Popular Culture

Bollywood vs. Jihad

Which is the bigger threat to fundamentalist Islam: the Pentagon or Mumbai?

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India is a country riven with religious, linguistic, socioeconomic, and regional clashes. But the battle that split the country in two last year concerned a far more basic, existential question: Munni or Sheila?

These are the screen names of the sex sirens who danced and lip-synced in Bollywood's two biggest hit songs not just of 2010 but likely in the Indian film industry's entire 112-year history: "Munni Badnam Hui," from the blockbuster Dabangg, and "Sheila Ki Jawani," from Tees Maar Khan. No sooner had the movies hit the silver screen than a cultural civil war broke out in India, Pakistan, and portions of the Middle East. Fans took to Twitter and Facebook to duel over which of the two dancers could undulate more gracefully to the melodies. Which woman had better captured the sexuality of the lyrics? The earthy, ethnic Munni in her backless blouses? Or the urbane, Westernized, English-spouting Sheila in her stringy outfits? Thanks to the songs, the opening weekends of these otherwise execrable movies were Bollywood's biggest of all time. The Times of India, India's equivalent of The New York Times, declared Munni and Sheila to be India's Women of the Year.

Not everyone was amused. Bollywood's suggestive eroticism has always pushed the boundaries of a sexually prudish country, rubbing traditionalists of all stripes the wrong way. But Munni's come-hither bawdiness and Sheila's saucy paean to her "too-sexy-for-you" body were just too much for some conservatives to endure, prompting the wife of one prominent civil servant to petition the courts to ban the songs on the grounds of indecency and immorality. Islamists in particular had reason to be offended: The woman who plays Sheila—Katrina Kaif—is Muslim. So is Salman Khan, the star actor who danced raunchily with Munni. As if to add insult to injury, a Muslim woman, Farah Khan, choreographed both of the racy dance numbers.

Islamic fundamentalists have long worried about the threat that Bollywood poses to their puritanical demands. Of late, they have even taken to making videos—rap videos, no less—condemning Bollywood movies as being the product of an infidel culture trying to brainwash Muslims against their own religious values and duties. They have ample reason to be worried: About 3 billion people, or half the planet, watches Bollywood, and many of them live in the Islamic world. By depicting assimilated, modernized Muslims, Bollywood—without even trying—deromanticizes and thereby disarms fanatical Islam. If you can have Munni and Sheila in this world, why on earth would you want to strap bombs to your waist and blow yourself up for the sake of 72 theoretical virgins?

For a decade now, America has been fighting the scourge of Islamist terrorism by deploying its considerable hard power. Washington has launched wars in two allegedly hostile countries, launched drone attacks in allegedly friendly countries, tortured countless terror suspects, and unleashed Transportation Security Administration inspectors to grope and fondle its own citizens. But with the debt and deficit spiraling out of control and with civil libertarians up in arms over the loss of liberties for a war that has no conceivable end, American hard power is arguably maxed out.

Not that hard power is all it's cracked up to be anyway. It is widely recognized that the West won the Cold War in at least some significant part because its music and culture won the hearts and minds of Eastern Bloc youth. But the kind of Western soft power that proved so crucial in bringing down the Soviet empire—jazz, Hollywood, the Beatles—is arguably less relevant in the struggle against fundamentalist Islam. American culture, despite its alleged ubiquity, doesn't have the same resonance in Eastern countries that don't share the West's ethnic, religious, and cultural background. While hip hop and heavy metal have helped inspire some of the street protesters demanding more freedoms across the Middle East and northern Africa, outside of the hardcore early adopters these cultural subgenres remain more voyeuristic than aspirational. Their popularity arguably stems more from a curiosity about how exotic people in alien countries live than from an inclination to emulate them.

