Sunday, February 05, 2006

What's the martyr with these people?

Since it seems to be almost obligatory to put at least one post about Rang de Basanti, I figured I might as well do my bit. Not that I've seen the film, of course, or plan to see it (it is my considered opinion that Aamir Khan should have stuck to doing the Coke commercials - it's the most intelligent work he's ever done), but I figure that shouldn't stop me from making astute and insightful observations about it - specially given the admirable job that Chandrahas and others have done of giving out the story. (Chandrahas also makes a whole bunch of points against the movie that I totally agree with. Or would, if I was willing to take the movie that seriously)

As I read through the posts about the film, the thing that struck me most was the parallel the movie tries to draw between these random college kids who go around assassinating Defence Ministers (mostly, it would seem, to expiate their own guilt over their friend's death) and Bhagat Singh and co. I know at least some people have objected to this parallel, arguing that the context was very different, and the two actions can't be compared. I personally think they can, and that the parallel is fairly strong, but that rather than being justification for the violence Rang de Basanti's characters undertake, it is rather reason to question and reevaluate the status of Bhagat Singh and the like as 'freedom fighters'. In other words, to ask ourselves whether these great martyrs were not as misguided and ridiculous as the kids in the movie.

I've never understood why Bhagat Singh and others get the kind of respect they do. My objection to their deification is two-fold - one philosophical, the other pragmatic. Philosophically, I think of them as little better than terrorists. In general, I do not believe that the end justifies the means, and am therefore unwilling to countenance the taking of life as a means of political protest, whatever the provocation. Just because you disagree with someone's politics, or believe that they are oppressing people you identify yourself with, is not a good enough reason to assassinate them. That is a route that leads straight to a Hobbesian world. Understand that is not necessarily a call for non-violence. I am not opposed to using the threat of force, or, if such threats should prove ineffective, to the use of actual violence. I am only opposed to actions that inflict violence on people without giving them a credible choice. Or in other words, I am only willing to accept the use of violence in situations where it is used as a last resort, where all other alternatives have been tried and shown to fail, and where the decision to resort to violence is taken via due process. Deciding to assasinate someone by yourself does not meet any of those criteria.

My more pragmatic objection is - what exactly is the end here? What were Bhagat Singh and co. hoping to achieve exactly? Was it really credible that the British would change their policy on India just because a few of their officials got killed? If your problem is with a particular system, does targeting the people in it really help? Or does it only make the system more determined to fight you? We call these people freedom fighters, but while I see that they fought, I'm not sure how their actions brought us even a single step closer to freedom. If anything, their actions took us one step closer to anarchy, a state in which all freedoms are suspended.

At this point some of you are probably dying to point out that these guys were brave men who died for their country (pun intended). Resisting the urge to come back with lines from Patton (about how the trick is to get the other s.o.b. to die for his country), I have to ask: did they? I know that they died, but it's not clear to me how their country came into it. Even if you believe that their actions somehow helped India come closer to freedom[1] ex-post, that doesn't imply that that was their ex-ante intent. Was their desire to kill people driven by a well-thought out game plan to achieve real change in India's political situation, or was it driven by a feverish search for self-definition? Isn't it more plausible that a group of insecure and frustrated young men, burning with a sense of personal injury to which no real source could be ascribed, chose, as an identity, the role of 'martyrs', purely to escape the realities of their own impotence (this is how terrorists are recruited btw)? Were these truly idealogues of violence, or were they merely callow youths who stumbled upon a good way to both release their natural aggression and sanctify it in the name of their 'motherland'? Patriotism may or may not be the last refuge of the scoundrel, but it is certainly the last refuge of those with nothing else to pin their self on, of those who have no other claim to make upon the world. Behind all that high-sounding ideology is simply the brute aggression of those whose only contributions to the world can be reductive.

But they gave their own lives, you will say. To begin with, that proves nothing. Just because something is paid for with death does not make it right - price is not value. All it may suggest (even ignoring the power of socialisation - Durkheim's notion of altruistic suicide) is that the person who gave his life thought that he was achieving some great thing, but there's always the possibility that he was just wrong. If I go jump off a bridge shouting "Save the rainforests" at the top of my voice, will this mean I have championed the cause of the rainforests, or helped move these forests closer to preservation? The story of Bhagat Singh is more poignant and Bollywood worthy if we believe he achieved something, but that doesn't make his actions useful in any objective sense.

You can argue that their deaths were a valuable propaganda exercise, that they sacrificed themselves to create symbols for the independence struggle. That begs the question - okay, why did they have to kill someone first? If all that was needed were stories of idealistic young men who died for their country, surely there were enough people who suffered or were killed without having commited a crime first. Wouldn't these people's stories have been more effective? The Christ myth works on a similar aesthetic principle (a young man who suffers an agonising death for the 'sake' of mankind) but it works precisely because Christ is innocent and pure - he doesn't go around killing Romans before they crucify him. In fact, by taking the law into their own hands, didn't these rebels effectively obscure the stories of those whose suffering they were trying to avenge, and who would, arguably, have made better subjects for the martyrdom spin?

What, then, was the motive behind their giving their lives? (Notice I'm taking the non-cynical view and arguing that the chose to give up their lives, rather than assuming that they got caught and had no hope of reprieve, so decided to put a brave face on it). Camus, in The Rebel (a fascinating book to read in this context, btw), argues that nihilistic assassins justify their actions to themselves (and to others) by putting their own lives at stake as well. The argument here is pure reciprocity - in order to be justified in taking a life, you need to be prepared to give your own (this sounds astonishingly fair, till you consider that the victim to this 'exchange' doesn't get the same choice). What we are left with then, is blood guilt: the killing of the other is unjustifiable, and to even attempt to apologise for it would simply be to admit defeat and therefore shame. The assassin's death is then ultimately an act of pride - the 'martyr' is not concerned with the 'cause', he is interested in the maintenance of his own ego, and chooses to die in order to avoid his own internal dissonance. Such an act is 'heroic' in a purely dramatic sense, but like all 'heroic' acts it is a fundamentally selfish one. These are not self-sacrificing martyrs, they are actors playing to an imagined gallery.

By explicitly arguing for the parallel between the characters in Rang de Basanti and Bhagat Singh, the movie manages (unintentionally, I'm sure) to highlight these issues. The plot of the movie is ridiculous, the actions of the main characters unjustifiable, but all this idiocy belongs not with them but with the role models whose 'principles' they are, arguably, faithful to. In that sense (and again, I emphasise that this is almost certainly not the filmmaker's intent) Rang de Basanti can be seen as that sublimest of statements - a political satire - one that can help to demonstrate that our great 'freedom fighters' were as empty-headed as the characters (and audiences) that they inspire.


[1] I've always been fascinated by the way we tend to arrogate all credit for the withdrawal of British from India to ourselves. The destruction caused by WWII, the changing political dynamics of the post-nuclear world, the rise of Soviet influence, the growing impracticality and irrelevance of the old imperialist institutions - all these never seem to get much airplay in our popular discussions [2] of 1947. Personally, I'm only sure that the British left - whether we drove them out is another question entirely. I'm not saying that the struggle for independence wasn't important, just that you could as credibly argue that we just lucked out in 1947.

[2] I emphasise popular discussions - I'm sure historical theories on this exist, it's just that you don't see movies being made about them.

Follow up comment: Just a quick comment on this post, based on the comments I've received so far. I'm not unaware, of course, that it is possible to build a consistent argument that would justify Bhagat Singh's actions (something starting from the question of whether, in a system without the right to vote, an individual can be assumed to be governed by the law would be interesting, for instance). It's not an argument that I personally would agree with, but it's an argument I'm willing to debate and consider, and it would be useful because it would help highlight the differences in fundamental assumptions that underlie the two points of view. My real point in the post above isn't so much to criticise Bhagat Singh as to critique the non-obvious assumption that he was a great man. That may be true, but it's a conclusion that needs to be arrived at, not assumed.

That's why it's ironic when people accuse me of being uninformed. My point is that most people are worse than uninformed - they're unquestioning. (Honestly, how many people read this post and didn't experience a sense of outrage that came not so much from disagreement, but from the dissonance of having someone you've always been taught was a great martyr questioned? That's one of the reasons I really appreciate Pareshaan's comment, btw). That's the kind of intellectual laziness that creates fanatics.

Bottomline: The point of being provocative is not to be right. The point of being provocative is to create credible doubt that forces people to reassess their beliefs, so that even if they continue to hold them afterwards, it will be for a good reason.



Pareshaan said...

Lots of good points, but, Bhagat Singh and co. themselves realized very soon that killing poeple was not the answer. Life was tougher for them and the public was not the least bit bothered. Thus they engineered the bomb blasts and gave themselves up.
They made use of the ensuing drama to fire the public's imagination and broadcast their beliefs and convictions. They led by example. Tearing through the muddled webs of philisophy and counter-philosophy, their message, was simple and effective.
It is time to die for your nation, just being cynical is not going to take you anywhere.
A romantic appeal, maybe, but effective nonetheless.
But people like Bhagat Singh are important because they believed.
And they died for their beliefs, and not before enough people knew about it. Not before, I imagine some were actually inspired enough to join the freedom struggle. Not before they had reinforced the courage and the determination of the people who were already fighting to get the British out.
Maybe you are right, the British did finally leave of their own volition. India had nothing more to offer and the Brits had their own share of problems.
But then again, maybe, we had a hand in it. May be the revolutionaries did have an effect. It would be a cold and cynical review that lays their contribution waste thus. Real or imaginary, they are important. As important today as they ever were.
By your own admission, you do not intend to see the movie. Given your ability to think and understand, it is understandable, that a movie such as Rang De Basanti will have little allure for you.
Yet many common folk will see it and they will enjoy it, and what they will take back from the movie is not the fact that citizens of India must take to arms and destroy all the corrupt politicians (for even you must credit them with greater understanding).
They are more likely to tone down the exxagerations, make sense out of it all, and be in a 'what if' state of mind.
I certainly was, to an extent the movie did make me re-realize that I had done nothing, nothing for my country, or for that matter anybody else. And that I think is what Rang De Basanti, being a desi masala flick set out to do.
It is unlikely that when you are ready to kill or be killed for a belief, the first thing that you will do is kill or be killed.
It is far more likely that you will exhaust the other options first. And it is highly likely that those other options will make you achieve your ends, before you have to kill, or at least be killed.
That, in my opinion is the lasting appeal of dying for a cause. Whether misdirected or not, the belief remains commendable. It is certainly better than not doing anything.
I would like to believe that
Bhagat Singh and company moved people who had seen so much, that they believed that nothing could move them. That is the legacy of the Indian revolutionary. That hopefully will be the effect of Rang De Basanti.
If it fails, well at least they tried, true for the movie as well as the martyrs.

Pareshaan said...

Actually, please feel free to delete my previous comment. It does not do your post justice. I read it once again, and that comment of mine has no right to exist.
I think I hate what you have to say, but I cannot seem to disagree with most of it. It is very cleverly put. Too cleverly for me to understand and argue against.
Though the Camus bit, even you will agree that that it is not wholly relevant in this case.
Very disturbing post - I am totally pissed off.

Anonymous said...

It is always disturbing sense of nausea when cold logic is used to describe/analyse anything.

Alright Falstaff let me rephrase it this way,
"Knowing we are going to ultimately die what is the point of anything at all?"

Frankly how does listening to Bach,Beethoven,Mozart,reading/quoting esoteric poetry make any difference...?
Arent they all in their own way trying to add 'some kind of meaning(pseudo?)' to one's own life?
Sure one could put on the high hat of abstract thought and claim to be the connoisseur of art. No problem with that but what is the difference between the psychology of that person and a person who driven by his ideologies gives up his life?
(sure in the case of the former he 'exists' probably for a little longer than the latter..)

Isnt it a bit presumptuous to think things are triggered off by pure cold logic after analysing the repercussions...?
We can ofcourse only speculate what might have been the repercussions of the acts of the martyrs'...

