Passion, love and peace have no frontiers and neither do the compassionate relationships, which is why a Bollywood production like Bajrangi Bhaijaan strikes an arpeggio with working class audiences all over the Indian sub-continent without taking into considerations the phony and abhorrent divides created by the ruling class of the region. The message conveyed by Bajrangi Bhaijaan is based upon the idea of peace, love and harmony toward humanity. It shouldn’t be taken as nationalistic or denominational neither it should be explained as triumph of one nuclear rival over the other. It is the main concern for all the human beings living in the heavily militarized, brittle and odious nuclear sub-continent and that of the mankind living across the globe. Bollywood’s production in a milieu where the Missiles and nuclear weapons are named after Prithvi, Abdali, Ghazanvi and Agni for icing the bitterness on the cake baked from the ingredients of centuries old religious rivalry is a ray of hope for the peace loving souls of the region. Record business at the Box Office proves the fact that the ruling elites at both Delhi and Islamabad must rethink and graduate their political wisdom to come out of the State policies based upon hate and violence because ordinary folks have spoken aloud across Radcliffe Line. Millions of ordinary folks and working class across the Radcliffe Line in Indian sub-continent wish to live in peace and harmony and their shared dream have been taken hostage by the political religions backed by warmongers in both the countries.
In this regard each peace loving individual in Indian sub-continent has a profound obligation to figure out the path to peace and harmony on their own as Bajrangi Bhaijaan did by crossing over the Radcliffe Line to fulfill a humane obligation. The idea of love, peace and harmony should not be confined to Bollywood and Box Office only rather it must be the fundamental focus of our political, social and societal judgments. The way we behave as a result of our obligations towards other fellow human beings and other living creatures is our real and practiced religion. We all need to promise ourselves that we will keep our political and religious differences aside when it comes to humanity. Secular, progressive and democratic political forces across the sub-continent should not let the tiny minority of the region to keep the “humanity” a hostage for their vested interests.
“Nothing has gone drastically wrong in the relationship between India and Pakistan at the moment. That’s why the film has been received so well. The film can build bridges. But it’s easy for interested parties to spoil the relationship — and that should not be allowed to happen.” These are the words of Seventy-two-year-old Koduri Ventaka Vijayendra Prasad who has penned the story of Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Credit definitely goes to Prasad, who has transformed the real life experience of millions of suffering folks with the power of his pen into a incredible Bollywood story. This is the story of vast majority of human beings living across Radcliff Line, where hate and war hysteria has replaced love and peace due to unrealistic rivalry of the two atomic powers. Having a shared history of thousands of years the politics on either side of Radcliffe’s line has transformed the spiritual religions into political religions. Pakistani version of political Islam contradicts the spiritual teachings of Sufis and Saints while on the other hand Indian version of political Hindutva has continuously negated the teachings of Sadhus and Rishis. Both Sufis and Rishis promoted the love, peace and human values but the self-acclaimed followers of the same teachings have indulged violent political scripts into the spiritual traditions of the Indian sub-continent.
The movie- a cross border story about an Indian man’s struggle to reunite a mute Pakistani child with her family- has also received praise from critics with Sindh censor board chairman Fakhre Alam tweeting it was “the most positive film for Pakistan that Bollywood has produced in a long time.” On the other hand, chairman of Pakistan Film Journalists Association Ather Javed Soofi said “A couple of scenes, although, were edited/deleted as per the guidelines of the Pakistan Film Censor Board, but that hasn’t impacted the film’s story in any way, as that is what has helped strike a chord with all.”
In the thickly populated and politically fragmented and hostile region of Indian sub-continent, fake political history based upon stereotypes and fairy tales has widened the gulf over the decades. In these two countries there is a poverty of intimacy, a poverty of peace and trust, lack of love and harmony. If we look around us we will not find any greater sickness in the world today than this one. There is no doubt that everyone has certain limitations but should we let a tiny minority to steal our shared human values? This is the humane question of today and it definitely needs an answer from all the key figures of Indian-sub-continent. Remember we the ordinary human beings cannot do all great things but we all can do small things with great love, passion and care. These small steps could lead the coming generations towards a peaceful sub-continent.
Now the question is whether the forcibly separated families across the Radcliffe line in general and across the Line of control in particular be allowed to visit and meet their loved ones like Bajrangi Bhaijaan crossed over without fulfilling the visa requirements? Prisoners be freed and exchanged from both the countries? If not then Bajrangi Bhaijaan success at the box office would prove just an emotional response by the emotional people and tomorrow they will be out there in the streets of their respective countries to fortify the vile political divide created by the ruling elites of the region. It is a litmus test for the poor working class of the region to strengthen the centuries old cultural and social bonds and do not let the hate mongers to be victorious in the region. Those who want peace in the region must question the credibility of policy makers and politicians who are not aware of the most basic human values will surely be unable to make responsible decisions and to give positive directions to the future of Indian sub-continent.
(Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst and a human rights activist. His major concentration is International Peace and Conflict Resolution. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)