Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Failed states in bollywood’s premise

“The book’s penned by a famous Russian author, Alexander Bushkin…he brilliantly writes… time darts like wild horses…….”

The conversation takes place between a naxalite politician and a child, in the film Chamku. The child would grow up and become the protagonist.
The film questions the belief that counter violence is a way to remove violence. Another film Mukhbir portrays the same approach. Even Wednesday questions the State’s violent approach to any terrorist activity. This is when the masses appear to be vulnerable, with no options at hand.

Looking at Bollywood’s recent movies, it seems that it’s the viciousness of the State that brings out the nastiness in a villain. And in spite of being a bad character the actor still remains clean. However, the character of the State is maligned in the whole process. The films, namely Chamku, Mukhbir and Wednesday, subtly raise the issue of State terrorism. State terrorism is a condition when on the name of naxalism and terrorism, the State becomes violent and fierce.

Prevalence of violence in our society is the result of Govt.’s failed policies and plans and because of these unsuccessful policies there’s no option but to counter attack. And how does this counter attack works in the favour of govt. in creating State terror is well presented in these above mentioned movies.

The 70’s showed the failure of the police force on the silver screen, whereas, the 90’s portrayed a corrupt governance. However, in the last one and a half decade, there has been a constant mention of Intelligence Bureau and a special agency dealing with terrorism. The measures taken by the state to deal with terrorism and naxalism, and the simultaneous increase in the rate of terrorism and violence in the country have been constantly put under question.

Similarly, the salvajudum concept of Chhattisgarh Govt. has now become bollywood’s masala. Salvajudum comprises of tribes with a goal of fighting against naxalism. The interesting point here is that it’s the State Govt. that has given salvajudum the power and ammunitions to fight. And this, according to the State Govt. is justified because they are worried about the safety of these tribes. This is how they validate the Supreme Court on being questioned. However, the SC never questions the root cause of naxalism nor does it ever question the failure of police force.

Bollywood transforms this whole question into a totally new thing.
The protagonist in the film Chamku is trained by the naxalites. He leaves naxalism and joins as an investigative officer who has a strong political knowledge according to his higher officials. The circumstances in which Chamku lives in the forest during his naxalite times makes the higher officials believe that he is tougher than anyone else. Not only this, but also he is matchless and the only one to be sent during an act of violence.
The reasons behind Chamku getting into these circumstances are created by the Govt. itself. The state however resorts to silence on being questioned.

It’s been 40 years now that the naxalism has proliferated to dangerous degree, but the Home ministry’s report is yet to come. In the film, Chamku’s offender who kills his father, is a part of the State’s system and that’s justified by the censor board. However, violence in the name of naxalism and terrorism backed by the State is camouflaged by patriotism. This helplessness has been very well raised in the film Mukhbir.

The film shows that, if state’s policies are against the state itself, where would the masses appeal? Especially if they get caught in the whirlpool of the state’s system and the state doesn’t hold itself accountable for the wrongdoing. No matter this may lead to ruining the lives of a few innocents, the state wouldn’t care. This is something that the film “A Wednesday” portrays. The way to options and solutions goes through aggression and hostility. Or at least this is something that the state projects. This is how a healthy communication is deliberately cut off.

According to the Human Rights Department, in the last two decades, around 50,000 innocents have been imprisoned. More than a lakh of cases had the state as the culprit and in more than 100 cases the ministers were involved and given relaxation in some or the other form. Interestingly, bollywood has been successful in exposing this reality, which the state has refused to accept.

The state hasn’t debated about the prime culprit behind the whole scene of violence; however, the films are raising this issue. The investigation bureau has been constantly questioning the poor and the backwards and has been asking the state to keep a check on them. These poor are the ones who are used by terrorist organizations like ISI in the lieu of a job or employment. The way our government is functioning has led to a segregation in which only a special minority is being benefited and the majority is being sidelined.

Owing to no communication between the State and masses, there is no way left, other than terrorism, to speak up ones problem. This is what the film, “A Wednesday” shows. However, in the film Mukhbir, it’s shown that how a common man becomes a victim of a state’s defense mechanism against terrorism. The psychology of the minds behind terrorism, state’s measures against violence and a constant underlying strategy of playing politics has been well exposed in the films. Interestingly, bollywood is coming up with issues; the State is reluctant to talk about.

The dirty politics played on the name of violence has instigated a feeling of hatred. The parties have been playing the blame game and even the Central Govt. is being questioned on its pro- Muslim policies leading to more acts of terrorism. In this light, the film “A Wednesday” doesn’t name the terrorist and his religion and this comes as a positive solution to a problem the state is hesitant to answer.

The way “A Wednesday” ends, without showing the terrorists being punished, blatantly talks about the failure of the State. It often happens that the investigation bureau and the police force, after any terrorist act, arrests anyone and tries to punish them for no reason. They manipulate in the court and try to prove their fake righteousness. However, in the court the so-called criminal gets out clean, and eventually people forget about the act, the criminal and everything else related.

After watching these films you’ll see that a state’s only answer to these acts of violence and terrorism is ‘state terror’. All this claims lives of innocents, but the state is indifferent leaving no option for the people but to bear the brunt.

No comments: