Friday, May 5, 2017

Is the Bahubali series "Hindu"?



For the record, while I enjoyed the Bahubali series , I am not really that captivated by it as the rest of the country and dont quite understand the fuss.

The performances were actually rather subdued ,perfectly pitched and on note , which is surprising keeping in mind the over the top operatic style of the series. To this end poor Prabhas has been underrated while Ramya Krishnan, Sathyraj and Daggubati Rana recieved the lions share of the praise.

The visual effects were a mixed bag , some good ,some bad, same goes for the action scenes. and music score
However one thing that stands out and was excellent through out was set design. Here the film makers, polish, orignality and talent truly stand out. The other aspects of the film were too beholden to Hollywood blockbusters like Lord of the Rings and 300( a particularly immature and vile film IMO),

Im happy to say though that Bahubali shares with LOTR the elevated ideas of honor,courage,kingly duty,friendship and justice.

Of course since it is set in a time period roughly corresponding to what historians refer to as mid medieval age of India before the dark ages of Islamic rule, one wouldn't expect too many Muslims running around.

This led quite a few "secular" commentators to be clown themselves by being aghast that there are no Muslims faces present. Firstly it is not true, in the first film there was an arms dealer and friend of Kattapa called Aslam Khan who is portrayed a noble warrior and Bahubali even infiltrates a Muslim camp where some item number is taking place.

Furthermore the father of the director Rajamouli wrote the script for Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Hopefully this would squash any charges of "communalism" against the director but no.

For some critics who are accustomed only to Bollywood and their worship of Ganga Yamuna tehzeeb exemplified not just by the Khans but other actors who are Hindu,that the very fact this movie was made is an example of the communal mind of the average Hindu!

Meanwhile:
A TV series called Razia Sultana based on the only female monarch of a thoroughly despotic and tyrannical Delhi Sultanate whose rapaciousness astounded even foreign Muslims was quite popular.
It is shocking that someone had the audacity to suggest that this nobody and mediocrity who was only well known because she allegedly fell in love with her slave should be celebrated in anyway.
Thankfully the movie version which came out in the 1980s with Dharmendra comically covered in black paint was a total flop. The producer/director went as far as to provide free laddoos with every movie ticket to entice viewers!

At the same time there is a movie on Rani Padmavati in the works and apparently that Alauddin Khilji wasnt such a bad guy after all . He is just unfairly tarnished by those "communal" characters who object to wanton rape, plunder ,slavery and destruction of temples. They are silly that way..

These type of movies are considered acceptable in mainstream Bollywood. Oh sure you have TV series like Ashoka which really are a blink and miss affair.

But how many movies are made to celebrate Prithviraj Chouhan, Rana Pratap, Rana Sanga, Rana Kumbha or even Shivaji?

Yes we had Bajirao Mastani which hailed Peshwa Baji Rao but the USP of the movie was his affair with some Muslim slave girl not his burning desire to rid India of Muslim political control.

In this arena, enters Bahubali- the Donald Trump of films- an outsider smashing expectations, assumptions predictions and records left and right. Not to belabor the analogy but also like Trump it is clear about stance on native culture and traditions.

In regional cinema and Telugu movies particularly , religion, rituals and culture play a very major role and no one bothers about accusations of communalism because Eidh ul Fitr or Milad un Nabi are not given equal importance or any importance at all. I remember on some Telugu channel more than 10 years ago during end of Ramadhan, some Muslim caller(Telugu speaking) called up the female host of some variety show and her greeting to him was "Ramadhan Subhakanshalu"! LOL Ramadhan was over, it was Eidh, she didnt even know how to say Eidh Mubarak but said Blessed Greetings for Ramadhan! And in order to please her Muslim guest, she showed some clips of a few Telugu films all featuring Muslims where Muslims were shown as comic relief or terrorists!

I remember another movie where a woman was looking for a bridegroom for her son. One young lady who was interested turned up and when the old woman enquired her name, came the reply "Shabana Begum". The woman was aghast that a "turushkurala ammayi" would dare enter her house and promptly beat her up.

It is just amazing how despite living together for centuries, Telugus are hardly bothered about Muslim culture except to enjoy Irani chai and biryani. Even today in East Godavari districts , older people dont even care about Muslim self identification and simply call them "turushkuralu" or "Turks"

Coming back to the actual religion of Telugu people, yet another Telugu comedy had an old cranky athiest living in a village who decided to round up some youths and create a "Naastikula Samajam" or "Atheists society" in the village. One of the young simpletons agreed but stated for this society to get off to an auspicious start that they should purchase some coconuts and break in front of the local temple at the time as chosen by the astrologer!

This is obviously played for laughs but you get an idea of how deeply entrenched Hindu culture is outside the Mumbai/Delhi nexus particularly in southern India who held on more sternly to their customs as opposed to say Hindus of Rajasthan ,Kashmir or Punjab whose very prayers carry Persian and Arabic words.

Once you realize all of this , then it is absurd to consider Bahubali a communal film as it is simply continuing the tropes of a typical Telugu film which usually is geared towards the hinterland rather than the cities.

This is what many north Indian Hindus dont realize about Telugu films and assume such a blatant and apologetic celebration of Hindu culture carries a political agenda and hence try to thrust their own political views on it be it secular or Hindutva.

More so than the ritualistic observations of carrying the Shiva linga ,fire walk towards Devi temple or even cultural aspects of formation orders to the military in Sanskrit is the strict and unsentimental adherence to Dharma.

SPOILERS BELOW








Sivagamis sense of dharma mandates that in order that her son the elder Bahubali be demoted from crown price to general to exile and finally death. And Kattapa who was like Bahubalis surrogate father carries out the order because that is his dharma

Compare this to the feel good nonsense of Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya where (spoiler aler..oh who cares) Eklavya desists from carrying out his dharma in killing his son because.... well ..feelings!!

Some of this is due to culture perhaps, a good chunk of north Indian are Type B personalities who are sentimental and extroverted while south Indian culture since the late medieval era at least has Type A personalities who are driven and focussed. Yes I know- stereotypes but there is some truth to it on a super level but breaks down when you examine sub cultures I suppose.

Bollywood is full of these puny people. And another aspect I wanted to mention is that there is something about South Indian actors even if they are out of shape(clearly they are not in this films)that they are able to pull off a historical character is a very dignified and regal manner than their Bollywood counterpart. I dont  knoowwhy that is but it seems to be the case. The only actor who exhibited any regal presence in the incredibly silly Ashoka was not SRK but Tamil actor Ajith. There was something about the way he stood ,spoke and held his upavastra that the immature and boyish SRK couldnt master in a million years.

While on SRK, I keep hearing about how Bahubali would smash the D Company underworld films. There are a couple of things wrong with this assumption. Firstly it assumes that D company or the Islamic mafia and film industry nexus is still an actual thing. While there is certainly mafia involvement in Bollywood , it seems to have died with Dawoods increased irrelevance. it is not neccesary to have Muslim gangsters to have a disproportionate celebration of Islamic culture in your industry. Keep in mind most of Bollywood is controlled by a few families Khans , Kapoors and their fellow travellers Chopras, Johars etc all of whom hail from what is today Pakistan and Afghanistan. To this end , the Hindu Kapoors suffering from Stockholm syndrome are intent on praising those who evicted them from their homelands. While the Khans will do what they will do! Interestingly it is not neccesary to be anti Hindu to hang out with degenerate people like Dawood Ibrahim and celebrate Turko Afghan tehzeeb like Feroz Khan used to. Feroze Khan was a devotee of Sathya(not the Islamic Shirdi!) Sai baba while his brother Sanjay Khan who did make a TV series on Tipu Sultan also made one on Hanuman and spearheaded efforts to clean up Varanasi and the Ganga. Ahmad Shah Abdali and Ghazni must have been rolling in their graves!My point is that everything is not so cut and dry.

Secondly I have to ask a question to those who are familar with the dark ages of Islamic Bollywood nexu because honestly I dont know. Yes Muslim gangsters want to popularize their culture by glorifying their emperors and heck pretend to be empeors themselves. A point encapsulated in Philip Lutgendorf's review of Maqbool(based on MacBeth) where the Muslim don assumes the manners of potentate complete with its attendant rituals, palatial backdrop ,clothing and a durbar to hear complaints. This was based of course on the Pathan gangster Karim Lala(ironically Pathans were never emperors but hired goons who later carved out fiefdoms) and the Tamil lord of Mumbai Varadarajan Mudaliar.
Now what is the supremacy clause of Islamic gangsters- is it to promote Islamic culture or make money? I understand they want to do both. But wouldnt it be therefore prudent of them to finance films like Bahubali where they can obviously earn lots (Bahubali 2 looks like it will easily cross 1000 crore mark). I cant believe gangsters are that short sighted and ignorant, perhaps they are when it comes to assessing markets but if Muslims are well represented as sculptors of Hindu idols in U.P, Bihar and Bengal and perform in temples in Varanasi, Kashi and Rameshwaram, surely they dont mind getting money celebrating "kafir" culture. Again I dont know Im just asking questions.


