Among nationalists in India, who have wet dreams of global “superpower” and watch over and over videos of “Indian weapons” and “most powerful militaries” on the YouTube, seeing images of those arms and men being reduced to a barbaric spectacle against an unarmed people produces a dispiriting dissonance. “Indian man” has fantasized a genocide for long. In its eyes, a genocide has a metonymic association with “national will.” This fantasy is now a metastasized desire to act like the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as ISIS in Syria. They want Indian military to kill without any compunction: “kill 1000 of them for our one;” “drop MOABs on them;” and “take Kashmiri women as slaves.”
A whole population that challenges the Indian rule is identified as an enemy that can be dealt with only through exceeding violence. On the ground, a cobweb of military installations and camps acts as an instrument for the military to identify, persecute, and maintain a hold on the local population. In Kashmiri rural areas, one finds an army camp after every three kilometers and in some places, the pervasion is even deeper.
The film is partly based on a novel titled Lockup by an auto driver Chandrakumar based on his own experience as a 17-year-old labourer in an Andhra police station and the second part of the film is based on a record of everyday policing events.
Rumi always has the same questions for him. The first one is, “Can you understand Farsi?” Avtar nods, even though he does not understand the language. When he is awake, it always torments him that he is a liar even in his dreams. Rumi continues in Persian, which Avtar now understands because he has lied about it, “Do you know what murder is?”