Since gaining independence in 1947, India has been a secular state. But now, as religious fundamentalism grips much of India's population, the greatest danger to the nation's extremely strained social fabric may come not from Sikh or Muslim separatists, but from Hindu fundamentalists who are appealing to the 83% Hindu majority to redefine India as a Hindu nation.
IN THE NAME OF GOD focuses on the campaign waged by the militant Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to destroy a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya said to have been built by Babar, the first Mughal Emperor of India. The VHP claim the mosque was built at the birthsite of the Hindu god Ram after Babar razed an existing Ram temple. They are determined to build a new temple to Ram on the same site. This controversial issue, which successive governments have refused to resolve, has led to religious riots which have cost thousands their lives, culminating in the mosque's destruction by the Hindus in December of 1992. The resulting religious violence immediately spread throughout India and Pakistan leaving more than 5,000 dead, and causing thousands of Indian Muslims to flee their homes.
Filmed prior to the mosque's demolition, IN THE NAME OF GOD examines the motivations which would ultimately lead to the drastic actions of the Hindu militants, as well as the efforts of secular Indians - many of whom are Hindus - to combat the religious intolerance and hatred that has seized India in the name of God.
"IN THE NAME OF GOD is an honest documentary that leaves no doubt about the catastrophe that is about to engulf the country... Made with very little editorial interference, what we see is what is there. And what is there is frightening."—Ruma Dutta, India Today
1994 Association for Asian Studies Conference
Best Ecumenical Film Award Winner, 1993 Nyon Film Festival
Critics Prize Winner, 1993 Fribourg Film Festival
1993 Human Rights Watch Film Festival
1993 Margaret Mead Film Festival
Best Investigative Documentary, 1993 National Awards (India)
1993 Berlin Film Festival
Best Documentary, 1992 Filmfare
"The screen is electric with religious fervor, masses of people swarming through the streets, gathering in rallies, or violently rioting... This is investigative cinema verité documentary at its dynamic best."—Kay Armatage, Toronto Film Festival
"A deceptively informal look at one lethal instance of India's move towards fundamentalist politics. For those who need to translate westward, it provides a possible clairvoyant example of the force of religious-political belief."—Cameron Bailey
"[An] acutely informative, restrainedly courageous, and grimly prophetic film."—Hank Heifetz, author, ORIGIN OF THE YOUNG GOD
"Hard-hitting, provocative, revealing look at secularism in India under siege from militants on both sides. Patwardhan explores this tragedy in this lucid, courageous film that allows supporters of both sides to have their say... A documentary well worth seeking out."—Variety