Directed and Edited by: Rakesh Sharma
This is a documentary about the Gujarat riots and how it affected the people there. It takes a very practical and real life view of things. There is no narration as such and all the gaps are filled in through text inserts within the documentary.
The documentary is made up of interviews with people involved in the riots. It takes a balanced view of things. Interviews are carried out with both Hindus and Muslims. It allows the people who were said to be behind the riots (Vishwa Hindu Parishad [VHP], Bajarang Dal and Bhartiya Janta Party [BJP]) and the victims of the riots (mainly Muslims) to speak and describe their experiences.
A warning to the ‘casual’ watcher. The movie is hard hitting and has not been ‘diluted’. The description of the violence as given by the interviewees is not edited. This means the descriptions (most of which appear to be first hand) are direct and graphic. The subtitles just help drive home the point with greater force. The viewer is not allowed any room to manouver.
The documentary flows through the events following the riots including the Gujarat elections as well as the attack at Akshardham temple. On one side we see the Nazi like speeches of the Bajarang Dal/VHP workers on the other side we hear the real life accounts of rape and mass murder.
In one scene a Bajarang Dal/VHP activist Prahlad Shastri is seen in a gathering where another activist is telling Hindus to buy from Hindu shops and to use services run by Hindus. The activist goes on to say that they will be distributing stickers with ‘Jai Shree Ram’ (Praise to Lord Ram) which should be put on shops, cycle-rikshaws and other places of business.
This remind me of how the ‘Star of David’ was used by the Nazis to label Jews and Jewish businesses.
Another nutcase is Acharya Dharmendra of the VHP. Using a very limited and narrow definition of Hinduism (as is the case with most religious fanatics) the ‘man of God’ is seen using his speech to spread hate [check it out on YouTube.com].
I do not know how true are the claims made by the various people interviewed in the documentary. I just know that it is a big shame for India and makes me feel that India Shining is more like India Burning.
What will happen as the population increases in India and we see increasing competition for resources? Where in the next 40 years 60% of the population increase is going to come from the three poorest states in India: UP, Bihar and MP. The gap between the urban and rural population is increasing.