Final Solution (2003 film)
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The Final Solution is a 2003 documentary directed by Rakesh Sharma about the 2002 communal Gujarat Riots that arose as a response to the Godhra Train Burning incident on February 27, 2002, where 58 Hindus were burnt alive on a train carriage. An official estimate states that 254 Hindus and more than 790 Muslims were killed during the riots, with 223 more missing. The documentary consists mostly of interviews, with both Muslims and Hindus, of multiple generations, and both sexes, with different views regarding the causes, justifications, and the actual events of the violence that occurred, as well as their prospects for the future.
Part 1: Pride and Genocide deals with the carnage and its immediate aftermath. It examines the patterns of pre-planned genocidal violence (by right-wing Hindutva cadres), which many claim was state-supported, if not state-sponsored. The film reconstructs through eyewitness accounts the attack on Gulbarg and Patiya (Ahmedabad) and acts of barbaric violence against Moslem women at Eral and Delol/Kalol (Panchmahals) even as Chief Minister Modi traverses the state on his Gaurav Yatra
Part 2 : The Hate Mandate documents the poll campaign during the Assembly elections in Gujarat in late 2002. It records in detail the exploitation of the Godhra incident by the right-wing propaganda machinery for electoral gains. The film studies and documents the situation months after the elections to find shocking faultlines – voluntary ghettoisation, segregation in schools, formal calls for economic boycott of Moslems and continuing acts of violence.
Screenings and Censoring
The movie was initially banned in India for about a year, till early 2005 for fears that massive communalism and radicalism would be ignited by its extremely inflammatory content.
Final Solution was banned in India by the Censor Board for several months. The ban was lifted in Oct.'04 after a sustained campaign (an online petition, hundreds of protest screenings countrywide, multi-city signature campaigns and dozens of letters to the Government sent by audiences directly).
A Pirate-and-Circulate campaign was conducted in protest against the ban (Get-a-free-copy-only-if-you-promise-to-pirate-and-make-5-copies). Over 10,000 free Video CDs of the film were distributed in India during this campaign, which ended in Dec. 2004. Final Solution was offered free to Anhad for their campaigns; it was included in their anthology titled "In defence of our dreams". Subscribers of several journals/mags also got a copy of the film free of cost. These included Communalism Combat (Ed : Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand), Samayik Varta (Ed : Yogendra Yadav), Janmat and several smaller journals.
Final Solution was rejected by the government-run Mumbai International Film Festival, but was screened at 'Vikalp: Films for Freedom', organised by the Campaign Against Censorship. Rakesh Sharma has been an active member of the Campaign since its inception.
A pilot movement to copy-and-redistribute the movie was held, briefly to protest the censoring of the movie screenings. The film has been screened on BBC, NHK, DR2, YLE and several other channels. It is yet to be shown on Indian television.