My point being it is that much easier analysing a thing in hindsight sitting in one's arm chair...


Cheshire Cat said...

I would go even further than you. For a nihilist, the life of the other is valueless. By extension, the nihilist's own life is valueless, and hence his death cannot be a symbol of anything. Similarly, the "martyrdom" of the 9/11 terrorists was trivial/ridiculous... (what's a good word for nothing?)

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Brilliant, sir. Could have been a little more concise.

Though I agree with one point that emerges from Girish's (Anonymous) otherwise incoherent comment - is there a point to anything at all?

But all said and done, brilliant. Kudos.


Anonymous said...

"Isn't it more plausible that a group of insecure and frustrated young men, burning with a sense of personal injury to which no real source could be ascribed, chose, as an identity, the role of 'martyrs', purely to escape the realities of their own impotence (this is how terrorists are recruited btw)? Were these truly idealogues of violence, or were they merely callow youths who stumbled upon a good way to both release their natural aggression and sanctify it in the name of their 'motherland'?"

Apropos the above, I believe, you should start reading Bhagat Singh's works immediately. He has left behind quite an impressive body of work (including the famous and oft-quoted "Why I am an Atheist"). I don't think these were callow youths who were going around killing people just for the heck of it. Reading informed criticism is always a pleasanter task.

Alok said...

I am only willing to accept the use of violence in situations where it is used as a last resort, where all other alternatives have been tried and shown to fail, and where the decision to resort to violence is taken via due process.

But who decides that all the alternatives have been tried. Perhaps Bhagat Singh and Co. did believe that all alternatives have already been tries. Also is there a scientific/objective way to enumerate choices?

And "taken via due process" ?

What do you think of suicide bombers in middle east? do you think they are terrorists? they follow quite an elaborate process to reach their goals.

You have your Camus and Dostoevsky in place, no doubt, but try Che Guevara's notebooks or even better, Revolutionaries by Eric Hobsbawm.

By the way, what do you think of romanticism in literature? I thought you would be sympathetic to revolutionary ideas given your tastes in poetry :)

Falstaff said...

Pareshaan: Thanks, I think. Though I'm not sure why you think I would agree that Camus is not relevant - I would think (I do think) that Camus is entirely relevant.

Girish: Of course Bach and poetry make no difference, but that's exactly the point - they don't kill other people. Assassination is the most extreme form of inflicting your beliefs on other people, even if that belief is that life is meaningless. I have no problem with Bhagat Singh and co. giving up their lives - I have a problem with their taking the lives of other people.

As for the benefit of hindsight - I'm not saying that Bhagat Singh and co. should have been analytical, I'm sure they thought they were doing something useful. I'm saying that I don't understand how, with the benefit of that hindsight, can we still go on claiming that they were important.

Cat: No disagreements there. Except that being a nihilist should give other people the right to kill you, not the other way round.

JAP: thanks. And yes, I considered editing it, then decided it was Sunday night and I needed to get a life.

Anonymous: I have read the Why I am an Athiest piece. I didn't think much of it. And besides, what about this post makes you think I'm in favour of informed criticism? That said, I'm willing to admit that I might be doing Bhagat Singh a disservice by crediting him with less insight than he deserves. But if he was truly an ideologue that only makes my initial objections that much stronger - it's kinder to assume that he was just young and misguided than to assume that he was intelligent but didn't think through the moral and pragmatic consequences of his act.

Alok: :-). I was wondering when someone would spot that. It's one of those things I wanted to elaborate on, but didn't get around to.

First, you're right, it's almost impossible to say that all alternatives have been tried - the practical consequence of which is that violence is always the wrong choice. But analytically, if it were possible to determine that there were no alternatives left, then I would be okay with violence, though I can't see that realistically happening.

Second, I guess my definition of due process is one where the specific person who is going to die gets the right to defend himself and the person making the decision is, at least theoretically, unbiased. Suicide bombers don't meet any of those criteria - they may have a process, but it isn't due. Essentially due process is a process that exists before the complaint is brought, and that the potential victim has effectively given his consent to.

