While returning from the movie ‘Khele Hum Jee Jaan Se’ based on the actual Chittagong uprising, my husband asked a simple question – “Can anyone again rule on us like the British did?” A simple question but one that we need to ponder upon. The question may even appear to be baseless in the glittering India that we live in. The question is not baseless. It has an inherent potent threat of being subdued by other dominating nations, culture or big companies. The ability of the movie ‘Khele hum jee jaan se’ to evoke such a question is it’s importance in today’s India.
Our parents talked about the sacrifices of the freedom fighters, but today’s kids hardly ever say or rather feel the pride of one’s culture or country. Gandhi and Chandrashekhar Azad are only burdens in their syllabus. They know freedom to be their birthright, but hardly ever realize that we had to fight for 100 years, sacrificing innumerable brave innocent lives, to breathe freely in our own homeland. Our school syllabus is dry. But a genuine movie never fails to strike a cord and make you think.
Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru hardly inspire our kids anymore, because they find it difficult to relate to the immense simplicity of thought and selflessness of the people of those days. Money has taken over patriotism. We want a high paying job to ensure a good life for our immediate family which too comprises of just spouse and kids. Even aged parents have to ensure their own financial security, because children leave them back for greener pastures. We live just for our small family, totally unaware of the well being of our neighbors and relatives. We do not know our neighbor’s name but we have hundreds of stranger friends on the net. This is where the danger lies of being caught unaware by some dominating force. We move to more prosperous countries for better living conditions, not realizing that well-educated people can make all the difference to India, that we find in the developed world. Honest educated parents can raise similar self respecting kids who can genuinely feel for their country and desire to give back to the nation what they received in the form of education in the country. We hardly ever bother to give back anything to the society.
Today we value freedom just as much as we value the air around us. Because we have forgotten the freedom struggle, we are fighting amongst ourselves over caste, religion, region etc. This was also the reason the Britishers could rule on us for so long, and this can again become the cause of a weak, backward India. It is very important to retain the pride of being a self respecting Indian, if we want to shine on our own on the world map, and do not allow other countries to push us to take certain important decisions or overtake us even in fields where we naturally have an advantage, like human resource, textiles, tourism etc. Once we finish our education, our mission should first be to make India shine, whichever part of the world we may live in. A prospering India would obviously mean prosperity for us too.
True stories of freedom struggle have the potential to revoke this self respect and feel for one’s country. It reminds us with a bang, that freedom struggle is not just a historical story. It was real and it was our own brethren who were tortured and who bravely fought the British, sacrificing their precious lives to ensure that we were born in a free, absolutely free India.
The Ethics of violence
It is equally important for the kids to see such movies. Shooting for today’s kids is either a sport where India wins medals, or it is a thrilling video game or something the terrorist does. The violence in the video games have not just desensitized the children towards violence,(as young kids round the world take up weapons to revenge against other equally young friends) it has also belittled the importance of self defense and true bravery. Everyone wants to posses a weapon, but no one wants to join the police or army. Patriotic films can send the message of picking up the gun for a greater purpose. Kids must realize that shooting and killing are not games, but it has to be resorted to in self defense and harming the innocent is simply not bravery.
We must narrate the tales of freedom struggle again and again to our kids and instill self-respect and pride for the country. We can fight terrorism and make India shine only when we can inculcate patriotism and raise generations that can march ahead with their head held high and be a strong glowing example to the world.