Yesterday I happened to watch the controversial documentary India’s Daughter which has created a stir in the country, primarily due to dircetor Leslee Udwin’s audacity to reveal the identity of Nirbhaya and bring forth to public domain the vile and archaic mentality of the rapist and his defence lawyers. And today I happened to see one of the cult movies of Indian cinema, Rang De Basanti. There was a stark similarity and a familiar gut- wrenching feeling that I experienced on both the occasions. I am not going to sit here and harp on what is the ideal way of going about things but it is certainly a sad state of affairs that has engulfed us.
Rang De Basanti, when it was released in 2006, depicted the story of college youngsters who avenged their friend’s death who was killed in a plane mishap due to the corrupt and unscrupulous policies of our government. The film had snippets from India’s freedom struggle which was kind of a metaphor indicating how even in 21st century, the citizens of a nation are not fighting against a foreign invasion but against their own people. Very little has changed since then.
Rang De Basanti had then faced severe restriction from the censor for depicting the government in bad light and so has the documentary. The reasons might be different but the underlying cause is the same- the constant fight of any government to project itself in a positive light in order to be seen as a stable and progressive nation. What’s the point of this futile struggle when you are snatching away the voices of your very own populace? What is the use of a populi without a vox?
Whenever the vox populi stands up to fight against a cause (it was corruption in RDB and women’s right in the latter) it is coveneniently silenced using force, be it lathi charge, hose pipes or tear gas. How is it then a government by the people, of the people, for the people? There are two sides to a coin. You cannot move on with a wish to outshine one from the other. The two sides are inseparable. You got to acknowledge the bad as much as you praise the good. No doubt we are one of the biggest emerging economies in the world, we have the lowest unemployment rate in the developing countries index but what about corruption and increasing crimes against women? When are we putting an end to that?
They say be the change you want to see. Whenever there is a wave in this country to bring about a change, it is silenced by our mighty government which believes that such waves are a result of impulse anguish that would soon fizzle out. Rather than silencing voices, banning insignificant content that doesn’t harm the society at large or taking regressive measures, all that is required of this government is to simply put an effort in order to educate the billions of Indians who are capable of bringing about all the change that we yearn to see. Only by ushering an educated and modern society will we achieve all that we have been fighting for so far.
There is only one thing that I truly believe in- knowledge gives you power. Power gives you money. Money gives you position.