That isn't true of Bollywood. India's flamboyant, campy, kitschy film industry is rooted in heritages, values, aesthetics, and geographies shared with much of the Muslim world. The Middle East is Bollywood's third largest overseas market. Many Bollywood movies now hold their premiers in Dubai. Dubai Infinity Holdings, a media company, is even erecting a Universal Studio–like Bollywood theme park that is expected to be a major draw for regional tourists—although its completion, originally scheduled for next year, has been delayed two years by the global financial crisis.

Like the huddled masses behind the Iron Curtain, disaffected youth throughout the unfree Muslim world see in Bollywood a glimpse of the pleasures, colors, and riches available in a world with more liberty. Among the first businesses to open after the Taliban fell in Afghanistan were movie theaters showing Bollywood films. Even at the height of the Taliban's repression, shopkeepers kept a secret stash of undestroyed film star posters that they would barter for food and goods, just as Soviet youths would trade Beatles bootlegs pressed on discarded X-ray film.

The Muslim country most in the grip of Bollywood mania is Pakistan, India's cultural twin in every respect but religion. The more aggressively that Pakistani authorities have tried to purge it from their soil, the more Bollywood's popularity has grown. During the country's four-decade-long ban on Indian movies, Pakistanis watched them via satellite dishes and smuggled VHS tapes. When the ban was finally lifted in 2008, the Bollywood scene in Pakistan exploded. Not only have Bollywood movies been playing to packed houses, but Indian movie stars are treated like demigods, despite Islam's taboo against idol worship. The latest fad among Pakistan's urban nouveau riche is Bollywood theme weddings in which the bride and groom dress in outfits worn by a particular movie's stars and hold their wedding reception in elaborate tents constructed to resemble movie sets.

It's hard to emulate—and adulate—a cultural form while simultaneously rejecting its message. And Bollywood's message is profoundly at odds with the strictures of Islamic extremism. At the simplest level, women who don Bollywood outfits, even when adapted for more modest sensibilities, are resisting the Islamic strictures that would shroud them in a burqa. At a deeper level, Bollywood movies offer a compromise between tradition and modernity that resonates with ordinary Muslims while subverting Islamist designs.

Take romantic movies. You might have expected Hollywood's more sexually explicit romances to pose a bigger threat to puritanical Shariah law than Bollywood's tamer approach. You'd be wrong. Both Hollywood and Bollywood idealize true love that conquers all. But the obstacles that Hollywood couples face—previous lovers, infidelity, commitment phobia, baggage from broken marriages—have little to do with the concerns of people in traditional Muslim countries. They can relate far more with Bollywood's paramours, whose chief impediment is familial objections, given that arranged marriage is still a revered institution in that part of the world.

Consider Veer-Zaara, the tear-jerking megahit of 2004. It involves a romance between a Hindu-Indian Air Force officer, Veer, and a Muslim-Pakistani woman, Zaara. (In a role reversal, Veer is played by a Muslim, Shah Rukh Khan, and Zaara by a Hindu.) Zaara and Veer meet when the bus she is taking from Pakistan to India overturns. Zaara is making the journey to fulfill the dying wish of her Indian caregiver by scattering her ashes in her native village. Veer, whose name means brave, rescues Zaara from the wreckage and invites her to spend a day in his ancestral village, where she meets his parents. Both Veer and his parents are totally charmed by the Pakistani. But she is already engaged to someone her parents have selected for her and therefore returns to Pakistan.

But Veer and Zaara are unable to forget one another. Veer quits his prestigious Air Force job and goes to Pakistan to bring her back. Zaara's mother begs him to go away, since her husband is a high-profile Pakistani politician who would be ruined if it ever became known that his daughter was in love with an Indian officer. Heartbroken, Veer gives in to her plaintive pleas. But Zaara's fiance is deeply outraged and frames Veer as an Indian spy. Veer remains imprisoned in a Pakistani jail for 22 years until a Pakistani human rights lawyer, also played by a Hindu-Indian actress, takes up his case and, after a huge court battle, gets him released. Veer returns to his village where, it turns out, Zaara moved after Veer's distraught parents died, starting an all-girl school there. The two are finally reunited.

