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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Why repeat offender Leena Manimekalai should be taken to task for disrespecting Maa Kaali

Leena Manimekalai, a Periyarist Ambedkarite filmmaker is in news for portraying Maa Kaali as smoking and carrying the LGBT flag. Her documentary film Kaali was to be played at the Agha Khan Museum in Canada. The museum apologized and withdrew the show after the Bharatiya High Commission urged the Canadian authorities to stop the disrespectful show. Multiple FIRs have been filed against Leena across the country for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.

Leena had shared the poster of the film on Twitter which showed herself disguised as Maa Kaali smoking and holding the LGBTQ flag in one of the artificial hands. It created an uproar as Hindus found it disrespectful towards the deity and Hindu organizations filed complaints across the country. This is not the first time Leena or her brother Raghupathy targeted Hindu dharma. In 2020, Godman, a web series produced by the latter faced criticism for portraying Hindu dharma as a sleazy religion and denigrating brahmins and sadhus.

At that time Leena had tweeted that both her brother despite being born in a Vaishnavite family, do not follow Hindu dharma and are “atheists”, the much-abused garb of Hindumisic and anti-Bharat forces. Leena has been accused of furthering the narrative of Christian padres and “civil society” to cast Hindu customs and practices through her films. This accusation came from none other than Communists, her own fellow ideologists. Leena’s family was an influential Communist family in the Virudhunagar district of South Tamil Nadu.

Her own maternal uncle was an MP of the district and named her after a river(Leena) in the Soviet Union. Her father was a Tamil professor. She was in no way a marginalized position in her life ever. So she claims to have given up her identities like caste, religion, etc to abuse everyone freely without having to bear the burden of her original identity. Communist portal Vinavu wrote a scathing article about her so-called artistic freedom in using vulgar words(mainly reproductive organs) in her poems bordering porn and making it difficult for other ‘feminists’ to use the same words in a constructive manner. That should give a view of what her poems are about. It is a different matter that the Communists were outraged that she reduced every revolution and war in history to the phallus in one of her poems.

The article says that she represented “hyped” facts about the Mathamma ritual practiced in North TN in her Mathamma film to amplify the propaganda of padres and NGOs. The ritual is about offering girl children to the female deity. The girls who are chosen are believed to be possessed by the deity and are revered and worshipped. However, Leena’s film showed that the girls were undressed by boys leaving them naked and sexually exploited. Leena likes to boast that she brought the ritual to the attention of the National Human Rights Commission through her film.

Aravindan Neelakandan who co-authored Breaking India wrote about it in the book way back. An excerpt from the book says, “..a documentary on ritualistic prostitution and child sex abuse allegedly prevalent amidst a particular Dalit community in Tamil Naadu. (www.kanavuppattarai.com, 2009) (Downloaded: October 2009. This domain name expired in December 2009). The film was shown across the US, in chapters of the Indian Muslim Council. The authenticity of the documentary has been highly disputed. It is actually one-sided propaganda with no opposing viewpoints presented. According to Dayalan of Arundathiyar Liberation Front, a Dalit organization, the girl portrayed as Mathamma in the cover of the CDs and website is actually a girl named Amutha who was studying in ninth standard then. The community leaders as well as leading Dalit leaders of Tamil Nadu investigated the place of documentary and contested the authenticity of the documentary. They wrote in the report that while the Dalit communities were suffering from poverty and diseases, certain NGOs are trying to make use of the situation and convert even their deities into sex workers. (Puthia-Kodangi 2004)..”

Mathamma was her debut film and she became a poster child of the usual suspects. She made a fictional film Maadathy in which an SC girl who was gang-raped was shown as becoming the deity in the end. Maadathy is a female deity worshipped in South TN. Legends say that she was a woman who was wrongfully murdered by her 7 brothers who believed the false story of their rivals accusing her of loose character. It is believed that she cursed her brothers and her offspring for wronging her and was defied by the villagers. The legend mentions the name Thevar, an intermediary caste, as the surname of the brothers. However, everyone worships Maadathy and she is believed to be a powerful deity.

Yet Leena showed her as a “subaltern” deity. The film was about a “free-spirited” teenage girl from the Puthirai Vannar caste, the lowest among the SC, considered as the “unseebles” as they washed the clothes of other SCs, shrouds of corpses and the clothes used by menstruating women. While it is commendable that she chose to show the girl and Hindu beliefs left no room to trust her intentions. The girl would roam the forest alone, have a crush on a man(of a different SC caste), see him bathing naked, and possess his shirt only to be raped by the same man and his friends who were in an inebriated condition.

