The Honourable President,
Republic of India,
New Delhi- 110004
Sub: Satyajit Ray, an atheist, a non-Hindu, should not be associated with a prestigious film award
It is surprising and shocking for us, the ardent supporters of Sangh Parivar ideology, to find that a prestigious film award was declared on the name of Sri Satyajit Ray.
I think that it goes against the ethos of our Parivar’s ideology for the following reasons:
1. Ray was born in a Brahmo family. This monotheistic cult was propounded by Raja Rammohan Roy, who was deadly against the polytheist heathens and Hindu rituals, thus his ideological standpoint goes against the idol worship in the Rama temple or elsewhere (e.g., Godse’s temple). He opposed burning of suttees at pyres of their deceased husbands, thus he was against the mores (burning of suttees is the greatest sacred ritual of the Hindus) of the sanatana dharma and the imperatives of the holy Hind scriptures. Raja was also well-versed in Islamic and Christian philosophies, which are not to be allowed in Hinduism. Interview with Pierre-André Boutang (1989)⤡
2. Despite being a Brahmo, Ray did not attend prayers at the Brahmo Samaj’s prayers at their ashramas, thus he is not even a brahma-worshipper, instead he made films that go against the distinctive features of the Hindu Religion.
In an interview, he termed himself as an agnostic and not a religious person. When he was asked about his metaphysical position, he said,
“One lives and learns. I was born into the Brahmo community but I dislike such labels…Well, I guess I’m an agnostic”.
These types of skeptics are to be condemned in the sacred domain of Hinduism.
3. Here are some examples of Anti-Hindu representations in his movies:
a. Devi (The Goddess, 1960): He profaned Mother Kali’s supernatural power by showing religion as perversion. Freudian interpretations of this film are also available, thus it is a severe insult to the Hindu religion.
b. Sadgati (Salvation/Deliverance, 1981 Hindi television film): It is a severe insult to celebrated Hindu caste system as it shows the Brahminical exploitation of the poor dalit, who ultimately breathed his last due to pundit’s alleged discriminatory behaviour. This type of presentation of Hindu system of casteism is totally against the liberal outlooks of the Hindus as Bhagavan Shri Krishna himself said,
चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम्।।
— श्रीमद् भगवद्गीता 4.13।।
c. Ganashatru ( ‘Enemy of the People’,1990): Dr. Ashoke Gupta, a physician, diagnoses the alarming spread of hepatitis in his town. According to the pathological report, the holy water (caranamrita) of the Tripureshwar temple (Dr. Gupta, though a Hindu by birth, never went to the temple for offering puja to the divine deity), is found to be contaminated due to leakage of the underground water distribution system. The protagonist, Dr. Gupta, tries to inform the fact of contamination of the holy water to the people by proposing temporary closure of the temple for water purification. However, the temple-trust, who are portrayed as villains in the film, is not ready to accept empirical pathological findings and instead says caranamrita can never be contaminated because it is holy. Yes, we are emphasizing the fact that caranamrita can never be contaminated because it is holy and it is purified by the divine grace of the Lord Siva.
d. Agantuk (‘The Stranger’, 1991): The protagonist of the film condemns organized religion and said interrogatively, by citing Rabindranath Thakur’s song that there is no supernatural power to provide us with light and vital impetus (Élan vital).
e. Ghare Baire (The Home and the World, 1984): The film is based on Rabindranath Thakur’s novel, which was analyzed by Asish Nandy in his 1994 book, The Illegitimacy of Nationalism: Rabindranath Tagore and the Politics of Self. The title of the book speaks itself against nationalism in line with Rabindranath’s lectures on Nationalism(1918), where Rabindranath Thakur himself condemns the concept of nationalism in general. Even in his book, Personality (lectures delivered in America, 1917), Thakur declared himself as the inhabitant of “No-Nation”. The protagonist of the novel, Nikhilesh clearly declared the chanting of the mantra, Vandemataram is an “addiction” (?!) without any rationality and was murdered for resisting manufactured danga between two antagonistic communities. Ray’s rendition of such a novel, thus, goes against the spirit of Hindu nationalism. All their anti-national enunciations go against the agenda of NPR-NRC-CAA-DPB, as proposed by our benevolent nationalist government with huge military power( In the film, Agantuk, Ray criticized this state violence through the protagonist of the film).