Veer-Zaara portrays the tension between the possibilities of modernity and the demands of tradition, offering a resolution that accommodates both. It affirms the right of young men and women—not their parents or families—to decide their own romantic fate. But it does so without demanding the wholesale jettisoning of religion, tradition, or family. Zaara's original journey to India to dispose of her caregiver's ashes conveys her piety, love, and deep respect for her elders, all prized virtues in traditional, religious cultures, Islamic or Hindu. What's more, Veer and Zaara don't simply thumb their noses at Zaara's family and run off to Las Vegas. That would have delegitimized their cause. They pursue a much harder balancing act. Zaara does not dishonor her family or reject its claims on her. But she breaks away from her husband, choosing instead to be single.

Bollywood, then, encourages young lovers to follow their heart by persuading their families of the rightness of their cause, not by turning their backs on them. It seeks to realize romantic love not outside the broader structure of faith and family but within it, at once reforming and affirming key social institutions—a resolution that legitimizes Muslim reformers against Islamist reactionaries. Bollywood is at once both progressive and conservative, a combination that appeals to Muslim youth.

Veer-Zaara was released when Pakistan had not yet lifted its ban on Bollywood. But it became an underground cult hit there anyway. By depicting ordinary Pakistanis, if not their government, as decent, honorable, family-oriented people, the movie flattered one of its key audiences. Pakistani athletes who happened to be in India when the movie was released reportedly watched the film at a special screening and spilled into the theater aisles to dance and clap along when Veer performs an obligatory fantasy dance sequence on a bus rooftop.

There is another key reason for Bollywood's appeal to the Islamic world. Since its inception, some of the Indian film industry's biggest stars, both male and female, have been Muslims. Currently, the three highest grossing male leads are Muslims, all with the recognizably Muslim surname Khan. Bollywood's most respected music composer—A.R. Rahman, who won an Oscar for the score of Slumdog Millionaire—is also a Muslim, as are many of Bollywood's best lyricists and screenwriters.

The success of these Bollywood Muslims has profound implications for the emergence of a moderate Islam. They have a very different attitude toward their faith than the one prescribed by radical Islamists. Some industry professionals are more religiously observant than others, and movie gossip circles are always abuzz over which member of the Khan troika is more serious about the faith. It's widely reported that Salman Khan (Munni's dance partner) eschews alcohol and that Shah Rukh Khan (Zaara's lover) fasts to observe Ramadan. But ultimately the faith of Bollywood's Muslims is about personal spiritual elevation, not subordination to Taliban-style medievalism. Rahman, the composer, is a devout Sufi who prays five times a day—not because he is trying to popularize Islam's rigid strictures but because, as The Times of India puts it, it helps him "release his tension and gives him a sense of containment."

The best Sufi music these days is arguably coming not from the Mideast but from the Indian subcontinent, thanks in no small part to Bollywood Muslims. By showcasing these artists and their work, the Indian film industry demonstrates to Muslims everywhere that adapting to modernity does not require them to abandon their faith and traditions. In fact, it can be a vehicle for preserving and promoting them.

None of this satisfies hardcore Islamists, of course. But their vitriol at Salman's impiety or Sheila's impropriety or Bollywood's many other transgressions has little resonance with the industry's Muslims. Shah Rukh, who has one billion fans across the world, in fact has made it something of a personal crusade to take on clerics who question his faith or try to impose on him their rigid version of Islam. "Jihad [meaning 'inner struggle'] was supposed to be propagated by the Prophet himself," the actor told CNN-India. "Now two versions of Islam exist. There is an Islam from Allah, and very unfortunately, there is an Islam from the Mullahs." 

But at the same time Shah Rukh criticizes extremists, he uses his stardom and artistic platform to convey the legitimate concerns of ordinary Muslims to the rest of the world. For example, his 2010 film My Name Is Khan depicts the indignities to which American Muslims have been subjected post-9/11, especially through racial profiling. As if to prove his point, immigration officials at Newark Liberty International Airport detained and questioned Shah Rukh for several hours when he came to America to promote the movie.