All in all Bahubali wasnt a hit just due to the rugged , fit and talented Prabhas and Rana, the noble looking Sathyraj or the lovely Ramya Krishnan, Anushka Shetty and Tamanna Bhatia or even the special effects ,battle secenes , costumes or set design. For a film to be this successful it must have heart and have an emotional resonance with the audience and Bahubali , corny as it often is, delivers that in spades. For that alone it deserves all this success and more.








28 comments:

  1. @YSV

    Great analysis on the movie :) As for cultural protection,my salute to south indian societies,they have shown greater fight than north indians in this matter,and that fight gets reflected to this day in the form of such movies like baahubali.I can bet,North india wont be able to come up with a baahubali,the problem is not just an islamic bias of bollywood,this problem actually starts with the fact that North India could never ensure that much of a hard fight as the south,in terms of protection of hindu culture.Odisha here may be the only exception in north,if i consider odisha to be loosely north indian part.infact just a few days back,in a facebook group,i debated with my friends that bangalore is a far better candidate than delhi to be the capital city of india.Just look at the history of delhi for the last 1 millenium,first islamic slavery,then british slavery(though not for the whole british era) and now political&administrative slavery.So we really cant expect much from Delhi anymore.All this slavery will get reflected in the thinking pattern of any delhi based administration.Ofcourse a pathbreaking leader post indep could have ensured that this doesnt happen,but then we got Nehru,who in the words of gandhi himself,was more of a british than an Indian! Anyway those things are past,regarding the present,I think its time we think of shifting our capital to some south indian city,which has had a strong history of standing up for hindu culture&religion.I spent a few months in mysore back in 2016,I must say I am thoroughly impressed with Southern India,the nature of people there,their strong adherence to Hinduism and such things.I would rather choose a south indian city over any hindi belt ,as my home.
    SRK never was a good actor,and never would he be,any more :) And bollywood's glorification of gangsters has more to do with the flawed thinking pattern of the directors that such deviant ar t would gain them more money,than anything else,like dawood nexus or such things.This Dubai nexus of mumbai was torn efficiently and ruthlessly by shivsena govt under balasaheb thackerey,when he gave a free hand to the encounter squad units of mumbai police(this topic also has spun off into some movies like Garv Pride&Honour by salman khan,where the dubai muslim nexus was clearly&openly shown).btw salman khan is also a boring actor,to be honest,the only person whose acting i like best in bollywood is Nana Patekar,and he is from tamil nadu,i think :)
    My salute to Telegu people at their success in keeping islam out ,here bengal,my home state,failed miserably.Of late polarisation is happening among bengali hindus,but should have happened much earler,considering the fact that bengali hindus have been consistently massacred by muslims across bengal throughout medieval history.
    Interestingly on the point of shirdi sai,if u read the first book on his life,recorded by his close devotee ,u would be surprised to see that shirdi sai was far more of a hindu than muslim,like his conduct of Ram Nam weeks ,starting from ram navami day,his praise of Hanuman's strength and celebacy,his discourse on some sanskrit shlokas of Geeta,Vishnu Sahashranam ,YogaVashistha etc.He used to encourage his devotees to read all these ancient scriptures of hinduism,like vedas or upanishads.Infact he was not very cosy to muslims as such,as he had once commented to a woman that he was born to a brahmin family and not a blackmagic wielding muslim(implying that muslims are black magic lovers).Interestingly shirdi used to celebrate islamic urus festival on the day of ram navami,it was sai who instructed the hindu villagers to celebrate Ram navami on the same day instead of urus.Maybe this is the reason why shirdi sai is not considered islamic in the hindutva belt of maharashtra.And regarding sathya sai,i dont hv much respect for him,though i understand he did a lot of humanitarian work.But ideally an yogi should not spend a lavish life,particularly in a poor nation like India.Sathya sai had a life that was anything but yogic.

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    1. JAM, Nana Patekar is from Maharashtra, not Tamilnadu. Since you mentioned Shirdi Sai, I wonder if you read Koenraad Elst’s post http://koenraadelst.blogspot.in/2017/05/speculations-about-mental-condition-of.html
      Elst shares his views on Arun Shourie’s yet to be released book on the mental condition of Indian saints, particularly Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi. I read in a book (Serpent of Fire by Darrel Irving) that Kundalini awakening symptoms are almost similar to schizophrenia symptoms. I’m a little worried after reading that book. Do you think that some of the godmen of recent times actually are not enlightened souls but schizophrenics? Even Shirdi Sai Baba used to fly into rage, hurl abuses, pelt stones and did exhibit abnormal behaviour as mentioned in “Sai Satcharitra”.

