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No crying halt to communal riots

No crying halt to communal riots

Strange ironies hit each day. Sangeet Som, one of the accused cum suspect in the 2013 riots of Muzaffarnagar, is getting some sort of special protection by the establishment!

In fact, correct me if I’m wrong; but today all it requires is to be in the Right Wing fold and then with that certificate tucked in your inner or outer folds you could utter or mutter or execute any possible unthinkable ! This trend is gaining graph and yet there is no crying halt. You could kill and rape and utter nonsense in the midst of communal rioting , but because of double standards in vogue you’d be not just left untouched but even garlanded during meets and provided special protection so that your limbs remain untouched !

Shubradeep chakravorty passes away

New Delhi based journalist turned documentary film maker Shubhradeep Chakravorty passes away. Monday brought along the news of the passing away of the New Delhi filmmaker Shubhradeep Chakravorty . I had met him and his wife Meera for an interview soon after he had made the documentary, After The Storm, focusing on 7 young Muslim men who had been jailed with terror charges and later proven innocent and acquitted from the various courts .Acquitted after being ruined on every possible front .No apology from the establishment of the day and nil compensation for ruining their lives and with that of their families . I recall Shubradeep’s this particular comment - “ these 7 are a small number … at least one thousand innocent young Muslim men could be sitting jailed in India , implicated with terror charges on their heads…”

Shubradeep had come across as not just very well informed about the ground realities but also passionate about film making . A former journalist he focused on film making as , perhaps , this medium could portray and project much more . In fact, last autumn , soon after the Muzaffarnagar riots , he and Meera had traveled extensively in that belt , coming up with yet another startling documentary on the grim ‘ political truths’ behind those riots . This documentary, En Dino Muzaffarnagar, ran into trouble with the establishment and banned after the initial screening in April at Mumbai’s Prithvi Theatre .Later it was refused clearance for screening by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). His application to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) against the CBFC decision was also turned down. Shubradeep did not give up. He was determined to fight the “gagging order on the film by the Modi establishment.”

Quite obviously he was under tremendous strain and stress and with that suffered brain haemorrhage and slipped into coma .He died this Monday, August 25 . Shubradeep died young .He was 42 .He would have definitely made several more powerful documentaries ; he was equipped with the zeal and grit to expose the realities of the day . Now his widow Meera should carry on the legacy and show his documentaries to a larger audience .

Another journalist turned filmmaker who had died young

Images of Pamela Rooks resurface, as I sit and re-read Khushwant Singh’s ‘Train to Pakistan’ . Pamela died young. In fact, in 2005 she’d met with a freak car accident in New Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area . And with that accident she had slipped into coma and lay in that coma condition for over 4 years. She‘d died in the autumn of 2010 When she was 52 years old.

I had met Pamela Rooks several times at Khushwant Singh’s home , when she was making a film based on his novel - Train to Pakistan. Of course, before I’d met her , I’d known she was a journalist turned documentary film maker .And its said that during one of the journalistic assignments , which took her to interviewing Conrad Rooks , that she fell in love with that famous film director ( who had made /directed the film - Siddhartha ) . Intense love affair between Pamela Juneja ( that was her maiden surname ) and Conrad Rooks, which led towards marriage. The two got married but the marriage didn’t last long. The couple had a son, who after the marriage broke, went to live with the father.

Later Pamela had found a companion in Richard Holkar, from the princely state of Indore, he is the son of the Maharaja of Indore , Shivaji Rao Holkar. The two, Pamela and Richard, were always together …I’d spotted them always together at parties, receptions , book launches and , of course , at Khushwant’s home .

Pamela Rooks and Richard Holkar seemed to have a certain chemistry about them , a certain rapport ; though he looked the simple and the no - fuss sorts , whilst she looked somewhat tight and arrogant . So much so that once I overheard this bit of conversation : when a journalist wanted to interview Pamela , he thought its best to request Richard if he could ask her on his behalf .And this when she was sitting right there , in the same room. When the journalist repeated his request , Richard rather too nervously said , “Please ask Memsahib herself.” The word ‘memsahib’ seemed somewhat amiss in these times , but she turned around confidently , absolutely unfazed and gave time for the interview .

She was confident and suave and sophisticated. And, ah, yes, attractive and well groomed. And she seemed happy in Richard’s company …attired in Western attires and not really in any of the famed Maheshwari saris .Why I am bringing in this , is because she and Richard had also focused attention to Richard Holkar’s ancestral place - Ahilya Fort in Maheshwar . They wanted to bring focus on the Holkar’s ancestral little erstwhile kingdom , with all its aspects , including those hues and forms of the traditional weave , those traditional saris coming back on the circuit .

Pamela Rooks died young .No, not unsung. Not the typical Bollywood filmi types , she was well known on Delhi’s circuit . Perhaps , she could have made several more full -fledged feature films , if she had shifted base to Mumbai or if she’d started her film making career somewhat earlier … in those earlier years of her film making career she had concentrated only on documentaries .Its later she’d begun focusing on feature films . And in between it all she ‘d been writing and also traveling and also focusing on her partner Richard’s ancestral territory and those ethnic offshoots to it .

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