Sunday, July 14, 2024

Aamir Khan’s Son Junaid Khan’s Anti-Hindu Debut Film ‘Maharaj’ on Netflix on June 14th 2024. Like Father, Like Son?

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X: TanyaBrahmvadni 

Aamir Khan – Celebrities who belong to Bollywood as well as those who don’t, have infrequently referred to him as an ‘unintelligent’ person, and so on (see Russel Peters on Aamir Khan), this blog post on him and an open letter addressed to Aamir Khan. Apart from this, we’ve also heard of Aamir Khan’s pranks on his female co-stars like spitting on their hands, etc. So much for respect for women by this so called ‘sensitive’ actor (thanks to heavy PR and Islamic support).

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Aamir Khan’s Propaganda Continues

His  career is nearly extinct now due to Hindus finally realizing how in the garb of facades like ‘perfectionist’, ‘intelligent’ and ‘reformer’ who is sensitive to social issues was actually peddling anti-Hindu and pro-Islamist narratives throughout with his films, speeches and ‘activist’ dramatics.

Ironically, Aamir Khan, who often portrays himself as a champion of historical and social justice, made a film on Mangal Pandey that, while critical of the British, depicted Pandey as a brothel visitor who married a prostitute as his final wish before death. This portrayal fits into a broader pattern of Khan’s work that many view as critical of Hinduism. From his controversial film “PK” and episodes of “Satyameva Jayate” to his remarks in “Laal Singh Chaddha” likening Hindu rituals to malaria, Aamir Khan has a history of provocative stances that have alienated a segment of the Hindu community.

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However, that’s not the happy ending of the story. Aamir Khan has found another route to carry on his devious agenda, through his ex-wife Kiran Rao, by producing her latest films, Lal Singh Chaddha and Laapata Ladies, which have an anti-Indian Army and anti-Hindu undertone. The next in line, is of course his own blood, son Junaid Khan, debuting with a film titled ‘Maharaja’, which is reportedly based on the 1862 ‘Maharaj Libel Case’.

Maharaja Libel Case

What is the 1862 ‘Maharaj Libel case’? It’s available on Wikipedia. However, as is Wikipedia’s anti Hindu narrative, a cursory reading of the page will tell you the same narrative, that there was a reformist Hindu who fought against his own Dharmic gurus (Vallabh Acharya sect known as Pushti Marg Sampradaya) and with the support of the British Legal system of colonial India they won the case, reformed Hindu societyby restricting religious authority of Hindu priests as well as gave freedom of Press.

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Well, that’s not the truth if you read it carefully, by connecting various dots and loose ends. There is an entire book on this case’s trial published in 1911.

The Backdrop

The background that built up to this case was a so-calledjournalist named Karsandas Mulji from Gujarat (he was outcasted due to his constant antics) and a Parsi named, Nanabhai Rustomji Ranina, who is said to have fought for women’s rights & widow remarriage, etc. There’s no evidence for this though, just a biography written later in the 1930’s by Mr. Mahipatram Rupram Nilkanth and another by Mr. B.N. Motiwala who themselves were a so called ‘Reformers & ‘Humanists’ by the colonial standards and titles. Mr. Nilkanth also wrote a biography of Akbar based on ‘Akbarnama’.

This person, Karsandas Mulji had written a scandalous article on the Maharaj/Priest of the Vallabh Acharya Pushtimarga sect, in a Gujrati weekly “Satyaprakash” run by a Parsi publisher Nanabhai Rustomji Ranina. This article was based on no first-hand experience but hearsay about the alleged sexual immoralities carried out upon wives and daughters of devotees by the high priests/Maharaj of the Pushtimarga Vaishnavism sect. This caught a lot of wind as this weekly was widely circulated by certain ‘Reformist’ forces (since Karsandas Mulji was just a vernacular school teacher and supposedly was disowned by his caste and so was not a very financially sound person).

His constant self-declared solution was that all sects which have come up in Kalyuga are to be thwarted and since the Pushtimarga sect is also a creation in kalyuga, therefore it is our duty as Hindus to rout them too. What a thought process!

