Saturday, February 05, 2005

One man standing…..

Disclaimer: These thoughts are my personal thoughts of which I feel very strongly about. These are not meant to preach or demean anybody’s feelings. This was there in my system for quite some time. I had to take it out.


It set me thinking. One man returning is going to change nothing. Is it really so?Is it really stupid to think otherwise?

If observed carefully the story of Mohan Bhargava in Swades spun by Ashutosh Gowariker will remind us about the life of a person we know. The situations may differ. The predicaments may have a different background. The disparity in the outcome might not be the same. But one thing ties both stories - The Reaction.

I am speaking about the story of none other than Mr.Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Call it coincidence or deliberation that both are Mohan.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. A barrister from England. Starts a legal career in Bombay. Doesn’t make much of headway. Goes back to Rajkot. While living modestly in Rajkot takes up this contract to go to South Africa. The contract is for a year; the remuneration is £ 105, a first class return fare, and actual expenses. The fee is modest, and it is not quite clear whether he is being engaged as counsel or a clerk, but Gandhi wants to get away from Rajkot and accepts the offer with alacrity.
But fate has something else in stored for him. In a Durban court he is ordered by the European magistrate to take off his turban. He is unceremoniously thrown out of the first-class carriage at Maritzburg station.

The other Indians there pocket these humiliations as they pocketed their earnings.But not Mr.Gandhi. He initiates a protest. He initiates a protest against racial discrimination. Against using Identity cards by Indians to set them apart from the Goras and refuses them basic human rights. And the protest is not a, ”Inquilab Zindabaad” or a “Vande Mataram”. The protest is just burning of these identity cards in the town square. A gathering of around 20-25 odd people. Most of who had just come curiously to witness the histrionics of this over smart man called Gandhi. Buss. That’s it. With this modest beginning he gives shape to a philosophy. A philosophy, which had to be endorsed by the west for us to take cognizance. The philosophy of Satyagraha and Ahimsa. After having tasted blood by this humble beginning this man went on to make the South African government bow down to him and sign the Gandhi – Smuts agreement.

There Gandhi realized that one passionate man can make an impact. So he returned. Not with the intention of freeing India from the clutches of the British but to just go back and do something for the motherland. What happened in South Africa for this callow, diffident young man was inner transformation.

An intelligent Indian NASA scientist. A brilliant future ahead of him. Comes to India to meet his nanny. Takes notice of an India that he had just read and heard about but never seen and felt. The experience tugs his heart. He tries to do make a difference. He gets them out of darkness although in a literal sense. He goes back to his bright future. But the lure of the brightness doesn’t seem to entice him anymore. He returns. He returns to make a difference. He returns above all for himself. He wouldn’t have been able to live with it otherwise.

For those who think that Mohan Bhargava came back to India for the people in the village, then my dear friends you are sadly mistaken. He comes back for himself. That’s because there still exists the phenomenon called conscience in him, which compels him to come back. You know why? Because he realizes the difference that he can make in those villagers life. By bringing electricity to the village, he has tasted blood. Unless one actually does it, one would never know the difference that can be created. That’s exactly what happened with Mohan Bhargava. If he would have returned in a couple of days without doing anything much apart from jumping like a jack on 'yeh tara woh tara' he wouldn’t have come back. He would have cried for the country and its sorry state of affairs for a couple of months and then moved on with his bright future. That’s exactly why his Indian colleague can’t relate to him and advises him to stay back. Because he hasn’t seen and done something himself he can make a statement like, ”You think just by lighting a bulb you are going to change the system in India?” He can’t. Mohan knows it. So do we.

And realistically speaking he comes back not to become a schoolteacher or a social reformer. He toys with the idea of joining the Sarabhai Research center, which is enough to describe the profound maturity of the director.

I think there is enough merit in drawing a parallel of the reactions of Mohandas Gandhi and Mohan Bhargava. Injustice, poverty,disparity in lifestyles; all of it we see everyday. But what sets some people apart is their reaction to it. If politics and bureaucracy control the country now, it was far worse then, when Gandhi came into the picture.


And yes my friend if this would have been a Hollywood movie it definitely would have ended at the caravan driving out of the village. You know why? Because they are still new to this concept of conscience and its pangs. That’s exactly the reason we have a Gandhi and they don’t.

Its time we realized the power of ONE.

17 Comments:

Blogger Saira said...

Dude, he came back because his chick wanted him back. If you really think he wouldve returned if there was no chick...

Also, ONE man came back, fine. But we need MORE. And MOST of the MORE who are abroad, believe that India underpays them w.r.t. their talent etc etc, so why would they come? Why would they wanna come and face politics and bureaucracy IN THEIR DAILY LIVES, when they're leading a good, happy life abroad, being paid well for their efforts and all that crap?

I can understand why people don't come back. Their country won't give them a fair enough chance, so why the heck should they sacrifice for the country?

So Mohan Bhargava came back and because of him 10 more kids went to school, and their lil village got electricity. Big deal.Power of one. Do you know how many such villages we have in India?

Conscience, roots, ethics, yada yada is one thing, and reality and practicality is another.

