Before the second world war, Adolf Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, utilized the media to incite anti-Semitism. They produced movies based on anti-semitic propaganda, successfully radicalized the whole country, and got the public’s consent within Germany.
Similarly, the Indian Fascist regime is repeating the same course as Nazi Germany. Regarding establishing the topic, framing, and spreading false news, India is renowned as a counterfeit television factory. In the past, India has produced several films on the conflict in Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is utilizing the media and the film industry as a piece of propaganda machinery to portray Muslim minorities as nasty and depraved.
Looking back at Kashmir files
There is a long list of movies in Bollywood, which are completely based on the anti-Muslim and anti-Christians narratives.
As far as the recent movie “Kashmir Files” is concerned, a Zee Studios Hindi-language film tells the narrative of Hindu Pandits’ flight during the conflict in Kashmir. The so-called “massacre” of Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) and the subsequent deportation from the occupied Valley were the movie’s focus. New Delhi attempts to rewrite Kashmiri’s history based on falsehoods and deception to excuse its terrible acts are shown in this film. Meanwhile, the Muslims of Kashmir were depicted as the ones who ejected the Hindus from Kashmir, but the truth is very different.
From a historical point of view, it is tough to tell the story of why the Kashmiri Pandits left their homes. The way they left Kashmir is talked about is very politically charged and controversial. On the one hand, there are stories about how thousands left the Valley during the uprising in Indian-occupied Kashmir in 1989. Which suggests that their community was scared enough to leave their homes. On the other hand, the stories of Kashmiri Pandits who stayed in Kashmir contradict the claims of the diaspora who were of the view that the Kashmiri pandits were victims of “genocide” and were forced “into exile.” Understanding the situation of the Pandits, who are stuck between the Muslim majority in Kashmir and the objectives of the Indian state, is not convenient.
The hate paradigm
Revivalism, which looked to a supposedly glorious and distant past, was the primary method of brainwashing used by Nazi Germany and others. To convince people in adverse situations that they, the majority, are the victims of the minority. Recent Hindi films deal with history, politics, religion, or a combination of these themes. Padmaavat, Manikarnika, The Queen of Jhansi, Samrat Prithviraj, Uri, and The Kashmir Files are a few instances of films that purport to be based on ‘historical events,’ although in most cases, the facts are manipulated or blended with fiction.
After screenings of the Kashmir Files in places worldwide, the filmmakers, notably Anupam Kher, deliver venomous monologues inspired by the film. However, the Prime Minister of India endorsed the film; the theaters were crowded, and the movie’s political issues are seldom addressed publicly.
Nevertheless, this normalization of hatred via movies did not occur overnight. Despite Agnihotri’s assertions that he has a monopoly on this kind of film, the number of Hindu nationalist movies laced with dog whistles has increased significantly since 2014. Moreover, one genre, in particular, Historical Drama, has achieved remarkable success. A few observers have also asserted Islamophobia in films like Padmaavat, Tanhaji, Kesari, and Panipat.
The BJP’s government and along with the Hindutva ideologues and their religious extremist leaders are following the footprints of Nazi Germany. They are leading India toward Fascism. In Modi’s India, the religious extremists and ultra-nationalists are using the media as a tool of propaganda to justify their unjustifiable atrocities and violence against Muslims and other minorities in India. When the BJP-led Modi administration in India begins utilizing Bollywood movies to target minorities, it will only serve the further split of the country.
Bollywood is currently serving the core interests of the extremists sitting in the mainstream. It is acting as a new propaganda ministry and a few directors like Agnihotri are serving as propaganda ministers for the Modi regime. The ruling party, BJP is sending the incorrect message throughout the world with complete exaggeration and lies, which will damage India’s reputation and ultimately lead to chaos in the Indian state. The film industry’s impasse can only be broken if the people of every state in India, understand their role, and step up to halt the process of social media, mainstream media, and society becoming divided. Only by safeguarding and granting the rights of minorities can result in achieving unity, peace, and stability.
The writer is a research fellow at South Asian Times and serves as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.