The devotees were outraged at the allegations and decided to take action and the libel case was filed in the Bombay Supreme Court by Jadunathji Maharaj, one of the Maharaj/leaders of the Vallabhacharya sect of the Vaishnavaism on 14 May 1861 against Karsandas Mulji, a social reformer and the editor of Satyaprakash, a Gujarati weekly newspaper, and its publisher, for defaming the plaintiff in an article published on 21 October 1860. Wild medical allegations were made against the maharaj which were taken at face value and never debated despite claims to the opposite by various witnesses during the trial.

Quoting a review of the book and the case,

The libel case took place just over three years after the Great Rebellion, at a time when the imperial authorities were consolidating their governance of the colony. In 1861, Parliament passed the Indian High Courts Act, which removed the dual system of Crown Courts and Company Courts – replacing them with single High Courts in Bombay, Madras and Bengal. The Act also abolished the position of Indian law officers – Hindu shastris and Muslim maulvis – who had, previously, assisted Imperial judges on matters of textual interpretation and Hindu or Muslim personal law – leaving all matters of judgement and interpretation to European judges. The judges presiding at the 1862 libel case spent a good deal of time pondering the appropriateness (and possibility) of deciding what constituted Hindu orthodoxy. Sir Richard Sausse, who presided over the libel case, was the first chief justice of the High Court of Bombay.

David Haberman (1993) observes that after the Great Rebellion, British attitudes to Indian religions shifted markedly – and that “religion was now seen as a dangerous force lurking beneath the fragile surface of the empire”. Although Indian religions could not be attacked openly, he says, “Colonial policy … continued to be deeply committed to undermining established authority” (pp49-50). 

“What is required for India is a despotism – unquestionable, but kindly; a fatherly despotism controlled only by fatherly justice and wisdom; strong to punish as the native Sovereigns have generally been, but prompter than they have ever shown themselves to do justice and mercy.”
Illustrated London News 22 August, 1857


The rebellion also did much to reinforce the theory of oriental despotism. From the late eighteenth century on, a common trope in orientalist discourse on India was that the mass of the Indian population was held in superstitious thrall by its despotic rulers – and in particular, its Brahmin priesthood. Works such as Charles Grant’s Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain (1813),William Howitt’s Popular History of Priestcraft (1833) and the writings of William Ward 1 all promoted the belief, to varying degrees, that India’s pluralistic religious traditions were, in effect, a single pan-continental system maintained by the Brahmanical elite. Britain’s “civilising mission”, it was argued, necessitated both the removal of the power of the Brahmins -in the words of Charles Grant – “a crafty and imperious priesthood” and of the exposure of Hindu religion as “a system of delusive fraud” which had, over time, degenerated from its origins. Education – and the press – were considered to be primary tools of this “exposure”. John Bentley, for example, in his essay “On the Effect of a Native Press in India” (1823), whilst lamenting the “low taste” of Hindoos for printing legendary tales – “which may tend to strengthen immorality” – looks forwards to a new era of regeneration, during which the publication of Hindoo “rites and mysteries” will “render Brahmuns of less consequence than they were in times of greater ignorance” (p153). 

The Importance of Education

The defendant in the Libel Case, Karsandas Mulji (1832-871) and many of his supporters were alumni of Elphinstone College, which had been founded in 1834 with the purpose of introducing western ideas and learning into India, in the hope that it would bring about cultural and moral development in line with Imperial ideology 2. Students were not only taught mathematics and physics but also English literature, political theory, and philosophy. In 1844, Lord Hardinge, the then Governor-General, had passed a resolution affirming that preferential treatment for public appointments would be given to those who had acquired an English education.

Students at Elphinstone were also encouraged to write about the various social problems of India, and one of Mulji’s supporters, Dr. Bhau Daji mentioned in court that he had won a prize for an essay on female infanticide. Mulji and his fellow Elphinstone graduates – sometimes known as “Young Bombay” – played a key role in championing social and political reform. Mulji himself participated in the Gnan Prasarak Mandali – a student’s association with a strong interest in advocating social reform. According to Mulji’s biographer, when he announced his intention to enter an essay competition on the subject of widow remarriage, his aunt threw Mulji and his wife out of her house. 

