Templo dos vistos

Abril 27, 2009

Há anos que estou para escrever sobre isto. Cheguei a ter a viagem planeada a este e outros sítios em que na Índia a tradição choca com a pós-modernidade, para uma reportagem para o Expresso. Com a revolução no Nepal, segui contudo para Catmandu. Cá vai então:

O Templo Chilkur Balaji também é conhecido por Visa Balaji Temple. Não é nenhum santuário patrocinado pela multinacional Visa. É sim um templo ao que acorrem semanalmente quase cem mil indianos que se candidatam a um visto de entrada para os Estados Unidos. Dão 11 voltas ao templo e, em caso de sucesso, regressam aqui para cumprirem a sua promessa, dando 108 voltas.

Um mochileiro sobre as origens desta tradição:

Why only 11 pradakshinas are prescribed for first-timers?
This practice has an interesting background. During 1969-70, borewells were dug up in the temple premises, to meet the temple’s water requirements; but the early trials ended in a failure. When the work began again, the priest , and two other devotees, offered prayers and started performing Pradakshinas. Water gushed out of the borewells, when they completed 11 pradakshinas. Subsequently, they offered 108 pradakshinas as thanks-giving gesture towards the Lord. This practice has been followed since then. (aqui)

O comentário muito técnico de um devoto, sobre a “especialização americana” de Sri Balaji:

this morning, i visited Chilkur Balaji temple near hyderabad. this god is said to be very powerful in helping people get VISAs, with specialization in US VISAs. (aqui)

E um vídeo:

Tudo isto vem no seguimento da aula 5, em que discutimos a modernização da classe média indiana. No resumo dessa aula perguntava retoricamente como seria possível um indiano acreditar em Rama e na bolsa Sensex ao mesmo tempo. Embora tivesse preparado os apontamentos para responder a essa pergunta, não os cheguei a partilhar por falta de tempo.

Cá está, portanto, o exemplo dessa fusão entre tradição e modernidade, entre espiritualidade e materialidade, que no quotidiano indiano se fundem muitas vezes numa só dimensão, ao contrário da rígida dicotomia com que são muitas vezes abordados e vividos no mundo ocidental.

Haverá outros exemplos, incluindo os grandes websites de matrimónio, os astrólogos virtuais, ou a nomenclatura sânscrítica e védica dos mísseis balísticos e outros equipamentos bélicos indianos (Agni, Dhruv, Brahmos, Nag etc.).

Fica aqui este, relacionado com a emigração indiana e os serviços consulares norte-americanos. Quando encontrarem um South Indian nos EUA, perguntem-lhe pois se a divindade Lord Balaji teve ou não uma influência decisiva na sua fuga para Ocidente.


Ainda

Março 17, 2009

De Anand Giridharadas, o jovem e muito bom correspondente do IHT na Índia, ainda sobre o Slumdog, aqui:

The boom era now fading left two longings among India’s globalized rich. The first is a desire for recognition by the West, through magazine covers and Booker Prizes and Grammys. The second is a desire to show the world the most sanitized representation of India, not the stereotypical India mired in poverty and degradation, but an India as pristine as the elite’s own posh homes.

Sometimes international recognition and sanitization come in the same work, as in films like “Bride and Prejudice” and “Outsourced.” But on other occasions, what might be called the Slumdog Bargain has imposed itself: world acclaim came at the cost of celebrating a vision of India that the elite didn’t really want to see.


Se isto dá nos nossos actores, estamos tramados…

Março 16, 2009

Um artigo do Economist de sexta-feira passada fala da importância de Chirnajeevi (de seu nome Konidela Shiva Shankara Vara Prasad) nas próximas eleições em Andhra Pradesh. É um famoso actor de Tollywood (atenção que há dois Tollywoods – neste caso é o cinema telugu de AP, o maior a seguir a Bollywood, mas Tollywood também pode ser o cinema bengali baseado perto de Calcutá…).

Para confundir ainda mais, faço um pequeno desvio para sublinhar como é enorme esta família Wood na Índia: também há Kollywood, dos estúdios em Kodambakkama, no Tamil Nadu (mas não confundir com o Kollywood na nepalesa Kathmandu…); Punjwood, no Punjab; Ollywood, de Orissa; Sandalwood no Karnataka – nome excelente..;  e por fim, no Paquistão temos Pollywood (cinema urdu de Peshawar), Kariwood (Karachi) e Lolywood (Lahore), e ainda Dallywood, de Dakha no Bangladesh… O cinema de três estados, Bihar, Assam e Kerala, tal como o cinema marathi, por azar instalado em Mumbai, onde não há lugar para mais -woods, não foram contemplados com este apelido….

