Monthly archives of “March 2009

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Slumdog Millionaire – A parallelism with India


Its was not very long back when a British Film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ swept the Oscar awards by wining 8 awards from 9 nominations. The movie is based on the book ‘Q&A’ by Vikas Swaroop. The movie is brilliantly directed by Danny Boyle and has very awesome acting performances right from Azharuddin to Anil Kapoor. For those who don’t know what the movie is all about, let me take you through the story of the movie . – “Eighteen year-old Jamal Malik, an orphan form the slums of Mumbai, is just one question away from winning 20 million rupees on India’s version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire . But Before shooting starts for the d Day , Jamal is dramatically arrested on suspicion of cheating – no one it seems is willing to believe a kid from the slums could possible know any of the answers he has been set , and brutally interrogated by the police. Jamal is forced to narrate his remarkable life, his journey from the city slums to the hot seat on the national TV show, and the girl he loved and lost along the way. How is it that he knows all the answers and why is someone with no interest in money appearing on the show at all?“.
I am not here to write movie review for this piece of art. Today, I will try to draw a parallelism between story of Jamal (the hero of the movie) and my country India. India is more than 60 years old, and for most of the time it has been seen as poor, backward country by most of the western world (as Jamal Malik in the movie). India is right now amidst a very serious game of ‘Who Want To Be A Superpower’ (as Jamal participated in Who Want to Be Millionaire). In the movie when Jamal sits on the ‘Hot Seat‘ of the game, audiences and the host wondered how many questions this young boy from a slum will survive? So was the case with India, when we first thought of becoming a Superpower , the world laughed at us. Countries wondered for how many years will India live with the dream of becoming a Superpower.
Being on ‘Hot Seat’, India has successfully overcome many challenges like stabilizing and uniting the country after independence, has efficiently created the Constitution of India which is world’s longest written constitution, creating military forces which ranks among the best in the world. As we were rejoicing the triumph of being independent and sovereign, world asked us one question ‘who are you with, USA or USSR?’. We took a life line ’50:50′ which eliminated both USA and USSR and we moved ahead with Non-Alignment Movement (NAM). This stand gave India a unique identity in world political and diplomatic circles.

Series of significant mile stones like Green Revolution and becoming space power were achieved soon after independence. This boosted our confidence and we craved for more. We went on to achieve the status of nuclear state and it sent shock waves across the world. The world got so frightened with our rise; they imposed economic and other sanctions to demotivate us. But we got the lifeline ‘Audience Poll’ (people of India) who suggested and supported the idea of not stopping on this roadblock but to move ahead with constant pace.
Like in every game, the road to next milestone becomes tougher and bumpier as you move forward, for India it was no exception. Many new obstacles like economic crisis of early 90’s (Dr.Manmohan Singh, P.Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia were the hero of economic liberalization), growth in terrorism activities in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir tried to stop our progress. But determined to grow bigger and better , we cruised passed these pot holes smoothly. Whenever we faced dilemma we looked back to our vast and rich historical and cultural asset and found mentors in iconic characters like Emporer Ashoka, Chanakya, Gautam Buddha, the famous sages and sadhus, Ramayana and Mahabharata, Akbar the Great, Mahatma Gandhi, Pundit Nehru, Bhagat Singh and the list goes on and on. Every single icon of by gone era have inspired us to achieve more, the reach new heights, set new standards for the world (the same way as Jamal go into flashback and relate how he knows the answers of the questions).
From being considered as third world country to named as ‘Back Office of the World’ , launching Chandrayaan and entering the elite space club, developing sophisticated ballastic missiles to driving innovation (e.g. Tata motor’s Nano) we have shown our potential be the next Superpower. Like in the movie, just before the final day shoot, Jamal is interrogated by Police about his credibility and genuineness. World is repeatedly asking us our credibility, genuineness and intention of reaching the ultimate destination and be called the Superpower. In the movie, show host Anil Kapoor will write the answer to next question on the mirror of the rest room to deviate Jamal and make him loose the winning spree, we should be aware of countries who claim to be our friend and assure us easy access to Club of Superpowers and in turn may lead to our destruction for their own benefits.

Let the world and others try to put a stop on our marvelous run, we should not forget we have still one life line left with us ‘Phone a friend‘. We can use this last life line at the right time to set final step to achieve our dreams and show everybody else that what we dreamed long back was not just a day dream but a informed decision and a promise we made to our self to win in this game fair and square.

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