an example, Arjuna wasn't able to face Ahhimanyu's mother until he had avenged his death. All the while dealing with Draupadi and her separate vendettas which they had to fulfill. These women are not considered freaks but worthy of our admiration. And why not? Women are instrumental in giving men purpose and resolve be it in day to day humdrum existence or life and death matters on the battlefield. Let us honor them for their support ,motivation and perspective but let us not lose sight of the flip side of this nature and let their pleasing appearance fool us into thinking they are sugar and spice and everything nice.

It was after taking this account, Savarkar bewailed the restraint of Hindu troops when it came to raping Muslim women. He believed that such counter atrocities would quickly demoralized the enemy and compel them to respect their new Hindu overlords. He went as far to claim that the honor of violated Hindu women would be healed if Muslim women suffered the same fate. And who knows he could be right. Revenge is a dish best served cold, schadenfreud and all that.
A Savarkar associate; Nathuram Godse was quite popular with refugee Punjabi and Sindhi Hindu women who suffered various indignities at the hands of Muslims and held Gandhi squarely responsible for their traumas

Now on to b)
Finally the delusion that Pakistanis want peace just as Indians do. I have doubt as the self delusions of Indians especially the dhimmified Punjabi film makers who populate the Mumbai film industry. Of course in their case deeper cultural factors maybe at factor such as Punjabiyat- the pan Punjabi culture,customs,cuisine ,language and clothing which dominate the popular cultures of both countries and the crank notion of martial races which hold the "poorbiyas" and southerners in contempt due to a thoroughly ignorant and skewed reading of Indian history. Before the Sikhs, the last Punjabi to win any battles was probably Harshvardhana who was a Jat from Haryana, Haryanvis(basically an poorbiya people "stuck" in the northwest) would take offense to being lumped in with Punjabis but lets be a  bit generous. Punjabis strike me as the type of people who simply go with the flow. Right now the winds (as of yet) blow towards secularism and Muslim appeasement and if Punjabiyat demands that it be so they placate it . Sikhism is an exception in Punjabi history than the rule (and it was really militarized in Bihar by Guru Gobind Singh). Now they are a defanged and toothless group, first used up and spit out by the British and then Indira Gandhi provided the finishing touches the destruction of their glory.

All in all the Indian populace has to suffer the Punjabi complexes and dysfunctions due to their control over this very powerful medium. Therefore I say to  those who blame the pro Islamic bias of Bollywood on some Muslim mafia(which is more interested in profit than furthering an ideological agenda) that they are missing the forest for the trees

Now you may that this Rao is being a tad cruel- picking on a silly movie like Welcome 2(?) Karachi which is the desi equivalent of other esteemed fare such as Dude Where's My Car? Well I say to you seeing how this highly objectionable feature manages to combine all the misinformed history, illiterate geopolitics, coarse and dangerous sentimentalism and vulgar self flattery into one revolting package, all Bollywood movies dealing with any foreign policy differ from this film only by a matter of degree , not content.

We make silly movies because we are a silly people. Punjabi or otherwise. Unless we wake up we deserve to find out what the world is really like -the hard way.


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    2. @ Iniyavel

      Sabhlok addresses some of the real problems but is the same secular political person that we have been fed with since independence.I think his anti Sangh Parivar rhetoric is more to ensure minority support for the future.but let him atleast win the elections first,he has too lofty and unrealistic dreams like leading India ,while sitting in Australia :P My point is that Sabhlok will be the same Kejriwal type politican .Anyway all the best Mr Sabhlok :)

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    4. @ Iniyavel

      Very little remains of capt minus conspiracy and hypercommunist sentiments.hence if you equate Sabhlok with this form of watered down capt,then I would say Sabhlok isnt worth your time :)

