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Back in first year degree, our History syllabus had a very unusual part – unusual for academic purposes, that is–a list of movies, of which we need to pick one, watch, prepare a review according to the format given beforehand, and write it all in the final examination. I’m sure most of you have never come across such a thing in your lives, no matter what subject you majored in.
I was a little surprised; little because, by the time I came to the stage where our teacher informed us about this, I was a little aware that I was going to learn a little different history than I had known for all those five years in school, in all my three years at Christ. So, the movies were not meant for a one-time watch-and-forget, but for us to realise how History is portrayed through fields like cinema, and how they act as a source of History. This branch of History, called “History and Cinema”, is becoming quite popular now-a-days; I actually found books on that in one of the two libraries in college. So, this movie-list part falls under this category.
Since we were learning about the history of colonial India at the time, we had six movies relating to that time-period–Lagaan, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Mirch Masala, Gandhi, and two others. I debated quite a lot over this; Lagaan was well-known – so much that even my mother knew the story by heart; Mirch Masala seemed somewhat uninteresting (I bet it in fact was not so, but you must understand that it was the time when exams were looming right over my head); Gandhi…well, I began to disbelieve in Mahatma Gandhi after what I was learning about him; the other two also I was not sure of. Then, my eyes fell on The Legend of Bhagat Singh. Now that…was not very well-known; at least, no one in my family has watched it thus far. In addition to that, I was beginning to appreciate some of the principles of Leftism and so, I decided to download that movie.
I watched it. The film was very well portrayed. I made my notes as I watched. It also gave me a new reason to distrust anything that was ever said about Mahatma Gandhi (and, eventually, the Congress). It could be said that The Legend of Bhagat Singh had taught me a lesson; it taught me to question the known facts and achievements of the Indian National Congress. Slowly, I came to realise that the Congress, which had once been a very powerful ruling party during post-independent India, had begun its work with a lie. (By the way, this line reminds me of Mr. Gold from Once Upon A Time, when he makes such a statement in Season 4.) The history that has been recorded in our textbooks has always been according to the changes made to the original version – changes made by the all-faithful, oh-so-wonderful Congress. The same Congress which has witnessed a bitter resentment by the people of India in the 2014 elections, when they preferred BJP to rule them. And of course, thanks to Indira Gandhi for her Emergency, back in 1975. Yes, ma’am, we know what you did last summer!
Oh – and we also know why your daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi, disunited the states of Bihar, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. You wanted more votes, didn’t you? And you had a humiliating defeat, didn’t you? Twice, if you count the history of the Congress party. I love that—ha-ha-ha!
But, coming back to my point, where are the names of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru? Somewhere obscure, like the Madiwala or Forum Check-post bus stop shelters. Where are their achievements recorded? Certainly not in any of our History textbooks. They literally gave up their lives to the freedom movement, while Gandhiji and Nehru only went to jail a few times. We even hear rumours doubting their dedication to the freedom of India, which, in my opinion, does not include making friends with the colonial rulers in order to gain freedom. No, that will only slow things down. Gandhiji talked about non-violence as the road to justice. It was slow, granted, but was it steady? Oh no. People were impatient. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, Bhagat Singh was more popular than Gandhiji, perhaps because he was more radical and a risk-taker than the latter ever could have been.
Oh – and then there’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, another Leftist leader in the history of colonial India. He came after the deaths of whom I consider the three gems of the freedom movement–Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru. While we do know how our three gems died (hanged by the British for assassinating John Saunders), we do not know how Subhas Chandra Bose died. While the three gems were seeking revenge upon the killing of their leader and teacher, Lala Lajpat Rai, Subhas Chandra Bose took to seeking the help of the Allied enemies during the Second World War–Germany and Japan. It was said that Subhas Chandra Bose personally went to Germany and sought help from Hitler. However, it was also known that, he was captured as a prisoner of war and made to spend time in Siberia. So many “however”‘s, and we do not know whether they are right; all of them are only speculations by great thinkers. If word got out about what really happened to him, then, in my opinion again, the Congress will have to disband itself and disappear from the political arena, for then, it would be likely that Nehru’s government knew about it all along and kept it from the public. After all, we now know that he was keeping tabs secretly on the Bose family after he came to power.
However, at the end of the day, it was Gandhi and Nehru who survived. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru were killed barely at the age of twenty-five each, while Subhas Chandra Bose married an Austrian, left her with a daughter to join Hitler against the British, and…well, he was involved in an air crash. Hence, his history becomes a paradox – he could be viewed as a traitor. We cannot even visualise and say so-and-so will be the result. At any rate, we do not know what is going to happen if all the documents related to him are finally declassified. This is what scholars seem to speculate.
Fine, the fear of being called a traitor and being asked many questions is understandable, but spying? That amounts to treating your former fellow Congress leader (yes, Subhas Chandra Bose was once a very powerful leader in the Congress, but had to give up his presidency for Gandhiji) as a cheat, which is unacceptable.
I think this is enough of throwing politics about so much! Look forward to exciting news the next time you check my blog! 😉