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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Caste symbol changed after protests against converted SC villain character shown as Hindu OBC in Jai Bhim

Jai Bhim movie has landed in another controversy after caste organisations opposed the movie for portraying their jati in negative light. The villain’s character has been portrayed as Vanniyar, a Tamil caste, to which the community has taken offence. After their caste organisations condemned it and took the matter to the director, the specific scene has been changed. Earlier the movie drew flak for a scene where Prakash Raj slaps a Marwari man for speaking in Hindi.

The movie was made based on a real incident of custodial death of a marginalised man belonging to the Irular community. Rajakannu, belonging to the Scheduled Tribe of Irulas, was killed by Antony Samy, a converted SC Sub-Inspector while in police custody. All the characters except one were given the real names of people involved in the incident and its aftermath. While the names of the Brahmin characters were kept as they were and sly remarks were made against them in the movie, the villain, Antony Samy’s character was portrayed as a Hindu Vanniyar. 

A calendar with the logo of Vannia Kula Kshatriya Association hung in the SI’s house was shown in a scene to imply that the perpetrator was a Hindu OBC. The film showed that the SI arrested and implicated Irulas, including Rajakannu, to save men belonging to his jati who were involved in a crime. He also is shown inhumanely torturing Rajakannu and stomping him to death. The association took offence to this and vociferously campaigned against the movie in social media. It also took up the matter with the director after which the image in the calendar was changed to that of Devi Lakshmi.

However the converted Christian SI’s character remains as a Hindu one. While it is commendable that the jati organisations took the issue to its end, it also shows the sad reality of Hindus. The association could have protested to show the SI’s character as it is, a Christian. However they were only concerned about their jati being demonised. This shows what obstructs the Hindu community, especially in Tamil Nadu, from uniting against anti-Hindu forces. 

Evangelists on mission in Bharat during the British rule felt that it was the jati system which was the major obstacle to conversion. They described it as a banyan tree that continues to grow and a fort that can never be broken into. However the same jati system has proven to be an obstacle for Hindus to unite against anti-Hindu forces thanks to colonial education.

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