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    6. @Iniyavel

      Yeah we follow each other on twitter.It is probably my pro bjp views that attracted a number of Hindutva followers to my profile,but the fact is that I have bashed Hindu Maha Sabha for their somewhat anti national stance in the pre1947 era.Some of the hindu warriors got irked on me for this.
      It is a hard reality that post Hedgewar,RSS and also HMS had supported British govt to some extent in order to stay intact.Infact HMS and RSS even allowed recruitment of their cadres in British Indian army which went on to oppose Azad Hind Fauz's advancement through Imphal.This is why I get angry when some online Hindu fighter(dhimmi capt included) starts claiming that RSS+HMS had huge roles in indian independence.
      Infact the hindutva brigade often forget that another hindu missionary organization the Bharat Sevashram Sangha had made contributions according to its capacity to the Indian freedom struggle.For example they used to provide shelters to revolutionaries,used to impart martial arts and armed training along with education and basic infrastructure(like making roads etc) to villagers in remote areas for fighting british etc.Even to this day BSS monks train themselves in martial arts as per their preindependence tradition.
      The hindutva brigade conveniently forgets the group called Bengal Volunteers started by Netaji in 1929 on the lines of RSS .The british administration put its full might on crushing this group,but they were actually supportive of HMS and RSS to some extent,as the latter helped them with manpower for the British Indian Army.Post Hedgewar RSS wasnt very nationalistic to be frank,infact modern RSS post independence is a far more nationalistic organization.
      Another thing RSS fans do not mention with due weightage is the phase of Hindu-German conspiracy during the 1st world war(Ghadar party for example) and Bagha Jatin's efforts in initiating an armed rebellion within India against the govt.They can praise Golwalkor as much as they like,I have no problems with that,but quoting from wiki : "Golwalkar did not want to give the British any excuse to ban the RSS. When the British Government banned military drills and use of uniforms in non-official organisations, Golwalkar terminated the RSS military department." Hence atleast they should not try to establish RSS role in Indian freedom struggle.If HMS had any role,it was more in support of British govt and against INA.
      Infact today the group called Bengal Volunteers seemed to have been deleted from Indian freedom history,though they were highly active throughout even with massive British police oppression against them.People who think that Netaji had persued armed struggle only with Azad Hind govt formation are wrong,he started walking on the path of armed rebellion within India way back in 1929 when he established this group.Without bringing up these deliberately omitted parts of history,Hindutva volunteers choose to establish HMS as the harbinger of Indian freedom in 1947.Even erstwhile congress under Nehru and Gandhi was more anti British than HMS in 1940s.
      But RSS did great work in protecting the Hindu refugees during partition of 47.I would openly applaud them for this alone,even if they dont have any major contributions in the pre47 era.

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    8. @001 Ace Fire Dragon Breaking free on Nehru is a decent book. However, it seemed like the word "freedom" was used too many times. It seemed a bit vague, because sabhlok didn't exactly define beforehand what freedom meant to him. Problem is freedom means different things to different people. For some, it may mean the freedom of criticizing people without any consequence. For others, it may mean the freedom to drink the water and breathe the air without worrying about your health. Ask ten different people about freedom and you are likely to get ten different opinions.

    9. @Edgardo True. The problem I have with libertarians like Sabhlok is to them every nail needs the economic hammer. They believe free markets will solve EVERYTHING. I am a free market guy myself but I realize there is no
      1) no perfect free market. Japan and China indulge in unfair trade practices at maximum benefit to themselves for examples
      2) A lot of India's problems are economic but a lot of them are not. Most of them are cultural. You cant solve such problems by throwing money at it.
      There are those like former hedge fund trader (and mirror image and one time partner of George Soros)Jim Rogers who go as far as to say that the Buckingham Palace should be owned and managed by the Chinese.
      So extreme libertarians have as much respect for nationalism as international Marxists. Indeed both are two sides of the same coin.

    10. @ Edgardo mortara

      To be frank I now feel that Sabhlok will pitch for a brand of neo-pseudosecularism through his political party(if it at all sees the light of the day).I got this feeling after seeing his incessant bashing of Sangh Parivar and not so aggressive stance against the seculars.

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    12. hahaha! I don't think we should concern ourselves too much about the economic opinions of North Korea, Myanmar or Uganda!

      Free markets is still the best recipe for prosperity, however with bad faith players like China, every now and then a trade war is in order. It may hurt the U.S economy but only temporarily as it will damage the Chinese economy a lot more and they will end up coming to the bargaining table real quick. The difficulty with this is that the American consumer doesn't care too much about the American manufacturing industry as long they get their gee gaws. It is only when the flight of jobs really bite the middle class that there will be a political incentive to fight China and force it to revise its crooked trade policies.

      Japan can be just as protectionist as China but unlike China , Japan actually invests in factories in U.S and India thereby creating jobs for the populace.

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