Saturday, 8 March 2014

On an upcoming documentary movie, Veil of Tears

Hello Friends, This is my first blog post.
  • I thank @IntegralUnity for motivating me to write.
  •  I request civility in discourse. Comments will be moderated (I hope the settings work properly). Thank you for your understanding.
Preface:
  1. While I am all for mutual respect between all individuals whichever spiritual discipline they choose to follow, I am somewhat pained at the rupture of the umbilical cord that connects Indian populace to their long-held traditions. If changes come from within and adiabatically, I have no problems. However, if they are brought about by entities external to the local populace and which often utilise the populace's ignorance/poverty/aspirations to enable "change", then such a process is not good for the long-term well-being of the Nation, imho.
  2. I am for mutual respect (going beyond "tolerance") among followers of various paths to individual enlightenment and would like to see if it can be promoted. I am also for communal harmony among everyone.
  3. My writings will largely be based on public domain data. If you notice any errors in either the data or interpretations derived therefrom, I would appreciate if you could point the same. Thank you.
 Now, to the Post at hand.

Recently, I came across the announcement for an upcoming documentary movie entitled "Veil of Tears". Details of it can be seen at: http://veiloftearsmovie.com/

The movie is scheduled to be released in the US on March 28, 2014.

The official trailer mentions about the horrible incident in Delhi-2012 and generalizes it to "violence and oppression of women of India" as well as to "cultural persecution (Author's Note: of Indian women) follows from their birth to death". This is not what I (and crores of Indian men & women) feel of Indian women. Wait, generalize that to any woman. One can extend it beyond even human beings, but that would be a digression from the purpose at hand.

The storyline of the movie is captured below:
"This gripping new documentary film tells the untold story of millions of women in India who are culturally persecuted for no other reason than the fact that they are women (emphasis mine)."

In many of our understanding, this is a Bhoomi (land) whose people have deified their women. I haven't studied Hindu theology/Itihasa much, but from the little that has been handed to me through civilizational memory, innumerable number of sagely women have been celebrated in this land. I worship divinity in a multitude of forms - womanhood included.

If so, how can such an aspersion be cast on me? Why the broadbrush? What is the itch which causes people to look at our nook and corner and focus on the exception and display it as the norm? What is the agenda?

Well, Dr. Rajiv Malhotra (and many others like him such as Shri. Sitaram Goel, Shri. Arun Shourie) had discussed several aspects of "Atrocity Literature" in his original treatise "Breaking India" (co-authored with Shri. Aravindan Neelakantan).

One of the target groups for evangelism are vulnerable Hindu widows. My guess is that this movie too is likely to make it appear, to its intended audience, that there is something rotten about Indian  (read: Hindu) culture which oppresses and violates its women.  On the contrary, within the traditional joint family system of India (if one could suppose that as a cultural norm), the mother was the Head of the Home. Thus, how is it justified to blame Indian culture for a few terrible, but stray, incidents?

In this specific instance, we learn that the "Proceeds of this film will be donated toward our continued efforts to change lives on a social, educational, health and spiritual level." "Our" here refers to the multi-national charity organization/NGO, "Gospel For Asia" (GFA) (Indian site) or "Gospel For Asia" (US' site).

According to its website, GFA  is a charitable trust which works under the leadership of Believers' Church. Its Founder and President is Rev. Dr. K.P. Yohannan. Both the organizations are located in Thiruvalla, Kerala.

Rev. Yohannan is interviewed by a News Agency on this movie here .

The foreign money received by these organizations over the last seven years, as filed with the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) is summarized in the chart below:


An example of Foreign Contributions (FC) returns filed by GFA is  here and by Believers Church India is here . Noticeably, both have received funds from "Gospel For Asia Inc" located in Carrolton, Texas-75010. (More on the many "companies/charities" operating out of PO Boxes in Texas, in another Post).

By the way, all these fund flows are all perfectly legal in India. Just to make it clear.

Let us get back to the Veil of Tears whose proceeds will be donated to GFA.

Why is it being done? Two reasons:
  1. Continue to showcase poverty, oppression, structured inequality, injustice elsewhere so  that individual donors (mostly in Europe & USA) can be made to feel that they are contributing to a "just" cause. Donors can become complacent to their belief systems and may not donate purely on the basis of expansion of their brotherhood/sisterhood. Thus, a "secular" case for saving these unfortunate souls has to be made and such movies/MSM articles serve this purpose.
  2. This movie is one among the many ways by which I can be made to feel guilty of myself, to continue to make me walk with stooping shoulders. If we are made to feel bad about our selves, will that not make the path for mass conversion that much easier? Those who migrate will not feel bad about going out of their traditions, their culture(s), their heritage, their ancient wisdom, as all of that is something to be ashamed of, anyway.
It gives me a queasy feeling that my name is being possibly besmirched and the money that this activity raises is funnelled back to change my culture -- of which I am justifiably proud of. The point is: Are there enough Indians who are proud of their culture of worshipping the feminine form and are repulsed by such a (false, imho) caricature?

Update (17-March-2014): The producer of the documentary, Mr. Kenny Saylors is interviewed here. He says "The hope is really coming from Christian women who are changing the culture from the inside out". Given these, the agenda of this documentary should not leave anyone in doubt. It is Soul Harvest of Indian women. 

Update (20-March-2014): The website for the movie "veiloftearsmovie.com" is no longer accessible from India. The URL gets forwarded to GFA's India website, http://www.gospelforasia.in/

2 comments:

  1. Excellent blog for a first timer. The third reason could be to generalize a single incident to denigrate Hinduism and make the world look down upon us.

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  2. We should anticipate and attack the arguments of the standard issue rights' activist, which include:

    1. So what if it is being made out of Christian evangelical zeal? Not only is it not 'acceptable' to blame Christianity itself or Christians everywhere (for evangelism is not *essential* to Christianity, because oh look at all the friendly and tolerant Christians!) in public discourse, it is also politically misguided in our times to officially keep a suspicious eye on Muslim and Christian movements. Even if these movements are to be targeted head on, there should be strong efforts made to ensure that it looks as if it is all in the name of justice. Contrast two recent events: the foolish Hindutvavaadins of Dinanath Batra who went all anti-Christian and destructive in what should have been a fairly straight-forward case of exposing the book rather than asking for it to be banned vs the smart moves by BJP's Parrikar, CM of Goa, towards promptly initiating legal procedures against Tejpal. Of course the more perceptive within the English media saw through this, but the secularists cannot at least say that the prosecution should be dropped.

    2. So what if it shows only the negative aspects? You/we are free to come up with documentaries/movies that show Indian women in a balanced light. At least, this is the argument of the activists and it is not, I submit, an invalid one.

    I am, for the record, a practising Brahmin, but I am against the trend of rampant victimology that we online Hindus have adopted in the past few decades. The secularists/activists are right about many things about us as a community and it is time we face up to these challenges rather than crying misrepresentation.

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