Wednesday, 31 December 2014

As the year ends - take down the Gods

As the year ends three things stay imprinted on my mind, the three things that Indians debate the most, the four things that every Indian is an expert of - politics, films and cricket. We debate these three 'issues' like no other. We all have a view on these and we all know that 'we' understand these like no other. So, we will debate these with you all day and not agree to anything you say because obviously we understand them better.

These three things come to my mind due to two films that I saw recently - pk and Mary Kom.

pk because the film, as I write this raising lot of emotions in India. The film looks at the developing phenomenon of 'God Men' and women in India and critiques this growing 'business of religion' in which innocent people are often misguided and misled and in many cases loose their life long savings and in some cases life too. All this while the 'God Men/Women' accumulate assets - material and social and more importantly political power. This is an issue with which many people (including myself) agree. However, the film is now facing widespread protest and calls for bans in India. From what I have read, this is not because people have objections to the theme of the film - 'business of religion'. Academically speaking, no one seems to have a problem with the theory. The problem is with the empirical evidence, the case study so to speak.

preparing to worship the Gods

The case study is that of a Hindu god man who claims to speak to the god directly and seek answers from the god directly to his followers' questions or problems. The objection is to this god man being a Hindu god man. Why couldn't he have been a Muslim or Christian or Sikh or Buddhist or Jain etc.? Obviously, considering the polarisation between Hindus and Muslims in India, a Hero who is Muslim in real life taking down a Hindu god man (or vice versa) in a movie was always going to be politicised. However, I am not sure if the protesters have been able to see the film yet. It must be remembered that the Hero in the movie was not born with any of the 'earthly religions' and when he took down the Hindu guru, he was following Hinduism. I saw him seeking to find Hindu gods by distributing their pamphlets on metro stations. So, it was actually a case of a Hindu arguing with a Hindu in the end. In addition to this, before the hero realised the error in the ways of the guru he was actually a very devout fellow - a very devout Hindu fellow. Even before this, when the bloke had no earthly religion (he is an alien in the film), he was looking for the 'right God' to serve his purposes or rather the best way to reach God to seek  her help. During this time, he tried all religions (ways to reach god) - Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism - and its important to point out, got confused and beaten (literally and metaphorically) by all of them. In my opinion, the film treated all religion with equal brutality (or respect) as they should have been. The Hindu guru was just a case study and he could have been from any religion for that matter. However, that is not the main idea behind the film and I am not sure how anyone could fail to see that. Its very overt, very obvious, very upfront. Its not about the 'business of Hindu religion', its about the 'business of religion'.

preparing to worship the Gods
So my advice to the people who are protesting about the film must stop the stupidity or in other words the politics and urge another god to start some constructive politics in India. The god they must urge to is the god of Cricket in India - Sachin Tendulkar. Who is Tendulkar you ask? Well, I suppose you are from one of those countries - those other than the 10 countries that play and follow Cricket. So, basically you are from 'most of the world'. That brings me to Mary Kom, the second film I watched. Such a talented sportsperson, forced to practice and compete on a diet of banana and chai. This is not an exaggeration. Sportspersons in India - if they are not cricketers - are treated very badly and never get their due. To find success in other sports we need to support the other sports in the first place. Even in cricket, if the player doesn't play at the highest level, he is forced to practice and play in very bad condition. Not to mention, if its a she things are worst. All this while the officials rake in the money and live in lavish conditions. Cricket itself has much dirty politics which does not support anyone who doesn't support it. And the same applies to all other sports in India including Mary's beloved boxing, in which she won a Bronze in the last Olympics - an event which is followed by 'most of the world'.

In India we make cricketers Gods and say they have increased India's pride in the world, while forgetting that the 'Cricket world' is only 10 countries, not 'most of the world'. All this time we throw the sports in which our pride could be raised in 'most of the world' on a side. This is all very political. While cricket due to its popularity gets lot of money and support from the government, the same lacks for other sports. How do we change this though? I think we need a revolution. A revolution that could have been spearheaded by a God, when he was a God. He no longer is. Sachin Tendulkar has (or had) such a following during his playing days that people went to the matches just to watch him play. They were not concerned about who else was playing. I firmly believe that if 10 years ago he had come out and said, "I will not play if sports or at least to begin with Cricket is not cleaned of the dirty politics that ruins it", most of India would have been behind him. There would have been wide spread peoples' protests that would have brought some effective changes. But he isn't that sort of fellow, they tell me. He is not the sort of fellow who would get into 'dirty politics'. He just wants to play for his country. But he does meet politicians when he needs land or clearances for a house (as he did a few years ago). He does meet politicians when he is offered as Member of Parliament's place (mind you he doesn't attend the parliament much), knowing fully that such offers are very political. Tendulkar has been in lots of political controversies, one of which about a supposed land cricket coaching centre is ongoing. We have been told that he is a selfless cricketer - who plays IPL for the Ambanies for huge sums of money. He had been playing for BCCI, not India while BCCI and its officials had been completely submerged in corruption. During his time BCCI cricket team was stripped of the name 'Indian Team' and had to call itself 'Team India' but he did not speak. During his time IPL was bursting with corruption, but he did not speak. But such 'proper' behaviour is required in India if you want to get citizenship awards like the Bharat Ratna - for increasing the countries pride. Where? In 10 countries. By the way, may of my friends in England (cricked it the national sport) don't know his name. He is ok with stepping into murky politics for all this but what about cleaning sports or even Cricket - he is not the sort of fellow who would dabble into dirty politics, he just wants to play for his country. Same is the case of with all the biggest sports (read cricket) stars on India - Sunil Gavankar, Ravi Shastri, our current one day and T20 captain Dhoni and may others.

Tendulkar was just a case study, the theory is that all kinds of human gods have failed us. Its time we get out of our slumber and take matters in our hands in 2015. Its time for a revolution. Lets stop calling people gods and leaves the name god for the gods. Lets be critical to humans, to the ways humans create gods, to the ways humans say gods created humans, to the ways we try to reach god and to the gods themselves. At leat that could be the beginning of a positive change.


(You will note that I have just demonstrated that every Indian (empirical evidence: myself) in an expert in films, politics and cricket. Add to that religion.)

1 comment:

  1. बहुते बढ़िया सरकार !!!!
    Couldn't agree more :)