Believe it or not, yours truly, is, finally, coming out of hibernation. While some of you may feel that yours truly is considering being exported (after all, we are a nation of hibernation), the fact remains that the only alternative left for yours truly is being ‘im-ported’.
Not much water has flowed in Bagmati (not that much water is left there, anyways), since the all powerful ministerial cabinet of the former kingdom decided to do what no government has done ever before. That is, to ban a movie, namely ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ (See, we don’t have a censor board which functions). And that left yours truly, as your thought agent in times of thoughtlessness, wondering. It’s like going through déjà vu again, (imagine that). And according to what was available on the newsprint (and some soundbites on the broadcast), yours truly is seemingly forming an opinion.
Well, amazingly, and alarmingly too, it’s about Buddha. Anyone living in this generation can be pretty sure that the ‘Light of Asia’ is fortunate not to live in the present age. Yours truly can bet few possessions that he has, on ‘the enlightened one’ would have committed suicide, seeing the fracas his name brings about in the 21st century, which, of course, is not different that 20th century (only that we expected it to be something else). Could there be a better way to celebrate his birth on this side of the border? Of course, not. If we could make his idols, despite him being against idol worship, of course we can go a step beyond, burning tyres and threatening someone, who probably are trying to ‘snatch’ away the ‘enlightened one’ from us. Violence, thou art here to stay (Whatever he preached 25 centuries ago)…
If yours truly has his senses right, and the déjà vu he had is not misplaced, there was similar – albeit bigger on the streets – incident seen a few years ago, when one of the newspapers (pretty popular at that) had a news report where some ‘expert’ had claimed that the ‘Light of Asia’ was born across the border (despite our claims otherwise).
The news report was welcomed by other media and some goons with raised arms and a lot of gasoline used to set a few copies of the newspapers on the streets. And as the newspapers burned, so did the spirit of peace, so did the freedom of expression, so did the tolerance he died preaching, and so did the concept of ‘brotherhood’ among all living beings.
The only thought that baffles yours truly is: Is Buddha a property? Or do we not want to keep him under the wraps? For, yours truly always believed, Buddha is a thought; a prophecy; a charisma that this world needed during his times and more so, during the present age, where gloom has encircled the world. We probably needed to share his prophecy more to the world than ever before, especially when we are waking up after a ‘hibernation’ of thousands of deaths and disappearances.
The other questions that have started baffling yours truly are: Can we not claim that Jesus Christ as ours, just because what he preached has some value? For that can we not stake claim to Gandhi’s wisdom and non-violent ways, just because he lived across the border. Are we limiting the thought to the national boundaries, which were created by those who wanted power vested on themselves?
Going through the history books – and reading between the lines – tell us, national boundaries have always been a matter of pride for those, who used violence for their benefit, and always been changing. Amazing, we have much faith on the ways of violence, than peace, especially in the times of shrinking borders (as we use the cliché – the world is a global village). Borders were meant to be mental blocks, by the power wielders, to antagonize people at large, against the same species that lived across.
However, going by the prophecy that governs most of us, there are a few ways how we can deal with movies like these, which apparently ‘claim’ that the ‘enlightened one’ was born, not in this side of the border (of course, we conveniently can forget that it was not a government ‘claiming’ anything close to such). Some of the ways could be:
- Issue a birth certificate to the Buddha ‘posthumously’. The come-raid government can order ‘Prasuti Griha’ to issue him a birth certificate.
- Tell our ambassadors to hold press conferences in the counties they are (and want to remain there forever), criticizing the ‘friends’ across the borders, do not have a right to claim of Buddha’s birth.
- Declare the producers and more importantly, Akshay Kumar, the main protagonist of the movie, as terrorists, for trying to wrongly claim our ‘property’.
- Produce movies, where we claim ‘Mahavir’, ‘Sai Baba’, ‘Gandhi’ et al, were born this side of the border (we can tell ‘Prasuti Griha’ to do the needful of issuing birth certificates).
There could possibly be more ways to say, Buddha is ours. Anything involving violence to claim that the ‘non-violent’ one was ours, should be welcome. Wot say?
Or else, we could just follow his principles of peace and non-violence to prove we are his worthy children. But yours truly is pretty sure, we don’t have many takers for that.