Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Democracy? What Democracy?!

The two topics that I am going to talk about have already been done to death, but I cannot help adding my own two cents!

First I want to talk about “The DaVinci Code”. What a hue and cry has been made about this movie! If people are so sure that what has been depicted in the movie is terribly wrong, then why are they so upset? Well, the fact is nobody likes their beliefs to be attacked and to be told that what they have believed in since they were children is completely untrue, and that their truth has been distorted. This could range from a child realizing that there is in fact no Santa Claus to an adult vociferously standing up for his or her religious beliefs.

A few years ago I had told a Christian friend of mine, S, about this article that I had read, which stated that Jesus Christ probably had short hair and not long hair as He is usually depicted. She reacted with a, “What a load of crap!” And this was only about whether Christ had long or short hair!

I could take my own example. About 3-4 years ago a friend, A, came to me with an article she had read in a magazine about Parsis. It stated that contrary to popular belief, the first Parsis had not landed in Sanjaan (Gujarat), but in Diu. Guess what my immediate reaction was? “What a load of crap!” :D I had been told all of my life that when a group of Parsis had first come to India, they had landed at Sanjaan. There is also a fire there in our temple that the first Parsis had ostensibly brought with them. A was quite puzzled by my reaction. When I saw the look on her face I was confused myself. Was I reacting too harshly or too quickly? After thinking it over for a while I conceded that it is indeed possible that the early Parsis had indeed landed in Diu and not Sanjaan as it is popularly believed. I was not present at this historical moment so I would never know what was true.

So that to me is the power of our beliefs. Some like me don’t really care all that much, but others have only their beliefs to fall back on. And one reason that we do not want to question our beliefs is that we feel incredibly uncomfortable when we do. We are so perfectly comfortable with our belief systems that we do not wish to step out of our comfort zone when we are faced with a decision to change them. Instead we react with indignation, violence, and of course bans!

Nowadays every other group or community is seeking a ban against some form of art that is apparently against their beliefs. Some of the bans do make sense, but most of them are quite ridiculous. “The DaVinci Code” was released in Bombay, with a disclaimer at the beginning and end of the movie, stating that it was a complete work of fiction. I just rolled my eyes when I saw that. I think that at the end of the day, people are going to believe whatever they choose to believe, a disclaimer here and there is not going to change that.

Some scholars believe that Christ had been married, while others believe that the very notion is complete hogwash! There are always going to be two sides to any issue, or even three, four, five…! And anyway, if one had a strong faith in one's beliefs then why should one feel threatened by apparently wrong views?

So how about letting the public decide if it wants to watch a movie or not? I know that many of my friends in Hyderabad have been disappointed because the Andhra Pradesh government has banned “The DaVinci Code”. Oh well! They may just have to go to some other state to watch the movie, like three men from Gujarat came to Bombay to watch “Fanaa”!

The ban against “Fanaa” is first of all grossly unconstitutional. We are living in a democracy for God’s sake, not a bloody anarchy! And as far as I can tell, Aamir Khan has not spoken a single word against the Gujarati community, nor has he said that the dam should not be constructed. All he has stated is that the people who would lose their homes as a result of the construction of the dam should be rehabilitated. Is that too much to ask for? Does the Gujarat government not want to rehabilitate its own citizens? This is a prime example of creating a mountain out of a mole hill. Of course this has taken a religious tinge too; as many people say that Aamir Khan is being targeted because he is a Muslim. But it would take a separate post to get into that topic.

It is quite courageous of Aamir Khan to stick to his guns and refuse to apologize. He is refusing to get bullied into submission, and for that kudos to him! A few member of the film industry have stood up for him, but I think that the entire film industry should stand solidly behind Aamir Khan.

On a lighter note, last night I saw this quite comical bit of news. Motilal Kashyap, the fisheries minister of Madhya Pradesh wants to, hold your breath, pass a bill stating that prawns should be considered a vegetarian item!!! I burst into laughter as soon as I heard that! His reason for this bill is that people from various communities eat prawns, so it should be considered vegetarian now (?!?). He is prepared to fight for this bill! Of course there are others who are hell bent on stopping him and have labeled this bill nothing short of blasphemy!

Really! Who said that all our politicians do is throw chairs at each other or snooze when someone else is trying to discuss something? Apart from changing the names of cities and every other gully, they are now investing their energies into changing the food groups! Lucky us!


amitken said...

agree with you. how can some stupid polititians decide for us, what movie should we watch....

ppl are so crappy, i tell u.

rebel_on_loose said...

