blog mistri <spliendsmediaATyahoo.co.in> writes
After being without a net connection for a few days–unseasonal rain and storm in Shillong–I am trawling the net, and encounter a curious controversy.
Mr. Inam Ul Rehman, who reviewed the film for Greater Kashmir, also posted the review on ‘Meri’ News, a news portal purportedly providing a platform for unfiltered citizen’s journalism. The censors at the portal managed to not only mangle the review but also preface it with an introduction which turned the meaning of Mr. Rehman’s review upside down! Mr. Rehman, one of ‘Meri’ News’s top Citizen Journalists of 2006, is naturally angry, but his anger remains unacknowledged by the portal and his review continues to be defaced.
So you would be comforted to know that our blog is not the only one attracting slanderous, threatening, $#%^* comments. It seems to me that anyone who tries to swim against the Indian nationalist consensus on Kashmir cannot escape $#%^*.
An instructive episode that allows us a peep into the Indian media’s Kashmir strategy:
compare the original review in Greater Kashmir below, with the Meri News version which follows. Especially instructive is the introduction which the site editors tagged to the review, and adjectives like “jehadis” which they interpolated into Inam ul Rehman’s writing.
Jashn-e-Azadi: We the slaves | Inam ul Rehman | Greater Kashmir | April 5, 2007
On 15th August Indian army unfurls the tricolour at historic Lal-chowk to celebrate their Independence Day and on this occasion only two things are visible on the streets of Srinagar: Indian army and stray dogs, this is the most telling scene of Jashne-e-Azadi directed by Sanjay Kak. Jashne-e-Azadi made by the son of the soil Sanjay Kak left me numb. Here is film which mocks at the India’s sham democracy in Kashmir without sermonise or patronising anyone. There is no linear narration. And he has defined Azadi not by himself but by the concerned people. It can range from metaphysical fight to revenge. He has brilliantly assembled collage of scenes and let people speak themselves. And in between-you blink and you miss the scene: has first time ever highlighted that the death toll of Kashmir Pandits killed is 200 only. Then, the symbolism, metaphors and similes used by the director are very telling. The documentary moves to and fro again and again. And in the prevailing confusion one thing that is unanimous throughout the film despite chaos and confusion people lounge for Azadi.
It may jar the pristine filmmakers but this is not made for them. One can find thousand faults with the film and it may be criticised for not ‘balancing’ but does TRUTH need to be balanced. Yes there is no mention of Kunanposh Pora gang-rapes by the army. Yes he is silent of Gawkadal and Bijbehra massacres and other such details. But let us give him a benefit of doubt. Because Sanjay talks of those actions where media (read Hindu media) was involved yet nothing came to limelight. He deserves more than bouquets and patting on the back.
He has also shown that intellectualism is not only about writing articles, delivering lectures, attending world conferences but visual intellectualism can be most telling—without sermonising, without boring and without catering to few intelligentsia classes; visual intellectualism is today the most potent weapon to defeat the forces of evil.
I am the one who is guilty of relishing Indian movies, enjoying songs, loving its actors when the same country has sent my one hundred thousand brethrens in graves. Jashne-e-Azadi reminds of Paul Valery who in ‘History and Politics’ writes: history is the most dangerous product evolved from the chemistry of the intellect. Its properties are well known. It causes dreams; it intoxicates whole people; gives false memories; quickens their reflexes; keeps their old wounds open; torments them in their repose; leads them into delusions, either of grandeur or persecution; and makes nations bitter, arrogant, insufferable and vain.
We have the knack of dismissing brilliant works; “we already know it”! There is nothing which we haven’t seen, nothing which we haven’t gone through, nothing which we haven’t experienced but there is everything which we have forgotten. It’s a film which must be watched by every Kashmiri. I cannot express the gratitude, but to say, I salute you Sanjay Kak for deifying odds. Your film reminded me slavery, the sacrifices, the sufferings of mothers and sisters! Prune it a little and sent it to every nook and corner of the Kashmir so that we can once again reinvigorate our sapping spirits. And yes it must be talked and circulated to other parts of India as well.
Placed below is its mangled version, with the interpolations marked in bold, as it appeared on ‘Meri’ News
Jashne-e-Azadi: The untold tragedy | Inam Ul Rehman | 07 April 2007, Saturday
Sanjay Kak’s Jashne-e-Azadi visually captures the fright and terror that reigns the bloodstained Valley. It’s a tragic collage that conveys how Azadi-driven jehadis have ruined the paradise.
ON MARCH 31, Sanjay Kak screened the much-awaited film, Jashne-e-Azadi, in Tagore Hall, Srinagar. The film, despite obvious flaws, is a treat in visual intellectualism and poignantly brings out the Kashmiri pain and pathos. It’s a film that will leave you numb. The deserted streets, dotted only by troops and stray dogs on the most revered national day, August 15, metaphorically drives home how much devastation has the Pak-imported concept of Azadi wreaked in the paradise. In Kak’s realism comes out the neighbour’s nefariousness
and the title, Jashne-e-Azadi, acquires a different, ironical ring. It’s anything but jashne (celebration), anything but azadi (freedom) in defiled Kashmir.
The strong point of the movie is that it says it all without explicitly sermonizing or wailing over the wrongs in Kashmir. There is no linear narration. The film itself doesn’t attempt to give Azadi any sense but instead allows the grim situations to bring out the sham sense of Azadi among the Kashmiris.
The film’s raw energy flows the ground situations that range from metaphysical fight to venedetta to jehadi terror to revenge. He has brilliantly assembled collage of scenes that capture people’s torment. The director uses symbolism, metaphors and similes to elucidate the Kashmir tragedy.
The documentary moves to and fro in time again and again. But it keeps coming back from reels of chaos and confusion to the central theme or the
fountainhead of the people problems — Azadi. It may jar the pristine filmmakers, but this is not made for them. One can find a thousand faults with the film and it may be criticized for not balancing the theme, but does reality need to be balanced. It only depicts reality. The interpretation is left to the audience.
Kak has also shown that intellectualism is not only about writing articles, delivering lectures or attending world conferences. Visual intellectualism can be most telling — without sermonizing, without boring and without catering to few intelligentsia classes. How potent can visual intellectualism be this film stands out as an example.
Jashne-e-Azadi reminds me of Paul Valery who in History and Politics writes: “History is the most dangerous product evolved from the chemistry of the intellect. Its properties are well known. It causes dreams; it intoxicates whole people; gives false memories; quickens their reflexes; keeps their old wounds open; torments them in their repose; leads them into delusions, either of grandeur or persecution; and makes nations bitter, arrogant, insufferable and vain.”