Two narratives that tell tale of one city

Many conclaves, seminars and meetings are being held in various places in the city to debate and analyse achche din and the completion of one year of the Modi Government.

One such event, ‘An Evening of Protest’, will be held on May 23. It will be marked by discussions and screenings, where a group of professionals, artistes, filmmakers, activists, academicians and others from civil society will gather to evaluate governance in all its nuances in the year gone by.

Nakul Singh Sawhney, one of the organisers, who recently released his film Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baki Hai, explains why Muzaffarnagar is still the most crucial topic when discussing the new idea of India.

“There were many small riots prior to the major massacre in September, which continued for five to six months. As their frequency increased, the bigger riot took place,” he says.

“Muzaffarnagar tells us clearly than ever before how political parties are involved in firing up riots,” Sawhney tells Metrolife.

Sawhney’s film shows people telling that in past skirmishes, even if one was a Hindu and the other a Muslim, it would remain a fight between two individuals and not go beyond. But when election fever gripped the place, people saw local organisations getting involved and making every fight or election contest a Hindu-Muslim affair.

The film records people talking of incidents where children from the minority community were harassed, their skull caps pulled off and thrashed in trains and elsewhere. The characters in the film agreed, and vociferously stated that this hadn’t happened earlier.

The film also weaves in the fact that a letter sent by the Darul-ul-Uloom Madarsa to the ruling dispensation in UP, expressing concern over increasing religious intolerance, was ignored, and that the major political parties in UP competed with one another to cash in on the polarisation.

The release of another film, En dino Muzaffarnagar, was put on hold after the director and conceptualiser Shubh­radeep Chakravorty passed away. His wife Meera Chaudhary says it will be released soon, albeit with a few cuts.

“These cuts will not let the film lose its flavour. The court says that Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has to give a good reason as to why this film should not be released.”

The film was banned for purportedly “firing communal sentiment”, she says. “But Lalit Bhasin (of the CBFC) was unable to point out any such scene or incident in the film clearly. In the second hearing the ruling was in our favour.”

Choudhury, who is keeping indifferent health, says, “Muzaffarnagar clearly remains the crucial point when discussing the new Parliament as it describes how new parliaments are formed.”

En dino Muzaffarnagar describes the situation more analytically, allowing politicians a chance to make their point as well, whereas Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baki Hai voices the views of locals who survived the riots.

“The situation became so big that even BJP supporters could not lie about the situation,” Choudhury says.

The film was released first at Prithvi Theatres in Mumbai, after which it was banned. “The film did jolt the audience,” she says.

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