MUMBAI, (Joseph Dias) — The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF) has taken strong exception to threats against the movie ‘Shudra, The Rising’ from Hindutva groups, notably the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its youth outfit, the Bajrang Dal, who have announced that they would not let the film release. They have demanded d that the release of ‘Shudra The Rising’ should be stopped with immediate effect, saying the sole purpose of the film is to divide the Hindu Society on caste lines.
The CSF general secretary, Joseph Dias has expressed solidarity with the film producer and director, Sanjiv Jaiswal, urging the union government to give adequate protection for screening of the film. In a memorandum to Ms. Ambika Soni, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, as well as Home Minister, Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde, who himself is touted as a dalit, The CSF says that ‘Shudra, The Rising’ is a fitting tribute to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and the schedule caste movement.
Joseph Dias further said ‘it is a fact that even today in modern India, casteist practices are still prevalent and upper caste hegemony is very much practiced, which ‘Shudra, The Rising’ seeks to address. The Hindutva upper caste lobbies, it seems are only interested in paying lip service towards emancipation of the scheduled castes. Why else would they oppose dalits converts to Christianity or Islam being given benefits due to the other shudras. The dalit Christian and Muslim struggle is over 60 years and has not yet been resolved.
The CSF press statement points out that evil of the caste system, which arose from the ‘Manusmriti’ and divided society into four groups – Brahmin (religious), Kshatriya (warrior), Vaishya (merchant) and Shudra (menial) – needs to be spoken against, as it continues to exist even today. ‘The caste system is similar to apartheid and civilized society must be rid of this evil. India can claim to be a modern democracy only if all citizens are treated equally, with dignity and not as slaves’, Joseph Dias added.
The CSF also calls upon the government to direct the National Film Development Corporation to commission films on other similar unsung heroes like Mahatma Jyotiba Phule or Sahumaharaj and others who fought social evils, which even today are being perpetuated by the ‘kangaroo courts’ called Khap panchayats and make lives miserable for the lower castes.
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