Deepa Mehta's _Fire_

Sumedh Mungee sumedh at CS.WUSTL.EDU
Mon Jan 4 14:19:07 EST 1999

On Mon, 4 Jan 1999, Partha Banerjee wrote:


> A lot has been discussed on this film specially after the recent barbaric
> vandalism at cinema halls by Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal goons (the latter
> being Vishwa Hindu Parishad's direct offshoot) disrupting and eventually
> stalling the show of the film, and one could look up the various websites
> to get a glimpse of some of these discussions.
> It is heartwarming though to see that at least some INDOLOGY scholars have
> seen relevance of its mention on the list.

I'll bet it warms your heart. In fact, any issue that can be twisted
to suit your one-point agenda on spreading hate about Hindu
organizations probably is "heartwarming".

Why did the movie show the two lesbian women as Sita and Parvati ?
It's not as though Sita and Parvati are common Indian names. Indeed
they are not. Why not two muslim women engaged in homosexuality?

Or how about having a movie where the Virgin Mary is having animal sex
with her father 9 months before the birth of Jesus Christ? After all,
incest is common, and some argue that it is legitimate sex, if
consensual. See the reaction such a movie will have in the US, the
symbol of freedom. It is a well known fact here that Fire was a movie
dominated by muslims (like Shabana Azmi). Why did they not choose
characters of their own religion?

Freedom of speech! It's time we had a Statue of Responsibility to
balance out the Statue of Liberty. And some things are beyond the
reach of law. Hurting the feelings of millions of Hindus is not
illegal, but it is certainly not something you want to do repeatedly.
Yes we are conservative - does that mean you will invoke every
possible opportunity to insult our beliefs, and then hide behind the
freedom of speech ?

I do not support the destruction of the movie hall, but it is time
"intellectuals" like Mr. Banerjee learned to respect the feelings of
commoners like us. When there is a big divide, sometimes the only
course of action for the man on the street is to go out and take
things by force. That is what happened in the French Revolution. That
is what happened at Babri Masjid, and against Fire. And it will happen
every time minorities like you try to subvert the feelings of a


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