MUMBAI (Joseph Dias CSF) – Fox Star Studio on their own behalf and that of the producers, RS Infotainment and Photon Khataas have in a communication to The CSF (The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum) said that neither they, nor the artist (AR Rahman) or lyricist (Javed Akhtar) “intended to insult or hurt any individual or organisations’ religious sentiments or beliefs.”
The CSF response is, “intentional or not, the use of “Hosanna” in the movie “Ekk Deewana Tha” is sacrilegious and has resulted in hurting the religious sentiments of the Christians and Jews around the world. We would therefore demand that if those concerned are genuine about their intentions, then an apology be issued immediately and the word Hosanna be deleted from the song, failing which The CSF would seek legal redressal to act against them” said the CSF General Secretary Mr. Joseph Dias.
The CSF after legal counsel is of the opinion that the letter from those concerned, that rather than rectifying the situation, they have resorted to justifying use of “Hosanna” with no regret or remorse and will decide on their future course of action soon, along with other community groups.
The CSF General Secretary further pointed out that Hosanna is not a “greeting or blessing”, but a prayer, which is sacred and uttered reverentially in Christian and Jewish liturgies, refering to God or Jesus Christ. It is akin to chalisas and mantras (Hinduism), azaan (Islam) or the scriptural chants, verses and worship prayers of any other faith.
“I find it difficult to pray, ever since I heard Hosanna in the song and it disturbs me. No other religion will tolerate such abuse and hence, have been spared. There would have been riots the world over. Are we being singled out because we don’t make enough noise?” Joseph Dias added.
Meanwhile, the CSF has in a notice to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) called upon the authority to enforce the law, terming the mention as violation of at least Section 5B of The Cinematograph Act, 1952, which specifies the principles for guidance in certifying films. The CSF points out that these are –
(1) A film shall not be certified for public exhibition if, in the opinion of the authority competent to grant the certificate, the film or any part of it is against the interests of (2) the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence.
The CSF also calls upon the CBFC to deny a certificate on the above ground and if a certificate has been issued, then to withdraw the same. It has urged the Union Information and Broadcasting ministry to issue additional directions to the CBFC, on issues of religious nature to also seek the opinion of the heads of the faiths concerned before sanctioning films for public exhibition. This is provided for under sub-section (2) of the said Section (5B) of The Cinematograph Act, 1952
AR Rahman in a reported media interview said that he had spent “several months doing research before composing the song and consulted friends who are Christian about the usage” to which the CSF replies – “all Rahman had to do was Google or ask the clergy or religious heads, who are the appropriate authorities.
Another justification sought to be made out is that the Hosanna mention was earlier made in the Tamil version of the film, to which there was no outcry. The CSF points out that a mention in the vernacular, with limited reach, could have possibly be missed, but not in the national language, Hindi and English, which is being commercially exploited. The vast expanse of Bollywood ensures all those involved make a fast buck at the cost the religion of others.
The CSF general Secretary concluded that the Hosanna usage in the context of a story that has the boy, falling in love with a girl – who belongs to an orthodox Malayali Christian family, where watching movies, partying or falling in love are completely taboo – is mocking and ridiculing the faith of the person. It is insulting to make a song and dance of the scripture of any religion and in very bad taste. It is not absolutely essential to the film and those responsible can certainly do without it.
Part of the Holy Mass
According to The CSF, Hosanna is not a common parlance religious terminology and is part of The Sanctus (Latin: Holy), a hymn from Christian liturgy, forming part of the Order of Mass. The Sanctus is sung or said as the final words of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, the prayer of consecration of the bread and wine. The Roman Missal, which is used daily by Catholics has The Sanctus as:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
The “Hosanna Anthem”, based on the phrase Hosanna, is a traditional Moravian anthem written by Bishop Christian Gregor sung on Palm Sunday and the first Sunday of Advent. It is antiphonal, i.e. a call-and-response song for worshipers and religious followers in the rituals.
Festival Prayer in Judaism
Among the Jews, Hosanna means “please save or save now”. In Jewish liturgy, the word is applied specifically to the Hoshana Service, a cycle of prayers from which a selection is sung each morning during Sukkot, the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. The complete cycle is sung on the seventh day of the festival, which is called Hoshana Rabbah, “Great Hosanna”. This festival was associated with a ceremonial drawing of water which, it was believed, secured fertilizing rains in the following year; the penalty for abstinence was drought.
From: The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF)
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