As for romanticism in literature, I'm all for it. Don't get me wrong, I think romanticism is great; I think Bhagat Singh and co. make for a fascinating story. I just think the claims of politics and fiction are different - the fact that an act is poetic doesn't make it right.

Aishwarya said...


(And I agree completely)

Pareshaan said...

Falstaff, I guess Rang De Basanti is a great movie, if for no other reason then solely because it made you write this piece and generate all this discussion. And all this, when you did not even see the movie, just read about it.
I shudder to think what would have happened had you actually gone ahead and seen the movie.
Thanks again, for the sheer brilliance of your post.

Alok said...

the fact that an act is poetic doesn't make it right.

Yes, you are right. And that's what differentiates revolutionaries and romantic dreamers from normal, "rational" people who are essentially timid and pathetic calculator of self-interests (isn't that what being rational means?).

I find people like Bhagat Singh or Che Guevara admirable, although heartbreakingly tragic figures, exactly as I admire Satan, Manfred, Don Quixote or other characters from literature.

And isn't that what Camus also argued in his book? What he found detestable was a particular, modern version of rebel who murders in the name of rationality, not in the name of "feelings" (of justice, solidarity, freedom etc).

Camus was all for romantic dreamers and revolutionaries. He says this explicitly in his preface (don't remember exactly but I think he compares Heathcliff with the murderers working in Stalin's labour camps).

We might need to play around with exact semantics of the word "greatness" but we will have to come up with a not so different word to describe Bhagat Singh and his likes.

Alok said...

Sorry for going on like this...

but I also found your attempts at psychoanalysing a rebel's mind ("impotence", "frustration", "natural aggression") very unfair and quite reductive.

It might be true for those suicide bombers whose idea of heaven is an orgy with virgins in the afterlife but certainly not for genuine revolutionaries who are beyond the concepts of self-interest and are moved to act just because they feel far more passionately about certain things than normal people.

I am not defending the movie here, which I suspect to be as execrable as it is being made out to be, but just defending the idea of rebels from a theoretical perspective.

Falstaff said...

Aishwarya, Pareshaan: Thanks.

Alok: Oh, I like revolutionaries too - but I think of them as beautiful, not great. They appeal to me aesthetically, I'm just opposed to them morally. Quixote's a lovely man, but he's also seriously delusional.

And I do actually agree with Camus' argument - certainly history / rationality as an excuse for killing someone is a lot less attractive than emotional / aesthetic principle - but the comparison in my mind is between people who go around killing other people (for whatever reason) and those who don't. The problem with Camus' romanticism (and I say this in the post as well) is that it's glorious as long as you're not the victim. Would I be okay if someone killed me out of an excess of feeling and justified it by then taking his own life? Absolutely not.

As for the random psychoanalysis, it's possible that it's unfair to Bhagat Singh but as you admit yourself, it's almost certainly true of most other terrorists, and I don't think it's unreasonable to consider that it might have been true for Singh as well. And even if it is unfair to Bhagat Singh, it doesn't change the fact that I still think his actions, however glorious in an artistic sense, were morally unjustifiable, and served no practical purpose. Call him a beautiful terrorist if you like, call him an artist who used violence as a medium - but don't call him a freedom fighter or a martyr for his country.

?! said...

"Martyrdom: The only way a man can become famous without ability."

Main nahin kehta, kitaabon mein likha hai yaaron.

Falstaff, I like the style :the why use a word where a dozen will fit one.

Some points, in similar fashion :

(a) Bhagat and co were youths who believed in a cause. They believed that their acts were directed towards it. So probably all that can be said is that in a purely romantic way, they died for their notions. Now whether they were great or not is debatable. That they caught the public imagination and did become a rallying point of sorts isn't.

(b) In a jaded world, where the Falstaffian (blogviewpoint) view that "did it really matter and mebbe they just got caught" cynicism is pervasive, they satisfy a very human need for heroes. And no, it is not just Indian. Even the Yanks made a huge song and dance about watsername-prob-just-checked-in-for-a-gynaec femme who got in a hospital in Iraq.

(c) And in keeping with our best traditions, of course our textbooks gloss over our heroes' assorted flaws, both in reasoning and execution. Uhuh, implementation.

