Monday, August 22, 2005

Mangal Panday - The Rising

Who the hell is Mangal Panday? Well according to the movie I watched this weekend, he was a bad ass Indian freedom fighter who took on the English almost 100 years before we actually gained independence. How much of the movie was actually based on fact I do not know, but none the less it was a very interesting and well made movie. The editing was smooth and the sets were realistic. Some shots were located around the most beautiful castles I have ever seen and I did not even know existed in India. The costumes also seemed quite true to the time.

Amir Khan held the leading role. He has had a pretty good string of films in the last few years with Dil Chata Hai and Lagaan. Unlike most Bollywood heroes, he does not sign 10 films a year but rather chooses to take one project at a time. He has also been known to disregard award shows even when he has been nominated and also won awards. These attributes are all commendable from my perspective. The film also had a vast cast of American and British actors that all added serious talent to the legend. A couple of hot heroines were thrown in the mix to spice things up as well. We can never get enough of the hot Indian chicks playing the unwilling courtesan. Those dance sequences make me wanna get up, grab a bottle of whiskey, and shake ma tail feather.

So the movie itself was worth watching and the timing of release was in perfect tandem with the Indian Independence Day, conveniently stirring up all the right ideas about patriotism. I would be lying if I said I did not feel a little sense of pride while watching the movie. If you get a chance, do check it out. If for nothing else, then just to see Mangal Panday’s awesome muchi (moustache). I gotta get my self one of those bad boys. Of coarse watching this movie we are reminded how the “West” divided and conquered so many civilizations in our recent history, leaving behind poverty and chaos. So many injustices have been recorded and can still be recalled by some of our parents and grand parents. There are numerous books and movies on this subject from all over the world.



I have studied a little bit about the British East-India Company and their presence in South East Asia during the 1700, 1800, and 1900’s… We know they started the Opium wars for personal profit and they milked numerous nations of their physical and cultural wealth. My father sent me this excerpt some 2 weeks ago. After watching “The Rising” I decided to pull it out and give it another read. I can not be completely sure if it is authentic but this is just food for thought.

LORD MACAULAY’S ADDRESS TO THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT - 2 FEBRUARY, 1835
“I have travelled across the length and breadth ofIndia and I have not seen one person who is a beggar,who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in thiscountry, such high moral values, people of suchcalibre, that I do not think we would ever conquerthis country, unless we break the very backbone ofthis nation, which is her spiritual and culturalheritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replaceher old and ancient education system, her culture, forif the Indians think that all that is foreign andEnglish is good and greater than their own, they willlose their self-esteem, their native culture and theywill become what we want them, a truly dominatednation.”

I can imagine many people using something like this as propaganda to convince others how “Westernized” India has become and how that will contribute to a further downfall of the nation. How this is what the “Whiteman” wants. Personally, I think Indians are taking very positive ideas from the western culture and adapting them into their own, thus narrowing the gaps between us. It is hard for me to draw a line between western and liberal ideas. All western ideologies are not liberal although most of the foreign ideas that come in through the main media path (TV) seem to be generally liberal compared to what Indians are used to. I do not live in India so I can not see what the overall effects are. But looking at the friends I do have there, they all have a very strong sense of identity and an even stronger sense of pride, in themselves and their nation. Although they may be “westernized” to a certain degree, having studied abroad, they still seem to respect their country and have some respect for their history and culture. At least this is what I like to believe.

Just because we are changing and adapting does this mean we are selling out? Is all this just a new form of the Western invasion and their attempt to take over the world? I really don’t know. Maybe you guys can enlighten me.

11 comments:

AmitD said...

Amir Khan is one of my favorite Indian actors. Don't know what kind of person he is off screen (could be a real prick for all i know) but that is not relevant. Lagaan was a wicked movie. Never really watch indian movies but I'll probably watch this one coz of this hero...

rishtafari said...

You've motivated me to see this movie avi.

I often wonder what it would be like if the spiritual sciences conveyed through the Vedas and Upanishads were still taught widespread and secular british education did not indoctrinate india to losing its spiritual and cultural roots. Would India be one big Aashram full of peace and luurve?

mogs said...

