I watched the movie (Rang De Basanti) last night with some of my friends. It was a good movie. I would like to watch it once again. Aamir Khan and other actors were good and it was nice to see a movie where a single protagonist doesn’t take complete credit.
An interesting debate ensued after the movie when we were having tea late night on MG Road (Bangalore). I thought it was a good movie but not a great example. (Imagine every disgruntled youth taking up a gun and shooting down people) I went a step ahead to equate Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, et al, to modern day freedom fighters/militants who blow up things or kill a figurehead to make a point. You can now imagine the kind of onslaught I got from rest of my friends – who of course have great respect and reverence for these ‘revolutionaries’. Not that I don’t respect those revolutionaries. I just do not agree with their methods. I believe they set a wrong example in the larger context. In my opinion, a revolutionary who believes in an ideal has to see it through- test with time, and change the methods if needed, and sail through rough weathers to get the required support from people to bring the change.
On this score, I do not have a great opinion on the martyrs who do just one thing in their life- like, kill a president or a leader, following which their contribution stops (because they are dead or convicted). Most of the time they are too young or suddenly get emotional to act in haste. In some cases (like many terrorist and militant outfits out there), they are just bums who have no direction and suddenly realize this is the only way to make a mark in their otherwise ordinary lives. They just don’t know how to go about convincing people or taking the message across – because that’s goddamn hard, and therefore employ the only effective way that they have at their disposal- kill someone or blow up something, cause sensation, and hope their message is delivered. (Most of the terrorist outfits have whole lot of guys who think on this line).
I definitely do not approve of the methods employed by the carefree-but-suddenly-became-committed youth in this movie. I cannot imagine where every death or assassination is being justified over All India Radio. How do you actually know if the Defense Minister is responsible for MIG-21 crash (causing death of Madhavan, the pilot)? It’s a subjective argument. One has to resort to legal or journalistic investigation to prove such things. This is no different from terrorists sending out a video/audio tape to justify why they kidnapped or a slit throat of a captured journalist. The whole argument is subjective and very farcical. One has to fight the system employing right methods and it is usually a long and arduous task- there are no quick fixes for bringing in a revolution. An act of assassination because one of your good friends got killed is more an act of revenge that an act of a cause. Such actions don’t set great example. If ever they do, they encourage the youth to continue to be carefree hoping that one assassination will make up for their lack of seriousness and commitment. The youth in this movie are not driven by a cause. And their means employing a slapdash solution without knowing the long-term effects reflect plain immaturity.
When we are at crossroads in our lives, most often we do know what is the right path, but it is goddamn hard to take it, and most of us just take the easy path, and pretend that it was the best path available.
The path taken up by Mother Theresa, or the guys who hugged the trees to stop deforestation in India, or the guys who went to Rajasthan and dug canals to bring water to villages, etc, are hard paths and the right paths. It takes immense strength and energy to be part of the system and fight the system. Instead, just blowing up the whole parliament doesn’t get us new dams, new railroads, protect our forests, or bring people out of poverty. In many societies it’s called terrorism.
A good example would have been where one fights his/her way through the system to change the system- ‘become a politician, or join IAS, or become a police officer’ as the pilot says in the movie. I would have loved that example, but then I guess it would not have made a ‘sensational’ movie. Death of a Defense Minister is ‘sensational’ enough! We may have to live with that for the sake of sensationalism.
The debate that followed this discussion was even more interesting where in we touched on various topics including Gandhi vs. Bhagat Singh, etc. I shall write my thoughts on this subject in my next session!