Mas voltando a Chirnajeevi, um verdadeiro deus em AP, ele é apenas um entre varios artistas indianos virados políticos. E cito:

Troubled actor Sanjay Dutt   became the latest Bollywood star to join politics with the Samajwadi Party named him as its candidate from the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency in the general elections later this year. Sanjay will be contesting from a constituency that has long been represented by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the Bharatiya Janata Party and who has opted out of the race on health grounds. “Sanjay has a good chance in Lucknow. With the Samajwadi Party naming him, Lucknow will witness a star contesting the election for the fourth time. However, on earlier occasions, no film star was successful in winning from this constituency,” a Lucknow-based political analyst, said. “However, Sanjay has very good chances of winning because he has some roots in the city. After the partition of the country, his father Sunil Dutt came here with his family and lived in old Lucknow for a few years.”

Muzzafar Ali twice contested from Lucknow on a Samajwadi Party ticket but he never won.

Raj Babbar also tried his luck once from Lucknow but in vain. He later won the Agra seat on the Samajwadi Party ticket before quitting the party.

Elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh, southern star Jayaprada contested the 2002 Lok Sabha elections from Rampur on a Samajwadi Party ticket and won.

Then, of course, there is Amitabh Bachchan arguably the most high-profile star to have entered parliament, but more about him later.

Thus, actors turning into politicians is not an uncommon trend in India.

Tamil superstar Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran (MGR) was perhaps the first one to enter the political domain. After reaching dizzying heights as an actor, he forayed into politics with the regional DMK party(Federação do progresso Dravidiano) in 1953.Election symbol of DMK

He was with the party for 19 long years before being expelled in 1972. In the same year, he formed his own party ADMK, which was later renamed AIADMK.

MGR became the Tamil Nadu chief minister in 1977 and remained in office for a decade till his death in 1987.

During this period, he brought his co-star and protégée Jayalalitha into politics, and she too has served as the state`s chief minister.

Telugu star N.T. Rama Rao or simply NTR, was also successful in politics. He formed Telugu Desam Party in 1982

and within nine months it had stormed to power in AP and he became the chief minister.

Following in the footsteps of the senior actors, many southern stars like Rajnikant, Chirnajeevi, Mammootty, Vijay Kant, Sharath Kumar and Rajkumar too have traversed the political path.

Bollywood`s evergreen star Dev Anand laid the foundation by floating his own party during the Emergency in 1975. Angered by the then minister for information and broadcasting VC Shukla`s attempts to browbeat film personalities, he formed the National Party of India to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. However, Dev Anand couldn`t keep the party going because of his film commitments and had to dissolve it.

The trend continued when Bollywood’s then “angry young man” Amitabh Bachchan came into politics at the behest of good friend and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He contested the Lok Sabha election from his native Allahabad in 1984 and though he won by a huge majority, he failed to make his mark as a politician. Amitabh Bachchan registered a landslide victory, but this was attributed only to his superstar image.

Amitabh`s unceremonious departure didn`t deter others from testing the waters. The list of actors is long and has names like Vyjanthimala, Rajesh Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha, Raj Babbar, Jayaprada, Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Govinda and Poonam Dhillon.Lesser-known TV actors too tried their luck in politics. They include Nitish Bhardwaj and the current entrant from small screen Smriti Irani, known for her role in long running TV soap “Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thii”.

However, hopes are high from Sanjay Dutt, whose father was successful politican and central minister, with his younger sister Priya Dutt, a Congress MP from South Mumbai, carrying forward the legacy.

Sanjay`s mother, the legendary Nargis Dutt , also was a Rajya Sabha MP.”

Nota importante de roda-pé: “Sanjay, who had led a chequered life more dramatic than some of his films, was convicted for possessing illegal firearms ahead of the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. He is currently out on bail and his petition challenging his conviction is pending in the Supreme Court.”…


Hindutva em acção…

Fevereiro 12, 2009

MANGALORE: A 15-year-old schoolgirl hanged herself to death at Mulky in Dakshina Kannada on Wednesday morning after she was publicly humiliated by a suspected Hindutva fringe group…


Debates literários

Fevereiro 12, 2009

Some years back, there was an article in a magazine about why Indians respond so negatively to much-acclaimed-in-the-West books of Indian authors. However, it seemed to me that, situated where we are, the question should rather be: why do Western publishers appreciate books by Indian authors which most Indians are unsympathetic to?


Exemplo 2

Janeiro 29, 2009

É interessante acompanhar a controvérsia à volta do recente filme “Slumdog Millionaire” na Índia, enquanto que ele é acolhido de braços abertos aqui na Europa e nos Estados Unidos como um filme “realista” sobre o país. Algumas organizações nacionalistas atacaram mesmo vários cinemas que exibiam o filme (incluindo em Goa), acusando-o de denegrir a imagem do deus Rama e da Índia. Há crianças que protestam contra a utilização do próprio termo “dog”.

Estranho – não deveriam estar os indianos a celebrar a possibilidade de um filme Bollywood ter finalmente boas hipóteses de ganhar os Oscars? O que acham?

(Maria Mendes)