Hehe....i enjoyed reading this 1...
DVC ... well yes of course ... ain't it funny tht the movie hasn't been banned in any of the "Christian" countries worldwide, but in some of our states here!
Lol and wht 2 say of our ministers....then thr ws this MLA who gave a speech sometime back in UP declaring a fatwa on the author of the Danish cartoons, and putting a reward of Rs 100 crore on his head! Made me wonder even if someone killed the poor chap,whr wud this guy get tht money from!!

s0ulasylum said...

Well.. all this aside.. i wtched the code myself and thought that maybe a lot of us could live on without watching it not missing a thing! :) haha.. but i completely agree with what your sayin.. the ban was totally uncalled for! and prawns being branded vegetarian? and next what alcohol becomes a life saving potion?? puhlleeeese.. why dont these people get an education OR a life even???!!

Manish said...

Great Post PR!
Totally agree with the views expressed by u abt Da Vinci code & Aamir Khan.
The problem in our country is that opinion gets distorted so easily. Aamir has been branded as Anti Dam to the water starving people of Gujrat whereas Aamir anger was towards govt inability to rehabilitate people properly.

Arz000n said...

Wht happens is...people are frustrated with office work and then when they go back home...they are greeted with people with whom they are staying for so many years...

now to bring the excitement in life...they target movies, reservation issues...and things like that....this is another way of spicing the life you see :)

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Amitken!
I agree on the point that you had agreed with me!
Maybe, I shouldn't be online so late at night! I'm typing crap! :D

Hi Rebel!
Exactly! I forgot to mention that point, that DVC hasn't been banned in any of the "Christian" countries. The Pope hardmy seems bothered!
Well, I did think that the Danish cartoons were in bad taste. But that is no reason to go around issuing fatwas. I'm sure God would not like crimes to be committed in His/Her name!

Hey Soul!
Yeaaah! DVC, the movie, wasn't as enthralling as the novel.
Higher education for our politicians wouldn't be such a bad idea, as most of them have the most basic education qualifications anyway!

Hi Manish!
Thanks a lot! :)
I know! Politicians are skilled only at twisting innocent comments to sound like some terrorist made them!

Hey Arz000n!
Ah ha! I see you have done some research on this subject! :D
Your point of view is always unique! ;)

kickassso said...

some people just dont see things other than their from their point of view.I understand that , and now you too, but most people dont , and stick to their guns...It is this shortcoming that results in a roadblock to create any sort of peace anywhere..

niki yokota said...

whoa... so many things are happening in india! (^o^;;;
this post reminded me of that Danish cartoon incident too.
yea i dont want to step out my comfort zone. so im kinda excited to hear abt the Andhra Pradesh govt tho...
Madhya Pradesh minister of fisheries? Lucky us? lol
it was an excellent post!! thank u phoenix-chan. good nite!!

amitken said...

may be you should continue being online late at night, atleast you'll keep posting something :))

Phoenix Rises said...

Hey Kickassso!
Hmmm... I wonder when the rest would become as enlightened as we already appear to be! :D

Hi Niki!
Thanks a lot!

Hi Amitken!
LOL!! Even if I'm online late at night (as I am once again!), I should have something interesting to blog about na? But I will be posting something new soon. :)

Nomadic said...

Agree, completely.

You know there is quite a bit of debate around about art & expression VS Beliefs.
I think its better to be tolerant than conservative and sentimental about your beliefs.

I cant understand why people who dont like it should decide if others should watch it or not.
Could it be true then... that most people are really not sure about their faith/ religion...
Thats why we dont like people asking too many questions or giving us any other possibilities.

If someone told us an elephant did infact have the ability to fly and made a movie about it. we'll laugh at him at the most.
But if he says that (Lord) Krishna's name was actually spelt Krissna then ... aaah, I've been shot.

"Fanaa" incident is far worse. I still dont understand the connection between the movie and a statement abt the Dam. How does this really affect Aamir khan? (unless he's distributing the movie too...)

Politicians are just pathetic.

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Nomadic!
I think there is some grain of truth in your statement that
"...people are really not sure about their faith/ religion...
Thats why we dont like people asking too many questions or giving us any other possibilities."
Maybe it is one of the mahor reasons why people have become so intolerant.