As I was getting bored on one weekend, a few of my friends called and said they are going for a movie. Not having anything to do, I immediately asked, “Which movie”? They replied “MULK”. I thought for a bit and then went for the movie eventually. The movie is about how the whole family of the Muslim protagonist is made to go through extreme humiliation and mental agony after it is found out that his son is supposedly involved in a bomb blast.
As I started watching it, I realised how I was similar to those who harassed the Muslim father in many ways. Although not consciously, but many people I know, do the same.
Even though the movie ended, it didn’t end in my head and remained with me for a long time. I came home with a lot of questions, and I started comparing the movie to the situations where my prejudices took over my rational being. What would I as a person have done if I would have got to know that my neighbour’s son was involved in a terrorist attack? Don’t I judge people based on how they are dressed, if they have a beard or based on the religion they practice? Or doesn’t my behaviour change towards a person knowing he/she is from a different religion or community?
A few months back, I was travelling from Delhi to Bhopal via train. In between, a Muslim family boarded the train. They seemed very happy and were going for a wedding. They had brought a lot of food including non-veg(which is my favourite) and around 8 PM, they started opening their tiffin boxes. Seeing me alone, they asked me if I would like to eat with them. I wanted to say ‘yes’ but for the moment there was a hesitation, and I said No. They asked me few more times but I politely refused. The reason I said ‘no’ to them was not that I was not hungry but only because I felt some apprehension.
This is not the only incident in my life, there have been many others. During one of my road trips with friends, we realised that the horn of the car was not working. I kept asking the driver of our car to stop at the next garage. We got one and parked our car in front of the garage. There was one mechanic sitting with a Muslim cap and one of my friends who is also my relative showed uneasiness and went to the manager and asked him the name of the owner, the manager answered. The friend immediately came and said that let’s go to another garage, the owner is Muslim. I was baffled and said that what’s wrong in getting it fixed here only than to travel another few kilometres with no horn. He said, “If we are true Hindu, we shouldn’t buy or use products made by Muslims.” I asked him from where he got this idea and then told me that he got a forwarded message on WhatsApp appealing true Hindus to boycott Muslims and not support them in any possible way. It was unbelievable but we went on to the next garage owned by a Sardar!
We can always question politicians for dividing the society but what they are doing is just using our biases and deep-rooted hatred to further their political careers. A country is not only about a flag or a map, it is about every individual citizen. It is crucial that we observe whether our behaviour is in line with how our founding fathers wanted it to be and work towards building a society where every citizen lives without fear of being discriminated because of his/her caste, creed and religion. We need to go back and understand what secular truly means, and ask ourselves if our actions go against the very essence of secularism.
I watched MULK by accident, but it left a lifelong impact on my life. It was eye opening and showed me how in spite of being an open minded person, I subconsciously have certain prejudices against my own countrymen. I really hope more movies like Mulk are made..
You can watch the World TV Premiere of the most acclaimed movie of this year, MULK on Sun, 25th Nov at 8 PM only on &pictures.