Transcripts of the Libel Case proceedings show that the Judges drew a very clear distinction between the witnesses called in support of Karsandas Mulji and the witnesses who testified on behalf of the Maharaj. These latter were held up to be duplicitous to varying degrees, and it was pointed out that “Nearly all of them were cautioned; two were fined; one was sent to gaol; one was under three year’s surveillance by the police at Baroda; and another formed the subject of a report to Government for being concerned in a double murder!” (1865, p158) and that – with the exception of the Maharaj and one or two others – “there was not a single member of the Vallabhacharya sect who could give a satisfactory account of the opinions of the sect”. Chisholm Anstey, in concluding the case for the defence, also highlighted the difference between the two sets of witnesses – pointing out that as the witnesses for the defence were “men of position and respectability” their testimony should be given greater weight than the “devotees of the Maharajas” who were from “the lower classes of society”.

The Power of the Press

“A public journalist, is a public teacher; the true function of the press, by that virtue of which it has rightly grown to be one of the great powers of the modern world – is the function of teaching, elevating and enlightening those who fall within the range of its influence.”
Sir Joseph Arnould

The public criticism of the Vallabhacaryas and Jadunathji Maharaja which brought about the 1862 libel case had been brewing for some time. Karsandas Mulji had, throughout the late 1850s, published several critical articles regarding the Vallabhacarya Maharajas, through his own Satya Prakash paper, and also, the Parsi-run paper, Rast Goftar. In 1855, for example, Mulji had reported on a dispute between Maharajas and the Brahmin keepers of the Bhuleshwar Shiva temple in Bombay. In 1860, a public debate was held between Jadunathji Maharaja and one of Mulji’s co-reformists, the celebrated poet and linguist Narmad (Narmadāśakar Lālśakar) on the subject of the remarriage of widows. By all accounts, this debate ended badly, with the reformers castigated as atheists and heretics (Thakkar, 1997, p48). Mulji and his cohorts continued their press campaign (fueled by countering the output of Jadunathji Maharaja’s own journal – The Propogator of True Religion and Destroyer of Doubt) and in October 1860, Mulji published “The Primitive Religion of the Hindus and the Present Heterdox Opinions” which eventually landed him in court.

The 1862 libel case itself was preceded by what came to be known as the “Bhattai Conspiracy Case”. Many of Jadunathji Maharaja’s followers were members of the Bania and Bhattai castes – two of Bombay’s wealthy merchant communities. Each caste was divided into sub-castes, each of which was presided over by a council. Councils met periodically to discuss matters pertaining to the caste as a whole. Whilst the councils had once had the power to declare individual members as outcaste – to “excommunicate” them; this power had been severely constrained by British Law. The Maharajas also did not want to defile themselves by appearing in court, or for that matter, be seen to be bowing to British rule. In 1859, caste leaders circulated a caste contract which pledged its signatories to support the expulsion of dissenters, and help keep the Maharajas out of court. In September 1861, two thousand members of the Bhattai caste met, resolving that whoever testified against the Maharaja in court would be excluded from caste membership.

Karsandas Mulji heard about this decision and brought a charge of conspiracy against caste leaders – publishing an article entitled “The Slavery Bond” The “Bhattai Conspiracy Case” was heard in December 1861 and the caste leaders were fined for “obstructing justice”. The court’s ruling implied that it was the state – not local or civic bodies – which had power over individual rights. This ruling became significant in the 1862 libel case, in that the Maharaja’s religious authority was very much bound up in caste affiliations.

Orientalist Tropes in Court

As David Haberman (1993) points out, both the defendants, the judges, and the expert testimony of Dr. John Wilson drew on an orientalist view of India having once possessed a “golden past” from which it had progressively degenerated, to the point that corrective intervention from European scholars and the benefits of the “civilising mission” was required. Dr John Wilson’s testimony, included the assertion that “I cannot say that any sect at present strictly follows the ancient Hindu religion”. Wilson also stated that “It is a historical fact, that the more modern religions are less moral and less pure.”