(d) To repeat my rant elsewhere

The problem is, that movies like RDB allow you to outsource your idealism and yes, even rage at the corruption and stuff.

So you can go for a movie and eat popcorn and come out with soul scrubbed and feeling righteous about it. Also with rage sated with gory climax n all with all ends tied up. And ascribe corrosive cynicism at anybody who dares question the "message" or the fact that assorted MNCs with the most dubious of reputations of probity are sponsoring it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Falstaff(love that name)
First timer here.
First I have to clarify that I hold no interest in debating the movie. I concern myself to the aspects of your arguments that you have advanced against certain ideological reactions and in which I find glaring inconsistencies.
I totally agree with you that no killing can be justified by any cause. But that is an absolute. It overlooks the fact that ‘reactions’ (from benign to extreme) are scalar.
In your philosophical objection you say ‘I am only opposed to actions that inflict violence on people without giving them a credible choice’ . now what is the meaning of credible here? if it is relative then that raises the question if that credibility is a measure of one who desires violence or the one who provoked it. But that is completely different moral battleground . If credible choice is meant as absolute then it can exist in only one state ie.the state of war. Would that follow that all wars are acceptable for you as both parties have fairly equal choice and chance to kill each other?
And this- I am not opposed to using the threat of force, or, if such threats should prove ineffective, to the use of actual violence.
What exactly is ‘actual’ violence here? And what is a threat(apparent violence)? and how many number or variety of threats exhaust the effective means to justify actual violence(last resort)? Would it hold as same all across?

In all these, I think we have, to our convenience forgotten that there is such a thing called law. effective or otherwise is different issue. If it is the former , some of your own alternatives/criteria might very well become illegal. And as history would point out, when laws are by themselves biased (or unjust), it would give rise to people who can be terrorists, saviours, rebels or plainly ‘misguided’ depending on from where in the room
one looks at them.
And what was that bit about assassination based on criteria?
Its not my intent to dispute your philosophical objections . It is after all yours. I think they are quite reasonable and probably held by most of us. Just wanted to say,they have no logical but only subjective weight in the argument you have made here. And by the same note deification is individual too. As you say, reasons; you have yours , they have theirs. To ask others not to respect for your subjective reasons is senseless.
As per your pragmatic part, if actions per se were capable of producing intended result , there wouldn’t be a misery called mistake. I suppose you wouldn’t have asked so many questions if the violent apparatus had succeeded in achieving its end(as in French and Russian revolutions)? To me what has been written later, is more of speculative detour we all permit ourselves to indulge, at hindsight. Strange though, it also makes me wonder if they had actually succeeded in their violent endeavours would you have thought they deserve their respect?

I am fairly open as to not let myself be influenced by a single person, or a movie. So don’take me for defending anything or any person.

Falstaff said...

?!: "The problem is, that movies like RDB allow you to outsource your idealism and yes, even rage at the corruption and stuff." I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous (first timer): Thanks. You're right that I left some loopholes open in my argument (but really people, this is one random rant of a post I put together one boring Sunday night, it's not my thesis, for crying out loud) - I guess by credible choice I meant something that the other person could reasonably be expected to do (so, for instance you can't put a gun to my head and say you either run the 100 m in under 9 seconds or we shoot you) - I know there'll always be a question about what reasonable is, but that's always been a problem for the law anyway - I suppose some sort of jury of peers type arrangement could look into that. As to what constitutes the exhaustion of all alternatives, see my response to Alok's comment earlier today.

On the whole though, I completely agree with your point about not forcing other people to accept one's subjective judgements - that's exactly my point - by killing people who disagreed with them, Bhagat Singh and co. forced their idiosyncratic view of justice one someone else without giving him the right to argue or appeal.

And no, I wouldn't have approved of their actions even if they had succeeded (though I'm not sure what success means here - I don't believe you can establish a free and democratic society through terrorist violence). The pragmatic argument is just to make the point that even if you believe that the end justifies the means, there's still no point to Bhagat Singh's actions. And that's not because he had a careful, well-thought out plan that failed - it's because he had no coherent or logical plan at all. That's not making a mistake, that's just incompetence

bharath said...