Leena tried to deify the girl by showing her as being kind to the animals, and birds, with a parrot sitting on her shoulder throughout the film, and in the end, showed that the face of the newly erected murti of Maadathy changes to that of the girl. Even the poster of Maadathy created controversy as it showed the girl as the deity(as a shadow). Then the girl who turned into the deity would rob the vision of everyone, even the ones who weren’t connected to her death, as revenge for treating her as an “unseeable”, much like Dravidianist who want to unleash genocide on Brahmins for unsubstantiated claims of oppression from 2000 years ago. Dialogues like phallus is the “swami” and one would become Nataraja after getting drunk were also used.

She wanted to create an image that Hindu deities are women violated and oppressed by dominant castes and perhaps succeeded too, for many wrote reviews like “the cruel origin stories of “subaltern goddesses”. The Federal wrote, “How female deities helped foster caste violence in TN”. She reportedly said in an interview that “Gods are icons of our collective guilt”. The propaganda was so successful that if one wants to search about the deity the internet only throws up results about Leena’s film.

The Central Board of Film Certification office in Chennai had refused to give an Adults Only (A) certification to the film on the grounds of “Religious Contempt, Nudity, Strong Language and Portrayal of a Minor Girl in Infatuation” without making necessary cuts. But it was later overturned by the CBFC tribunal in Delhi and the first look was revealed by AR Rahman.

Note how the girl, the main character of the film is made to look like a deity in the background with a Trishul in her hand

Leena was not allowed inside the Loyola Arts and Science college run by Jesuit priests for not wearing a dupatta in 2007. She was to attend some events organized by the Visual Communication department. However, the guards didn’t allow her beyond the gate as she was wearing jeans and didn’t have a dupatta. Even though a student begged her to wear a dupatta and attend the event she “valiantly” refused and fought patriarchy by boycotting the event.

She married Jerrald, TV serial director, but left him after a while and came out as a bisexual recently. She is said to have connections at higher offices thanks to her family’s political background. Her coworkers had complained against her for not paying their salary and assaulting them for questioning it. She tried to compromise with the victims and during the process allegedly tried to hit a cop in Rameshwaram. But she was let off thanks to her connections at political and cine field connections. While assistant directors have to wait at the gates of famous directors like Bharthiraja, Leena could become his assistant right after meeting him for a foreword of the book written by her father. That should give an idea about her connections.

She also callhttps://twitter.com/LeenaManimekali/status/1291228780690776067?s=20&t=qhDU53eOv1fgjZamXDoMJged Bhagwan Ram “a voting machine invented by BJP” and BJP’s promise to build Ram Mnadir in Ayodhya as “digging the grave“. Coming back to the Kaali issue, despite winning many accolades and awards from the West for being their lapdog, Leena appears to be ambitious to gain even more “recognition” and the poster of the new documentary is a way to achieve that. Since the issue broke out she has been basking in the media limelight repeating the same left liberal trope that she “doesn’t feel safe”. Leena says that even though she is an atheist she “has a strong connect with women deities”. The village deities like Maadathy, Esakki Amman, etc are humans who were deified due to the injustice meted out to them.

But almost all of the legends, like that of Maadathy, are about dying in the process of protecting and defending their chastity and honor rather than losing it, as Leena showed in her film. Both Maadathy and Kaali films are an attempt to humanize the deities by showing them doing disrespectful things, a much-used technique of the missionaries. One might remember how Nam Tamilar Katchi, a Tamil nationalist party’s chief Seeman, a Christian by birth, has been trying to disassociate Hindu deities like Murugan(Skanda), Thirumal(Vishnu), Aandal, etc by claiming that they were Tamils’ ancestors.

Leena shared a picture of two people disguised as Shiva and Parvati smoking to “defend” her artistic freedom. But as she herself says, the two people were merely theatre artists while Leena claims that Maa Kaali descends on her in her new film. She said, “When Kaali descends on me, the Queer Filmmaker, she will definitely hold a pride flag”. As many would know, a possessed person would not remember her identity or background and Leena is clearly clutching at straws to justify her mistake.

Yes, some deities are offered liquor, cigars, and meat. In some forms of Tantra worship, even the raw blood of sacrificed animals is drunk by the possessed pujari. Leena and her Western audience would be mortified even at the thought of such traditions. But that is for the specific traditions and sects that worship them to follow; Not for Hindu-hating ‘atheists’ to mock and deride our deities. It is clear that the likes of Leena want to use the new woke culture which is acceptable to the West but repulsive to Bharatiyas to achieve their target, dismantling Hindu dharma. The next step of such people would be to show deities doing immoral things in the name of artistic freedom to make religiously unaware Hindus feel disgusted with Hindu dharma which is why it is imperative to stop such portrayal of Hindu deities.

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  1. While I am all for artistic freedom, there is a Lakshman Rekha that must not be crossed by civilized and cultured society. Persons like Leena abuse this freedom and claim notoriety for a few moments. A certain section of the Abrahamic community belong to the tribe Leena Manimekalai belongs to. Fortunately, the civilized world does not take them seriously and brush them aside and call them as ‘trash and dregs of society’.


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