Why I cried while watching ‘Mulk’: I finally know what it means to be a Muslim in India

Anubhav Sinha’s drama explores the Islamaphobia experienced by a family following a terrorist attack.

I was in my teens when Garm Hava was released. The entire family went to see it in Lucknow, including my grandmother who, in my living memory, had never seen a film. I was a film buff and loved watching each and every film that came: sometimes with parents, sometimes siblings or on a rare occasion with friends. But even for me, the fact that Nani was accompanying us was a big deal, though I didn’t understand why.

Growing up in a very secular and liberal household, moving about in the syncretic society of the 1960s and ’70s, I had never been exposed to bigotry or even imagined it existed. The only discussion on the Partition of India that I had heard was the oft-quoted statement made by my Nana when asked to migrate in 1947 to a Muslim country, Wahan ke Khuda ko mera salam kehna,(Please convey my salam to the God there), implying that God did not belong to any particular country as well as his disapproval of the concept of an Islamic nation. For him and for the rest of our family, India was our country and that’s where we intended to live and die.

There was never any further discussion on it. Our identity was only of an Indian.

Thus I watched the movie without quite understanding its nuances or message and so was very surprised to see in the interval that my Nani, Amma and Khala had red and puffy eyes and they had been silently crying throughout the first half. I weep a lot in movies, especially when they are tragedies, but the underlying tragedy of this movie had gone over my head.

I had never been called a traitor, nor had my loyalties questioned in all my 17 years of existence, so I couldn’t really understand what the characters in the film were going through.

MS Sathyu’s Garm Hava (1973)
MS Sathyu’s Garm Hava (1973)

As the movie neared its climax, I remember hearing sobs. The scene where Balraj Sahni’s mother hides because she didn’t want to leave the house she came to as a young bride was the one that had roused their emotions. Nani, Amma and Khala were reliving the trauma of Partition and the emotional pain of seeing some of their relatives leave. Today my cousin and sisters who were there too say they don’t remember the movie leaving an impact on them, but recall its effect on the elders.

Today, as I watched Mulk, I remembered that day in 1974. As soon as the opening song finished and the story started unravelling, I cried.

I cried when Shahid became a terrorist. My tears were for a boy with a bright future who is brainwashed into bombing his fellow countrymen. I cried at the cynical manipulation of young boys (and girls) into believing that Islam teaches them to kill innocent people. I cried for the ignorance of Muslims regarding their own religion and Holy Scriptures that leads to some being misled.

We have to accept that a problem exists and talk about it. And find ways of making Muslims themselves understand the Holy Quran fully, not just random verses taken out of context and get a distorted understanding.

Mulk (2018).

I cried at the bewilderment of Shahid’s family who had no idea he had been indoctrinated into terrorism. All of us should definitely keep a watch over the activities of our family members and prevent them falling prey to online marauders who manipulate gullible youth into becoming terrorists by playing on imagined and historical wrongs. Social media, especially Whatsapp, plays on the vulnerability of young and old from every walk of life, sect and religion. No one, be they of any religion, is safe from these marauders. A dialogue in the film is, “Terrorism is a criminal activity, not a religious one.”

I cried at every humiliation that Bilal was subjected to. I lived it with him because today one hears of many Muslim men who are arrested on mere suspicion and kept in jail for ages as under trials while their innocence or guilt is established. Proof, not prejudice, should be the reason for arrest and incarceration.

I cried when I saw the words “Go to Pakistan,” written on the walls of Shahid’s house. Today, I understand what bigotry is. I encounter it often, some subtle some not so subtle. When a conversation about lynching with an old, old friend, initiated by him in the first place, ends in him asking me, “What about ISIS?” I was too shocked to give an answer, for I had no idea what mob lynching in India had to do with the barbaric not-so-Islamic ISIS in Syria. Was it because they called themselves Muslims and I am one? Wasn’t I an Indian to him any longer? Could I not question lapses in law and order in my country without being held answerable for barbaric and terror acts of Muslims everywhere in the world?

I cried when Murad Ali had to prove his patriotism and love for his mulk. I love my country and shouldn’t have to prove it, just as others of a different faith don’t need to prove their patriotism.

I cried that we have to keep fighting otherisation and that it increasingly comes down to ‘us vs them’ instead of the ‘we’ I grew up with. The ‘we’ that the Constitution guarantees us as “We the people of India”, which a character in the film reminds us of.

I cried when Murad Ali says he doesn’t want to leave his mulk. I remembered when we were in the Gulf and offered immigration to Canada or a green card for the United States of America. My husband’s reaction was, “Why should I leave the place I grew up in? I want to grow old and die in my country.” I totally agreed with him. So we came back.

I cried because today, I know what being a Muslim entails. When I had seen Garm Hava, my only identity was that of an Indian.

And finally I cried out of sheer joy because I know there are many Artis in this world. I cried because I can still count many male and female friends in my life who are Artis who light lamps of joy to dispel gloom. I cried because only they deserve my emotions.

Rana Safvi is a historian, author and blogger.

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

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Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.


The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.