America's reliance on hard power stems from a subconscious fear that, without it, there will be nothing left to counter the spread of Islamic extremism. But hard power's inevitably blunt application makes distinguishing between extremists and nonextremists nearly impossible, thus alienating the very people America needs to enlist on its side. Pakistan has borne the brunt of Washington's hard power, from the constant drone attacks to the infringements on its sovereignty during Osama bin Laden's killing. And the more America has deployed its hard power, the more that anti-American sentiment has grown among ordinary Pakistanis. According to a 2009 Medium Gallup poll, Pakistan (along with Serbia) harbored the world's most negative views about America. The U.S. presence on Pakistani soil is a standing reproach, a daily blasphemy for Pakistanis.

But even as Pakistan's resistance to America's drones and raids has grown, its resistance to Bollywood's soft power has crumbled. The extremists who find sympathetic audiences when directing fire and brimstone toward the Great Satan are powerless to prevent Pakistanis from consuming Bollywood blasphemies. The hard power of the U.S. military has got nothing on the soft power of Sheila.  

Shikha Dalmia (shikha.dalmia@reason.org) is a senior policy analyst at the Reason Foundation.

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68 responses to “Bollywood vs. Jihad

  1. Sorry, I had to stop reading when I saw that the Beatles helped bring down the Kremlin.

    RIGHT.

    Buaaahhahahahaha

    1. Actually, when the Rolling Stones played Czechoslovakia in 1990, the country’s first non-Communist President since WWII actually met the band and told them that rock n’ roll played a crucial role in the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.

    2. As a man who grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia, I would like to inform you that rock music was considered enemy number – if not “one”, than “two” – by the regime.

      My formerly Communist country spent considerable resources trying to suppress a) domestic rock bands that would not toe to the official propaganda line and b) import of “immoral, degenerate, nihilistic” music from the West.

      There were sizable departments of the State Security (StB) that were only concerned with who is allowed to play what and where, and how many visitors are allowed. Temporary and permanent bans were issued against musicians and bands routinely.

      On the other hand, the rebellious youth was indulging in listening to their favorite bands secretely, and the regime’s crusade against music was a permanent reminder that, under a sightly facade, the regime is a tyranny. A lot of fence-sitters were swayed to anti-regime stances by this petty, but visible, workings of the police state.

      I will actually borrow your Buaaahhahahahaha to laugh at your ignorance.

      1. The Kremlin is in Czechoslovakia? I did not know that. Besides, everyone knows that jazz destroyed communism, not rock ‘n’ roll. Jazz and Pepsi. Also blue jeans.

        1. Yo, “Comment Tater”! Go watch some Bachelorette or something and don’t comment on things you have no clue about. The fall of the Soviet Union started in Prague when they let the East German Refugees out of the West German Embassy (start of the fall of the Wall). So yes, fuckhead, the Kremlin was in Czechoslovakia (and in Berlin and in Budapest, and in Tallinn…)

        2. De facto, 1948-1989, Kremlin was our undisputed ruler.

          On paper, Czechoslovakia was a sovereign state, but not in reality. Anything significant, from foreign policy down to construction of the Prague Metro system, was, in the final instance, dependent on Kremlin.

          Top apparatchiks from the Czechoslovak Communist Party traveled regularly (as in, every few weeks) for briefings into Moscow.

          With the short interval of the Prague Spring of 1968, there was no attempt of the Czechoslovak “leadership” (puppetship?) to deviate from the Moscow line and pursue some independent policy.

          (Even Ceausescu’s Romania was more independent than GDR and CSSR, the two super-satellite states).

      2. import of “immoral, degenerate, nihilistic” music from the West.

        But as we all know, everyone subconsciously yearns for greater immorality, degeneracy, and nihilism.

  2. Bollywood is awesome. So much better than American cinema, for the most part. Between the great music, the ridiculous story lines, and the general sense of not taking itself very seriously, how can you not like it?

