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By anuj2303, Jun 14 2016 04:00PM

In an era when Bollywood movies were dominated by brain-numbing, logic defying, mawkish travesties, Ardh satya, released in 1984, came as a welcome change in the world of Indian cinema. The movie is a grim portrayal of social reality in India, and it is a very intense experience. Although, the bigger theme of the movie is the endemic problem of corruption in India, the film uses personal characterization to depict the emotional nuances of a man fighting both the system and his own demons. It is a movie that unfolds at a quiet, unhurried pace despite the urgency of the themes it addresses.

The protagonist, Anant Velankar, wants to do an MA in literature, but his father wants him to join the police service, as he himself had served in the police force before retiring. So, against his will, Anant joins the police force as a sub-inspector, even though he hates the idea of being in the police. As a child, Anant saw his father mercilessly beat his mother, even when his mother suggested that Anant didn’t want to join the police, his father beat her. This has a deep psychological impact on Anant. In the movie we see that whenever Anant is in charge of a case in which a woman is a victim, he beats the convicts black and blue. The anger and deep-seated frustration of not being able to help his mother and speak out against his father is palpable and manifests itself regularly.

The department officers are often seen cracking jokes about being upright and they reiterate the importance of being obsequious. An upright officer who fought against the system ends up being suspended and lives as a great drunkard on the streets. That officer fought against a seasoned criminal, Rama Shetty, who operates illegal businesses, has top political and police contact in high places, and gets away with all sorts of crimes. Anant runs into him, he personally hates this man. Upon obtaining a proof, he sets out to arrest Rama Shetty, but is chastised and abused by his senior on the phone in front of everyone. He is left shattered, furious and deeply hurt. He questions his manliness, self-worth and his male ego. He takes to drinking.

There is a bank robbery in the town, a national crime bureau officer is sent to take charge. Along with this officer, Anant conducts a raid on the robbers’ hideout. Anant is the one who bravely, without fearing for his life, catches the robbers. And as a result, he is promised a President’s medal on Republic Day. His father joins him for a drink. There it is seen that Anant abhors his father and when his father tries to hug him, Anant pushes him aside angrily reminding him how he used to beat his mother.

However, due to favourtism, the award goes to that bureau officer. Frustrated, Anant drinks too much alcohol. The same night a juvenile delinquent is brought into his custody for a minor crime. Anant, in an inebriated state, takes his frustration out on him. As a result, he dies in Anant’s custody. The next day, Anant is suspended from his duty. His senior officer offers him advice, and asks him to contact Rama Shetty, his nemesis, as he’s the only one who could help him now owing to his political contacts. So, Anant unwillingly goes to Rama Shetty. There Shetty agrees to help him, but on one condition. He wants Anant to work with the police, but as his man. In Anant’s mind, this is tantamount to being a pet dog. Unable to take another dent in his self-esteem, Anant loses his mind, and in blind rage, he kills Shetty.

Brilliantly acted and directed, Ardh Satya still stands the test of time. It depicts very subtly and poignantly the impacts of violence, corruption, injustice and the callousness of society on an honest and sincere man. Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much since 1984, and corruption still remains the bane of Indian society. It’s a film that is hard to get out of your head days after you’ve watched it, and which challenges viewers to think and question the very fabric of society.

By anuj2303, Feb 10 2015 05:46PM

A few months ago, in a retrograde move, the Supreme court of India countermanded the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict that had decriminalized gay sex. Apart from eliciting the warranted indignation among the seething LGBT activists who didn't anticipate such a verdict, the decision has brought huge ignominy to the nation, with the western media being particularly trenchant about it.

It's a decision that enthrones the blinkered approach of the Victorian times (reinstating a 153-year-old law under British rule) and belabors the human rights, liberal values and freedom. The Supreme Court is known for passing prudent and liberal judgments, however, the verdict reveals the deep-rooted conservative traits among the judicial class and lawmakers of the country.

The verdict will have some serious consequences, particularly public health issues, like the fight against AIDS. Moreover, it would further stigmatize the already persecuted section of the society. It's rather tragic for a nation who claims to protect and respect the religious minorities on one side, but criminalizes and degrades the sexual minorities on the other.

By anuj2303, Apr 25 2014 08:12AM

Amnesty International, a leading human rights group, last year strongly denounced the U.S. drone strikes and indicted U.S. officials for war crimes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. However, all the criticism has fallen on deaf ears and the U.S. has continued these brassy drone attacks unabated. And now these harbingers of death are hovering over the skies of Yemen.

In the latest drone strikes in Yemen at least 55 people were killed, including three civilians. Others are suspected Al-Qaeda militants. Another attack in the same region in December last year killed 15 wedding guests, but the U.S. has refused to take the onus and repudiated any accusation of war crime. So far, over 70 civilians have been killed in these brazen attacks.

Consequently, the perpetual killing of innocent citizens has only generated new adherents and partisans of various militant groups, which is contrary to US's own objective. Furthermore, the terrorists often use civilians as a shield, they are the real losers in this conflict. The US's obdurate policy of using drone warfare over political engagement is, therefore, only exacerbating the already wobbly political scenario of Yemen.

By anuj2303, Feb 20 2014 02:58PM

The Tamil Nadu's government decision to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has caused much brouhaha. The sudden felt commiseration by the TN government is being imputed to upcoming elections rather than a humanitarianism reason as purported by the state government.

Jayalalitha, the Chief Minister of TN, remitted the death penalty sentences. The Indian government originally sentenced 26 suspected to death, 19 of them were later exonerated. Mr. Gandhi's son, Rahul, was filled with indignation at the decision. He said that prime minister's killers being released after serving a smidgen of punishment is a real shame for the nation.

Admit all this clamor the consequential issue of capital punishment and the political involvement in it has again been cast aside.

By anuj2303, Feb 17 2014 11:30AM

One thing that is often imputed to Hinduism is its tolerance. It's nothing but paradoxical that any heresy is met with a diatribe and fulmination. The latest to experience this aberrance is Wendy Doniger, author of the book The Hindus: An Alternative History. The publisher of the book, Penguin India, has been forced to withdraw and destroy all the existing copies of the book after objections were raised from a conservative Hindu group.

The group filed a lawsuit against the author and the publisher on account of book's description of sacred mythological texts as 'fictional' and called it profane which has hurt feeling of millions of Hindus.

The publisher decision to withdraw has been reproached by writers and intellectuals in India and seen as a virulent attack on freedom of thought and expression. Salman Rushdie and Joseph Lelyveld in the past have been silenced by religious and political bigots.

Such incidents not only bring ignominy, but raise another significant question: Is the nation falling into totalitarianism? and are the people oblivious to it?

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