If I make a list of best movies of Bollywood, there there is no doubt that Rang De Basanti will have a place in it. Released in 2006, this movie still has a charm. The movie teaches us a lot of things, but the main topic revolves around the idea of a better India, about the India we always dreamt of.
Currently, there is a rise in communal hate in India which was never a dream of people who shed their blood for its independence. Are we breaking their dream? This post is to focus on the relation between Laxman Pandey(Ramprasad Bismil) and Aslam(Ashfaqullah Khan) in the movie.
When we are introduced to Pandey, he instantly comes off as an intolerant snob. He is a hot-headed political activist whose political ideologies turn him to view Aslam with a tint of 'us and them'. Aslam also reciprocates this dislike. When they work together for Sue's film we see how Pandey is so uncomfortable in even sharing the same space as Aslam. They are preparing for the roles of Ramprasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan who were not only known for their sacrifice in India's freedom struggle but also as an epitome of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood.
At the moment when Bismil suggests Ashfaq to get away from the struggle and settle away in Afghanistan, Ashfaq gets upset. Bismil instantly realizes his mistake and apologizes to him admitting that the country equally belongs to both of them and they both should sacrifice their lives for it. It reminds us how the blood that went into making this nation did not belong to any particular religion.
When Pandey watches Aslam enduring the brutality of police attack, dripping in blood for justice, he for the first time sees Aslam for who he really is, "An Indian". He realizes these differences between them are just namesake, they both share the same love for their motherland. Pandey apologizes to Aslam and he tears up.
For the first time, Pandey saw him as one of his own and it melts away all the apprehensions in his heart too. In the end, the get martyred protecting their country from its government, holding hands like soldiers and like brothers.
In times like today, we must ask ourselves, is today's India the same for which Bismil and Ashfaq died? Our leaders today want to look at us differently because of the clothes we wear and the food we eat, but let us remind them we all are Indians and this country belongs to all of us.
It's also important to realize that no matter what your political inclinations are, your democratic instinct should never come secondary to them. When you go out to support oppressive measures like internet shutdowns or police attacks on protestors, you are not just standing up for your government but you are also putting your government before your country.
I don't know if that's nationalism but it's definitely not patriotism.
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