Thursday, 22 May 2014

THE TALE OF TWO PARIWARS TWO PROPHETS AND THE LAST MAN

The 2014 general elections seem to mark the zenith of power, so far, of the Sangh Pariwar’s affiliate, the BJP, and the nadir of the Nehru Pariwar’s fortunes. It is interesting to study the relationship of rise and fall of these two Pariwars.

Before the arrival of Gandhi on the Indian political scene, Indian nationalist politics is dominated by two different schools of politics. One comprises the likes of Pherozshah Mehta, the anglicized drawing room nationalist, who thinks that most of the answers to human problems have already been found by the Anglo-Saxons in Western Europe and Northern America and that all we have to do is to copy them deftly. The other school, equally powerful but the opposite pole, is represented by the likes of Bankim Chandra who, loosely put, suggest that going back to the days of ancient glory was the answer to all present-day problems.

Gandhi snatches the politics away from these westernized drawing rooms and ancient caves and makes common cause with the common man howsoever illiterate and poor he may be. The present, as it is, in its ugliest form is embraced with a resolve to make it beautiful in accordance with an indigenous vision, rather than being remade in the image of some remote western model or some ancient dream.

But these two powerful thoughts reassert themselves soon - almost together. The Sangh Pariwar is founded in the year 1925. It follows the legacy of Bankim Chandra. The drawing room of Mehta is reborn when the Nehru dynasty is founded in 1928. Jawaharlal Nehru is made the president of the Indian National Congress in 1928, a few years before his contemporaries such as Prasad and Patel, with active support from Motilal, and another Pariwar is born. There are letters from Motilal to Gandhi pushing for Jawaharlal to be made the Congress president in the year 1928. Similarly in the 1950s, immediately after Jawaharlal Nehru resigns from the Congress’s Central Parliamentary Board, Indira Gandhi is nominated for this highest political decision making body of the Congress. Indira Gandhi is made Congress president in 1959 when Jawaharlal is the prime minister. We will not be able to find many great political achievements of Indira Gandhi making her eligible for this top post of Congress in 1959. Contrast this with Gandhi, who, when offered a choice of nominating a young student for a foreign scholarship, prefers to send somebody else over his sons. When Patel becomes a minister after independence, he bars his son from coming to Delhi lest there be a notion that his son had access to the highest echelons of power. Motilal and Jawaharlal, in that glorious galaxy of nationalist leaders, are the rare exceptions who pushed, with some circumspection, the political careers of their offspring and established their Pariwar.

There have been insinuations that one Pariwar had, at least some relations with Godse, the man who killed Gandhi. However, Godse was too small a man to be capable of killing Gandhi at the level of thoughts and ideas. The real blow to the political ideas of Gandhi comes from the other Pariwar – the Nehru Pariwar.  The post-1947 establishment under Nehru will have nothing to do with the radically decentralized Swadeshi model of political organization and development of Gandhi. He embarks upon a policy of a highly centralized model of political organization and development. To a large extent, Nehru imports and implements a centralized western Fabian Socialist model of development and damages Gandhi’s political ideas seriously at the level of thought. At the level of behavior, the attack comes from Indira. Purity and goodness, which are central to Ganhi’s political existence, are made irrelevant to a large extent, by Indira. Lohia tries to take Gandhi’s legacy forward but is not allowed to take his area of influence beyond a certain point by the two Pariwars.

The two Pariwars, the Sangh Pariwar and the Nehru Pariwar, are born together.  From 1947 onwards their fortunes have been intertwined. The pinnacle of Nehru Parivar’s power is reached in 1947 and the decade following that. The Sangh Parivar is at its lowest during that period. It is accused of having a hand in the murder of Gandhi, it is banned and so on and so forth. As the power of the Nehru Pariwar starts waning in the 60s, the power of the Sangh Pariwar and its political affiliate, the Jan Sangh, grows. In the 1967 general elections, Indian National Congress (led by Indira Gandhi) gets less than 300 seats for the first time. It is interesting to note that this is the election when the Jan Sangh makes its presence felt on the national scene with 10% of the votes and 40 parliamentary seats. Since then, in 1977, in 1989 and in 1998-99, every dip in the fortunes of the Indian National Congress has benefitted the Jan Sangh and its other political avatars, the Janata Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Similarly, the surge of the Congress in 1971, 1980, 1984, 2004 and 2009 has been at the cost of Jan Sangh/ BJP. The 2014 general elections is the starkest example of this trend. The biggest loss of the Congress in 2014 elections has produced the biggest win for the BJP. (1991 is an exception where sudden decline of the Janata Dal benefitted both the BJP and the Congress apart from the event of unfortunate assassination of Rajiv Gandhi).

Nehru and Golwalkar are the most articulate voices of these two powerful political forces representing two sections of Indian society. They set out, in their own deeply flawed ways, to reconstruct India and unleash formidable political energy. At their best in the decade of the 50s, they represent two opposite sides of ideological spectrum and are able to get a whole generation of Indians to take up the project of, what they believe in their own ways,  national reconstruction. The rise of these two forces drowns the voice of Gandhi.

Both the Pariwars have exercised significant influence on Indian history, specially post independence. They have been the biggest national political forces in the last century. The Communists and Ambedkarites have never been a national presence electorally. The socialists of the 1950s and 60s also could not have a pan-Indian presence. Mulayam, Laloo and Nitish have neither been socialists nor maintained a national vision. Much as one would like to criticize them, the two pariwars have given some kind of political stability to the country. From 1951 onwards, more or less, their combined vote-share in the national elections has been more than 45% and they have, together, got more than 300 seats giving the country political stability. They have also given some semblance of growth. However the legacy of Gandhi and Lohia has been buried somewhere.

The last three decades have seen a steady decline of the Congress even though they have won some elections. The organization of Congress hardly exists in the Hindi heartland. The only ideology they seem to possess is singing paeans to the Nehru Pariwar.

For BJP’s Ramdev, Sonia has Imam Bukhari. Imran Masood of the Congress who threatens to chop Modi to pieces can find a good friend in Giriraj Singh of the BJP who threatens to send people who would not vote for Modi to Pakistan. The right wing politics of the BJP can be put to shame by the right wing allies of the Congress in Kerala.

At a superficial level, the 2014 election seems to be glorious for the Sangh Pariwar. However, for any discerning eye, the intellectual and moral decline of the Sangh and the BJP in the last few decades is more than obvious. After Golwalkar, the Sangh leadership can be seen in constant intellectual decline in Deoras, Rajju Bhaiyaa, Sudarshan and Mohan Rao Bhagwat. Rahul Gandhi is as much a caricature of Nehru as Sudarshan was of Golwalkar.

The only difference between Manmohan’s and Modi’s crony capitalism is who is the favourite – Ambani or Adani. Modi himself has nothing to do with Ekatm Manavwad of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. The corruption and Congressisation of the BJP is complete. It is nothing more than a saffron Congress as once suggested by its now discarded patriarch Advani. Out of more than 280 MPs that they will have in the next parliament, it will be difficult, for a neutral political observer, to suggest ten names as possible cabinet ministers whose integrity and caliber will be beyond doubt. Rahul’s physics is as weak as Modi’s history. Rahul has been lampooned by Modi with balloons and toffees. Equally, however harsh it may sound there is no getting away from the fact that Modi himself is an intellectual bonsai who has a tendency to place Takshshila near Patna.

As one pariwar is replaced by another in the 2014 elections, the prospect of a regenerative Indian politics is not a concern for either of them. There is hardly any replacement in the real sense of the term because the two streams have become completely interchangeable. In their rise, the two Pariwars, represented two streams flowing in opposite directions – eastward and westward. Subsequently both have gone downhill and they seem to merge in their decay. But this merger is not producing a Sangam.

Will the Sangam come from the ideas of Gandhi and Lohia, the two most formidable political thinkers of the last century who are yet to gain their due! Who will revive the legacy of Gandhi and Lohia and make it a national force?


To produce that Sangam of political activism, we can not wait for another political prophet like Gandhi to lead us. The nature has been too kind to us. We have had ten Avatars of just Vishnu. May be, as a nation, we have exhausted our quota of prophets. The task now is left to all of us, the meekest of us. The famous last man of Gandhi can not wait for great leaders like Gandhi. He has to rise for himself 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Is Modi OBC enough - The wheel has turned

The working of sixty five years of Indian democracy has shaken the foundations of more than three thousand years old Indian feudalism. When the last so-called Hindu Hriday Samrat (Shiva Jee) made his pitch for a Pan-Indian empire, he had to call for Brahmins from Banaras to establish his Kshatriya origins, because his alleged savarna origins were doubted by his detractors.

Three hundred and fifty years later, when the next self proclaimed Hindu Hriday Samrat (Modi) is making a pitch for himself to rule the country, one of his election issues has been his much advertised OBC origins. The response of the Congress  is: no - no, Modi is not OBC enough.

The Indian feudalism ran on the basis of strict control of hierarchies. Disabilities were inflicted or un-earned qualities were bestowed, the moment an infant was born, on the basis of his or her caste and family. This allowed a lot of mediocres to grow far beyond their hard work or entitlement and stifled talent. Indian feudalism straddled our society on two legs – caste and family.

When men / women of talents and ambitions from deprived sections built-up kingdoms and empires for themselves, they had to engage renowned Brahmins to trace a fake genealogy for themselves linking them to some savarna caste and famous ancient family. Mauryas of Patliputra and Shiva jee from Maharshtra can be cited as examples. There are also examples galore from Central India, of some adivasi kingdoms doing something similar. For instance, the Raj Gonds of MP/Chhattisgarh are a case in point. Dilip Singh Judeo of the BJP, who was widely tipped to be the CM of Chhattisgarh, had fate not intervened, was a Raj Gond.

The independence, education, adult franchise combined with the leadership of Phule, Periar, Ambedkar and Lohia has shaken the foundations of Indian feudalism in our political life. To be from a Dalit or OBC caste does not mean political weakness any more. It is a sign of strength. Vasundhara Raje tom-toms her Gujjar marriage and underplays her savarna birth. Karunanidhi, Lalu, Nitish, Mulayam and Mayawati have already reaped the benefits of this changed phenomenon at the state level. Modi is trying, to an extent, to do the same at the central level. Rahul Gandhi is being attacked by all his opponents for what has been his only strength – his family. It is another matter that most of these enemies of savarna caste hierarchies have established their family fiefdoms - which was the another side of the same coin – Indian feudalism.

As the grand old party heads towards its worst ever defeat in the Hindi heartland since 1977, should it blame Manmohan’s corrupt government and Rahul’s infantile leadership only? Has it ever wondered in last twenty years when it has been suffering one defeat after another in Hindi heartland, as to whether it’s largely upper crust/ upper caste leadership needs to be replaced by leaders of humbler social and economic origins.

The writer is not a supporter of Modi or his politics. But any student of Indian politics will see how he has denied tickets to old war horses like C P Thakur in Patna and given it to new entrants like Ram Kripal Yadav. The reasons are obvious.  When the growth of BJP plateaued in 1990s in the Hindi heartland, it’s ideologue Govindacharya advocated his famous “social engineering” and promoted OBC leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi  in Bihar by discarding the likes of Tarakant Jha. However the largely savrna BJP/ Sangh leadership did not allow his idea to prosper. The result was BJP plateaued in Chatisgarh, Rajasthan and declined in UP. In Bihar they were able to hold on to something with the help of Nitish. Overall BJP came down in next fifteen years from it’s 1998-99 peak. Wily Modi has recognized this.  If BJP does well in these elections, the reason will not be so-called Modi wave or his governance. It may just be a calculated recognition of the changing realities of Indian Politics which other national player has failed to recognize.

If today Dhroncharya had to pick up – possibly he would prefer Eklavya over Arjun who would have far more political potential. With all its distortions, there is no denial that the wheel has turned in Indian Politics. One leg of Indian feudalism has been seriously damaged and it is limping.


When will the turn of family come! When will the time come when Mulayam and Sons, Chautala and Co, Nehru, Gandhi and son and son-in-law, Sindhia and Daughters, these family firms which are already ideologically and intellectually bankrupt will be wound up politically?

Sunday, 29 December 2013

APP (Aap) for Regeneration

Some of our most important political battles, from Kurukhestra to Panipat, have been fought on the banks of the Yamuna. The Aam Admi Party, being led and supported by debutants in politics has won the most recent one just when the monumental corruption of the Congress was making Bofors look like a toy gun and the BJP, the party which always claimed that organization came first, was promoting the personality cult of Narendra Modi.  (perhaps matched only by the slogan of the obsequious Congress President, Devkanta Baruah, “India is Indira and Indira is India”.)