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    2. @Anu

      This is the problem with western perspective on Hindu spirituality.I admire&respect elst for all his knowledge,but here i believe his way of looking at things is wrong.First thing is that the saints,whether Ramana Maharshi or RK Paramhamsa, attained their sainthood only after a full path of kundalini along the spine,and not just an awakening.For a full path,kundalini needs to remain centralised and balanced along the sushumna Nadi tract.People who become schizophrenics with kundalini awakening actually get this Prana Shakti disbalanced from the central sushumna line.Infact not only mental disorders,the traditional rajayoga pranayamas for kundalini can even damage ur nervous and other body systems or organs,giving physical diseases .Often this happens not directly because of the kundalini but because of the pranayama practitioner's zeal to keep long span of kumbhaka or overburden himself into finetuning the pranayamas,which eventually damage the nervous system.
      Now if someone asks the mental health of Ramana Maharshi,I would rather ask for his own mental health instead :) I can understand someone questioning RK Paramhamsa(because RK's words or behaviour would be like schizo to people not initiated to Hindu spirituality),but how do people find a saint like Ramana Maharshi mad???And regarding RK's mental health,well with all his schizophrenia,he still managed to spot a 16 year old Vivekananda(who was an atheist and unruly teenager at that time),and had repeated mentioned from that time that this same unruly teenager would one day speak on hinduism across the world.When RK's closest devotees were disgusted with the atheism and arrogance of V(who even criticised RK at times openly),RK himself always stuck to his belief,and slowly but surely V changed from unruly to saintly ways.Now what type of schizophrenia gives u this kind of insight and futuristic vision?

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    3. Irving is of the opinion that schizophrenia might be the result of improper kundalini awakening or kundalini awakening gone awry. He says that channelizing their Kundalini properly by a competent guru might help them more than electro-convulsive therapy / shock therapy.

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    4. Thanks JAM. Regarding Bengal , the Sena dynasty didnt collapse as quickly as fabricated by Muslim historians . Apparently they moved to Eastern Bengal and put up a resistance there and even led a raid of Varanasi though Im not sure of this.

      Orissa under the Gangas and Gajapati Rajus(Prabhas belongs to this caste) were every bit equal to Vijayanagar when it came to defeating Muslim forces. Though the Gangas were technically of Choda(Chalukya Chola ) origin.

      As for shifting capital to the south , you seem to have that in common with Mohammad Bin Tughlaq ;-). He also attempted to shift to Daulatabad(Devagiri) to keep an eye on souther insurgencies but in the end it was a crippling move when left Delhi a ghost town and a lot of discontentment amongst the masses and the elite.
      Delhi as a capital has its mythic origin with the Mahabharat but was later cemented under the Gurjara Pratiharas as capital of their north based empire, they couldnt expand east ,west or south due to Palas, Arabs and Rashtrakutas.. And the Muslim invaders followed suit. Delhi as a pan Indian capital made sense for a northern based dynasties with holdings in Central Asia ,Afghanistan or Pakistan such as Ghazni,Ghori,Delhi Sultanate or Mughals. But absent these territories, it makes more sense to shift southwards.

      I didnt know that about Shirdi baba- thanks. Though in general I am skeptical of all these new babas!

      Telugu people in the Telengana region atleast were content with Muslim political control under Golkonda but only because they were a tolerant lot and didnt interfere with religion and even patronized Telugu as a court language. The Kuchipudi dance was revived and promoted by a sultan. It was the later Asaf Jahis who were intolerant and imposed Persian and Urdu.
      It was the polygars of modern day Rayalaseema who were a headache for all powers concerned . So much so that the neither the Arcot Nawab nor Nizams wanted anything to do with them and "outsourced" these troubles to the British who themselves didnt have a pleasant time there.

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    5. @YSV

      Interestingly i didnt even recall for a moment that tughlaq planned something similar,before u mentioned,and only now i realise the uncanny similarity :) anyway i wish to see bangalore as the country capital because lets be honest,bangalore is by far the best city india has produced.But as i said earlier,i wont support bangalore just for the amenities it provides,but for the deep hindu cultural link of south india,which i believe is a good thing for a indian capital city.Back in the ancient days,when hastinapur had such strong hindu roots,delhi was absolutely ok.
      As for the islamisation of bengal,actually the later Senas actually made bakhtiyar khilji bite the dust in east bengal,so much that it is rumoured he died from that feeling of humiliation of facing crushing defeat in east bengal.Beyond that,bengal got islamic not just because of later islamic ruler,but also for the rigid casteist society in premedieval and medieval bengal(i think kerala shares this same point also),which made lower castes opt islam.but interestingly in bengal hinduism thrives today,atleast in the western part,not because of any strong hindu kshatriya ruler,but by the way of bhakti movement of chaitanya dev,who was probably the first person in india to try out official largescale ghar wapsi of muslims to hinduism.Guru Nanak had met chaitanya dev in Puri and was heavily impressed by the latter's philosophy and methods like mass open kirtan or such things,which was reflected in early sikhism,before the advent of martial sikhism.but one of the major reasons as to why islam flourished in bengal area is that islam in bengal was somewhat secular and tolerant to hinduism,atleast at ground level among common masses.Maybe this has something to do with the fact that most bengali muslims are ex hindus.but as always,islam drives out all religions by sheer brute force as soon as it gets majority,and hears the beacon of extremism.same thing happened with hindus of east bengal.but that is past now,at present its best if bengali hindus wake up to right wing mentality like telegus or other such parts of india.slowly bengali hindus are getting up though.

