I was born during the post-Babri Masjid Hindu-Muslim riots in Thane. We were among the few Hindu families who were living in the Muslim populated area of the city. I was brought up in a secular atmosphere and even today I live my life with the same thought of secularism and unity. One of my best friends is a Muslim and another is from a Hindu orthodox family but I share the same bond of love and faith with both of them. I believe I am a practical person in my day to day life but when it comes to my country and it’s religious tolerance, I transform into an idealistic person.
That’s why when I saw ‘A Billion Colour Story’ (2016, Director & Writer: Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy) yesterday, I was able to relate to every single thought of the movie. The movie tells the story of a modern nuclear family. Hari Aziz, 12, is the son of a Hindu mother and Muslim father. His filmmaker parents moved from Australia to India to experience and live in the poetry of India they were brought up in. They are fighting to survive and produce a film amidst the chaos of this non-tolerant country. Hari’s mother soon realizes that India is no more poetic and it never will be. But her husband has faith in the nation with a diverse culture.
The movie talks about intolerance in terms of religion, relationships, faith, knowledge, racism and suspicion. The lethargic and corrupt stand of law and order in support of this intolerance make us cringe. Hari’s father’s blind trust in the system is patriotic at the same time it makes him look foolish. Before the climax, his idealism, his believes turn him into a person without purpose. His lost eyes make the audiences pity him. It makes us angry as the only good soul lost his hope because few people went rogue.
One more thing I specifically noticed in the film is the generation gap. For my generation,(born in the ’90s) the concept of generation gap is of a decade. But for those who are born in the new millennium, every passing year is a generation gap. 12-year-old Hari getting into a relationship, taking the help of Google instead of his parents for answers, his searching what happened in Godhra on his smartphone or talking to his father about Jan Dhan Yojana made me drop my jaw. In a conversation with his girlfriend Sofia he says, “why go to school when we can learn everything on the internet?”, this made me rethink the debate on curriculum and schooling system in our country from a very different perspective. His generation is more open to social media and the internet, which has shaped his personality immensely.
For a long time, my mother was asking me to go to a foreign university to pursue higher education. But I was never interested as I don’t want to leave my country. Finally, I have said yes and now applying to a couple of foreign universities. But I agreed to her on one condition, that no matter what I will come back in a couple of years. I want to live in the country in which I was born and brought up. No matter how corrupt, intolerant or violent it is, I am an idealistic nationalist. I believe in the terms of unity, secularism and equality on which our constitution was built.
The climax of the movie (which I can’t reveal as I don’t want to give away spoilers) made me believe that we create the intolerance and only we can get rid of it. It will take a lot of time, energy, resources and lives to achieve the goal. But if we don’t want our country to freeze in one colour, one thought and one idea, we need to come back, be innovative, trust in our judiciary and executive to bring back the poetry India once had.
Today, in my personal life as I am fighting a man who abused my mother and me on Facebook, we are getting the right support from the Police and Judiciary. A large online community is supporting us. When we started the fight, I was an idealistic citizen who was told that this is not going to be easy and I may lose my idealistic approach soon. But even after two weeks I stand strong on my beliefs and known in my heart that we’ll get the rightful justice.
If you are losing your faith in this country, to its system then I would suggest you watch this movie before giving in to the mechanic intolerant crowd.
Watch the trailer here: