Monday, August 29, 2005

THE Rising...

I finally got down to watching The Rising and I loved every bit of it...what struck me most about the movie was how it rightly pictured an India at its lowest ebb, at the very nadir of its 5000 years of history, of a people who had degraded into a spineless, fractitious, humiliated race to turnaround the history of the world by declaring the arrival of modern-day civilization with a 90 year awe-inspiring, non-violent freedom struggle. August 15 heralded the birth of the world's largest democracy and the proud Englishman, Churchill's prophetic words of the sun finally setting on the English Empire became true.

Mangal Pandey, may have been an accidental hero as historians claim but when he lit the spark of rebellion he had also unknowingly checked the centuries-old decay of India's civilizational ethos. The very instruments of modernization the East India Company created to expand their trade and wealth helped catapult their fall. They united the entire Indian subcontinent from Afghanistan in the west to Burma in the East, Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south under their sphere of influence, networked the whole country with roads and railways bringing into contact people of different lands, started schools and colleges to educate men and women to work as their babus, and as greats like the Mahatma, Swami Vivekanada, Ramunjan, C.V.Raman, Tagore and Netaji kept springing up they realized it was only a matter of time before the Indian Nation would rise.

The India of today...where else in the world would you see such diametric opposites...people who speak more than 1/2 of the world's known languages, people who look and dress differently, people who believe in different faiths, people who differentiate between each other on the basis of castes, a people ideologically divided from the day of the country's birth...yet we dont see civil wars based on these contradictions i mentioned above which have torn apart nations like Ireland, Sudan, Pakistan, Yugoslavia or bloody dictatorships like in Nigeria, China or Afghanistan...even a supreme power like the Soviet Union fell apart not being able to manage their internal contradictions. I belive the way we won our freedom has the answer to this paradox....if we had taken to the gun instead of satyagraha, the Indian psyche would have altered to an aggressive, hotblooded race which would have turned violent for every issue caused by the co-existence of such diversity and though many within and without, ridicule us for being a "soft" state, the Indian people havent suffered at-all for belatedly exploding the atom bomb or the countless withdrawals from Pakistani territory after each Indo-Pak war(America sweating it out to ward off Iraqis on their own soil wud give us enuf ideas...wht it wud have cost us to hold on to those Paki lands we gave up!)...many violent movements have cropped up in our country but none have succeeded or will succeed...from the early Tamil nation movement, to Punjab, Assam, North-East to the himalayan fortress god gave us...Kashmir! Many of these movements began in non-violence but without the support of the people they claim to represent, they failed and the extremist elements within them took to the gun...and u know where that story ends or will end!

Kerala may accuse Tamil Nadu of stealing water, TN charges Karnataka with blocking the Cauvery, Punjab and Haryana hotly claims Chandigarh to be their own(the Govt wisely named it a Union Territory!), the demand for Khalistan has reared its head again, Gujarat remains divided on communal lines and Bihar on caste, the naxals fight for their version of utopia as they strive for the naxal corridor...superficially it all looks a bloody mess! But watching The Rising...i felt there was this chord lying deep within each of us that makes us an Indian which ties us up so inextricably into a nation which will rise up again...and again when affairs go out of hand...too many lives have been taken and too much blood has been spilled on our soil to build this country...the memory of those martyrs and good movies like these that keep coming out(if not for our history textbooks...anytime i'd choose one like that over a movie) should serve to remind us of a nation built of sweat, blood, toil and satyagraha and how each and every one of us is a vital cog in taking our proud nation to greater heights.

Jai Hind!


silverine said...

Jai Hind indeed. We are an unique people. Our greatest desire is to live in peace and get on with our lives. This perhaps is the reason why you dont see too many supporters for the violent movements that have cropped up now and then around the country.

Truly a great post and your analysis of the Indian psyche is amazing. You must have won every essay competition in school!!

Matter of Choice said...

Hi jiby,

its been a long time since i visited ur blog. and oh my! what an awe-inspiring blog to return to.

i havent seen Rising, now i might just go and see it. Because if it does inspire even a bit of what u said, it will be really worth watching.

moving beyond the movie (as ur blog did so well) have to say i agree with your views totally here!!!!. U have managed to strike that middle path in talking about india's history which not even some historians can. either they are totally against any thing that british did or they end up supporting it (talking abt historians both within india and outside). your way of straddling both arguments presents us with a most interesting (and neutral) way of seeing our history.

yes the british united us...for the first time we had a common enemy and we stopped bickering amongst each other to fight that common enemy. Our resources for the fight was the knowledge that the empire implanted in us, sharpened by our very own invention of non-violence as the greatest "weapon".

Today, looking back on our 58 years of independance, we can both be proud and optimistic. As a nation we are held together not by the rulers (as Yugoslavia was) or by the power of ideology and centralized decision making (as USSR was) but by a subtler and stronger belief in a common heritage, and more importantly a common destiny!.

Indeed i remember an article which i read a while back on how the foremost india expert from the west of those days predicted that india will collapse and disintegrate after the death of nehru. the fact that we are together today is not becase of our rulers (who tried and still try to F*** up the country) but because majority of the ppl wanted to stay together as a nation.

ahem..this is a real long comment...but i guess i got so excited to see this post. This for sure wont remain just as a blog..i am sure this will soon become a fwd amongst us indians who are proud of our heritage and hopeful about our destiny

really really great post..keep writing(while i surf ur earlier posts) and as silverine says..ur analytical prowess must have won u lotsa laurels!


Praveen said...

Firstly, I did not quite like "The Rising"
But I liked this post :).Its really amazing and very informative. Keep it coming!

Jiby said...

anjali, thanks for the compliments... lacked the confidence to project myself those no prizes...neways its all been 4 good!

anish, thanks for taking off from wherever i left loose complements my post sis said she liked this post only after reading your comment!

praveen, think the reason i liked The Rising wuz my expectations were rock bottom after all the disillusioned Aamir fans vented their ire...moreover i never get enough of historical movies to satisfy me!

Sujith said...

hail india... bt the film was not good as expected.. may be due to high expectations from an amir khan film :-))

Unknown said...

i agree with jithu. (I got to see the Hindi version) it seems more masala is added to the movie..a bit over from that front. Still i wonder why there was song "Raziyaa..." any way shall be rated 6/10