Father, Son and Holy War
to be telecast on the National network of Doordarshan
10 am, Sunday, October 8th
At 10 am on Sunday, October 8, 2006 an 11 year old battle will finally come to an end. Anand Patwardhan’s 1995 documentary “Father, Son and Holy War” on the connection between communal violence and the male psyche had won two National and several international awards. But when he submitted it for telecast, Doordarshan rejected it. Patwardhan took the matter to the Bombay High Court and in 2001 the court ordered DD to telecast the film but DD chose to appeal the matter in the Supreme Court. The SC asked DD to review the film. DD’s own preview panel approved the telecast but Prasar Bharati, then dominated by BJP appointees, stepped in and rejected the film. Patwardhan moved the High Court again and won a fresh order to telecast in 2004. Prasar Bharati once again went to the Supreme Court in appeal. Finally, after viewing the film, on 25 August 2006 Justice Lakshmanan and Justice Panta of the Supreme Court upheld the High Court order to telecast the film without cuts within 8 weeks of the judgement.
Noting that several times in the past DD had rejected Patwardhan’s documentaries until the judiciary forced them to be telecast, the Honourable Justices went so far as to pass strictures against DD and Prasar Bharati reprimanding the broadcaster for finding “flimsy excuses” time and again not to telecast Patwardhan’s films.
When asked what DD found so hard to swallow in his films, Patwardhan said:
“ When a government and its bureaucrats become averse to the slightest sign of criticism, it signals a lack of self-confidence. America today is passing through a similar phase and resorting to outright censorship to cover up its war crimes in Iraq. In India the BJP openly stifled the secular voice while the Congress merely gave it lip service. Luckily for people like me the Indian Constitution has proven to be much more robust. It is this that gives us some hope for the preservation of our secular democracy.”
Patwardhan thanked his lawyers P.A.Sebastian, Prashant Bhushan and Nitya Ramakrishnan for consistently taking up the cause of civil liberties and human rights and expressed the hope that Prasar Bharati would no longer force people like him to go to court.
“ Father, Son and Holy War” is a two hour documentary that was shot from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s and covers a wide spectrum of events, from the Sati in Deorala in 1987 to the Bombay riots and subsequent bomb blasts in 1992-1993. It is a critique of the male bias that permeates the dominant religions of the world, with specific reference to Hinduism and Islam in India, and a critique of ruthless politicians who use the communal divide to further their own ends.
In 2004 the film was included by Dox Magazine (Europe) amongst the 50 memorable documentaries in world cinema.