The Kerala Story Review
The film ‘The Kerala Story is attracting an enormous amount of attention in India over the past few days. The trailer for the film inspired by an account from Kerala concerning radicalization and force conversion, has divided the general public as well as journalists and the political activists into two distinct groups.
A portion of the public believes that the film is truthful, while others see it as an agenda for political gain. The film tells of Hindu girls from Kerala that are made to switch to Islam and are later taken into Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria in which they are held as sexual slaves.
The trailer for the film was released in the month of November 2022, but didn’t generate an enormous amount of excitement during the period. But on April 26, 2023 the first trailer for the film premiered on YouTube and became the focus of debate throughout the nation.
There was a lot of debate about whether the events depicted in the film were real and if Hindu girls from Kerala are in fact being transferred to other countries after they converted to Islam.
In the census of 2001, 56.1% of people living in Kerala adhered to Hinduism while 24.7 percent were believers in Islam. The census of 2011 revealed that the percentage of those that believed that they were influenced by Hinduism stood at 54% and the proportion of those that believed to Islam was 26.5 percent.
This suggests that the number individuals who were a believer in Islam fell by two percent between 2001 and 2011. in 2010, the the Chief Minister in Kerala and also the head of the Communist Party of India, declared it was The Popular Front of India (PFI) is determined to create Kerala an Muslim nation. The trailer for the film includes this quote.
On July 20, 2022 Bihar Police raided PFI sites and discovered documents inside that revealed the PFI’s intention to make India the world’s first Islamic State. It was discovered that the Indian government banned PFI in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in September 2022 because of their past involvement in terror.
However, some believe that the film is an attempt to promote a political agenda, and are demanding proof that the tales in the film are factual. These debates divert focus away from the issue at hand.
There are those who say that the number of girls being forced to convert and then shipped abroad as sex slaves amounts to 32,000, whereas others claim it could be as little as three. It doesn’t matter, the reality is that one girl who is forced into conversion and sent to another country is too many. The girls who were victims and their families must be the main focus of discussion.
The Hadiya case offers clues to back the assertion of Hindu or Christian women are relocated after they convert to Islam. Akhila Ashokan is one of the Hindu girl went to Tamil Nadu in 2011 to pursue a degree at a medical school. She changed her religion to Islam in the year 2016 and her family came to learn of her conversion after she was unable to attend the rituals of her grandfather.
In January of 2016 Akhila’s father reported an absence report for her, and then submitted a petition to the Kerala High Court claiming that his daughter was systematically changed to Islam. Akhila’s brainwashing was carried out in such a way that she made a declaration before the court that she had adopted Islam at her own choice and that she was not able to accept the petition of her father.
The film “The Kerala Story’ explores the issue of forced conversion as well as radicalization within Kerala. The reality behind the stories that are told in the film needs to be established However, the main emphasis should be placed on the girls who were victims as well as their family members. The film should not be considered to be an attempt to promote a political agenda since the subject matter affects many lives.
The reason she made that conversion wasn’t attraction to Islam however, it was her resentment of her father and her desire to be together with the Muslim spouse Shafin Jahan. The case however gets a new twist as authorities from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigates the case and then submits a report to the Supreme Court in which it declares that there proof of “love jihad” and that there is a bigger scheme for the conversion of Hindu women to Islam.
The court is ordered to conduct a probe into the issue and, ultimately in 2018 it is the Supreme Court upholds Akhila’s marriage with Shafin Jahan and set her free from parents who have custody.
The Hadiya case in the way it’s called, was an inspiration for those who claim there is a coordinated effort to make Hindu females in Kerala to Islam throughout Kerala. The makers from The Kerala Story have used this case as one the sources of inspiration for their film and that’s why it’s been so controversial.
The film tells the story of an extremist group of Muslims who are pursuing Hindu girls to convert and selling them off as sexual slaves across their native Middle East. Although the film is fictional but it has struck an emotional chord with a lot of people who believe there’s some truth in this story.
There are those who believe that the film is merely propaganda to denounce Muslims and to create tensions between communities. They argue that there isn’t any evidence that suggests massive conversions and a trafficking is happening in Kerala. They also argue that the film is constructed on stereotypes and reinforces the negative image of Muslims.
The truth may lie somewhere in the middle. Although it is true that there have been a few instances of forced conversion and the trafficking to girls within Kerala but it’s unlikely that the issue can be as extensive as the film depicts the situation to be.
It is also important to remember there aren’t all Muslims living in Kerala belong to the supposed scheme for the conversion of Hindu girls. In reality the vast majority of Muslims in Kerala are law-abiding, peaceful citizens who are equally worried about the wellbeing of their communities as everyone else.
The controversy over The Kerala Story highlights the delicate balance that has to be kept among freedom of speech as well as communal harmony.
Filmmakers should be granted the right to make films that contest the status quo or pose important questions about the society but they are also accountable to make sure that their works don’t incite hatred or inspire violence. It is the job of officials to make sure that the balance is kept and that films like The Kerala Story do not create unnecessary harm.