The ending of the movie comes down to one thing. If the chick wouldve agreed to go to the U.S. with him, the nanny wouldve done the same, and they'd all be living happily in a space shuttle, not really caring about water or electricity problems.

Such is life.

February 05, 2005 1:42 AM

 
Blogger Saira said...

And if someone has a choice between NASA and the Sarabhai Research Centre, we know which one they'll choose.

I'm patriotic, but I'm not blinded. I love my country, but it has major flaws. And if I'm given the option of living a relatively hassle free life, I know which one I'm going to choose.

February 05, 2005 1:48 AM

 
Blogger Miss Sea said...

A post that makes one think. Some thoughts:

* agree with the idea that while loads of people are influenced by situations, its the reaction that makes the difference
* glad Swades wasn't idealistic or preachy but real and mature

Interesting post. Keep writing.

February 05, 2005 6:46 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dude,
first of all i must say a very good blog. i think watever u have written is wat a lot of people shud b thinking like. its only and only then the country can prgress. AGREED, one person cannot bring a big revolution, but the only thing important here if u can make one person think like this for his country, ur works done. just saying that i m very patriotic for the heck of it or for being in vogue it does'nt really help.
i read someone's comment talking of some difference between NASA n sarabhai, no offences but its that's very thinking that has bought a difference between NASA n sarabhai.
i m sure money, standard of living, n politics can't b bigger than one's sense of giving back something. and if these condition are so bad that u can't live in this country, then can't u be the one doin something 'bout it. i m sure if my house is dirty i m not gonna wait for someone to come and clean it nor i m gonna leave my house and start living in a hotel cuz it gives me more faciities n easier life. ur home IS UR HOME after all. i think its high time that v start doin someting to clean up our house than just goin to america or canada n then say that india does not have this n it does not have.
i feel i m born over here, as a kid, this country gave me food to survive n good standard of living when i did'nt contribute nything to the economy. i never had a problem that. Without contributing y shud get all this? the question arises that will a US or a UK or ny country will keep u there n pay u so much if u r not contributing nything to there eco? and if u r ready to contribute to some other economy, y not urs? atleast our future generation wud'nt b asking the same ques like
we are. they wud not b as disillusioned as we r as to live in our country or go work for someone else?

this is as good as taking all the finance from one's house and wen its time to do something for one's parents, i go n give it to my neighbours saying that they r more glamorous!!!
i think watever said n done, its the youth of this country who have to understand these things and know that they also have to give to some thing back to the country from which they have taken so much.

at this stage a gandhi is not needed for the country, its this very mohan bhargava that is needed. gandhi has done his job and made us free(otherwise i think the way we r stil here n enjoying our freedom of thought even that wud'nt have been possible), now its upto us that we use that freedom to make ourselves self independent or use that to further slave our country.
and lastly, i think if a mohan bhargava can bring electricity in even one village of the country, then yes, i think it IS A VERY BIG DEAL, BECAUSE I HAVE'NT DONE THAT, AND I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE'NT DONE NYTHING LIKE THAT N STILL CALL THEMSELVES PATRIOTIC.

NICE BLOG MY FRIEND, NICE TO KNOW PEOPLE THINK. ROMZY.

February 06, 2005 1:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dude,
first of all i must say a very good blog. i think watever u have written is wat a lot of people shud b thinking like. its only and only then the country can prgress. AGREED, one person cannot bring a big revolution, but the only thing important here if u can make one person think like this for his country, ur works done. just saying that i m very patriotic for the heck of it or for being in vogue it does'nt really help.
i read someone's comment talking of some difference between NASA n sarabhai, no offences but its that's very thinking that has bought a difference between NASA n sarabhai.
i m sure money, standard of living, n politics can't b bigger than one's sense of giving back something. and if these condition are so bad that u can't live in this country, then can't u be the one doin something 'bout it. i m sure if my house is dirty i m not gonna wait for someone to come and clean it nor i m gonna leave my house and start living in a hotel cuz it gives me more faciities n easier life. ur home IS UR HOME after all. i think its high time that v start doin someting to clean up our house than just goin to america or canada n then say that india does not have this n it does not have.
i feel i m born over here, as a kid, this country gave me food to survive n good standard of living when i did'nt contribute nything to the economy. i never had a problem that. Without contributing y shud get all this? the question arises that will a US or a UK or ny country will keep u there n pay u so much if u r not contributing nything to there eco? and if u r ready to contribute to some other economy, y not urs? atleast our future generation wud'nt b asking the same ques like
we are. they wud not b as disillusioned as we r as to live in our country or go work for someone else?

this is as good as taking all the finance from one's house and wen its time to do something for one's parents, i go n give it to my neighbours saying that they r more glamorous!!!
i think watever said n done, its the youth of this country who have to understand these things and know that they also have to give to some thing back to the country from which they have taken so much.

at this stage a gandhi is not needed for the country, its this very mohan bhargava that is needed. gandhi has done his job and made us free(otherwise i think the way we r stil here n enjoying our freedom of thought even that wud'nt have been possible), now its upto us that we use that freedom to make ourselves self independent or use that to further slave our country.
and lastly, i think if a mohan bhargava can bring electricity in even one village of the country, then yes, i think it IS A VERY BIG DEAL, BECAUSE I HAVE'NT DONE THAT, AND I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE'NT DONE NYTHING LIKE THAT N STILL CALL THEMSELVES PATRIOTIC.