    1. And the women. The women are so much better looking. If these barbarians fuck with Bollywood, it is going to get personal.

      1. Having traveled to Sri Lanka and India I have to agree. I would walk the streets stunned at the gorgeous women everywhere.

        1. Have to agree with you on that one. Far nicer than the “concentration camp” look that most of Hollywood seems to have adopted.

  3. “tortured countless terror suspects”

    [citation needed]

  4. I’ve always felt that Bollywood is great escapism from the formulas of Hollywood. The good productions, especially musicals, always have pretty impressive sets and costumes.

  5. The Taliban will never go for showtunes. They aren’t gay, they just fuck little boys.

    1. And goats…..

  6. That girl in the center of the picture, I would ‘do’ her. That is all.

    1. She probably has, like, 100 kids already!!!! Ew!!!!!

  7. It is widely recognized that the West won the Cold War in at least some significant part because its music and culture won the hearts and minds of Eastern Bloc youth.

    [citation needed]

    1. Come on RC. Don’t mess with Shika’s fantasy world.

      1. Yeah, but the Beatles didn’t look that good in harem pants.

        It’s a bad analogy, but I don’t think the point is invalid – the USSR was a top-down power structure, vs. the more dispersed Muslim Fundies. What would you rather do – listen to a guy harangue you for 2 hours, or watch the girl in the picture dance?

    2. Well it didn’t hurt

    3. It’s actually detailed in the Declaration of Independents book

    4. R.C.: I think Tony Judt discusses this in “Post-war” (which is a pretty good read). And historian Larry Schweikart made a video called Rockin the Wall: he has a website by the name (no spaces; .com).

    5. As I commented earlier: smuggling and secret listening to Western music, as well as sincere attempts to mimic it, was ubiquitous behind the Iron Curtain.

      The perceived Western freedom of musical expression was a good reminder and symbol of what lies behind the barbed wire, and it was easily “digestible” even by people who wouldn’t bother to read samizdats etc.

      Been there, done that.

      Will my citation be enough for you?

      1. I always thought it was Levi’s.

  8. Shilla!

  9. Bollywood’s suggestive eroticism has always pushed the boundaries of a sexually prudish country, rubbing traditionalists of all stripes the wrong way.

    Is there a “right” way to rub the traditionalists of a sexually prudish country? Is it like rubbing Mennonite girl where you hide under her long skirt with no one being the wiser?

    1. upvote for mennonite reference

  10. How many times is she going to write this story?
    https://reason.com/archives/201…..-bin-laden

    1. As many as it takes.

  11. introduce bacon to the diet, they can never go back. aloha

  12. For a decade now, America has been fighting the scourge ofguaranteeing an unending supply of Islamist terrorism by deploying its considerable hard power.

    Fixed.

  13. Just as the Beatles and rock n’ roll helped bring down the Kremlin, Bollywood might yet prove to be the undoing of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Or increase the ferocity of it. I’m guessing that Taliban types see Bollywood as an actual attack on its values.

