23 Jan 2009

Of wars and awards

In brief..
In the last couple of weeks, busy with the preparations for my upcoming examination, I have being craving for some time to blog. Here 'some' can mean anywhere between 2-4 hours for a single posting. The previous post on Satyam took below half an hour as it had a very narrow scope. But the ideas which were coming in my mind these days needed more elaborate analysis and hence more time.
For example, my incongruent views on Palestine, Tamil Eelam and Kashmir issue. War has been raging in Sri Lanka and ceasefire was recently declared in Gaza but humanitarian crisis in both the regions are abundant. In the crossfire between the warring armies and the militant outfits, the price is paid by the innocent civilians. However, while I find myself sympathizing with the Palestinian cause, I am at least agreement with ‘L.T.T.E.'s struggle for Tamilian cause’ in Sri Lanka or for that matter coming back to India, Jihadist's call for azaadi in 'our' Kashmir.
At a first look these three issues seem very similar but on a closer look at the causes of origin, related ideology, methodology employed, overall organization and the leadership, one may unearth the differences. Even when such a deep analysis is undertaken by various persons, views bound to differ. On my behalf, with a caveat that neither my analysis is amateurish nor highly professional, I stand by my views that while the Jewish state of Israel is the real culprit in the Middle East crisis for last half a century, neither the present Sri Lankan establishment nor the Indian can be indicted on the remaining two issues respectively. However, my case is not that the Tamilian grievances or the Kashmiri grievances don't hold any weight but it is that those who claim to represent these grievances are only aggravating them.
Moreover, in the case of Middle East, Israel is being very adamant and with the backing of U.S. has chosen the path of belligerence instead of attending to the Palestinian grievances in an honest way. On the other hand, while Indian Government has been making democratic strides in Kashmir despite all the hurdles being placed by those from across the border, even the present Sri Lankan Government is waging the war to uproot the LTTE which has been fighting a loosing agenda having no connection to the genuine Tamilian grievances in the emerald island. Any work of reform is only possible when LTTE is wiped out of the the Northern and Eastern provinces.
What makes me say this needs a long explanation, a journey through the history of these three intriguing issues, for which I presently don’t have the time. So let’s keep it for sometime in future.
Now coming to another very hotly debated topic these days. What is it about India that the Westerners want to see? If the Bookers or Oscars are any indication to this, then definitely they love to see, read and thence award the wretchedness of India. Of course, I am pointing towards the two pieces of art, one literary which goes by the title 'The White Tiger' penned by Arvind Adiga and the other from the world of cinema which goes by the title 'Slumdog Millionaire' adapted from Vikas Swarup's 'Q&A' and directed by British director Danny Boyle.
People may accuse me of being too critical and ultra-nationalist, but believe me, I liked both the novel and the movie. The best thing about both is the way they have been woven. While the former is in the form of letters written by a 'rags to riches' Indian entrepreneur to Chinese premiere telling him the story of his journey from 'Darkness' to light, the latter shows the journey of a 'slumdog' from 'rags to riches' through a quiz game show. Both show the different shades of Indian reality like the caste system, communalism, shining metropolitans but ‘dark’ slums and villages, brothels, beggars, dirty politics, mafia, booming call centers, etc. in a unique fashion. Both are praiseworthy indeed.
However, my only question is why the Westerners only like to award the wretchedness of India. Again, I am not saying that they have no right to portray these realities. Danny Boyle as a British or Adiga as an Indian, both have the freedom to create whatever they want. Moreover what they have created portrays the truth. So my case is not against them. They are being awarded for their pieces of art and they do deserve it. However, I just get this feeling that Westerners tend to get very narrow about their view of East when it comes to appreciating its realities.
So they award a 'Blood Diamond' and 'The Last King of Scotland' when it comes to Africa, and 'The White Tiger' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' when it comes to India. They tend to have this impression that real cinema needs to be awarded, which is a good criteria indeed but why does the reality have to be wretched when the subject is India or Africa.
Again, I agree 'Slumdog Millionaire' is more about hopes and destiny of a young child and Boyle tried to capture that feeling through this portrayal. However, still I am apprehensive about the criteria used by the Westerners. Is it simply the quality of the art or the particular quantity, i.e., content that they like to see. Anyways keeping my apprehensions on hold, I must congratulate those behind the movie and wish them luck for Oscars.
It’s time to get back to some serious studies. I hope the next time I blog, I have ample time to treat my post in a better way. Adieu.

Images Courtesy
1. http://www.au.af.mil (original)
2. http://www.apha.org (edited)

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