“Aam aadmi” has survived terrorist attacks on suburban trains. He lives through floods almost every year. He has umpteen other problems from traffic snarls to housing. Yet, he has made his habitat a globally admired destination for business and glamour. “aam aadmi” (common man): he can do wonders if he decides to take the matter into his hands. Admit-tedly, however, it takes time for “aam aadmi” to react to a situation as he is too pre-occupied with his daily battle for economic survival.
The fabled fighting spirit of Mumbai has finally prevailed. The fairly successful release of Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name Is Khan in cinema halls in the country’s commercial capital in the wake of threats by the Shiv Sena.
Last week-end is a matter of satisfaction. This once again proves that it is not for nothing that Mumbai is regarded as a truly cosmopolitan city with an opportunity for everyone to translate his dreams into a reality. More importantly the incident underlines the importance of aam aadmi (common man): he can do wonders if he decides to take the matter into his hands. In our dispensation he has just to realize that it is around him that democracy rotates. The question why Shah Rukh Khan himself did not bid for Pakistan cricket players to include them in his team for the Indian Premier League (IPL) is relevant. But, that does not mean that his virtual regret later for not having done so can be a reason for shutting out his films. The first occurrence can at best be described as an error of judgment — deliberate or otherwise. The other concerns a fundamental issue — the freedom of expression guaranteed to us by our Constitution. The aam aadmi of Mumbai has covered himself with glory again. He has survived terrorist attacks on suburban trains. He lives through floods almost every year. He has umpteen other problems from traffic snarls to housing. Yet, he has made his habitat a globally admired destination for business and glamour. Now by queuing up for a film he was asked by a bully not to see he has revealed the sterner stuff of which he is made of. In a somewhat different context a 2008 movie, A Wednesday, has effectively portrayed what an ordinary citizen can do by translating his pain into anger and vengeance.
On our home turf we can readily recount at least two recent instances of how the people at large have stood up against militant diktats. They have said a resounding no to the call for not sending their daughters to educational institutions. That they have been targeted in the process has not dissuaded them. In the Kashmir Valley the civil society has also rejected the demand for pushing out the non-State subjects. Admit-tedly, however, it takes time for aam aadmi to react to a situation as he is too pre-occupied with his daily battle for economic survival. His first reaction is to look up to his leaders for guidance. He wastes a lot of time as he watches expectantly from the sidelines. It is only when he is convinced that the leaders are either weak or conniving or practicing double standards that he takes the matters into his hands. There is no stopping him after that.
As of now his anguish is incident-specific. It does not last long. Nevertheless is very significant from the point of view of development of democracy — it is all about his pride and dignity — in our country. Mahatma Gandhi has said: “Democracy is the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual resources of various sections of the people in the service of the common good of all.” Who has known aam aadmi better than him?
Courtesy: Daily Excelsior