New Delhi, Feb 15: Ouch! These days, everything hurts everybody so easily. We have truly become a nation that specialises in taking offence. No offence to that statement, please.
And, god forbids if anything remotely talks, discusses or even praises religion (irrespective of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity...), all hell breaks loose.
Till recently, we were busy chronicling the violent events that finally led to the release of the controversial Bollywood film, Padmaavat (earlier known as Padmavati). The magnum opus directed by maverick Sanjay Leela Bhansali faced severe backlash in various parts of the country before its release on January 25.
The Rajput and several other Hindu right-wing groups wanted the film, based on the legend of Rani Padmini, a 13th century Hindu Rajput queen, to be banned. The protesters alleged that Padmaavat depicts Rajput women in bad light and hurts Hindu religious sentiments.
Once the whole real-life drama, which was fanned by political parties too ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat last year, over Bhansali's movie got over, on Wednesday, when the nation was exchanging love notes and bitter hearts (read right-wing groups) were protesting over Valentine's Day, a viral video clip of a song ended up hurting the religious sentiments, this time of the Muslims.
A group of youngsters in Hyderabad filed a complaint at the Falaknuma Police Station against the viral song, Manikya Malaraya Poovi, from the upcoming Malayalam school romance drama, Oru Adaar Love, as it has reference to the Prophet Mohammed's wife Hazrat Khadeeja and is considered "un-Islamic".
Another fringe outfit, Raza Academy from Mumbai, demanded a ban on the song as it "hurts the sentiments of Muslims across the world".
The controversial Raza Academy, involved in Azad Maidan riots, submitted a written complaint to Datta Padsalgikar, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief, Prasoon Joshi, asking them to block the viral videos of the film.
Talking to News18 Muhammad Saeed Noori founder and president of Raza Academy said, "The lyrics of the song are of a Malayalam folk song which is only sung during the events of Muslims, using it in movies or any form of entertainment is against the Islamic laws."
He added, "If the song is not removed from the film then the members of Raza Academy will protest nationwide".
Just days before Valentine's Day, a small clip of the song showcasing flirtatious exchange of glances between a young couple (two school students) and the now famous Priya Prakash Varrier wink took the nation by storm. The video clip was shared millions of times on various social media plaforms.
Young actress Priya instantly became internet sensation and national obsession for her 'fatal' wink and 'killer' smile. Men (and even women) simply could not stop talking about her deadly charm. The teenage actress' devotees dedicated many memes and poems to the girl who is pursuing her graduation from a college in Thrissur, Kerala.
Taking a firm stand against the backlash faced by the viral song, the director of the film, Omar Lulu, and the composer of the song, Shaan Rahman, said that they were not going to delete it from the film.
Before the song faced opposition, Lulu in an interview to Scroll said there has been some opposition (to the song) from some old Muslims in the community.
"They feel that a love song that is about the Prophet Muhammad and his wife in a film is insulting to Islam. But these people are in a small minority."
In India, protests against films, books and artworks are nothing new. While American Indologist Wendy Doniger's book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, was pulled off the shelves in 2014 after protests by a Hindu right-wing group, Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses, is banned in India since many Muslims consider it blasphemous.
Similarly, celebrated artist Maqbool Fida Hussain was hounded out of the country by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and associated groups who heaped abuse on him for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments.
It is the same country where women are fighting to enter religious places (both Hindu and Muslim shrines), as men think since females menstruate they are "dirty and unfit to worship".
Amid all these intolerance within the country, taking offence has become a full-fledged industry. Unfortunately, nobody's sentiments get hurt seeing mind-boggling poverty, violence against women, prevalence of malnutrition among millions of children and corruption, among others.
Our fragile ego gets easily bruised at the very mention of invisible gods and goddesses. How deeply disconnected we are to the reality.