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    6. @YSV

      Would u blame medieval islamic growth in north india on the hindu merchant class of that time,through their financing of the mughals,or on the rajput hindus who fought for mughals?What i mean to ask is your honest opinion on whether these groups ,ie merchants or rajputs,can be squarely blamed for islamisation.ofcourse they had a role ,i dont dismiss that totally.it would be great to know ur perspective on this .

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    7. Merchants are the type of people who would be able to thrive under any circumstance. If they cant, they just pick up and leave. This is why merchant types were distrusted by sons of the soil. A major cause of anti Semitism was that merchants were disproportionately represented by Jews.
      However in Bharatendus blog, he showed that Maharana Pratap's campaigns were financed by local merchants who were Marwaris I am guessing. And they took a lot of risk in doing so.
      Financing wars is something bankers and merchants got up regularly. In medieval southern India ,merchants guilds were so powerful that they had their own fighting force similar to the East India company and like them they interfered massively in the politics of Sri Lanka.
      Same with Chettiars in Burma pre independence where they were estimated to own about 40-70%(exact numbers are hard to come by) of all land in Burma!
      Much of conspiracy theories involving Rothschilds germinated from the Napoleanic wars where a British branch of Rothschild financed Wellingtons effort while on the continent Rothschild supported Napolean. In the end ,no matter who lost, Rothschild won!
      Coming back to north Indian merchants, many of them financed the construction of temples and Vedic schools etc which in the long term was more important and lasting than serving as clerks or traders for a Muslim despot.
      The Islamization of Pakistan occured as most of those were semi civilized pastoral groups(only Mughals and British introduced agriculture in Punjab on a large scale) and hence they were more susceptible to conversion. But at the same time, folk festivals such as Baisakhi are still celebrated by Punjabi Muslims. In rural areas, there are some festivals in which girls dance around trees etc which would be condemned by Wahhabis. Ironically Ranjit Singhs victories over Muslims compelled them to draw lines in sand and remove even more HIndu customs they observed.
      Same goes for Bangladesh. The most devastating thing British did to Bengal besides famines was the census where they declared the majority of Bangladesh Muslim even though they were Muslim only in name and celebrated Durga puja and other festivals with gusto. This and pan Islamism movements also divorced them from their Hindu neighbors and thus led to subsequent traumas which do not need repeating.

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    8. @YSV

      Thanks a lot for your reply :) _/\_ the quality of content in your essays and comments is so high that i often quote these in discussions online :)

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    9. @YSV

      "The Islamization of Pakistan occured as most of those were semi civilized pastoral groups(only Mughals and British introduced agriculture in Punjab on a large scale) and hence they were more susceptible to conversion."

      Wow I wasn't aware of this perspective of the Islamization of Punjab. But haven't Punjab and Sindh witnessed large scale agriculture since the times of the Indus Valley Civilization?

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    10. @PremChand

      Great to see u back after a long time :) Hope everything is well on ur side.One reason for that,as i can guess,might be the nonavailability of rivers and water for agri,beyond the indus or chenab etc.In those days,probably people did not think of extending canals into distant agri fields like we do at present.Overall a significant part of the modern pak is relatively arid for agri works.but i may be wrong in my assumption.Compared to that,the indian side of punjab is rich in riverine flow.In general,since the inception of islam,the nomadic free population of central asia have historically shown affinity to islam.This is something many hindutva vadis get wrong,the dominance of islam across middle asia had more to do with the voluntary acceptance of people than the sword power of islam.Even in india,a lot of the medieval islam conversion happened because of rigid caste system and lower castes feeling neglected.On one side we had untouchability in many parts of india,on the other side,islam was offering a sense of universal brotherhood(though to be honest,islam in india itself got entangled into this caste and untouchability type of thing,as i have read somewhere that relatively higher caste muslims also used to sideline lower muslims :P But YSV would be the best person to address all this.