  14. The “nordik terrorist” NAZI (I remember the late 90s, nazi joined CO MU NISTS for their “great marches of rasism”, “anti-globalists” (globalism is good or bad depending if it is Bush or any ANTI-TERROR FIGURE, NOT PREFERED BY THE TERRORIST,DICATATORS&OTHER; ENEMIES AS mr bhorK, any C$arumen, alinski education, acorn, ayers,castro,chavez, and the terror logistic dreamming to have some (literaly, tangible) money from any chavez (WELL KNOWN GLOBALY) “bag$” and the rest of the “politicians” the terror bases love for America and the free world under terror, MOSTLY ISLAMIKS (international, so logicaly will be any other religion, they mix against the work of people like Bush, etc… DREAMMING AS fidel TO BE BAILEDOUT (some few bi, billions, bhorK has TRI, TRILLION$, and to fund acorn, carlosalvarezgov police&DOCTROLL;$, sodomik preds (calle 8 119 “zumba gim owner, in my face, life-threat, using police or linchers, they work togheteher the whole gov$y$tem, “created by castros’s pooppet ma noriega, “ignored by “auuthorities HE IS A CASTRO TE RRO RIST, not “only a medium drugdealer”)…
    the system also needs Us to ignore so many things, for expl: Iraq liberation, next door to TERRORIST IRAN (criminal against humanity, going globaly nuke with any anti free world, FREE, NOT ACORN!!) GOV, ayatola are (since Bush) “in sandwich”, on BRAKES (should be bounded) ayatolas, against Afaganistan bhor needs to (only VERY, VERY low polls make the balrak of moregov talk imitating Bush, or even dare to imitate TEA KING, Reagan, whatever he’ll say, beg, etc, to bring you into moregov, they “rank” BY OSADY, they see hammas, blackpanties not jailed for life-threat people ON ELECTION DAY!!, and the rest of the MANY terror politicians have on their closeds, the old (since vietnam tedpalpatinekennedy dark period) VARIETY of the infiltration pre-invasion castrocoyote insurgent auuuthorities…
    yes, a sample of any country’s population…
    psst Fl Republican candidates supported by ME, many of you don’t talk like Paulcrespo, so I don’t like you, hey, years already and the castrocoyote lourdesmartinez (singlename, acorn) still have me homeless, and castrocoyote sodomic predatorial police&auuthorities; still have me salved, and paralegaly tryed to “street fights”, experienced violent people, off dominic&cptn; noel, doral and many police are not jailed, all police know on these denounces so… all are castroagents then, simply…
    stay tunned

    1. Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    2. It’s all so clear to me now.

  15. They is all crazy niggas, I sez!

  16. I like the fact that these Boolywood women have bare feet.

  17. Hope S.D. is right.

    But personally, I just can’t seem to warm up to musical scales with more than eight notes. My loss I guess.

  18. Fuck cowfuckers, camelfuckers and any other religion bullshits. I won’t be surprised to see my post depleted again. Go drink cow piss, Shikha Dalmia!

    C’mon editors, I dare you to reply to this. But I doubt it, you cowards.

    1. I bow to your profound insight.

      Your arguments and logic sweep away all objections.

      1. Right back to you, dipshit.

        1. Profoundly eloquent.

    2. But, tell us how you really feel.

      1. I feel you should just fuck off, you piece of shit.

    3. shitty, shitty, shitty, fucking shit shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. I’ll be in my bistara.

  20. I’m sick of seeing this steaming bullshits written by retarded cowfucker. What is up with Reason and this cowfucker? Why India and their percious culture is so fucking important? Why that cowfucker wouldn’t dare to criticize Hindu religion and their percious culture? Oh yeah! Because she is from a fucking India. What a coward.

    1. Pakistani, I presume?

    2. Pakistani, I presume?

  21. the Pentagon

    next question?

  22. Someone has to actually take out the terrorist groups while Bollywood and popular indian culture help steer the population away from islamic extremism. Left by themselves, the terrorists will prevent the people from enjoying Bollywood by…. pretty much killing them, yeah.

    Most people abroad will resent us no matter what we do. They didn’t like us when Obama became president, they won’t like us when we close down every military bases and end all drone attacks, and they’ll actually curse president Ron Paul for ending military and foreign aid that usually comes to them. They’ll say something like “You’re quitting on us after we helped you in all your wars” or “You’ve forsaken your responsibility as a superpower” and hate us even more.