Similarly, Mulji’s assertion that the very idea of religious pluralism was a “deceitful proposition” appears to be rooted in the orientalist vision of a singular, original Hindu tradition – a tradition that was moreover, ascetic, world-denying, transcendental and individualistic – qualities which the British favoured. George Smith, in his Life of John Wilson, D.D. F.R.S. (1878) placed Mulji’s success squarely on the shoulders of two men – Mulji’s senior counsel, Chisholm Anstey, who “supplied the legal learning and forensic skill” and Dr. Wilson, who “contributed the learning and the uprightness required to convict the Maharaj out of his own books” (p551). He comments further: “So little informed were the English counsel for the ignorant Maharaj that they submitted as a description of the sect a work applicable to another altogether, and Dr. Wilson turned the tables on them” (p552). Wilson himself later wrote regarding this incident: “It’s insertion in the instructions of the counsel for the prosecution shows the unprincipled and unscrupulous measures of the prompters in this case, and the difficulties under which unsuspecting English gentlemen laboured in dealing with it” (p553) – an echo of the widespread assertion that Indians were basically untrustworthy. 

What is particularly of interest is how the Maharaja Libel Case – during the process of determining what constituted religious orthodoxy – shifted focus from the participant or “believer” to the objective witness or “expert” orientalist such as Dr. John Wilson, who was deemed to be more knowledgeable – and reliable – than the mere devotee. In this way, lived religion was disciplined in ways that made it subject to, and manageable by, colonial bureaucracy.


What was the opinion of the Judges, quoting the Judgement:

As Sir Joseph Arnould admitted during the proceedings, the difficulty of establishing libel was complicated by the fact that the court had no real idea about what constituted orthodoxy or heterodoxy in this context: “We don’t know what heterodoxy is, and we don’t know what heresy is; for we don’t know what the Shastras themselves are.” The court was being tasked with making a legal judgement as to what constituted Hindu orthodoxy – and the means chosen was the comparison of ancient “Shastric” authority (texts) to local and modern practice.

As the case proceeded, the scope of the enquiry broadened out so that it was not merely a consideration of libel, but the morality of Vallabhacharya practice and beliefs – as well as the Maharaja himself that came under close scrutiny.

On the 22nd April, 1862, Sir Matthew Sausse delivered judgement. Although he found judgement in favour of the plantiff (the Maharaja) in terms of three minor pleas, he ruled in favour of the defendant (Mulji) and awarded him all costs. Sausse stated that although he wanted to avoid any “reiteration of … disgusting details” he commented that “All songs connected with the God Krishna, which were brought before us were of an amorous character, and it appeared that songs of a corrupting and licentious tendency, both in idea and expression, are sung by young females to the Maharaja, upon festive occasions, in which they are identified with the God in his most licentious aspect. In these songs, as well as in stories, both written and traditional, which latter are treated as of a religious character in the sect, the subject of sexual intercourse is most prominent.” 

Sir Joseph Arnould commented that “A public journalist is a public teacher: the true function of the press, that by virtue of which it has rightly grown to be one of the great powers of the modern world – is the function of teaching, elevating and enlightening those who fall within the range of its influence. To expose and denounce evil and barbarous practices; to attack usages and customs inconsistent with moral purity and social progress, is one of its highest, its most imperative duties. … As editor of the Satya Prakash the defendant was, in my opinion, acting within the clear limits of his duty in denouncing to a public … the moral delinquencies of the Maharaja.” He also felt it necessary to pronounce judgement on the worship of Krishna: “It is Krishna, the darling of the 16,000 Gopees; Krishna the love-hero – the husband of the 16,000 princesses, who is the paramount object of Vallabhacharya’s worship. This tinges the whole system with the stain of carnal sensualism, of strange, transcendental lewdness. See, for instance, how the sublime Brahminical doctrine of unition with “Brahma” is tainted and degraded mode of regarding the Deity. … The teachers of the Vallabhacharyan sect do not absolutely discard this great tenet, but they degrade it.”

Well, after reading all this, one should understand that this was a missionary as well as colonial hitjob, just 3 years into the National uprising of 1857, which was led by a Brahmin named Mangal Pandey. This was then experimented upon many other sects and especially those headed by Brahmins. And then ofcourse, one sees clearly that this continues till date in the heatred towards Hinduism even within hindus and Bollywood doing its best in this aspect.

Let us all pledge to take action against this film which will be released on Netflix on June 14th 2024 by spreading awareness on social media, mainstream media and taking possible legal action, and by most importantly boycotting Bollywood and nepo kids like Junaid Khan. Don’t stop till they stop being anti-hindu and anti-national!

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