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Why is The Kashmir Files such a hit?

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The Kashmir files movie is making waves.

It is trending on social media. Cinema halls are full. Multiplexes have had to increase the number of shows. Box office collections have soared. People overseas have requested special screenings and added shows. 

For a movie without big banners and minimal star-power, the film is doing pretty well. It has indeed struck a chord with millions.

The Pundits are coming out of the cinema halls inconsolable. Others with no links to Pandits or Kashmir are emotional. Many are stunned, some are angry, some others speechless, but with a steely determination in their eyes. Many people are spontaneously initiating chants of “Vande Mataram”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Jai Shri Ram”. Many famous people are expressing themselves quite strongly, some have crossed the line of political correctness which was hitherto unknown. And EVERYONE unfailingly exhorts others to watch the movie. 

What exactly is provoking such a reaction? 

Is it that the average Indian was totally unaware of the atrocities that were committed in the Kashmir valley at the time? The answer is NO. He* might have been uninformed about the exact details and the brutality and heinousness of the crimes but everyone is aware that the Kashmiri pandits were systematically and selectively vilified for being non- Muslim and forced to abandon their homes and get out of Kashmir, fearing their lives.

Is it that the vast Indian populace has a special place for Kashmiri Pandits in their hearts? A community with no family/social connections which lived miles away? The answer is NO. The average Indian for most times has least consideration for others. He doesn’t even bother to dip his high beam headlight which would help oncoming traffic and prevent accidents. That’s the amount of consideration and concern he has for some unknown person living in the same neighbourhood/city. So isn’t it surprising that there is so much concern, sympathy and emotion being displayed for a community so distant from him? 

The real reason why so many people are able to relate to this movie, I believe, is a very personal one. 

The average Hindu Indian is generally a docile accepting person. That has been the ethos of the Hindu religion and that is the life he and his past generations have been living.

The last few decades however have challenged his belief to accept what is going on around him . Things have come to such a state that the average Hindu feels threatened and has progressively felt more over the last few years. He has noticed the rise of the Muslim community and its transgressions into his life.

Take the case of the azaan. Many small towns in India wake up to the Muslim call for prayer (Azaans) blaring from loudspeakers. The Supreme Court who should have banned it but has allowed it with some limitations on the decibel levels. Even those limits are defied everyday multiple times. The Hindu person who let it pass initially when it was just once a day and one small mosque now sees that they have become louder, from multiple mosques around and multiple times a day. He sees no way to stop it and even when someone talks openly about it, he sees the backlash and the futility of raising a voice about it. 

It is not just the azaan but several other aspects- the occupation of public places for Namaaz, the halalification of the meat industry, the fact that mosques are never disturbed during road widening although temples are compromised and destroyed very easily, the emergence of mosques in railway stations, the media giving 24 hr publicity for some random unverified tweets against a Muslim cricketer while at the same time completely ignoring the many Hindu murders by Muslims, the increasing numbers of burqa clad women, love jihad, the increasing number of mosques and several other factors – in every instance, there is a gradual but definite creeping up of Islam which is impacting his everyday life. 

All these factors combined with the knowledge of history and what Islam has essentially been- a religion which keeps growing, binding its people irrevocably to its fold and its tenets, being on a perennial quest to increase numbers- by conversion- many a times violent and resorting to pillaging and murder and lack of family planning and having multiple kids ( when the rest of the world is having lesser kids) have made the average Hindu feel very threatened. The left liberal media has been quick to stamp down any such ideas as Islamophobia and any person expressing such views is victimised and ridiculed and made a pariah. The average Hindu ( and many commoners in the west as well ) slowly but surely over the years,  has realised that it is anything but a phobia ( phobia is an irrational fear). His fears are borne out of his experiences, history and the everyday events and he increasingly feels that the fear about the growing influence of Islam is real. 

There haven’t been many ways for him to express the feeling of being threatened. The once in 5 years election is one avenue he has used and expressed. Any vocal and outward expression, however, has often led to disastrous consequences, for ex- Kamlesh Tiwari. 

The average Hindu is anxious at times what his condition might be if the same trajectory continues. He worries the same events that happened in Kashmir might as well repeat in his neighbourhood and in other parts.The audience love the film because it gives a voice to those feelings and affirms that his fears might actually be valid. Until now in the books and the movies, there was an attempt to whitewash the crimes of the other side but this film has boldly shown the truth and facts. It was long overdue. Now that such an expression of his fears is there in the world as an art form, he feels he is able to communicate his insecurities and fears if more people watch it whilst at the same time, not take ownership of those thoughts and subject himself to criticism or ridicule. That’s why the exhortation for others to watch the movie.

And so for the reasons above, The Kashmir files will be a runaway success and it should be. If not, there will be many more The**********files in the future. 

( * He or She can both be used) 

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