In terms of countries becoming westernized, or rather, industrialized, it's only inevitable. Human beings as a species have huge brains that feed off of change. I don't see it as selling out at all. Infact, cities such as Mohenjo Daro were at their time quite industrialized compared to other areas of human settlement.

Plus, I don't necessarily associate the west with being liberal. I know many westerners who are not "open" to certain concepts, such as arranged marriages. To me, that's not being liberal, but rather, conservative. Or the fact that in several Eastern cultures, people generally seem more open to both traditional and western healing methods, whereas here in the west, there's still a strong inaccurate stereotype towards eastern healing methods.

So, even in the east, liberal thinking is prominent but in a different regard. There's also a lot of conservativeness (is that a word?) which sort of balances it out. Same goes for the west.

So, to answer your question, I don't see it as selling out, but rather, embracing change.

Avi said...

Amit - You will not regret it. And no comment on my awesome Muchi?

Rishi - On one level I belive India might still be clinging to the cast systen had they not been conquered. On the other hand she would also be far more wealthy and the monarchy would probably still be prominent.

Ro - Insightful. Mahalo. And tell that bastid Rishi to stop using such big words. I became BLUR!! So are they showing it in HI? You would enjoy the film too bro.

salsabilla said...

Nomater how the westernization affected or disclaimed by the Indians I'm afraid that proude of indentity will lose the meaning when the people unrealize that this thing is in trying to be gone. its not about how to accept or deny the western ideologis, becouse i think the history has showed us that the powefull society will give kind of an affect to anothers. its something normal when a culture has degradation,its just about how far the society can manage it.
something that will never change is the change itself. but it doesn't mean that we have to follow all the change with no filter. I believe as a youth to keep something in the track is much more important.
westernization just a kind of change from the western society itself, they have been dregadation for years till accepted the new one. it means it has been filtered by those people. it is of course different so much in east comunity, it haven't been filtered in this society. So i think if you wanna change its gonna be better to make in your track..

mogs said...

dude, the caste system is still alive and kicking in India.

Avi said...

what about some pictures of you guys with heroic muchi's?

aisha said...

dude... mangal pandey was the guy who kickstarted the revolt of 1857. major chap in indn history. he refused to bite the bullet coz apparently they'd been rumoured to be oiled with pig fat or cow or somethng like that. chk out grade 10 history texts and he's plastered all over the chap on the 1857 revolt...

Avi said...

Aisha - I saw the movie and they showed all that stuff but it was hard to say what was real and what was fiction. They had a huge disclaimer at the begining of the movie that left me quite blur. But its noce to know the facts now. I have never studied Indian history.

Anonymous said...

WELL GUYS IT WAS A GREAT PRIDED FOR EVERY INDIAN AND ON THE OTHER HAND IT WAS A DEEP WOUND WHICH MR AMIR KHAN HAS SHOWED US HOW OUR PAST KINGS LIKE THE MUGHALS AND THE MARATAS WAS FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER TO SAVE THEIR THROWN AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT WORRIED ABOUT THE PUPILS.REALY THE PAST DREAM IS A VERY DARK TO COME OUT OF IT.I BOW MY HEAD TO THOSE UNSUNG HEROS WHO LOST THEIR LIFE FOR THE COUNTRY LIKE MANGAL PANDEY.

BY
JABS

Anonymous said...

WELL GUYS IT WAS A GREAT PRIDED FOR EVERY INDIAN AND ON THE OTHER HAND IT WAS A DEEP WOUND WHICH MR AMIR KHAN HAS SHOWED US HOW OUR PAST KINGS LIKE THE MUGHALS AND THE MARATAS WAS FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER TO SAVE THEIR THROWN AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT WORRIED ABOUT THE PUPILS.REALY THE PAST DREAM IS A VERY DARK TO COME OUT OF IT.I BOW MY HEAD TO THOSE UNSUNG HEROS WHO LOST THEIR LIFE FOR THE COUNTRY LIKE MANGAL PANDEY.

BY
JABS

sj_jabs@yahoo.co.in