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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijan - An oscar contending movie

It is one of the most powerful movies made in Indian Cinematic history.  There have been some remarkable films that set a new trend and this one sets the standards for a new genre of films, rather than the typical boy and the girl in romance and the difficulties they face.

The hero of the film is an innocent Pakistani girl who had lost her ability to speak, so she travels to India with her parents to seek saintly blessings to restore her voice. In the process she gets separated from her mother and the girl was lost, but fortunately runs into a reluctant man, the second hero, who ultimately takes her back to her family in Pakistan despite all the bureaucratic tangles. The story is really about the genuine humanity embedded in all of us, in spite of our raising.

I have had a lot to absorb from the film. The most important thing is every one of us is created to be a good human, and shamefully, the parents are usually the villains, who instill prejudices and hatred in their kids towards others.  What a shame to poison their own children!

The children grow up to become a hindrance to peace and prosperity of a nation.  Most of the kids raised in Madrasass and RSS schools have a wall around them and find it hard to connect with others and see another point of view. Do we fault the kids? Not all, it is their parents and teachers!

For Centuries, India has been a blessed nation where people of different faiths have interacted with each other, went to work and schools together, and they see the movies together and attend funerals, weddings and other ceremonies.

However, there is a trend of separation growing and it must be curbed, before it is too late. There is a problem is with the teaching; the kids are raised in seclusion and limited knowledge about each other, and whatever little they know about the other is negative. In the long run it breeds more conflicts and tensions for all. One cannot prosper and live in peace when others around him are not.

A true patriotic Indian would considers every Indian his larger family, same goes to Pakistan or any other nation. Once we start denying the otherness of others to others, arrogance creeps in and we start feeling we are somehow better than the other. Damn us for such arrogance, that is what kills the society and relationship, all of us are going to die one day and will either be buried or cremated, we are done with you, no matter who you are. I hope you felt agitated with this paragraph, and I am glad you did, make an effort to treat every one as equal and see the sense of serenity you feel inside.
The film portrays the power of humanity that takes over you, no matter how much bigotry is pumped into us. The other hero of the film had the opportunity to be a human despite his training to reject Muhammadans (Muslims) in his own subtle ways in the movie like not wanting to enter into a Mosque or not wanting to gesture Muslim greetings,  Do all such kids get the same opportunity to be a good human?

A few scenes show Pluralism at its height – i.e., respecting the otherness of others.  When the hero discovers that the girl eats meat, he concludes that she is not a Brahmin, when she sits in a Mosque and puts the head scarf on, he understood her to be a Muslim girl – Initially he was trained to keep away from Muslims and murmurs that she is a problem for him, but the power of the connection he had with the girl makes him cross his own bias – and feeds meat to the girl, even though he does not. This is what a genuine pluralism is about and I have wanted to make a clip about it for the last several years from my own experiences, and I will do that one of these days.

When the Imam drops the hero to a safer place in Pakistan, the hero had difficulty in saying Khuda Hafiz, whereas the Imam goes ahead and says Jai Shree Ram to him – causing him to think about his own bias – by saying Khuda Hafiz he does not become a Muslim, it is merely a word to communicate good wishes of safety.  It’s my dream to see a day, when people greet each other with Namaste, Salaam, Shalom, Jai Jinendra, Satsri akaal or other phrases as synonyms. There are many videos about it; here is one that I did in front of a thousand audiences in a Chicago Bible college in a seminar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo3a8wX6SXQ . When the girl says Jai Shree Ram at the end, it is a beautiful expression of good wishes.

If you are prejudiced towards Muslims, Hindus, Jews or others, for God’s sake don’t poison your children; let them grow up to be free individuals who care about fellow humans. Ask yourselves a simple question - do you know enough good about Hindus or Muslims more than what you have chosen to believe the negative things about the other? Is this prejudice eating you?

Again, a majority of all people are good people, as witnessed in the movie, people will come around for goodness, goodness is natural to us and we gravitate towards it. If you don't, forgive your parents for making you bias, and get out of it and enjoy the freedom without prejudice. 

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Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist,  TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

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