Sunday, 24 September 2017


Fast on the heels of the anti-colonial film - Black Prince, about the last crown king of the Kingdom of Punjab  - Duleep Singh - being forcibly ousted by the brit colonialists and the princely state of Punjab falling, we have this hyper pro-colonial film 'Victoria & Abdul', a deeply patronising story about brit queen victoria's servant Abdul Karim from colonised and occupied north India. This film seems to be an obvious riposte to Black Prince, which has brought new generations of Punjabis and other South Asians into the story of this part of the anti-colonial mosaic of our heritage, once that is unfinished with issues over reparations of colonial genocide and crimes in India, of the grand colonial crime of the sectarian partition of India, of the stolen jewel in the crown the Kohinoor diamond (stolen from Duleep Singh and family), and other pertinent issues.

The depiction of Abdul Karim in the film shows him seemingly much lighter skinned and slighter frame than he actually was, which seems to point to them making a him a more acceptable and more 'tamed' figure than the actually much darker and bigger real Abdul Karim.

The film also cleverly uses the time-old brit approach of dividing the different religious communities of India, although Black Prince itself imho should have depicted better and more widely Muslims in Punjab. However, this film clearly puts out a framework towards Asian Muslims but all Black and Brown people that somehow we can become british and become loved by our own colonial overlords if we are slavish enough for them.

Although this might seem a difficult strategy, in actual fact we can see all around us how effective is the assimilationist strategy of the british state that has successfully recruited vast swtahes if not basically all of our migrant communities into silencing our own on-going anti-colonial feelings, traditions and struggles, and the 'Black British' and 'British Asian' and 'British Muslim/Sikh/Hindu' etc assimilation is proving devastatingly effective. And when these communities think their sectarian supremacist (per)versions of their faith is some kind of differentiation towards the brits in the form of Ikhwan/Jamiat/Qaeda/Nusra/Daesh (Muslim), Khalistan (Sikh), BJP/RSS (Hindu) identity poltiics; in actual fact this again reproduces exactly the colonial divide and rule strategies and also they are all asymmetric mirror opposites of the western/white supremacy racism.

We don't need re-invent the wheel of anti-(neo)colonial resistance, we can improve the 'wheels' we already have that proved to be very effective in the many forms of united and allied anti-colonial resistance that was not based on a naturalised colonial separatism. This film seeks to disturb these potentials and challenges totally, and will further embed a colonial reflex and assimilation deeper into our communities being. We are in trouble.

Taru Dalmia Satkarn Shergill Amber Kevin Carter Faarea Masud Abrar Hafiz Sohel Nadeem Rahman

No comments: