India turns 64 today : Indian Independence Day


Today India turned 64. In the morning heard the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s address to the nation on the 63rd Independence Day Celebration from the ramparts of the magnificent Red Fort, which was under a heavy presence of gun-totting security men and felt that the Prime Minister still doesn’t feel that he is Head of the Government. He spoke more like a ‘Consultant to the Government of India’. 

Not inspired by the ‘first servant of India’ speech of the Prime Minister, I really wished we could borrow President Barack Obama for a day or at the very least his speech writer.

Looking for more inspiration and tired of watching the same line up of movies on TV channels, I accompanied a friend for the movie ‘Peepli Live’. Not being a Hindi movie buff, I had my apprehensions when I went for the movie, but it turned out to be the ‘icing in the cake’. I am no sure how many of the people in the audience loved the movie, but for me it was on of the best watch on Independence Day. The movie was not the 5 Star elitist show which Hindi Cinema is famous for. The movie had no major star cast other than Raghbir Yadav of the hit television comedy show Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne fame.

The movie threw up the contradictions in this great country called India. It was a scathing satire on the country’s apathy towards its farmers and the hypocrisy of the urban elitist media. The movie is a simplistic yet engaging potrayal of a sad reality in the country ‘farmers suicide’.

The protagonist Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri), a poor farmer and a father of 3 who lives in an obscure village called Peepli. Burdened by enormous debts and land mortgage to pay off his loans, Natha is manipulated by his elder brother Budhia (Raghbir Yadav) to commit suicide in the hope that the Government will give compensation. Once the press gets whiff of the story, media frenzy unfolds in front of Natha’s house. Every journalist obcessed with ‘live coverage’ wants to cash in on this ‘live suicide’. With election round the corner, politicians jump into the fray to play one-up-man-ship, from the Corporator to the Union Agriculture Minister. Overall the movie employed a comic tone to tell a very serious story. 

It also gave a sneek peek into the Indian system of governance – ignorance of the vast majority of the rural population, the rich poor divide, the implementation of the government schemes, the co-ordination between Union and State Governments on the subject of agriculture, hypocrisy and insensitivity of the Indian media and manipulation by the politicians and bureaucracy.

Really feel enriched by writer director Anusha Rizvi and producer Amir Khan’s simplistic yet engaging movie of a sad reality ‘Peepli Live’

Photo : Copyright with DNA for Peepli Live and Reuters for the PM Manmohan Singh addressing nation.

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    • Sagang
    • September 25th, 2010

    Do we ever give it a thought as why we should continue with such perfuncory pompous peagentries when we are still not able to solve some of the basic and pressing problems of our people. They range from making drinking water available to the villagers who still have to walk miles in the scorching sun to fetch water to their homes, providing shelter, health care and schools to giving food to the hungry and emaciated villagers. What do these ceremonies mean to them? On the other hand we are unable to check corruption in high places. Do we have any moral right to celebrate, jubilate and rejoice over the Independence day and the Republic day with such pompous show every year ?

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  1. I am proud to be born as an Indian and having learnt the culture of this nation. Truly the men who shaped this nation has influenced a lot the people of this nation. Gandhi one among them is the iconic figure regarded as The Mahatma and the true believer of non-violence. There were others like Bhagat Singh who chose the other path. They both seek freedom. Bhagat fought for his Birth Right. Gandhi also fought for his birth right but used his iconic status and non-coperation movements and satyagraha’s to bend the then governments decisons and ultimtely they were forced to leave this country. BUT they did it in a way they wanted by partitioning India. I did not win our Independence that day rather I would say we were freed by them. This is the difference that comes what approch you choose. Gandhi never fought for freedom, he fought so that the Brits leave. They left and we did not win either and still today whenever our borders are attacked we are loosing…

    One thing that struck me during this Independence Day is that the 17th century Red Fort was swamped by helicopters, anti-aircraft guns, CCTV cameras and 8,000 security personnel keeping a hawk eye. Is this Indepedence we won.

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