When fictional superheroes override real freedom heroes
When Fictional Superheroes Override Real Freedom Heroes. Does the Gen X in India know the famous song ‘De di hame azadi bina khadg bina dhaal!...
Are fictional supermen superior to documented real-life heroes, say freedom fighters and geniuses, who, through painstaking efforts, changed millions of lives forever. The answer is obviously no. Has the Gen X read, heard, or seen the incredible struggles and integrity of our great leaders, particularly freedom fighters, to draw inspiration from their lives?
Does the Gen X in India know the famous song ‘De di hame azadi bina khadg bina dhaal! Sabarmati ke sant tune kardiya kamal!’ from the movie Jagruthi? Do texting wizards and geeks even know about Deshkavi Pradeep and the songs that he wrote? How many of us have heard the song Gandhi puttina desham idhi written by Arudra? It is clear that most of us are not conversant with such treasured clips and recordings from history. Who is to be blamed - movie producers, parents or schools?
Bombarded day in and day out with content in mainstream media and multimedia that glorify Superman, Batman and Spiderman, most of us hardly know about the freedom struggle beyond Gandhiji, Nehru, Lal Bahadur Sastry, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Bhagat Singh.
How many of us know about Alluri Sita Rama Raju, Bharatiyar, Katta Bomman, Uyyalavada Narasimha Reddy etc? Why not a children’s movie on freedom fighters? Why not a cartoon film that can document the Independence struggle? Why is that only on Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanthi, we remember our leaders in schools? Why not on a daily basis?
Not many know in which attire Gandhi had gone to meet the Emperor of Britain and what his response was when a reporter asked him whether he felt underdressed when he met the King? How many of us know that Lal Bahadur Sastry resigned from the post of Railway Minister immediately after a rail accident and walked back to his house?
S Gopalakrishnan, Vice Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, says, “It is time to remember the people who gave their best socially, politically and economically. Children think Gandhi got us freedom through exchange of mere words with the British.
They don’t know that Gandhiji had to go through a lot of struggle and sacrifices. We have to expose them to our freedom fighters and leaders through concerts, skits, songs and dances that give them a clear idea of what struggles they (principal characters) had gone through to attain what we are enjoying today.
We have to make children know that what we are today is because of those leaders. Teachers and schools should prepare them for life, not just for examinations. In Bhavan’s schools, we celebrate the birthdays of all the great leaders so that children can learn more about the leaders. We expose them to celebrations and help them develop clarity which will make them realise the worth of people who have sacrificed their lives for us,” Gopalakrishnan shares.
“There are a few good new movies like ‘Lagaan’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Bhagat Singh’ on freedom fighters in Hindi, but sadly there is nothing like that in Telugu,” bemoans Kalaga Krishna Mohan, Programme Executive at All India Radio. “Telugu movie makers are busy earning quick money and not bothered about sending a message to the audience. If there are no such movies coming up, then it is the fault of the parents.
If young directors and producers learn about it from their parents, they will be able to teach the coming generations through their movies and songs. Now-a-days, even on Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanthi, students bunk schools and enjoy a holiday at home or a mall,” he adds.
The reality shows for children and competitions in schools should not get confined to film or devotional songs. They should also insist that students render patriotic and classical songs as well,” he affirms.
In a similar vein, singer Balram P Iyer says that today the kids are more aware of fictional characters with supernatural powers than great heroes and leaders of the past who had exemplary powers, courage, strength of character and a very strong value system.
“Songs of yesteryear movies instilled and nurtured young minds with love for the leaders who led our country to freedom and acknowledged their hardships and sacrifices. The present crop of movie directors and producers can make small documentaries of five-minute songs with lyrics which convey the freedom struggle and uphold the conviction and courage with which our real life heroes like Gandhiji, Lala Lajpatrai,Lokmanya Tilak, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Rani Laxmibai, Sarojini Naidu, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Shivaji Maharaj etc fought for the freedom of our country,” he shares.
“Along with advertisements if these documentaries or songs are regularly broadcast during movie breaks or on television, slowly the young generation will value the gift of freedom that they enjoy today. Making a patriotic song round compulsory in talent shows will also help in a big way.
Even making serials, which bring to life the stories of our leaders and freedom fighters and the tough times in which they lived will instill in them a strong value system making India truly shine with enlightened minds,” adds Balram.