Netflix’s Ghoul: The Scariest Element is not the ghoul, but the State
The Surprising ‘Scare’:
Netflix’s Ghoul premiered on 24th August. The trailers focused on the thrilling aspects – the dark Military center, torture-filled interrogations, and introduction to interrogation officer Nida Rahim, and the Ghoul.
However, when the three-part miniseries was released, we were thrown into a horrifying story, staring with an exposition to the scary setting of the series.
Ghoul’s Critique of the Past and Contemporary Political Scenario:
The horror in Ghoul is not just supernatural, but also political.
Ghoul will remind you of books like George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. 1984’s government had a similar set up – constant surveillance, presenting dangers of a foreign threat, re-conditioning camps for interrogation and torture, etc.
This is not just Netflix’s second Indian original series, but also its second tread into the murky waters of Indian politics, with a not-so-subtle commentary on right-wing group’s influence on it. While Sacred Games featured such groups plotting an attack to rise to power, Ghoul featured a similar government already in power, implementing policies that remind you of the horrors of the past and critiquing the current scenario in India as well as the world.
The real-life parallel to this is the rise of right-wing governments across the world, in countries like USA, Italy, UK, India, etc. and some of their discriminatory politics.
The Scheduled Religious Zones in Ghoul will remind you of the Jewish Quarters during the Nazi Germany, where Jews were forced into the quarters.
Anyone dissenting against the government is termed an Anti-National, be it student protestors, communities, opposition party members, intellectuals, etc.
Out-of-approved-syllabus Books were seditious and burnt by the soldiers in Ghoul, similar to ‘Nazi Book Burnings’, which aided the process of erasing and rewriting history.
This targeting of Intellectuals will remind you of similar crackdowns from Turkey (Armenian Genocide), Cambodia (Cambodian Genocide), Russia (Red Terror and Great Purge), or Germany (Suppression under Nazi Germany and the Holocaust), the start of something more evil – a precursor to Genocide.
Will India move towards such a bleak future? (Connecting the dots):
One can even observe this branding of anti-nationals, using of nationalism as a weapon, modifications of syllabus to erase segments from history, ideological trainings, etc. happening even in our own country.
History can repeat itself, and it is our job to prevent something horrifying from the past to make a comeback.
Let Ghoul serve as a warning to us that a path down this route can have catastrophic consequences for the country.