29-Jan-2009

A few thoughts

I know it has been a long time since I blogged. I had a busy three weeks. I have quite a few things to discuss and talk about. First, the movie Slumdog Millionaire...
I watched the movie and loved it. I really think it's a very well shot movie and the human spirit has been captured really well. Now, a lot of people think that showcases India in a bad way, with the slums and poverty and riots and the police extravagance. But I wish we would realize a few things. You don't see Americans protesting if a couple of movies show drugs and prostitution. It doesn't mean that America is only about drugs and prostitution. I really wish we would stop being this insecure country that wants the world to see only the economic growth, the development and bollywood. India is a complicated, different, difficult and young country. Just as the economic growth and prosperity is a side of India, so is the rampant poverty , the rioting, the police excesses.. Perhaps instead of hiding it, we accept it and do what we can to change things.
I think we ought to look at the movie for it actually is. A triumph of human spirit. That is it.

Now moving on to something completely different. A few days ago, Gautam and I were discussing India. This country is such a miracle. a land of contradictions.
Sometimes we wonder how anything works here and yet there seems to be a system running and running quite effectively. A lot of people are cynical about India and it's future. Constantly comparing ourselves to China does not help either. We must realize a couple of things.
First and most importantly, we are a democracy. Political freedom is a privilege that must be valued. Sure it creates a few roadblocks, sure it slows us down but it works.
The freedom to criticize and point fingers at a government when it does not work and change it when we can is a great great privilege and responsibility.
Second, we are not a homogeneous country like China. Every Indian is different form the next. Our diversity is our greatest strength but also makes governing a little difficult. Perhaps we need to understand that first.

Over the last two days, I have been terribly saddened by the incident in Mangalore. Molesting and beating up young women in the name of culture is distasteful, disgusting, and disturbing. The political reaction to it is just as bad. Why is it that when people try to impose any kind of so called "moral" code, it is alsways women who pay the price. Rules of conduct and morality are pushed down our throats first. besides, who defines morality? Who has the right to tell individuals what is right and what is wrong? Who defines Indian culture? What is this rubbish about the quinttessential Indian Woman? Bharatiya Nari? Why do our movies and serials go on about Indian women? Indian women are like women everywhere else. They have dreams, desires and hopes. this incident has shocked me and scared me.

5 comments:

Vered - MomGrind said...

"Molesting and beating up young women in the name of culture is distasteful, disgusting, and disturbing."

I completely agree. It saddened me too.

Pixie said...

I completely agree with what you have said...
Yes, we are a beautiful country of contradictions...
well written post :)

Gautam Ramdurai said...

Slumdog is a great example of how India's so called cultural elite have failed to capture its essence through the arts. It is their insecurity that speaks out in all these protests!

choco said...

I completely agree. While reading criticism about our "system", I've also noticed some people rightly pointing out the virtues of democracy that we in India enjoy. But don't u feel that our diversity, while refreshing, also probably stands as the biggest roadblock in collective thinking?
And its lack is what lead to most bystanders wave merrily at the cameras outside the Hotels, during Mumbai's 26/11.
Just my take on it!

vamsygs said...

I totally agree with your thoughts! I have written a similar blog on slumdog (http://vamsygs.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html), but your blog expressed more sense than mine. Kudos to you! I should learn to blog better.