Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect 
One may perhaps be forgiven if on watching Omkara set in rural and coarse rural Uttar Pradesh, one is not reminded immediately of Shakespeare’s Othello even though the credit titles give explicit credit to the bard as the source of its inspiration. There may be a lot to be said about the coarse and the sexually explicit language of the film and the restrained but enchanting prose of Shakespeare. Besides, stories of love triangles, jealousy and revenge are not new either. But by setting his adaptation of Othello in the wild west of western Uttar Pradesh, Vishal Bharadwaj has captured for us the phenomenon of the Bahu bali in politics, a term much heard of in TV reportage but seldom seen or understood. 

Now this is not the revered Bahu Bali of the Jains. The Bahu bali we are talking of, whose loose English translation would b a muscle man is a some what modern phenomenon in its present shape but with age old feudal roots. It would seem that in the rural heartlands of north India, bahu balis are the face of democracy in the sense that to win elections, you need to support and active involvement of bahu balis. They will do the booth capturing, block the way to ensure that inconvenient voters who might vote the other way are kept at away and then of course they will kill if their dictates are not observed.

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Bhai Saab in Omkara represents the powerful, politician who needs and keeps Bahu balis . They are important and necessary accessories when you want to introduce fundamentally alien concepts in an ancient society steeped in caste, class and feudalism. The Leif motif of democracy is the equality of all humans which our cast driven feudal society does not accept in principle. So even though we in India has always been proud of its thriving democracy, which sees popular verdicts being delivered at various levels throughout the year from the village panchayats to urban municipalities to state legislatures and, finally, to parliament in New Delhi, we often ignore the window dressed democratic verdict that the Bahu bali delivers for his master.
Those who have been following the giant democratic exercise in Uttar Pradesh currently will have observed that out of the compulsion that some form of democracy is better than none , we choose to turn a blind eye to the nature of the churning which occurs in the political arena, throwing up elements whose influence in their constituencies depends more on the fear they generate than on the respect they earn. India has always been proud of its thriving democracy, which sees popular verdicts being delivered at various levels throughout the year from the village panchayats to urban municipalities to state legislatures and, finally, to parliament in New Delhi.

But during this process the country has chosen to turn a blind eye to the nature of the churning which occurs in the political arena, throwing up elements whose influence in their constituencies depends more on the fear they generate than on the respect they earn. the attitudes of our politicians remain steeped not only in patriarchal values but are liberally spiced with values of the dominant caste, class, region, language and religion and the hired muscle man serves to show every one their place in the social tier. Clearly , the dominant culture in many places of rural India is that of ruthlessly enforced patriarchy , the visible manifestation of which is the Bahu bali. Parliamentary democracy is a convenient cloak and garb to wear in the assembly rooms and meetings of the legislative assembly or parliament but once the session is over , that democratic cloak is taken off and put away even as the Neta hits the roads of his constituency , guarded by who else but his Bahu balis.

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