Rudra wrote : I am surprised at your ostritch like worldview vis-a-vis China. If your three days in upper crust Beijing can whitewash China’s un-pardonable misdeamanors in your Head…
Dear Rudra, i beg to differ. This is my second trip to China and I find Chinese people on the streets far more aware and warm towards India than people in India towards them. We, I am afraid are victims of media and our own insecurities. The Chinese respect us more because Buddhism came from India. I am talking about students, artists, taxi drivers, intellectuals, film directors, actors, people who work in hotels, and even people in government. There is a new found respect for their own ancient culture in China too.
I am not of the same opinion as Brahmshastra either. I believe there is a misled arrogance in his views on Hinduism and what he calls a misplaced secularity . Our ancient culture was based on consciousness and humility. On nurturing. In searching and on yearning. Hinduism is a philosophy that does not deny other thoughts. Hinduism is based on the ultimate search for reality, beyond the five senses, the search for universal consciousness. And anyone that says that he or she ‘knows’ Hinduism without that search in humility is converting Hinduism into a dogma, a religion, a system, which it is never supposed to be. It accepts the power of ritual, but never accepts that ritual as anything but the search for the truth.
And he is wrong about everyone else being misguided and assuming that the rest of us have closed our minds to the past glory of the Indian culture. An addiction to past glory is also a form of defensive arrogance. ….
We must look at ourselves today. At who we are today, and how compassionate we are.
Even the British did not treat Indians as badly as we do today ourselves. if you do not belong to the privileged classes, you basically do not even have any fundamental rights. Our record of human rights in the rural areas is abysmal, where the caste system is one of the most abused and awful violation of human rights anywhere in the world. Gandhiji was right when he said that till the caste system was expunged from the Hindu system and our social system, India would remain a backward country. I do NOT talk about the caste system in itself – and there must have ben many valid reasons for it then – but of the abuse of it now. That is important.
Similarly I am willing to accept this of Islam too. It is not in Islam , but the the abuse of its basic tenets that cause terrorism.
If you look carefully at Manu’s laws in our scriptures, you will find much to be ashamed of too. That does not make Hinduism a fundamentalist philosophy. Just that over the years various elements become part of a religious system for reasons we do not know now. But they are repugnant in our context today. I do not believe any religion or system can remain atrophied. If it does not allow itself to be influenced by changing social conditions, it becomes dogmatic and anti – social. My film Bandit Queen started with the following statement from on of Manu’s recorded laws :
“Animals, Drums, Low Castes and Women deserve to be beaten”
The Censor Board asked me to remove that statement. I argued that I had merely taken a statement from the recorded laws of Manu to show how an ancient system is abused by statements in the past that have no relavence today. They researched it and agreed it, but said that the statement may cause law and order problems if allowed in a film.
I am not denying Tianamen Square or what happened in Tibet. But people in glass houses should think about throwing stones. Have you been to a mental asylum in India ? I have. Have you ever been involved in an Indian justice system in India trying to get justice for five years without getting a court date ? I have. Have you visited Indian prison ? I have. When I was doing a film on Mandela, I went to Robben Island to see where Mandela was kept by the extremely oppressive racist government. was amazed. Compared to an ordinary Indian prison in India, it was luxurious.
Do you hear anymore about the people of Bihar ? Do you know that very very little has been done for the people of Bihar affected by the floods – over 3 million of them ? And then I compare what people and the government of China did for the recent victims of the earthquake in Sichuan. It is treated as a national tragedy. Orphanages have sprung up everywhere. For months people of China stood in silence as an air raid siren sounded the exact time of the earthquake. The humanity and response shown in China for their people in this instance was overpowering, and we were almost inhuman in our response to the tragedy of the people of Bihar. Have you looked at the history of the Bhopal gas tragedy ? How we, our very own government completely exploited the hundreds of thousands of people that suffered in the explosions and continue to suffer ? Most of the (meagre) money that came in as compensation went into the pockets of politicians and others.
This does not make China a better government or people than us. But my view is that we must look at bettering ourselves, the wealth of our people, our government, our human rights. And not get defensive every time anyone praises a foreign government or people.
The world changes. We were colonized by the British and many atrocities were committed against. But the UK today is one of our main trading partners and for years we accepted foreign aid from the UK. We may have fought and lost a war with China, but must accept that we are dealing with a different China now. A China that is opening its arms and reaching out to the world asking to be part of it.
Brahmshastra hates everything Islamic, but probably does not pause to consider that the petrol he uses in the mode of transport of transport he uses comes from an Islamic country. In fact at a time when India was tethering in the brink of bankruptcy some years ago, Iraq came to its rescue and offered oil at concessional rates.
In being open lies the future of our planet and our world. There is no one single answer to some very complex questions. I was born in Lahore. I have a special affinity towards the people of Lahore. But I am angry at Pakistan’s involvement in terror attacks on India. I am Hindu but yet feel the pain of partition. Like Gandhiji, I too wish that partition had never happened, and that millions had not died. On either side. I lost one my best friends who was also born in Lahore, who was shot down over Lahore during one of the Wars with Pakistan on a mission with the Indian Air force. One never knows, but his plane probably crashed in the land near where he was born in. This world is complex.