wiki:Ram Ke Naam

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Ram Ke Naam

aka In the Name of God 1992 90’ col Hindi d/p/c Anand Patwardhan The 2nd part of Patwardan’s investigation of communalism in contemporary India (Una Mitterandi Yaad Pyari, 1989). The film, shot on 16mm, addresses the rise of a fanatic Hindu right wing and its exploitation of the Ayodhya temple in its bid for power. The Ramayana suggests Ayodhya was the God Ram’s birthplace. In 1528, one of the Mughal Emperor Babar’s noblemen built the Babri Masjid mosque there. In the late 19th C., both Hindus and Muslims began claiming the site as a place of worship. Since 1984, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a militant Hindu organisation allied with the BJP, rekindled and converted the old dispute into a nationwide political programme, affirming that the very spot where the mosque was built marks Ram’s birthplace. They called for the mosque to be demolished and for a Hindu temple to be erected instead. In 1990, the BJP’s leader, L.K. Advani, went on a ‘Rath Yatra’, a chariot procession from Somnath to Ayodhya, inciting violent communal riots en route. Advani’s arrest led to the downfall of V.P. Singh’s minority Janata Dal government and, later that year, to the violent Kar Seva (reconstruction) programme that saw, amid several killings, VHP men take over the mosque. Since then the Hindu fanatics have used the issue as a bargaining ploy against the ruling Congress regime. Patwardhan follows some of the infamous Rath Yatra and documents the Kar Seva itself, exposing the link between the local police and the militant mobs. Interviewing his subjects while operating the camera, Patwardhan has most of his speakers address the camera directly, revealing, often indirectly, their actual motivations. Patwardhan also includes the confession of the man who was employed to aggravate communal strife by placing idols in the temple and the remarkable statements of the priest in charge of the temple (who was later assassinated for his anti-communalist position).