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Documentary Film “The Human Boundaries” Evokes Deep Emotions
Atlanta, August 2012: The documentary film “The Human Boundaries’ show sponsored by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and organized by India Awareness Foundation (IAF), Atlanta at The Hindu Temple of Atlanta on Friday, July 27, 2012 evoked deep emotions and anguish at the ordeal and suffering of the Pakistani Hindu refugees now living in the make-shift refugee camp in New Delhi, India from a large number of the Atlanta Indian Americans.
This was the first documentary film venture by the young film maker, Rahul Riji Naik, a software business analyst from Kerala, India. He spent three days in the refugee camp to capture the feelings, agony, anxiety and desperation of these unfortunate Pakistani Hindus who have fled from their homes in Pakistan to escape unending persecution, harassment and intimidation from the country’s fundamentalist and radical Muslims.
The film captures vividly the filthy and unhygienic living conditions of the camp in which the refugees with their very young children are required to spend day and night in the blistering cold of New Delhi. Even though a few human rights organizations are helping the refugees with food and other essentials, it is not enough to meet their basic requirements, particularly milk etc. for children.
The interviews of some of the refugees shown in the film bring out their determination and resolve to stay in India in spite of the threat of deportation from the Government of India. Though they frequently get harassed by the police with threats of arrests, they made it clear in the film interviews that they would rather prefer to die in India by bullets than go back to Pakistan. The film depicts the tragic story in a poignant manner of these poor and downtrodden humans who are simply asking to live in India without being any burden on India or the Indian Government.
The film also interviewed the leader of the Human Rights organization who has been pleading with the Government of India to grant asylum to these refugees on the humanitarian ground, particularly when more than 20 million illegal Bangladeshis are allowed to stay in India without any sign of their deportation by the government. The reason for refusal to grant visa to these refugees by the Government of India defies any logic and is unexplainable.
The film producer, Nair has said: : "The purpose of this film is to portray the traumatic daily events plaguing a population caught in a geo-political conundrum that is discriminated against purely on religious grounds. They are left virtually without a state that is capable of protecting their basic human liberties. It is my sincere hope that the American public will better understand their suffering after seeing the documentary."
Dhiru Shah, President of India Awareness Foundation briefly explained the basic mission of IAF about creating awareness through public dialogue, discussions and seminars amongst the Indian Americans and the main stream America about Indic religions, culture, traditions, history, contributions of ancient India in several fields to the world civilization and issues related to India. IAF has during the last decade organized several public lectures and debates on Indian economy, politics, social and religious issues by inviting several prominent Indian and American academics, business leaders, journalists and politicians.
Jay Kansara is HAF's Associate Director based in Washington, DC. He develops and maintains strategic relationship with leaders in public policy and the Foundation in various fora, including congressional briefings, interfaith and human rights roundtable meetings, and official government functions. He also serves as the Foundation's liaison to the Hindu community in the greater D.C. area.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is an advocacy group providing a progressive Hindu American voice. The Foundation interacts with and educates leaders in public policy, academia, media, and the public at large about Hinduism and global issues concerning Hindus, such as religious liberty, the misportrayal of Hinduism, hate speech, hate crimes, and human rights.
During the lively Q&A session it was pointed out that India’s population including that of Jammu & Kashmir prior to 700 AD consisted of only Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and various tribes. Subsequent to the Islamic invasions and establishment of the Islamic rule in some parts of India from 800 Ad to 1700 AD, millions of people were converted to Islam by force and under duress. In 1947 the Muslim population in India was about 7% or about 21 million out of total 320 million (approx). As per the 2001 Indian Census, the Muslim population was 13.4% or 138 million. While the 2011 Census data are not available, it is estimated that the Muslim population would be around 145 million and if the illegal Bangladeshi Muslims are added, the Muslim population could be nearly 160 million. In contrast, in 1947 Hindu population in Pakistan accounted for about 26% which dwindled to 15% due to massive migration and it now stands to less than 1%.
Bal K. Gupta, one of the attendees, who was one of the prisoners of the Pakistani forces in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) in 1947, has written a book on his experiences during this ordeal. He told that there are more than 600,000 Hindus of Kashmir valley now living in refugee camps in India who were ethnically cleansed from their ancestral homes of more than 5,000 years. As per the 2001 Census, only 111,377 Hindus lived in six districts of Kashmir valley. The Valley has been totally cleansed in the last three decades. In 1951 Doda had 60% Hindu population whereas in the year 2001 it has been reduced to 45% of the total population. Earlier, it was a Hindu majority district, now it has become the Muslim majority district. Somewhat similar is the case of Udhampur, Punch and Rajouri.
In concluding the program, Dhiru Shah expressed sincere thanks and gratitude on his behalf and on behalf of IAF to the management of The Atlanta Hindu Temple for graciously providing the temple auditorium for screening the film documentary and the cafeteria for serving dinner to the attendees. Shah spoke highly about the cooperation and help he has received from the temple management in past for conducting educational and awareness meetings on the temple premises.
Shah also thanked Kansara and HAF as well as Rahul Naik for bringing the film to Atlanta to create awareness about the plight of the Pakistani Hindu refugees. He also thanked all members of the audience for attending the film show braving the long distances and the Atlanta traffic jam.