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    11. YSV, thanks so much for your response. Some Twitter intellectuals have written a series of scholarly articles on mercantile collusion with the Islamists. And Twitter RW is vehemently criticizing them for their biased views and for only targeting the merchant classes / Vaishya community without looking at the broader perspective. Here's the link to one of their articles: https://www.myind.net/Home/viewArticle/indic-mercantile-collaboration-abrahamic-invaders Remaining articles can be found here: https://sringeribelur.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/links-to-articles-on-mercantile-collusion-with-the-islamist-invaders-by-saswati-sarkar-shanmukh-dikgaj-aparna-and-kirtivardhan-dave/

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    12. @JAM

      Thanks for your reply. Hope everything is well with you too :)

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    13. @Prem chand

      To be sure, climatic and river patterns varied through out the ages but the drying of Saraswati had a deleterious effect not just on IVC but later civilizations as well. The drying of rivers across Northwest India was a belated desertification which had consumed the entire North Africa, Mesopotamia ,Persian Gulf regions which Sindh and Punjab are a geographical continuation of as per the Koppen classification system till they hit the sub tropical terrain in UP.
      The arid climate reappears in the Deccan ( Karnataka and Rayalaseema are the driest regions in India after the Sahara).

      The reason you cant name any empires in Punjab and Sindh set up by local peoples is due to this reason. Oh sure you have Indo Greeks, Sakas, Kushans and Huns ruling Punjab and Sindh but as satrapys not core territories. And these were foreigners. In such climates it was more convenient for pastoral groups than settled agriculture.

      And while people of Punjab and Sindh were not lacking in courage at least earlier on( Alexander admired them for it when he encountered the independent tribesmen) but not so much later(Hsuien Tsang found punjabis to be fierce but of fleeting courage and Sindhis and Kashmiris as timid) , they were unable to withstand onslaughts from the northwest due to lack of centralized structure which comes from urbanization which in turn depends on agricultural surplus. And furthermore Sindh had the best horses in India!!

      Even in the Deccan urbanization on a large scale happenned relatively late. Cynthia Talbot notes that well until the Kakatiya age, a good chunk of Andhra society was nomadic and pastoral.
      Irrigation works were done on a major scale by the Cholas which is still in use! Kakatiya and Reddy kingdoms also attempted large scale settlement and agrarian expansions.
      But it was sir Arthur Cotton whose contribution to irrigation transformed the diets of Andhra peoples. Thanks to his efforts, water intensive rice became easier to cultivate which led to Andhra becoming a rice culture. Earlier rice was consumed only on special occasions. Instead a grain like ragi was more popular.
      The British did something similar in Punjab.

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  2. Wonderful review YSV! It's by far the best review I have read.

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    1. Thank you but not really a review of the film itself but the cultural aspect behind it. I personally liked part I better.

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  3. Bollywood's emphatic obsession with gangster/mafia don movies and immortalizing Islamic characters is not going to end unless it comes out of Khans' monopoly and start churning out more realistic movies.
    These days having characters with muslim names and singing allah mulla songs has become a regular practice in Hindi films. Amid this deliberate Islamization of bollywood in comes Bahubali giving Khan's and their ilk a run for their money. Bahubali strikes a right chord with audience with its strong characters , extravagant sets, never seen before VFX and battle sequences in India cinema. No wonder the left liberal secular gang finds this film communal because Bahubali is not just a film it is a cultural phenomenon.

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    1. It is normal to make movies about mafia dons. And not all of them were about Muslims. One of India's greatest films was about the Tamil don Varadaraja Mudaliar (Nayakan). Of course there was another Tamil don Haji Mastaan but for some reason he is relegating in the Muslim category next to Pathans rather than Mudaliar(though Mastaan was a very close friend of Mudaliar and arranged for his funeral when he died). Never mind Mastaan could only read and write Tamil. Anyway thats how it works I suppose.

      I am confused by you plea to make more realistic movies. Are you saying movies like Black Friday are less realistic than Bahubali?hahahah

      It is not just Khans who are Islamizing Bollywood but even Hindu producers and writers. Why? I suppose Muslim influence on popular culture was profound. Before the film industry, what was popular culture- music, drama, poetry, story telling etc. Over here in northern India anyway Muslim influence was profound. Just as today you speak in a respectful language such with your parents,with your friends you use all sorts of slang and innuendo. Well that was Urdu in its time. It was at once a popular language of hookers, pimps, painters and other allied tradespeople who ended up in the film industry. Apart from this it is also the language of many classically trained musicians and poets. And Im talking about Hindus mostly mind you. And then you have the exodus of those Punjabis, Sindhis and Hindkos such as the Kapoors, Nihalani etc who have bathed in Islamic culture for generation and it is complete.

      Bollywood was an Islamic cultural construct from its inception.

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  4. Telugu cinema has always been a pioneer in India when it comes to special effects in movies. The Telugu-Tamil bilingual Mayabazaar(1957) was one of the first Indian movies to employ special effects. Bahubali is a product of this tradition.