I do like to recmmend reading Brother Karamazov by Dostoevsky and Freedom at Midnight by Colins and Lapiere. I think you may like it much.

I was prompted to comment mainly by the foot note and in a way, it parallels my perspective too. Freedom at Midnight might provide slightly more fulfilling account of India's independence as its based on some accouns from Lord Mountbatten and records from that time.

Though I find violence disgusting as an act, I think, just as a part of the world is partly rational, a part is also partly irrational. No one can claim the high ground for reason. At least I don't see how. It is in effect the same as saying "God is great". and they are both statements that can never be reasoned out.

I suggest Dostoevsky because it bring out the vagaries in human nature, placing different personalities in perfect conflict.

Falstaff said...

Bharath: Thanks for the recommendation, though I have actually read both books already. incidentally, if you are interested in Dostoyevsky, I suspect you'll find that Demons is even more relevant to the Bhagat Singh question that Brothers Karamazov. I recommend the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation.

Balaji said...

What really irritates me is the fact that some dumb 20yr old who does not even understand what freedom is, who takes what has been provided to her for granted comment on people like Bhagat singh. Do you aishwarya have the nerve/verve to act against someone who oppresses you? From the blog that i read...clearly no...You would rather watch the telly, see some stupid soap and write comments on it. Can you for a moment think of your friend/your relative being killed for being a Indian, for being someone who does not agree with what happens...I clearly don't think so. I have not seen Rang De basanti and this is not post in that regard. Dn't take everything you get now a days for granted...becoz once upon a time, they were not.

Falstaff said...

Balaji: I have a rule. My rule is that if someone attacks an argument by going after the credibility of the person making it rather than the argument itself, I assume that it's because they agree with what the other person is saying, they're just jealous that they didn't say it themselves.

If we accept your 'argument' (a term I use loosely) then no one can have an opinion on anything in history at all. By extension, we can't judge imperialism either, because we don't know what it was like to be able to control a massive empire and it's not clear that we would have had the ability to run it. And, also by extension, you could argue that we don't know what Bhagat Singh would have been doing if he'd been born in our times - maybe he would have been sitting around watching soaps and keeping a blog.

if you have an argument to make against Aishwarya's points (either here or on her post) make it. But don't channel your frustration at being unable to prove her wrong into personal attacks on her. At least not on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous second timer back.
Wanted to hear what you had to say.
After going through your blog, I considered your viewpoint carefully but after your comment im more convinced to let go of it.
Let me explain my reasons

Credible has not been amplified clearly.If going by your example I would have used a different word than credible/ reasonable and moreover It bears no relevance to the issue, even metaphorically.
And since when did assassinations , not the political ones even plain street killings worked for the dynamics of reason?
The second paragraph of your comment has left me perplexed!

All killing is not to be condoned yes.But I shall give you more credit than to believe what you say about british just disagreed, They definitely did more than that?
Reaction in question here was extreme, agreed.But it does not render the ideology pointless.
Rights? appeal? arguement?
sorry what rights are you mentioning here?

I thought the english law was idiosyancratic justice system(with all the positives included) imposed on a foriegn nation.

What are the rights to argue and defend yourself in an unconsitutional (not elected by mandate) against a crime you committed in foreign soil?
The law made little relevance to india, the punishment would have been similar even if the crime was in south africa.
Im just responding to your points and in no way preparing a ground for justifying the killing act.

As for planning and lack of it, i guess more things happened in history unplanned.Gandhi didnt plan out to end british rule because he was thrown off the train.It led there.
And hitler had a plan.

> I don't believe you can establish a free and democratic society through terrorist violence).
Ive just got to add that as long as the terrorist violence is not on your soil, which in some circles is referred as imperialism.

Im sorry I just wanted to know if you had any reasonable grounds to the arguemenst youve made, if it was , as i found out based on your assumptions or to keep yourself active on a sunday evening, im afraid youve gotta excuse me.
If I were you , I would have been more careful before being so dismissive.

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