Since gaining independence in 1947, India has been a secular state. But now, as religious fundamentalism grips much of India’s population, the greatest danger to the nation’s extremely strained social fabric may come not from Sikh or Muslim separatists, but from Hindu fundamentalists who are appealing to the 83% Hindu majority to redefine India as a Hindu nation.
IN THE NAME OF GOD focuses on the campaign waged by the militant Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to destroy a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya said to have been built by Babar, the first Mughal Emperor of India. The VHP claim the mosque was built at the birthsite of the Hindu god Ram after Babar razed an existing Ram temple. They are determined to build a new temple to Ram on the same site. This controversial issue which successive governments have refused to resolve has led to religious riots which have cost thousands their lives, culminating in the mosque’s destruction by the Hindus in December of 1992.
The resulting religious violence immediately spread throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh leaving over 5,000 dead and thousands homeless. The repercussions reverberate to this day in the sub-continent.
Filmed prior to the mosque’s demolition, IN THE NAME OF GOD examines the motivations which would ultimately lead to the drastic actions of the Hindu militants, as well as the efforts of secular Indians of all creeds to combat the religious intolerance and hatred that seized India in the name of God.
Trailer: Ram Ke Naam/In the Name of God
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DVD includes Hindi and English versions and Extras. Other versions available on request: Malayalam, French, Spanish
Filmfare Award Best Documentary, India, 1992
National Award Best Investigative Doc. India, 1992
Ecumenical Prize Nyon, Switzerland, 1993
Documentary Prize Freibourg, Switzerland, 1993
Citizen’s Prize Yamagata, Japan, 1993
“The screen is electric with religious fervor, masses of people swarming through the streets, gathering in rallies, or violently rioting… This is investigative cinema verité documentary at its dynamic best.”
Kay Armatage, Toronto Film Festival
“A deceptively informal look at one lethal instance of India’s move towards fundamentalist politics. For those who need to translate westward, it provides a possible clairvoyant example of the force of religious-political belief.”
“An acutely informative, restrainedly courageous, and grimly prophetic film.”
Hank Heifetz, author, ORIGIN OF THE YOUNG GOD
“Hard-hitting, provocative, revealing look at secularism in India under siege from militants on both sides. Patwardhan explores this tragedy in this lucid, courageous film that allows supporters of both sides to have their say… A documentary well worth seeking out.”
“Anand Patwardhan’s In the Name of God (Ram Ke Naam) is an important and telling comment on the rath yatra, on the political cynicism that went into the making of that event, and the communal fallout it produced.”
P. Sainath, BLITZ
Film ban: Cultural activists to launch mass campaign
Indian Express July 5, 2002
Camera, Editing: Anand Patwardhan
Sound: Pervez Merwanji, Simantini Dhuru
Production and Editing Assistance: Paromita Vohra, Pervez Merwanji,
Narinder Singh, Simantini Dhuru, Shashi Mehta
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