    Any charges of communalism against Bahubali are laughable, considering that the director SS Rajamouli is an atheist.

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    1. Rajamouli claimed to be indebted to Mayabazaar as inspiration. True he is an atheist but he is still of Telugu cultural background of which religion is a part. Whether he believes it or not, he wishes to honor it. BTW the story of Bahubali is typical of Chandamama and Amar Chitra Katha particularly where a prince pretends to be a stupid field hand in front of the princess etc.

      Also Veer Savarkar was also athiest but he was quite communal in pro Hindu anti Muslim mindset.

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  5. ysv do u think kattappa was real father of baabhubali

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  6. @JAM
    The Indian side of Punjab was better watered than what is today Pak and yet they failed to create any major kingdoms or empires apart from Yaudheyas in the pre Islamic era.

    The reason that Pakistan converted is the same reason that Central Asia did. Pastoral nomadic groups are rather easy to convince due to their relatively primitive mindset. They associate religion of the conqueror with the power of the god of that particular religion and succumb hence. This is why we considered them barbarians as they were gross materialists who were unable to see the essence of religion.
    Not to mention in the case of Central Asians atleast it has brought them a lot of loot and glory. Keep in mind Central Asians such as Huns were absent for nearly 600 years from India due to deterrance by Guptas, Yashodharman, Harshavardhana, Pratiharas until Ghori and Ghazni showed up (Sakas and Hunas in a new avatar)

    The reason many lower castes converted is the same. Many lower castes were tribal groups who had relatively recently(for that time period) to Hinduism and on whom Hinduism sat lightly. This is not to say that they didnt put a fight. Gujjars and Ahirs who were newcomers to Hinduism(Solanki kings observed that Ahirs were mleccha invaders who ate beef and plundered temples) but gave a spirited defense of Hinduism as for many of these groups their identity was tied up with Hinduism. Less so with Gujjars, which is why you have Hindu and Muslim Gujjars today but not Muslim Ahirs.

    As for caste system amongst Muslims, yes there is very much a hierarchy among Muslims. And this was seen as early as the Delhi sultanate. And it persisted throughout since. The Bahmani kingdom collapsed into smaller states not just due to Vijayanagars onslaughts but also the fracture between foreign born Muslims who were the elites and the rank and file who were converts(Deccani).
    To this end, Deccani Muslim kings like Tipu Sultan took to patronizing Persian and imagining an Arab lineage due to his pretensions of being an "Ashraf"(upper class) Muslim rather than the convert of some southern pastoral group that his grandfather Fateh Mohammad most likely was.

    This caste system persists even today with Sayyids(descendents of Prophet Mohammad at the top), Ashraf(those of Persian, Arab, Pushtun ,Turkic and Mughal descent) , Ajlaf(descendents of higher caste Hindus) and arzaal(descendents of lower caste Hindus and Dalits)

    You see the order is the more foreign the better. This creates the profound inferiority complex which manifests itself in everyday dealings. I was reading about the heirarchy of ISIS, where Arabs and Chechens were at the top and Indians way at the bottom relegating to cleaning toilets. This is where grovelling towards your "betters" gets you.

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  7. @Anu
    Thanks for the article. That was quite comprehensive and I learnt lot of things. However the guy does acknowledge that others such as royalty collaborated with the invaders and conquerors be they British or Muslims but at the same time singles them out for special treatment.

    In our system merchants were grouped with farmers who were well salt of the earth. But it is different in other societies. Heck in southern India, we have Balija caste who are warrior merchants who ruled Tamil Nadu on behalf of Vijayanagar. And native mercantile interests of Chettiars , Marikiyars(Tamil Muslims who were honored by the title of placing Raghunatha Nayaka in front of their name) played a part in restricting Dutch presence in TN as the latter claimed a monopoly on trade. Eventually they were driven out of TN and Marthanda Varma put a final nail in their coffin. Not least due to the irritation by Syrian Christian merchants.The later French and British companies learnt valuable lessons from the Dutch experience and did not repeat their mistakes but tried a different track.

    All in all, there is no shortage of collaborators whether Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya. To single out the mercantile community is rather petty.

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  8. @YSV&others

    I would love to know ur perspectives on one historical point that baffles me a lot.The Muslim invaders overran North India,comprehensively defeated all Hindu resistance across a major part of the northern tract,yet all these places remained Hindu majority throughout.how did medieval Hindu society manage to retain Hinduism against aggressive muslim dynasties like Delhi Sultanate or Mughal or slave dynasty?