Thus, Rabindranath Thakur and Ray, both of them are “anti-National”, “Anti-Hindu” and they should be banned from the public sphere discourses.
f. Kolkata trilogy: Pratidwandi ((The Adversary, 1970), Seemabaddha (Company Limited,1971), and Jana Aranya (The Middleman,1975): All these three films are against the ideological state apparatuses’ deviations from the supposed norm and corporate corruptions. The protagonist of Pratidwandi, Siddhartha, an unemployed youth, is supporting his brother (a Naxalite) by gifting him a copy of Che Guevara’s Bolivian Diaries. In the Pratidwandi and Jana Aranya non-conformist heroes are the victims of the corporate complexities. Seemabaddha, where the hero, a corporate manager, was himself involved in simulating and manufacturing workers’ movement. Thus Ray was a negative critic of the existing order of things.
g. Mahapurush (The Holy Man,1965): The plot of the film is based on a story by Parashuram (Rajsekhar Basu, an ardent nastika). This is for your kind information, Parashuram’s other two brothers, Sashisekhar Basu and Dr. Girindrasekhar Basu (father of Indian Psychoanalysis and a close associate of another atheist, Sigmund Freud) were also atheists and had made mockery with the narratives of Hindu puranas. All of them had truncated our sacred mythology.
Selecting Parashuram’s story by Ray had a covert agenda: showing saints as corrupt persons. Even today so-called Bengali intellectuals compared Mahapurush with Ramdev baba, Sadguru et al. Ray, through this movie, provoked and instigated Bengali intellectuals to hate pious saints.
h. Joi Baba Felunath (The Elephant God, 1979): Feluda alias Pradosh C Mitter, is a private investigator. When he went to Benaras and got involved in an investigation, he did not ever pay a visit to the holy Kashi Visvanath Temple (just like Dr. Gupta in “Ganashatru”, as mentioned earlier). Even Feluda preferred a muscle-man’s “temple”-like body, a “visvasri”, instead of the Visvanath mandir. On the other hand, the background wall of the villain’s room in the story is filled with the photos of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. There is also the character of a Hindu saint, Machlibaba, who was later on revealed as a fraudster, an associate of the main culprit.
Even after getting his professional fee, the Ganesa idol, Feluda did not offer pranama to the idol; instead, he treated it as an antique and work of art.
Ray intentionally started working on this film just after the release of the Bangla film Jai Baba Taraknath (1977), one of the greatest devotional films ever made in Bangla. Here he supplemented divine Taraknath with human Felunath, i.e., Feluda. This is a severe attack on the Hindu belief.
4. All these show Ray’s atheism or otherwise agnostic as well as his sceptic attitude towards religion. The following statement of Ray entails his inclination towards filthy, nasty communism:
“Well, go to Benaras, go to ghats, and you will see the communism is millions miles away. May be in the Moon.” (Ray in an interview, 1987)
It is clear from his statement He was giving relative importance to communism rather than that of sacred Varanasi’s ghats.
This type of person should not be associated with prestigious national award. It is observed that some intellectuals, urban naxals of Kolkata, are demanding posthumous Dadasaheb Phalke or Satyajit Ray Award for Ritwik Ghatak, another Urban Naxal.
We wish to remain the same, but we must condemn Ray for his anti-Hindu, anti-national stances as they are evident from the above instances.
Down with Urban Naxals!
Down with Bengali Intellectuals!
Dr. Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Mrs. Rupa Bandyopadhyay
Mr. Akhar Bandyopadhyay
1. The Honourable Prime Minister, Government of India
2. The Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, Government of India
3. The Honourable Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India
बहुजनहिताय बहुजनसुखाय च॥
(“For the happiness of the many, for the welfare of the many”)