  23. Paul|7.27.11 @ 7:56PM|#
    Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
    Teapioneer: ooohhhhhppppsss!!, I misstookyou Paul, with magnificent candidate for Miamidade mayor, not rinoliphant like soFla cities, plaged along neolibtiCAL$ and more then orK$, oops, what destroyed ussr(u$ neolibland), org$&$tuff$ (C$arumen,acorn,alinski,fahracan,ayers of $aurgov…
    I was promoting (ad honorem as usual, expl: “visibility rays” mmm: acorn is now visible), Paulcrespo just because of the hate, instantly (appears the FEMALE F A T castrogovagent screamming over Paul, or the commi$$ioner$ “just shootoff mic”)…
    We need the people the $y$tem doesn’t want AND NEED, battlestar Alexjhones, Tea need you, we need all of us to say the words… to explain “the details&weak; “laws”, the gov “god$”, “deitie$, auuuthorities, castrocoyote “lanscape “changer”, pre-invasion.
    We need Teas instead of the $odomiK tuttifruity “mixe$”, (don’t forget the insurgency tryes to “legalize all drugs, not only medical pot”, they have 30 ayer$ experienced tedpalpatinekennedy’s de$k politicians, more than orK$, an army brought for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men, they are here since last 2 ayer$, (30 ayers experienced logi$TICK$) govinfoed, gov funded, reaching for those unknown TEAs, heroes of the night… and day… TEAvatars, TEA Rohirim (Csaruman replaced it for Palantir’$ drivebymediarrea)…
    so, now they (terror, cuba,iran…)use the old vandalikcriminal nazi (old mindprogrammed) to blame Christians?…
    hey dude, hitler’s logos were based on crusses, blackcrusses, oldcrusses…
    Prosperity is freedom’s farm, is an abstract mind concept, target of importance (to destroy) on most politicians, the system’s, from the beltway…
    If I can be trillionaire I’ll do, but I don’t think tedpalpatinekennedy’s system, for 20+ayers (following up my mind, family, countries), they accept I’m important ‘sometimes’, speacially when my propaganda quality (and ad honorem) is amplified by really prosper rich on talent&symbols; of liberty like talkradio whom dare to cover up about homeless ACTIVEheroes, slaved by system’s ranking ossady motivated imbeciles, trillionaires for nothing, misserables, who can’t believe till today there are things out of dirtymoney, gifts from God, some of us aren’t only “suspected something wrong”, “no police tolerates unjustices”, We “just cause tumultus at murum”…
    We, those responsible for TEArepublican Helmsdeep!!! do not want to even hear, sit to “deal”?, “negotiate”? with the
    TE RROR preffered (iran said so, cuba said so, bhork still lecturing high treason leve$) insTEAd of Bush… why!!!???
    bhorK has being unnstopped (after finantial bubbleLIB bombing$) bombing the debt$tar’$ ray$ to the future … they need rinoliphant$&neolibtiCAL;$ (old expl: shirlie”temple”,assymetricalgovagents (all branches) sending weapons to cartels, and the rest of their etc$, untangible, out of money or “false bhork acuaman telepat(olog)iK power$” weaponry…

    reply to this
    duuude|7.28.11 @ 12:13AM|#
    It’s all so clear to me now.

    pd: you reid?

  24. oops! I misstook paul the trillionairegov ‘deity’power$’ with Paul Crespo, one who the system hates!!
    one of the few…

  25. America’s reliance on hard power stems from a subconscious fear that, without it, there will be nothing left to counter the spread of Islamic extremism.

    A subconscious fear? You’re a mindreader now? You can’t think of a simpler explanation?

  26. I stopped reading the article precisely on the 11th line when I saw this, “The Times of India, India’s equivalent of The New York Times,”

    Conclusion: the writer is clueless, hence the rest must be hogwash.

  27. I am deeply disappointed in this article, as it provides a simplistic understanding both of Islam, and frankly, human nature.

    To suggest that the sexual escapades portrayed in what are nothing more than fanciful, escapist movies would question the intelligence of the audience and the society to which they belong.

    From personal experience, I can only see the use of Islamic words in this film a means to capture the attention of the audience. And I would say it as for the Hindus, who seek relief from their own taboos and protocols, as the Muslims, in providing some sort of reprieve from what they know to be the norms of their faith.

