One of Lord Shiva’s forms is Natraja, the God of Dance. Lord Krishna’s dance in Vrindavan has been recreated by devotees for centuries. Most classical Indian dance forms originated as temple dances. Sadhus and ascetics have their own dances.
But when Sadhus were shown dancing in the Salman Khan song Hud Hud, it “hurt the sentiments” of some self-proclaimed protectors of Hinduism. The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, which mainly stays in news by protesting against more famous targets, has demanded that Dabangg 3’s censor certification be cancelled.
The organisation has written to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), saying: “If the movie happens to be on the lines of what we have seen in the trailer, it is extremely shocking depiction of Hindu deities and saadhus and also goes at great lengths to humiliate and poke fun at the basic foundations of Sanatana Dharma.”
One Chetan Rajhans, the national spokesperson of Sanatan Sanstha — whose members are allegedly involved in the Narendra Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh murders — tweeted: “Bollywood movie Dabangg3 soon to release. In which Hindu saints are shown dancing with Salman Khan. What the movie is trying to show or achieve? Be aware…. This is Conspiracy to denigrate Hindu religion.”
As a follower of Sanatan Dharma, I find the assertion that its “foundations can be humiliated” or “denigrated” by a song very insulting.
The Dabangg 3 issue so far does not seem to have found too many followers. Though #BoycottDabangg3 was the top trend on Twitter for some time, online chatter around it is petering out. However, this is part of a trend.
Picking on a Bollywood movie or star guarantees bodies like Hindu Janjagruti Samiti easy publicity. Very often, moviemakers bend to their demands. But even when they don’t, the issue multiplies and magnifies polarising conversations, furthering the “victimised Hindu” narrative, keeping the outrage industry going.
The outrage has some set characteristics — Bollywood would never attempt “defaming” any other religion, it gets away with insulting Hindus because they are way too tolerant, such movies often have Muslim actors/makers/songwriters.
It is a shrill, petulant, whiny outrage: “Why won’t you take me seriously? Please take me seriously. I will burn buses if you don’t take me seriously.”
It is also everything Hinduism is not.
A most cursory scan of such ‘outrage posts’ on social media shows people frothing at the mouth on these issues lack absolutely any knowledge of Hinduism. Hinduism is not an insecure religion — our Gods love, live and laugh with abandon. Vishnu dances as Mohini when the need arises, Shiva takes the form of a Gopi to participate in Krishna’s raasleela. Hinduism is secure in its plurality, in its many forms and strains, in the vastly differing beliefs and traditions of its followers.
The section that seeks to act as the champion of this faith wants to homogenise Hindusim, seems not to understand pluralism, seems perennially afraid of other religions being more popular, their followers more devout.
Sample some of the Dabangg 3 tweets: “Hindu Janajagruti Samiti demands to cancel the censor certificate for showing Shri Ram, Krishna & Shiva & Hindu Saints in poor light hurting the hindu Sentiments. Is Hinduism always an easy target?” from one Geetika Swami.
Hindu Janjagruti’s official tweet says: “Salman Khan has shown Sadhu-Sant dancing in Dabangg 3. Would he ever dare to show a maulvi or Bishop dancing?”
The reality is that Bollywood has repeatedly stereotyped Muslims as a kohl-wearing community vulnerable to radicalisation, and there has recently been an avalanche of movies that twist history to further the “barbaric zealot Muslim invader versus Hindu warriors fighting for faith and motherland” narrative.
It’s easy to understand the insecurities of the outrage brigade. In a rapidly changing world where caste privileges are not as assured as they used to be and the education and job market is brutal, it must be more fun being part of a mob bashing manufactured enemies than actually contemplating your position in life, feeling lost and lonely.
In the current political climate, those part of such mobs are feeling powerful and relevant as never before.
I am tired of this going on in the name of my religion. If you don’t understand the basic ethos of Hinduism, you are obviously unfit to appoint yourself its spokesperson.
India is a democracy, and people have every right to register their objections to a song or a movie. But if you are doing it in the name of Hinduism, please educate yourself about the religion.
In your dabangai, you are ending up defaming Hinduism.