November 2008
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Never before in the History of India have we shown so much insensitiveness and insult to our own national history. Read on, to know ‘what is in the name’.






The forthcoming Amir Khan mystery thriller Ghajini is the Hindi remake of a Tamil movie by the same name, directed by AR Murugadoss. The Tamil Gajini was inspired by an English flick ‘Memento’.


In Tamil, the name of the movie was drawn from Mahmud of Ghazni, the conqueror from Afghanistan; ‘Ghajini’ is how Tamils pronounce the word. It is the story of a man trying to find his girlfriend’s murderer. He attempts many a times, and in the end he succeeds. The name Ghajini was chosen remembering Mahmud of Ghazni who attacked India 17 times and in his last attempt, he was successful in breaking the Shivalingam at Somnath Temple. The Tamil Ghajini didn’t have ANY character in the movie with the name of ‘Ghajini’. The movie maker tried to sell a concept called Ghajini – one who attempts many times to win. The hero of the movie tried to catch the villain many times and hence the name of the movie. And hence we realise that Ghajini here is not a ‘name’ but a ‘concept’. Does it sound offensive to Hindus or to Indians that such a brutal invader be idolised in the movie?  Seems no one cares…


In Amir Khan’s Ghajini, which is being directed by the same director of the Tamil movie, initially Amir’s character was called Ghajini. But given that Amir is a Muslim himself, and aware of our national history, he chose not to keep the name and therefore, Ghajini is now the name of the villain whom Aamir’s character is trying to find throughout the film. The villain had murdered Aamir’s girlfriend and had left Amir severely injured leading him to an extremely disturbed state of mind.


Let us know more about the Mahmud of Ghazni now. The credit of bringing Islam in India goes to the Muslim ruler of Ghazni, a small province in Afghanistan. (It is interesting to know that Ghazni City was a thriving Buddhist centre before and during the 7th century AD, until that in 683 AD, Arab armies brought Islam to the nearby regions.) Mahmud launched seventeen consecutive, extremely brutal attacks across into India. By 1025, Mahmud had besieged several important Indian cities in the northwest and annexed the Punjab to his empire. He gathered loot to cover the expenses for the expansion of his kingdom. By the eleventh century, Islam had become a major force in India. The Muslim ruler continued his campaigns of conquest in the country over the next three decades, subjugating all of the Indo-Gangetic plain west of Varanasi.


Mahmud of Ghazni had destroyed numerous Hindu temples including the Somnath Temple in 1025 and took away from India jewels, gold, and silver in excess of 3 billion dinars in addition to hundreds of thousands of slaves. His raid on Somnath Temple is one which no Indian can forget. Rig Veda mentions the Somnath Temple, which was built by the Moon God himself, out of gold, and then rebuilt by Ravana in silver and then by Krishna in Wood, then by Bhimdev in stone. The land of Somnath is the same on which Lord Krishna breathed his last. In 1024, a year before the Muslim ruler had arrived; the temple was so prosperous that it has 300 musicians, and 300 barbers to shave the heads of visiting pilgrims. During his brutal campaign, Mahmud was challenged by Ghogha Rana, who at the ripe age of 90 sacrificed his own clan fighting the attackers. Thousands of devotees praying in the temple were massacred cold blooded by his army. Mahmud took the pleasure of destroying the stone lingam himself. He went back with 20 million dirham worth of gold and silver. And he sent back pieces of the lingam to be incorporated into the steps of a mosque in Ghazni.


This man is considered the real founder of Muslim power in India by most historians. Not surprisingly, Mahmud is called the ‘sword of Islam’. He is a national icon in Afghanistan, and a revered figure in Pakistan. But what about India?


Gone are the times when actors like Dilip Kumar would take up Hindu names to gain more acceptance by the masses. So much has changed since then that the difference between being tolerant and being numb has vanished. It seems we Indians have reached a state where no insults matter. In the Hindi Ghajini, since the villain is called Ghajini and not the hero, the logic of the name was lost anyway – Ghajini being anyone who attempts many times and succeeds in the end. But the name Ghajini for a movie would sound just perfect – because no Indian would be living unaware of the Mahmud of Ghazni. It is not a name or a word – it is a symbol of butchery and cruelty beyond imagination – it is a black spot on India’s history… No one can ignore this movie with this name and this is all that our movie-makers want these days: recall. And I wonder how we will be helping them doing just that – promoting them being offensive to our national history and pride – while paying a hundred bucks and spending a couple of hours in the theatres…


Anyone cares?


By (Think Tank)

(Kumar Rahul Tiwary)