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PRADHAN MANTRI: AN EXCELLENT TV SERIAL

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M.J. Akbar wrote the Foreword to my compilation of blogposts published two years back under the title “As I See it”.

 

Summing up his comments on the compilation, Akbar writes:

 

“As a politician who reads more often than he speaks, and someone who spent long years in ideological journalism, Lal Krishna Advani’s mind remains steeped in politics but his heart belongs to the written word…..Advani-on-the-net was less of a blog and more of a column on the variety of life, in which politics played less of a role than you might expect from a politician. It was part reminiscence, part travelogue, part book review, with a frequent dip into his hobby, cinema.”

 

ashutosh-gowariker-1In one of my blogs written in January 2011, I wrote about a Hindi film produced by the famous film maker Ashutosh Gowariker, dealing with the Chittagong uprising against British rule. The film was named Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se, and was based on a very well researched book written by Manini Chatterji of The Telegraph.

 

Gowariker’s two earlier patriotic films, Lagaan and Swades had been very popular hits.  However, the thrust of this particular blog of mine was that while quite a few films have been made relating to India’s struggle for independence from British domination, there has not been a single film dealing with how our own Indian Government sought to throttle Democracy in 1975, and how under Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan, the people waged a big battle against the Emergency, and frustrated the designs of the rulers to subvert Democracy.

 

shekhar-kapurToday’s blog of mine is intended mainly to offer warm kudos to ABP News for having not only filled the void I had referred to in that 2011 blog but through its well produced serial PRADHANMANTRI, attempted to educate its viewers about all the important events since independence.

 

Till now I have been able to watch some half a dozen episodes relating to Operation Blue Star, Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination, Lal Bahadur Shastri’s victory in the Indo-Pak war, Tashkent Summit and Shastri’s death at Tashkent, Mrs. Gandhi’s Emergency, and Morarji Desai’s victory in 1977 elections. I gather that the research, the script, the editing, the direction etc. have all been essentially in-house contributions. I must say that with Shekhar Kapur discharging the role of the principal compere, the serial is proving as engrossing as it is enlightening.

 

shahi-zamanTill today, 14 or 15 of this 24-episode serial have been screened. Last night (19th October) the Shah Bano episode, and the episode in which Court ordered the opening of the Rama Temple gates in Ayodhya were shown.

 

The commentators in the serial projected the two events as Government’s planned moves to placate, turn by turn, first Muslim vote banks and later Hindu vote banks.

 

The producers of the serial have acted wisely in putting the serial on the You Tube. I have personally spoken to Avik Babu in Kolkatta and the Group Editor of the MCCS network which include ABP News, Shazi Zaman in Delhi, and complimented them on this excellent production.

 

TAILPIECE

 

bookMark Tully and Satish Jacob of BBC have written a book titled: AMRITSAR Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle.

 

The Pradhan Mantri serial’s portions showing how GOI promoted Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his cult in Punjab in order to undercut the influence of the Shiromani Akali Dal in the State is based very much on this book. Satish Jacob acts an anchor in this part of the serial. The book mentions:

 

Satish Jacob once watched a middle-aged woman and her grown-up son pleading their case before Bhindranwale. The woman said that her husband had deserted her and was refusing to support her. She asked Bhindranwale to ‘finish’ him.

 

Bhindranwale replied, ‘I only finish those who are enemies of the Sikh faith like policemen, government officials and Hindus. The son then asked, ‘Can you give me a weapon so that I can go and do the job?’

 

satish-jacobBhindranwale retorted, ‘No. Go and buy a gun yourself’.’ ‘Will I be able to come back here for sanctuary if I do the job?’

 

‘No, we only give sanctuary to those who come back after doing a job in the name of the movement. If you go and eliminate a policeman who has harassed my people or a government official who is against us, then I will not only give you sanctuary, I will welcome you with garlands.’

 

Eventually the Sant took pity on the young man and his mother. He asked the name of the father’s village and said, ‘All right. I will tell the thanedar (officer in charge of the police station) to break your father’s legs.’

 

When Satish Jacob inquired of Bhindranwale’s interpreter how he could do that, the interpreter replied, ‘No one can refuse Santji’s orders.’

 

 

L.K. Advani

New Delhi

20 October, 2013

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