Non-violence is regarded as a weapon, which is irrelevant in the contemporary volatile society, where clashes of various degrees and between various institutions is common. Clash between individuals, between societies, "ideologies', and even more importantly clash of civilizations has become so rampant that the term "non-violence" was erased from everyone's mind.
'Might is Right' is regarded as more beneficial today. Individuals and institutions for their personal needs have misused political power, police power and even student power. The tool, which was to be used for the good of society, is now misused for ones own need.
A person who does not wield power is considered to be weak. Sadly the number of such weak persons, who are weak physically, sociologically, intellectually, educationally and most important economically, is very large.
The concept of Gandhigiri has always been there, with us. When I was a 3rd grader my parents would tell me that I should not use abuses or be violent, even if I was being harassed. That too was Gandhigiri. As I grew older I observed that silence was interpreted as a weakness, and hence, I gradually became more inclined towards 'Dadagiri'. Human instincts are such, that one naturally raises his voice if he's hurt. Gandhigiri also preaches the same; "Raise your voice, not your hand".
News channels have been flooded with instances of Gandhigiri. In UP much like the Movie, a retired person undressed himself in front of the whole Secretariat staffs, after the 'babu' demanded bribe in return for his post retirement pensions. In another part of the country, the local citizens presented the SDM of the town with 200 kgs of flower and "get well" wishes after he refused to cancel a liquor shop's license. It's a different thing that the SDM sent all those 'Munnabhais' to prison. Perhaps the SDM hadn't seen Munnabhai yet and, moreover life is not a movie.
The most encouraging of all the post Munnabhai development has been the attitude of the youngsters. They are experiencing a change in heart, literally. The number of college goers visiting and borrowing books on Gandhi from the library has increased. Now one can see more Gandhi T-shirts on the street, Khadi jeans are becoming more popular than the denim jeans, SMS's wishing "Gandhi Jayanti' have been flooding my mobile, the word "baapu" have substituted the word "baap". Someone has rightly said "Movies have the power to bring revolutionary changes ", and India is witnessing one such change.
The changing trends suggest and show that today's youngsters are as same as those who took part in the independence struggle, or who participated in the anti-emergency rallies. They might have been influenced by globalization, westernization, Beatlization or even Pink Floydization, but when it comes to their root they still believe in 'Indianization'. What is required is a medium, which can get the message through to them, and what better than a Movie, and that too a one in which Sanjay Dutt is the professor.
One good thing has so many good things within it. Munnabhai is a meaningful movie. It is a movie, made with the purpose to provide 3 hrs of entertainment to the moviegoers, but it's doing much more than this and along with the fun it is reminding us few 'lessons', which we had forgotten. Moviemakers are not under any obligation to teach us morals and meaning of life, but Munnabhai is doing exactly.
Nonviolence is as relevant as it was 59 years ago. It will always be there, not only because people need it, but also because violence is a luxury, which is available to few. Hope that the message given in "Lagey Raho Munna Bhai" will change few hearts, if not many.
(Published in HT and Chronicle)