By Binoy Viswam
Day in and day out, the RSS-led parivar excels themselves in the fascist skills of propaganda. Learning lessons from Mussolini and Hitler, updating those lessons for the changing time and place, they sometimes outsmart even their masters. In 1937, inaugurating a movie production unit, Benito Mussolini gave the motto: “Cinema is the most powerful weapon.” Following his steps, Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels have also attempted to persuade film makers to manufacture cinema of their taste and tune. From the initial days of RSS-BJP rule, India has been witnessing concerted moves to utilize the possibilities of art and literature to achieve their political goals.
The happenings in the FTII, Pune, showed the country that how adamant and calculated they are to pollute the horizons of culture. Following a long series of communally motivated acts to contaminate art and culture came the drama Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy. The purpose behind all this was never the promotion of arts or aesthetics but to sow the seeds of strife and hatred. The venomous narrative in The Kashmir Files was part of this warfare to conquer the peoples’ minds through the medium of cinema. After graduating through such adventures, now they have come out with The Kerala Story, the most poisonous one in the series.
Their Kerala Story is not the real story of Kerala. The real Kerala Story is woven with love and respect, which the people of Kerala, belonging to various faiths have imbibed through generations. The real Kerala Story has elevated the state to top ranking positions in all human development indices. The people of Kerala, who are the makers of the real Kerala Story, have always maintained harmonious interrelations irrespective of religion and caste. Those great people have always kept forces of religious extremism, whether Hindu, Muslim or Christian, away from their day to day lives. Those people have never provided even the minimum space for their political parties. That is why the RSS-BJP orchestrated the Kerala Story to depict an unreal Kerala with vengeance towards its people.
The Kerala Story movie is based on completely baseless claims, fake news and Islamophobic propaganda with the intent to malign the image of real Kerala and divide people on religious fanatical ground. The makers of the film first claimed to unearth the story of 32,000 Muslim women who went missing in Kerala, purportedly after forced or lured conversions and later joined the ISIS. When the people and lovers of truth came out to question their ridiculously exaggerated number, they had no hesitation in simply cool down the number from 32,000 to a mere three. That itself shows the hollowness of the RSS brand of Kerala Story.
The trailer deliberately misquotes and misinterprets statements by two former chief ministers of Kerala. The statement made by V S Achutanandan has been incorrectly translated from Malayalam and then used to malign the Muslim community. Also, Oommen Chandy never mentioned any annual figures of conversions nor he mentioned women joining ISIS or forced conversions. It is evident that the film is misrepresenting statements by both the CMs to gain some credibility and mislead the people. Several media and YouTube channels on RSS payroll have also started a similar tirade against Kerala. People of Kerala in general have opposed this politically motivated attempt to slander the state in a united voice.
The movie is trying to use the so-called ‘love Jihad’ as a means to convert these women to Islam. However, ‘Love Jihad’ remains a baseless Islamophobic conspiracy theory aimed at polarization and those who raise this bogey have never been able to back it even with a shred of evidence. The Union home ministry led by Amit Shah told the Parliament that no cases of ‘love jihad’ have been reported through MoS G Kishan Reddy on February 5, 2020. Despite rejection of this theory by the BJP government itself in Parliament, the lie factory of RSS is working overtime to make people believe in this discredited theory. Similarly, the number of Indians joining the ISIS as fighters is not more than 200, according to government and strategic sources. It’s apparent that the narrative being propelled by ‘The Kerala Story’ is, clearly based on lies and twisting facts and aims at fuelling hatred. It is dangerously harmful for communal harmony in Kerala in particular and the country in general.
Here comes the crucial question of responsibility. Who should be responsible if fiction is presented as fact? Who should be responsible if fallacy, masquerading as truth, results in discord and riots? It is true that the current government controlled by the RSS has no regard for our Constitution and the values enshrined in it. Moreover, they have no moral concern for truth. Still, a government in a democratic polity has a critical role to play in educating people on the secular ethos of our Constitution and it is also responsible for creating awareness so that fake news and hateful propaganda should not be taken as the truth. If the BJP government is shirking from this responsibility, then it is evident that its loyalty remains with the RSS ideology and not with the Constitution of India. Crisis of our country is that the government has turned solely into the BJP election machinery for which The Kerala Story is another plank to polarize people before the Karnataka elections. This is a dangerous situation for the country. The captain is relentless on sinking the ship.
What should we do when the State is escaping from its constitutional mandate? Then it comes to us that people must be sensitized on these subjects through facts and spirit of scientific inquiry. Many people have understandably demanded a ban on the movie considering the sinister design it represents. However, various segments of people have opined that a ban may not be the appropriate step in this matter at this juncture. The parivar forces may utilise it as an opportunity to raise hue and cry about freedom of speech and expression. People should be reached with facts and must be educated to differentiate between political propaganda and truth. The bonds between people must be strengthened so that no volume of propaganda and malevolent fiction can create a wedge between them. Education and solidarity are the most effective weapons against the lie factory of RSS. People will have to rise unitedly, if truth is to triumph. (IPA Service)