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    1. Beside the Delhi sultanate which was incredibly cruel and quite ideological i.e had an active interest in converting the populace to Islam, most of the Muslim rulers while not exactly enlightened and certainly preferred Islam over Hinduism were content to live and let live. Hindu society and culture could tolerate a ruler of different ethnic background and even a different religion as long they didnt trample upon Hindu customs. Most the Hindu resistance movements especially Marathas , Vijayanagar and Sikhs started when they broke this contract with the ruled.
      The Indo Gangetic plains from Haryana all the way to Eengal were quite fertile and productive and the bulk of the population was Hindu so they could be taxed more than Muslims. Mughals such as Jahangir and Shah Jahan were notorious for their excessive taxation for their luxurious lifestyle and useless vanity projects such as the Taj Mahal. In contrast it is surprising that Hindu basher Aurangzeb lowered taxes and lived a frugal lifestyle until his wars in the Deccan (not only against Marathas but also a Pancho Villa like Telugu bandit Papadu) bankrupted the empire.

      In general the Muslim sultans were libertines , happy to enjoy the good life and not cause undue disturbance to the status quo as long as the money kept coming in.

      Hindus managed to keep their culture and religion alive by simply complying with the rules and regulations even humiliating ones such as not being able to ride horses or built temples which were destroyed or damaged or certainly not build them higher than mosques(one reason why there are fewer temples in the north). But others went into the service of the Mughals in particular- here you will find the Kayashtas and Rajputs. And soon the Mughals came to be dependent on them and were not in a position ot aggravate Hindus too much lest they lose support of these communities who they depended on for administration and troops.
      Not to mention Jats of Haryana ,Delhi and Western U.P were often too hot to handle. They even desecrated Akbars tomb and played with his skull and Aurangzeb couldnt do anything. Mughals generally left them alone. Though they suffered a great deal during the Delhi sultanate.
      And then in Bihar and MP you had the tribal areas where Hindus would often take refuge and again Muslims usually werent in a mood in confront tribals as fighting them in their forests was a losing proposition.

      Last but not least is pure and simple racism. Most of the sultans and nobles were of Turkic, Mughals , Farsi ,Uzbek, Pushtun and Arab origin. They held native converts in contempt and contrary to Hindutvadi claims werent really keen on recruiting Muslims from Indians. Even today we see this prejudice. Indian Muslims who join ISIS are given lowly tasks such as cleaning and sweeping toilets.
      Tipu Sultan was likely the most powerful Muslim king of local origin whose grandfather probably was a converted Polygar from Kolar. But even he had to manufacture some fancy lineage from Arabia to get respect of the Mughal emperor as defunct as he was at the time, his support and name still carried a lot of prestige.

      The plan of the Muslim elites was not mass conversion of Hindus to Islam as it doesnt seem to be in their best interests. They envisioned a Nazi style slave state where India was to them was Russia would be to Nazi Germany- a country of untermenschen existed only for their cheap manpower and access to productive land so the ruling elite could be secure and live in luxury and comfort.

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    2. There are striking similarities between the Nazi concept of untermenschen, Persian treatment of their Jews, and India's varna system. Bernard Lewis notes that after the Islamization of Persia, Persian Jews became in the eyes of Muslim Iranians what the Dalits were to Indian upper castes- essentially a class of untermenschen who should be held in perpetual contempt. Contrast this with Christian Europe, where Jews were simply people following the wrong religion and could achieve equal status with Gentiles just by converting. No such recourse existed in Persia and India, where social status was determined by birth.

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    3. There were eras of severe socio political conservatism. I think Gupta era is the most notorious. Much to the irritation of Dalit activists. It is heralded as the golden age of India. However during and after the collapse of the Guptas , Pallavas Kadambas and Vakatakas, there arose many dynasties of humble even outcaste origins such as Hoysalas, Kalabhras ,Rashtrakutas and Kakatiyas who were of tribal shepherd, bonded laborer origin.
      This relatively egalitarian ethos continued atleast in the south until the Islamic invasions when these erstwhile outsider groups started posing as Kshatriyas and reinstituted varnashrama dharma.
      The cruelty against low castes in Kerala in particular really started with Marthanda Varma . Most castes had a live and let live approach due to him.
      A lot of casteism in TN similarly owes to Nayakar era.

      Blood and tribal ties then as now is a big deal in the Middle East. It was a proto racism of sorts. Contrast the Muslim empires to Rome where an Arab from Syria such as Philip could become a Roman emperor!

      Anyhow the severe conservatism which was a backlash against Muslim rule really was cemented under the British not least due to their racist policies and talk of martial and depressed classes. But the census of 1900 really upset the apple cart in all the wrong ways. Nadars despite their lowly status lived a class apart and were famed as warriors . They rioted when they the BRitish classified not as Arya Kshatriya but a lower Shudra caste.

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