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Youtube/Netflix

Netflix India faces boycott threats after inter-faith kiss in “A Suitable Boy”

By:
Roshni Rakshit (@roshni_rakshit)

Netflix India is facing boycott threats, and a First Information Report (FIR) has been charged against two of Netflix’s officials for allegedly "hurting Hindu sentiments" through a kissing scene in Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy.

The intimate scene in question, featuring Tanya Maniktala as Lata, the Hindu protagonist, and Danesh Rizvi as Kabir Durrani, as her Muslim lover, takes place  inside a Hindu Temple, and has faced extreme criticism from right-wing Hindu Nationalist politicians. 

In Madhya Pradesh, a case was filed against two of Netflix’s top executives for “hurting religious sentiments”. The show was accused of promoting “Love Jihad”, a term coined by Hindu Nationalists, which is the act of Muslim men allegedly trapping Hindu women into marriage and converting them to Islam.

The anger towards Netflix reached a point where people came forward asking others to uninstall Netflix and the campaign #boycottnetflix started trending on twitter. 

 There has been no official response by Netflix since the lawsuit was filed..

Are Hindu Nationalists actually trying to protect Hinduism by protesting against the kissing scene, or are they protesting against it because the scene carries a message of love and peace between Hindus and Muslims and that defeats the anti-Muslim sentiments that Hindu Nationalists encourage Hindus to harbour ?

Or is it yet another attempt to spread propaganda, lies and remove the nation’s attention from more important issues such as the Farmers’ Protest and march towards New Delhi? 

India has a Muslim minority that continues to face discrimination and violence under the Narendra Modi administration, which is a Hindu Nationalist government. Interfaith love is a big deal in India, and more often than not, seen in a negative light.

It is considered to bring shame upon one’s family if they are found involved in an interfaith situation. Couples involved in interfaith marriages are driven out of their families and societies, and in some cases, murdered for having loved somebody from a different religion.

On the 22nd of November, the Uttar Pradesh state cabinet went ahead and passed an order that criminalized religious conversions by marriage.

It is a matter of absolute shame that in a country like India, that is home to so many different religions and faiths, it is a crime to be with someone you love, just because they belong to a religion different than yours. 

 The kiss between Lata and Kabir is a portrayal of interfaith love and is a big deal because it stands as a threat to the divisive foundations on which Hindu Nationalism stands and thrives. It hence sparked outrage from Hindu Nationalists who continue to increase the gap between Hindu and Muslims. The kiss scene shakes that very foundation of inter-religious disharmony and encourages interfaith love. 

This isn’t the first time that Hindu Nationalists have outraged over “alleged hurt of religious sentiments”. 

It is a historic repetition of events that have taken place to portray Muslims as villains and put further restrictions on Hindu women. There have been several cases where Muslim boys have been brutally beaten up for falling in love with Hindu women, further increasing the already large communal divide. 

At a time when the nation should be focusing on protecting its farmers and daughters, solving unemployment problems. and eradicating poverty, the ruling party and its MPs are very effectively focussing on unnecessary issues that do nothing but spark outrage.

And frankly, for a nation with such an incredibly high rape statistic, is it not too ironic to outrage over a consensual kissing scene?

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