Losing My Religion

When one looks at a film like Khuda Ke Liye, a story of religious fundamentalism and racial profiling in the western nations, one expects to see how the West drives young Muslims to commit acts of terror. Blame it on my lack of research but I was treating it like just another film that may glorify religion and terrorists, yet, I wanted to watch it.

 

I was curious to see a film that came from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a country I have always been curious about. And surprise me it did.

 

Khuda Ke Liye, is a bold attempt to bring forth the hypocrisy under the name of religion. The film is about the people who interpret religion according to their own benefit, the film is about innocent youngsters who seek an answer to the dilemma of religion vs their heart and the film spells out how erratically societies across the globe deal with the monster called religion.

 

The story revolves around two brothers Mansoor (Shaan) and Sarmad (Fawad Khan), urban Pakistani youth from affluent families. The brothers work together on music, their passion, much to the dislike of their devout grandmother. Sarmad, the younger brother starts getting fascinated with a Maulavi who brainwashes him into quitting music because it is wrong in the eyes of Islam.

 

What follows is a dilemma in Sarmad’s mind in making a choice between his passion and his religion which is very intelligently demonstrated by an indirect debate between the Maulavi and Mansoor, Sarmad being the medium. Meanwhile, Sarmad’s uncle and his cousin come down from the UK. Mary dreams of marrying her white British boyfriend. Her father wants to save his future generations from being Kafir and plans to cheat her into marrying one of the cousins.

 

While Mansoor takes off for the US, Sarmad runs away to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to marry his cousin and save her from the horror of insulting the will of Allah.

Both the brothers travel to an alien environment, one into a western and the other into an anti-western world. While one tries to find his place in an international environment, the other brother struggles with his conscience over fulfilling his so-called religious duties. While one tries to convince a white American girl not to marry him, the other forces his own cousin into marriage and even rapes her. As one brother is tortured because of the religion he belongs to, the other is tortured by the men who interpret his religion. And as one brother loses his senses, the other regains them and comes back to music.

 

The film reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of my Dad’s. He argued with me that there is nothing as cruel as religion in this world. He is of the opinion that religion does not give any reason for you to educate yourself and move ahead with times. Instead, it forces you to be lost in the past. Besides, the world over, the amount of crimes committed in the name of religion are alarming.

 

After seeing the film, I started seeing where this guy was coming from. Sarmad is forced to rape a woman, kill innocent humans in the name of Allah. Mansoor is arrested and tortured out of his senses because he’s Muslim. In our own country a missionary from Australia was burnt alive in a car by a Hindu fundamentalist. In Turkey, women are killed for the honour of the family while in Somalia, parents perform the cruel act of female castration on their own daughters to honour their religion. We Hindus force widowed women to lead a monotonous life, just because their husband is dead.

 

These are just the things off the top of my head. If I delve deep, it would be depressing to find just how many are killed and how many are left devastated in the name of religion, across the world.

 

I don’t identify with my religion. I have eaten beef and dare I say, I enjoyed it (beef is taboo in Hinduism). But I do visit temples when I can. I pray at Mt. Mary Church in Bandra and I have kept Rozas. I believe in picking bits and pieces from different religions that my heart agrees with, to satisfy the ‘religion’ drive within. I know many of my friends do. But our minds are restless, still looking for answers. The lack of conviction in our religion drives us to ask questions, questions that leave us depressed many a times.

 

Blind faith after all is immense peace of mind.

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5 Responses

  1. Hey!

    Thats quite a review. Good work. But i dont quite agree with your statement of ‘Blind Faith after all is immense peace of mind’. That sort of peace is only for a short while. One has to dig deeper to know the real meaning and to understand it. Or else, its as better as saying, “Ignorance is Bliss’. Of course, its all a personal choice. And when life is too much to take, i too take ignorance as my companion. It helps. 😉

    Cheers!

  2. Good article, personally i believe in science since at the least i feel science is a search for truth. I know it is a very cliched viewpoint but the laws of physics for me are paramount and whole true till they are proved wrong. Ignorance is a crutch which people want to rest on for not trying or pursuing to find out the truth. But i am not saying that science has not contributed to much of the misery of the world but this is due to the way it has been utilized mostly for destruction. But hopefully with our progressive society some day science can be used for peace. [ guess that is blind faith :)]

    The following quote sums it up:

    The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church. — Ferdinand Magellan

  3. Namasthe I am impressed.

    By the way, “eating beef” does not make you a bad Hindu…. During Rig Vedic periods Hindu saints [Rishis ] used to eat all kind of meat and also beef. Incidents of Rishis such as Agasthya consuming meat one can read in Ramayana as well as in Mahabharata.

    Part I like the most in your post is —

    ” I believe in picking bits and pieces from different religions that my heart agrees with, to satisfy the ‘religion’ drive within. I know many of my friends do. But our minds are restless, still looking for answers. The lack of conviction in our religion drives us to ask questions, questions that leave us depressed many a times.”

    I wish you all the very best in your search after truth. Please do NOT stop until you get the answer you are seeking for. Religions are mere paths; SPIRITUAL MATURITY & SELF REALIZATION are the final goals.

    ABSOLUTE FREEDOM OF THOUGHTS & ACTIONS is the cardinal principle of Hinduism.

    Even an atheist can condemn Hinduism in the public and still proudly proclaim he or she is a Hindu.

    Hinduism does NOT proclaim monopoly on GOD or TRUTH or SALVATION. One need not be a Hindu to attain salvation.

    Voltaire in Essay on Tolerance wrote:

    ” I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it. ”

    Hinduism is the symbolic representation of what Voltaire wrote.

    Thanks for reading.

  4. Hi, really loved this article… Would it be OK for me to republish it on my blog and of course link back to your blog as well?

  5. hey bobby… thanks… is great to have someone say the article is good. You can replicate this post on ur blog, so long as you give me a credit for it… thanks so much again….

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