अनिल एकलव्य ⇔ Anil Eklavya

October 1, 2007

An Apellative Disclaimer

Filed under: Movies,Things As They Are — anileklavya @ 5:52 am

I read in yesterday’s newspaper about the dispute over the movie Eklavya: whether it should be sent as India’s official entry for the Oscars or not. The courts will (have to?) decide.

Sometime back I had searched on the Net for ‘eklavya’ (an exercise, the spell checker says excercise is wrong, in narcissism?). I found that most of the top results were about the movie Eklavya. This was doubly distressing for me. First, for the personal reason, but more importantly, for reasons which would be obvious for anyone who knows something about India. Actually, something here means more than something (work for linguists).

Anyway, for those who don’t know ‘something’ about India, and also for those who think they do but don’t, Eklavya (or Ekalavya: एकलव्य) was a character in the ancient Indian (Aryan, Brahmanical, almost Manuvadi) epic Mahabharata. In this massive book, which is one of my favorites, his story occupies the equivalent of one and half page. Still, given the caste history of India, he is (quite naturally) the hero or idol of many among the Dalit community. Technically, I am not a Dalit, but in a sense I am. So, I was somehow expecting that some document about this Eklavya would be at the top in the results returned by the search engine. Or, at least, would be among the top. Not so. Neither was this blog :-( but this was expected :-)

I would like to tell his story, but not now…

This blog post is a protest about the takeover of words or names (in fact, much more than that) by all kinds of powerful and influential people.

But it is also a disclaimer about the origin of the second part of the pen name used by this author. Eklavya in Anil Eklavya has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie. This disclaimer is needed just in case someone thinks that everything in the world is inspired by movies (and I talk a lot about movies on this blog). Despite all that has happened in the last many decades (centuries?), there still actually are some people in India who don’t need to know about Eklavya from movies because they grew up with stories of Eklavya in many forms with many interpretations.

The fact is, I have not even seen the movie, nor do I know what is in it. Nor does it have a high priority among the movies in my wish list.

So, please note: firstly, Eklavya was a remarkable character in Mahabharata (even though his appearance was short); secondly, Eklavya is the idol of many among Dalits; …; [inifinite – 1]ly, Eklavya is the second part of the pen name of this author; and only infinitely – that sounds positive – only lastly and leastly, Eklavya is the title of a recent Hindi movie.


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