The irony in the dialogue, “They call this place Jannat, but destroy it so that they get place in Jannat after death”, is enough to make one painfully aware of what happened in Kashmir in the ’80s and ‘90s. Without blaming any religion by name, director Vivek Agnihotri has skillfully told the truth about the tragedy faced by the Kashmiri Pandits.
In Verse 42, Chapter 4 of the Bhagwad Gital, Bhagawan Sri Krishna tells Arjuna,
तस्मादज्ञानसम्भूतं हृत्स्थं ज्ञानासिनात्मन: |
छित्त्वैनं संशयं योगमातिष्ठोत्तिष्ठ भारत || 42||
tasmād ajñāna-sambhūtaṁ hṛit-sthaṁ jñānāsinātmanaḥ
chhittvainaṁ sanśhayaṁ yogam ātiṣhṭhottiṣhṭha bhārata
(Therefore, with the sword of knowledge, cut asunder the doubts that have arisen in your heart. O scion of Bharat, establise yourself in karm yog. Arise, stand up, and take action!)
This is exactly what happens to the protagonist in the film, a young boy called Krishna Pandit (Darshan Kumar) – the truthful knowledge about the genocide cuts away all the doubts about “Indian occupation and human rights violations against the Muslims” in Kashmir and reveals to him the facts about the brutal Genocide that the Kashmiri Pandits faced in Kashmir, and he gathers the courage to arise, stand up & reveal the truth to his world (the students of his college).
I have not seen any film in Hindi which speaks about the truth in such a stark manner – if one wants to heal a wound, one has to acknowledge the wound and open it before cleaning it up and bandaging it. The Kashmir Files acknowledges and opens the wounds but leaves the healing in the hands of the people of this country and the government. The storyline of the film revolves around a college student who is a Kashmiri Pandit but has no knowledge about the genocide that happened in his family. His old Grandfather, a dementia patient, has hidden the truth about his parents’ killing but keeps telling him about the genocide that the community faced. But like any youngster, he treats his Grandfather’s rants with scant attention and falls for the compelling arguments made by his Professor in his College. The Professor entices him with strong, intellectual talks about misgovernance, human rights violations on the followers of a Minority religion, “freedom” (Aazaadi) and encourages him to participate in the elections as the Student President candidate. She also gives him tips to win the election and tells him how without power, one cannot make a change.
How the truth is revealed to the youngster by 4 friends of the deceased Grandfather forms the storyline of the film. While doing this, one can feel the helplessness that the Kashmiri Hindus felt on 19th January 1990, and that of the Governor and government staff, the Army personnel, the Police, and the Journalists … it was not just the Kashmiri Pandits who were raped and killed; it was also the conscience and ability of all these people. The desire for a holy land separate from Bharat turned ordinary people into monsters who did not think twice before killing their own neighbours, teachers, friends and co-workers. The scene about Bitta Karate cold-bloodedly telling Krishna the lie about how Indian Army was responsible for the death of his Mother and brother, brings shivers down one’s spine. And the fact that it is such people that our so-called intellectuals & leftists are associated with makes us wonder what “humanism” is at play here.
For me the highlight of the film was the subtle way in which the storyline brings out the total inhuman trampling of the Human Rights of the children caught in the genocide. They lost their childhood, their connect to their roots, their culture, traditions, rituals & more. The scene in which Krishna innocently enquires about Kashmiri dishes which he has never tasted makes one wipe a tear. Vivek Agnihotri has made this film with a lot of “Vivek”.
Needless to say, the actors have given superlative performances & the dialogues have been kept to a minimum and are not preachy or over-dramatic. In my opinion every Bharatiya, especially the youngsters need to go and watch this film to know about how genocide was perpetuated in this country on a community just because they were Hindus. Of course, it would also help in understanding about the narrative war and the ongoing killings post elections, in West Bengal & Kerala. It is a civilizational war which has pulled in Hindus irrespective of whether they wish to be a part of it or whether they are secular or not. But most of all, Muslims should watch this film to see how the illusory dream of attaining Jannat after death has turned some of them into people not worthy of Jannat, Hayaat or Insaniyat. Jannat is a “Mrig-trishna” for such people.
NOTE: Many films on Kashmir have been released in the past – but this ONE film destroys the agenda of showing Minority religion as innocent & Hindus as evil oppressors, in all the other films.
- Author : Rati Hegde (a columnist, a story teller, a lover of Cows, a devotee of Shree RamachandraPura Matha. write on Current affairs, women, blasting narratives about the Hindu Caste system, Spirituality and more.)