Friday, December 30, 2005

Earth – A film for the sub continent

I recently watched the film Earth, directed by Nandita Das (Director of ‘Fire’). It is about a group of diverse (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh) friends, whose dynamics are drastically altered by the partition of India in 1947. Trains filled with dead bodies of Muslims sent to Lahore, Hindus slaughtering Muslims and Muslims slaughtering hindus, Sikhs in the middle slaughtering anybody is pretty much the fare for the second half. In the end, the friends turn on one another and in the process takes care of ‘personal business’ under cover of the carnage. Oh Yes, there is a girl involved (isn’t there always?)

All in all, a bloody movie it may have been, but it shows how the British made a mistake (or was it intentional – to cause instability in the region for a long time) in dividing up a country. Maybe it was the resultant carnage that prevented them from dividing up Sri Lanka the following year. But that is definitely what the war has been about isn’t it?

What does it show I wonder? If the damned colonials didn’t divide us up, we choose to do it ourselves? Don’t delude yourself by saying “we” don’t want to divide up the country. But every single one of us at some point or the other might have thought, wouldn’t it be a good idea if we were divided.

I believe everybody was united right up until we got independence, and then it all went haywire. But maybe a civil war after independence is the norm rather than the exception. For example, the United States had its civil war after about 75 years of independence. The Sikhs in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan and The Maoists rebels in Nepal.

“Before a Civilization is destroyed from without, it has destroyed itself from within” – Will Durant (I could not find the exact quotation)


“The political machine [will always] triumph because it is [a] united minority acting against a divided majority” – Will Durant


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