“Miss T Series”, officially known as Divya Khosla Kumar, has once again found herself embroiled in a storm of controversy, but this time, it’s not about her acting or the movie’s content. The source of the commotion surrounding her upcoming project “Yaariyan 2” is quite unexpected, centering on the use of religious symbols in the song ‘Saure Ghare’ by Meezaan Jafri.
Unlike previous instances, the controversy surrounding “Yaariyan 2” has taken a unique turn. Rather than sparking debates over artistic quality or narrative coherence, the controversy has erupted due to the portrayal of religious symbols, specifically in relation to Sikh faith.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Sikh leaders have expressed their strong objection to the song ‘Saure Ghare’, which features a clean-shaven and non-Sikh actor donning Sikh religious articles, including a Kirpan (a sacred Sikh dagger) and a Gatra (a cloth strap used to carry the Kirpan). The SGPC issued a stern warning, threatening legal action if their concerns were not addressed, and even hinted at preventing the movie’s release if their demands were not met.
The Sikhs very well know the shape of a 'Kirpan' and a 'Khukri', and the way both are worn on one's body. We are not satisfied with your illogical clarification. Therefore, we are initiating the process of legal action in this case, as the concerned video song is still in public… https://t.co/rlTyXWkYGHpic.twitter.com/LsxsvK5G24
The heart of the issue lies in the portrayal of these religious symbols in the context of the song. On August 28th, the apex body responsible for managing Gurdwaras in India took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to express their displeasure. The use of Sikh Kakar (religious symbols) by a non-Sikh actor has raised significant concerns among the Sikh community, leading to widespread discussions and debates.
However, this isn’t the first time that SGPC has taken such a stance. Their history of involving themselves in matters of cultural representation and cinema has led them to interject in other movie releases as well, including the case of “Gadar 2”. This is something not every religious entity would like to subscribe to.
The situation escalated further with a statement from the director duo of Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru, who expressed their clarification on the matter. They addressed the concerns raised by the Sikh community regarding the visuals in the song. The directors clarified that the actor in the song is wearing a ‘Khukri’, not a ‘Kirpan’, and the film’s dialogues explicitly mention it as a ‘Khukri’. They expressed regret for any misunderstandings that may have arisen due to the visual resemblance.
Unfortunately, the SGPC remained unsatisfied with the directors’ explanations. They asserted that the legal process would be set into motion against the makers of “Yaariyan 2”. The SGPC’s argument rested on the distinction between the ‘Kirpan’ and the ‘Khukri’. They highlighted that only initiated Sikhs are authorized to wear the ‘Kirpan’ as per the Sikh Rehat Maryada (code of conduct) and the Constitution of India.
In their statement, the SGPC said, “The Sikhs very well know the shape of a ‘Kirpan’ and a ‘Khukri’ and the way both are worn on one’s body. We are not satisfied with your illogical clarification. Therefore, we are initiating the process of legal action in this case, as the concerned video song is still in public view and continuously hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikh community.”
They went on to underline the cultural and religious significance of the ‘Kirpan’, and how it should only be worn by initiated Sikhs. This distinction, according to the SGPC, is enshrined in the Sikh code of conduct and upheld by the Constitution of India.
The controversy surrounding “Yaariyan 2” has taken a nasty turn for sure. While the director duo has attempted to clarify the matter, the SGPC remains resolute in their stance. This episode once again highlights the delicate nature of incorporating religious symbols in artistic expressions and underscores the need for a sensitive and respectful approach to diverse cultural beliefs.
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