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“Is It A Sin To Be A Hindu? Is It A Sin To Be A Brahmin?”: Former ISRO Scientist Nambi Narayanan Lashes Out At Detractors

Publication: The Commune
Date: July 17, 2022 
URL:      https://thecommunemag.com/is-it-a-sin-to-be-a-hindu-is-it-a-sin-to-be-a-brahmin-former-isro-scientist-nambi-narayanan-lashes-out-at-detractors/

When Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, a film inspired by the life of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan had hit the screens a few weeks ago, a few film critics and a section of ‘secular’ personalities, had commented about Nambi being portrayed as a devout ‘Hindu’.

In an interview to a private YouTube channel, Nambi Narayanan hit out at the detractors asking if whether being a Hindu was a crime.

“It is very funny. Somebody wrote a review saying that Nambi Narayanan is shown as a Hindu. Nambi Narayanan is doing Suprabhatam. This, that and all kinds of things. – ‘He is a Brahmin’, ‘Hindutva is being shown’. I just wanted to ask you (them) – I am a Hindu. I have no shame in saying that. Is it a sin to be a Hindu?” Nambi Narayanan hit out at those who had complained about him being shown as a Hindu in the film.

“When I am a Hindu and when my story is shown, they will show me as a Hindu only. They can’t put me as a Muslim or a Christian or anybody.” Nambi Narayanan said.

He also lashed out at the frequent Brahmin-bashing in the popular discourse saying “Is it a sin to be a Brahmin? I am not a Brahmin. That is a different question. If there is a  Brahmin fellow, you just cut him short? There are so many Brahmins who have given their lives for this country. Not one. I can give a list. So, the point I am making is we’re unnecessarily colouring the issue.”

Responding to a question on Narendra Modi government conferring him the Padma Bhushan and whether he harbours any political ambitions, Nambi Narayanan said that it should not be seen as Narendra Modi as BJP leader recognizing his contribution but as the Prime Minister of the country.

“I got the Padma Bhushan for what? Not because of fighting the case. I got the Padma Bhushan because I am qualified to get the Padma Bhushan. That is what the film shows (sic). If that is the case, the Prime Minister is part of the system. Now, he is giving me the Padma Bhushan, don’t you think he has the right to claim that I have given Padma Bhushan? You don’t brand him as BJP leader. You brand him as the Prime Minister of this country.” he said.

He also said that the has received solid support from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and that it doesn’t make him a Communist either.

“You (media) have some kind of mindset in this. You want to brand me as a BJP person etc. I am only trying to be very frank with you… Tomorrow you will find.. I am sure… it may be a Shiv Sena fellow or any other party.. when they support me don’t colour me with that.”, he said.

“Narendra Modi and Pinarayi Vijayan both are two extremes. If they both support me, don’t you think that I’ve a reason to be happy? Is it not proving that there is a merit in my case? Otherwise, why the hell these people are coming and supporting me?”, he said adding that he has no political inclinations whatsoever.

The Issue

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, the ambitious project of actor Madhavan who has written, directed, produced and also acted in the film released in Indian theatres on July 1, 2022.

The film is based on the life of Nambi Narayanan, a former ISRO scientist who was falsely accused of espionage and later exonerated by the Supreme Court of India.

Madhavan, who plays the real-life character of Nambi Narayanan in the film is portrayed as a devout Hindu sporting vermilion, doing pooja in his house and offering oblations to the sacred Tulsi plant.

A few film critics known for their predisposition towards anything Indian and Hindu have expressed displeasure in the portrayal of the rocket scientist.

Anupama Chopra, the founder and editor of the cinema-related digital platform Film Companion, had written a review in which she insinuated the film to be too patriotic and too Hindu.

“It’s admirable that the film has brought Narayanan’s many accomplishments into the spotlight, but the screenplay repeatedly underlines his patriotism and also leans pointedly into his religion. Our first visual of Narayanan is in the puja room at his home. At crucial moments, he prays. Narayanan is a true-blue Hindu patriot.”, Anupama Chopra wrote.

Another self-proclaimed film critic Sowmya Rajendran of The News Minute, a card-carrying leftist known for her explicit anti-Hindu venom wrote “The film begins with the heavens above and the earth below, Vedic chants in the background. It is difficult to sit through it without being reminded of Madhavan’s disastrous claim that ISRO scientists had used the ancient geocentric panchangam for their Mars mission, and that Indians already knew everything that was to be known about space a thousand years ago. We meet Nambi’s family, and his daughter casually remarks that she’s unsure if her husband – who also works at ISRO – is a scientist or astrologer because he’s always holding on to the panchangam in bed. My heart, which was already sinking, reached my feet at this point. Was the whole movie going to be on WhatsApp University territory? To my relief, it does take off. Somewhat.”

The film opens with the chants of Sri Venkatesa Suprabhatam, the sacred hymn dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara which is what the Hindumisic film critic of the The News Minute refers to in her review.

Contrary to popular perception, Nambi Narayanan is not a Brahmin from Kerala but hails from the Tamil Hindu community called Senai Thalaivar.
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