Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lord Of Small Streets

The controversy over "My Name Is Khan" had not completely faded away. Newspapers have reported that Shiv Sena's threatening words did not deter the Mumbaikars from watching their (most?!) favourite Khan, while the Shiv Sena claims that Khan had apologised, to which Khan says he really had not. Hence long drawn heated egoistic arrows are flying in the air.

And on the heels of this, here comes another eyesore, with an arrow in the heart, for the various Senas who have assigned to themselves the job of saving a generation from cultural and moral downturns: The Valentine's Day is knocking on the door like a long-awaited opportunity for all those who needed just a moment's liberty to give words to their feelings.

I had heard some time back that all concerned have been warned against the consequences of Valentine Day celebration. Quite similar to last year and year before that and even before that...I mean this has been happening for the past many years. The "moral police" beats up young boys and girls, damages shops selling freaky tit-bits that these young "lovers" exchange as Valentine Day gifts and then every one goes home!

Neither the youth nor the goondas in the garb of "preachers-of-moral-values" have tried to bridge the gap between themselves.

What is wrong with celebrating life and the small opprtunities that it provides to be happy in the midst of the rat race one has to run to meet the legendary both ends, that actually never seem to meet? I think we need a little introspection here. There is nothing wrong with the celebration. What is wrong is going over-board. And if the various conscience-keepers of our system feel that something wrong is going on, they are in their right to ask for reforms.

But how does one reform an erring person? Taking from the Valentine's Day, I think it should be an effort made with love and thoughtfulness. Since we are so obsessed with Bollywood, it will be a good idea to remember Munnabhai 2, where the hero sends roses to his opponent for every wrong that he does with a "get well soon" message!

Having said this, I would like to ask a couple of questions that seem very paradoxical as I try to sort them out :

Is it right to damage private and public property to "protect" moral values?
Is it correct to damage cultural heritage under the pretext of saving National pride?
Is it really morally supreme to kill or harass young lovers who wish to marry each other, just because they happen to belong to different religions, castes, regions etc?
Is it human to wipe out human beings just because their land happens to be rich with minerals?
Is it anywhere near protecting values and principals when government after government facilitates the entry of murderous pharma gaints and seed companies that turn innocent human population into gunniea pigs and hugely indebt our own poor farmers so much so that they end up commiting suicides?

And these are not all of the atrocities that are happening beyond the control of the common man, who incidentally is in a majority and who actually ends up paying with money, material and sometimes even life so that the few not-so-common families can rule the planet and live in luxury.

In a discussion I was having with some people, one said : "How can a country survive without netas? I think they have their problems too, and what could be the solutions to their problems?"
His friend remarked :" Oh!Yes,it is really good to try and understand where the shoe could bite the wearer, and of course we need leaders and politicians, but in a democracy we expect them to be the leaders who safeguard the interests of the common people."
I leave it to the reader to decide and take this discussion forward.

As for me I think I should send the Thakerays some roses this Valentine's Day to remind them of the "dhaai akshar prem ke..."
And this is just by the way: I happened to see "My name is Khan" quite by chance...and I'm so glad I saw it.
The film has been recognised for its beautiful message...and I think it is quite an enlightening one.

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