One of the major advantages of living in the twenty first century is that you can watch foreign movies on Netflix. Indian films have been banned in Pakistan for many decades now, so I am able to watch such movies on my laptop. I also watch American movies (much more than the Indian ones).

Recently I came across the movie "Maharaj". After watching it, I consider myself lucky that my remote ancestor Nathu Lal or Nathu Ram became a Muslim some three hundred years ago in Bhavnagar, India. As the film is about a Hindu sub-sect in Gujrat (the Indian state where I was born), it was a shock to know about a disgusting custom among its followers. The movie is based on a true event (a case in the Bombay High Court) that occurred about 150 years ago.

In this sub-sect, it was common for girls and women to have sex with the leader (Maharaj) before they were married. Everyone in the sect (men as well as women) considered it perfectly normal and apparently most of the women in the community had been abused by their chief before their marriage. Whatever the Maharaj said was considered to be the law, they thought he was God in human form. It took a very brave man to challenge and get the community to abandon this custom. The movie is in chaste Hindi (which I find difficult to understand) but the subtitles make it easy for the viewer.