Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its youth wing Bajrang Dal are Hindu extremist organizations which are usually at the forefront of spreading Hindutva by using violence and threats of it. They have been accused of forceful conversions, attacks against Christians, Muslims, intimidating people who celebrate Valentines Day and have been found guilty in a few instances like the 2008 attacks in Karnataka, and the conviction of Babu Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya massacre case.
There’s a new documentary The World Before Her that takes a look at Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of VHP. Not many people outside of the Hindutva circles have had access to inner workings, so the documentary should prove to be an interesting watch. Nisha Pahuja, the maker, was interviewed here and at one point she says “You know, more than the physical training the girls at the Durga Vahini camp are given, it’s the brainwashing and the blood curdling chants they are taught that shocked and depressed me. On the bus ride they take en route to their parade, they learned a few phrases that I simply refused to include in the film. Those were the sorts of moments that were hugely trying for me and my crew as well”.
The documentary is available for order and will also premier on PBS on Sep 16. Apart from Durga Vahini, the documentary also looks at the fashion industry in India and draws a parallel as to how women are restricted into certain roles in the name of empowerment. Here are a few clips from the documentary: