To understand the controversy around the television serial TANDAV, one has to look way beyond Amazon, and dig deeper into the reasons behind such provocations from the Urdu movie industry. One also has to try to look beyond simple binaries of religion being imposed on India like a choice between two global brands of cola. An “apology” in such cases is more like an extension of the real reasons, presented more as a taunt, than anything else.
Much of this serial was shot in and around the town of Pataudi. An average literacy of 57%, more famous for burning an ancient Gurudwara in 1984, and for being a titular Nawabi legacy of 40 villages (it does not get smaller than that as far as being a “Nawab” is concerned, but proximity to Gurugram has increased land prices, thus) from the East India Company in 1804 to a Pashtun tribal. Saif Ali Khan is the 10th in line and has more famously chosen to name his son “Timur”. It is pertinent to be aware that in the Mongol wave that swept most of North India at that time, loot, rape and pillage did not spare any religion or community.
“In 1398, Timur invaded northern India, attacking the Delhi Sultanate ruled by Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughlaq of the Tughlaq dynasty. After crossing the Indus River on 30 September 1398, he sacked Tulamba and massacred its inhabitants. Then he advanced and captured Multan by October.”
Who was Timur? Timur’s history is well known – but for sure there was one aspect which bears mention – his documented campaigns of death and destruction were not binary. There is no dearth of historical material that it was simply loot that his hordes were after. Divinity was himself. You have to hang out with Mongolian people to understand this better. The same process was repeated by the other Mongol invaders, subsequently called Mughals.
If I look at this web series Tandav dispassionately, it appears to be a crude attempt to foment trouble on the brown people of India by lackeys of the same East India Company, the random lot who got titles like “Nawab” and land. The Hindu-Muslim binary is like a Trojan Horse meant to divide the brown people of India even more.
The matter is now variously in Court, and so it may not be correct to pass any more comments on the subject – but this is not the end. Economic weaknesses in Europe (and now America) have always meant trouble for the rest of the world. Disruptive narratives like the web series Tandav are just one sign.
Luckily, for every Tandav from UrduWood, there is also a Baahubali from South India. And therein lies hope for us, the Proud to be Brown people of India.
Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.
A survivor of two brain-strokes, triggered by a ship explosion in the 70s, Veeresh moved beyond fear decades ago.