NICE BLOG MY FRIEND, NICE TO KNOW PEOPLE THINK. ROMZY.

February 06, 2005 1:31 AM

 
Blogger Saira said...

Your house is dirty. You need to clean up, and you WANT TO clean up. But if getting the clean up job approved and sanctioned by the necessary authorities is going to involve you waiting for 30 years in govt queues, pushed, shoved, robbed by bureaucrats and corrupt politicians, and you agree to that, then, my mate, I salute you.

You gave the example, I am only elaborating.

And as for patriotism being "in voge", I hope you didn't mean that. I can agree if atheism is in vogue, if metal is in vogue, but patriotism? Where the heck did you get that in your head from? If I want to be "in vogue" there are about 4 million other things I can be instead of patriotic.

Oh yeah, and no offence!

February 06, 2005 3:08 AM

 
Blogger Saira said...

Oh yeah and he got electricity for a village. Thats way cool. I'm so sorry I haven't. Did you, by any chance, stop to think of where he got the money from? The govt? SO he got it from the govt and the whole thing was setup in 3 weeks?!?!??! That must be a record of some sort. Or are you saying he paid for it outta his pocket? So you mean one person did it, everyone should? Would you buil a damn outta your own money? Believe me, even if you were ready to pay for it from scratch to scar, you'd still take 10 years of grovelling to get it approved, 3 years of bribing and then, finally, your filmy dream might come true.

No offence to certain people!

February 06, 2005 3:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, some people have it some people don't. so lets forget it. ROMZY.

February 06, 2005 6:32 AM

 
Blogger Saira said...

Sorry, "build" and "dam"

And since you broached the topic -

1. I pay for a kid's education, including every pay to his tutor, and every notebook he needs. Of course its actually from the money my Dad saves for me, but if I'd wanted, I could've done alot of other stuff with that cash. And I can safely say that education isn't cheap.

2. I don't know where you guys stay, but 2 months or so ago there was a fire at the Bandra Reclamation slum. I was there the next day with food, clothes and mosquito repellants.

3. Everytime a kid comes to my car window with flags or stupid dolls, I make it a point to buy something or the other.

Now, what have you done? Watched a movie in which a guy gets electricity for a village?

The next time you say something as funny as, calling oneself patriotic is in vogue, please think.

And seriously, no offence.

February 06, 2005 6:35 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first of all, i really do not think that i want to make pointers and write down what i do for the country and people and what i do not. i m not proving any point over here. even you do not have to do that, if you are trying to prove ur point to ME(as if u r guilty of something!!!), because its really not needed.
i never wanted to offend you in any ways. please chill out. ROMZY.

February 06, 2005 9:21 PM

 
Blogger Saira said...

Arre, why are you diverting from the topic? I've just begun to enjoy it. You said people call themselves patriotic to be in vogue, right? So I only elaborated a little on that. Me no likes showing off what I do either, this is the first time, and you compelled me to. Neither am I expecting you to do anything, nor do I care. But those doing nothing shouldn't question others. Ok? Remember that. Adios.

February 06, 2005 11:40 PM

 
Blogger Saira said...

And no offence.

;)

February 06, 2005 11:43 PM

 
Blogger Sublime Thoughts said...

::OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI HI::
Chill ppl no point has to be proven to anybody…lets not debate who is more patriotic than the other…we r not here to claim that one is more patriotic than the other…nobody else can decide that one has to decide it for himself…
This blog was posted with the intention of making one think (AND NOT TO PREACH! As I had mentioned in the disclaimer.)…be it any direction…if it has made u think even for a moment then my job is done…this is not meant to be judgmental on anybody’s point of view…And now lets stop the violence...Ahimsa parmo dharma ;-)

February 07, 2005 12:25 AM

 
Blogger Saira said...

:D

February 07, 2005 1:19 AM

 
Blogger Saira said...

No offence, but thanks for the fun.

February 07, 2005 1:23 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MS.PATRIOTIC, if nything i said had instigated u in ny ways i take care it bak. was just my point of view. happy to know there are people who think about the country more than me and do so much of social service. i quit.
secondly, i let other people have there point of view so i do not get offended so soon, so u can quit repeating the sam emsg time and again. nyways nice to know atleast u enjoyed. take care.

February 07, 2005 2:16 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MR. THOUGHTS, wen r u posting next????? we need a new topic to fight on. this is getting kinda no where. so please hurry up. lol. just kidding.
saira this is just to lighten up things a little. please for god sakes don't take it personal as i have already agreed that even i was debatinging or arguing or...well i actually think that after 2 days of debate for the country we need some new topic to rake our brains on. wat say?????

February 07, 2005 2:39 AM

 

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