    Suffice it to say, the author may wish to look at the other perspective, as to how much influence this idyllic portrayal of Islam has had on the largely Hindu India. It is interesting to see how the generic name “Ram” once used in film by Hindus and Muslims alike, has now been replaced with “Chuda and Rabba”.

  28. Whatever you think of her analysis of the Cold War – I’m not convinced, myself, that Western culture meant very much to the Politburo’s decision to wind down their empire (SDI was decisive here) – but this piece tells Americans s.t. far more important: India should be our #1 ally in this century. Perfectly positioned to contain China and to thwart and annoy the jihadists, with a huge pro-American diaspora, India is more important to our global strategy than Britain or any European nation. Unlike Japan, India is growing in wealth, confidence and economic might. Here’s hoping that many more Indian-Americans turn their talents to politics and thought leadership in coming years.

  29. I am afraid I found the article rather silly. Dalmia seems like a one dimensional writer who has written quite similar articles in recent months, almost all with the same unsound arguments and understanding.

    This article would be more suitable in a neocon publication as it continues to present the same old tired excuses as to why there is resentment and militancy towards our country.
    Consider the following:

    1) Bollywood hardly has a huge audience outside of Southern Asia . And while the diaspora from those countries do watch Bolywood movies I seriously doubt the audience numbers 3 billion.

    2) Bollywood has for most of its history been dominated by muslims, that has not prevented Pakistanis and Indians from hating each other, neither has its stopped the intermittent large scale massacres visited upon religious and ethnic minorities in India since its inception both by Hindu terrorist organizations as well as the state machinery. The political demand in Kashmere independance is stronger than it was decades ago despite the heavy handed tactics and saturating the region with state propaganda. Ironically, Dalmia misses this point entirely when she chafes and accuses the US of doing just that.

    3)I don’t understand what she means by “Islamic taboo against idol worshipping” and comparing it to teens being star struck with matinee idols. I am sure not just Pakistanis and Indian Muslims but the rest of the Arab and Muslim world is star struck with Hollywood idols atleast 5 times over.
    That has not, would not, and cannot deter the mistrust and anger the populace has towards the US. The remedy for that has always been quite obvious: non-interventionism and removal of military bases.

    Yup. They never hated us for our freedoms, our prosperity, our Kardashians and Rebecca Blacks.
    This line of argument has always been a propaganda and a lie. And sadly it was perpetuated here as well.

    4)”Liberal world of Bollywood”???
    Most non Indians see Bollywood for what it is, a cheap embarassing, travesty. Arguably an enjoyable one. India’s movie industry caters to its and its neighbours teeming impoverished masses who canunderstand the language and provides a valuable scape from the harsh reality of pitiful life in that region. It has been doing so even before the British granted freedom, yet that has not solved India’s myriad problems of its centuries old culture based on immoral irratinality that continues to till this day. 2010 alone saw 11 million female infanticides from the most “educated” sections of the society for which Indian politicians blamed “Western technology”.

    5) Most middleeastern and Arab countries have far more liberal culture already in place. Tourism and Western cultural symbols thrive precisly most in countries from which we get the most souls willing to blow (or crash)themselves for thier perceived wrong. Anyone who has been to Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Dubai (places from where the most terrorists originate) can testify to the chic modernity seen on its streets, people, television and customs.
    7)With the advent of cheap satellite Dish, programs from all over the world are broadcast into the living rooms of even the most closed off Muslim societies such as Saudi and Iran, yet these are not and will never be the solution to the current problems.

    All these and many more points makes me feel that the Dalmia is here peddling her clannish mentality of promoting India (a society much worse and evil than the most tribal Muslim societies).

    And while that may serve as a cheap writeup fodder for the pro-interventionists and dreamers of multilateralism it serves absolutely no purpose to the cause of peace, truth and solution to our problems overseas.

  30. It affirms the right of young men and women?not their parents or families?to decide their own

  31. Thanks. Mantolama fiyatlar?, s?ve, kat silmesi, mantolama nedir mantolama | | s?ve modelleri |

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