The AAP has challenged several myths of our politics. Electoral politics was considered impossible without the support of big money. Not any more. Ambani and Adani may support RaGa and NaMo but the auto wallahs of Dellhi could drive somebody else’s victory.  The women who are supposed to follow the command of wise men in the family in complicated matters such as politics defied their wisdom and became a big support base for AAP. The symbol of a party need not be the Lotus of the elite; it can be the humble sweeper’s Jhadu. Big rallies sponsored by crores of rupees are not necessary – cost-effective Nukkar Sabhas could be equally effective. Family background in politics is a big help – but not always for most of the sons of big names in the BJP and the Congress lost. The middle class, which claims to be the guardian of virtue and political morality has remained cynical; the full throttle and decisive support for a party with not much money came from slum dwellers who have earlier been accused of selling their votes for liquor and cash.

It is reasonably well known that Aap’s impressive debut has three parallels in post independence history where new political formations routed the entrenched political establishment. The first is the victory of the Janata Party in the 1977 national elections. The other two are the victories of Asom Gana Parishad and Telugu Desam Party in the 1985 and 1983 state elections respectively. In terms of electoral results AAP’s performance may be less spectacular but its political significance is not. This is so because Janata Party was only technically a new political formation since its constituents were established political parties and opposition leaders with decades of political goodwill and electoral experience. The Telugu Desam Party was the political rath of N T Rama Rao who was the reigning deity of Andhra Pradesh society for decades. Asom Gana Parishad also had the benefit of an agitation running for years. By contrast, the Aam Admi Party is only a one year old party emanating from a two year old agitation which lost the support of many faces of the agitation before it became a party.

This has the potential to unleash political energy which has not been tapped positively in recent years – students, women and educated professionals coming together with the last man to take up his cause. This breath of fresh air can rejuvenate the older players or uproot them depending on how they choose to respond.  Either way society is likely to benefit. AAP has numerous challenges. Their own ideological positioning will have to become clearer and organizational structures will have to emerge. In Delhi, they did not have to face the expanse of the hinterland, its ossified caste structures and musclemen whom they will have to handle the moment they step out of Delhi. They will have to forge new tools to meet these challenges. However, it can safely be contended that this election result has strengthened one’s faith in the regenerative capacity of our society. Such complex political phenomena can be succinctly put across only by a poet who has said:

Fate Hue Chithron Me Bhi Main Ek Devta; Bhrashta Patit Hun Fhir Bhi Divya Pursuh Hun; 
Main Udagra Vijayee Jab Paddalit Parajit; Ayu Dirgh Hoti Jab Jab Mera Vadh Hota Hai.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bombay Talkies Movie Review



We Indians love to exaggerate. Gandhi is not only Bapu but Mahatma also. It is not enough that Patel is Sardar, he has to be called Lauh Purush too. Tagore is Guru and Dev both - together. Nehru was Chacha... Thank god he was not called Mamu also!! Even Indira Gandhi who mothered (politically also) the thuggish Sanjay Gandhi was called Durga!!!

The film Industry in India is, arguably, the most powerful expression of popular culture. Our movies amplified the unreal so much that it became an escape from reality. Our heroines knew nothing except purity, virtue and sacrifice. They fell in love with men like Sunny Deol who took on the entire Pakistani State all alone in Gadar. That love gave them so much warmth that they could gyrate in skimpy clothes on the frozen lakes of snow capped Alps.

The movies made by Benegals and Nihlanis in late seventies and eighties on real issues were called parallel cinema. Escape was the mainstream. Nineties was the Zenith of escapist Cinema. Kitsch was at its pinnacle in Karan Johar combining with Shahrukh Khan and making Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam where Shahrukh Khan was so good at not acting. Karan Johar and Shahrukh Khan, by achieving so much success with such sloppy escapist work, epitomized the mediocrity which thrives in every other sphere in our society. No other combo has achieved such success with such shallow delivery except, possibly, the director and actor combo of Sonia and Manmohan.

The last decade though, has been a welcome change. The emergence of directors like Vishal Bhardwaj, Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag kashyap, Thigmanshu Dhulia, and the likes has given us stories of real people. They have got rare acting talents like Irfan Khan and Nawajuddin Siddiqui to give flesh and blood to these real people and not rouge and mascara of the escapist cinema.

Their movies, in their attempt to discover reality, have taken us deeper into layers of our existence which is good, bad and ugly at the same time. In our daily existence, we attempt to ignore the unpleasant or sweep our passions – good or evil - under the carpet. Their work has tried to show us the mirror. They are fascinating because they tell us about the most unpredictable story, the real Life. Watching the filth of hinterland has made us more lively. The imported beauty of Swiss locations was numbing us.

Bombay Talkies is an unique joint effort of different directorial talents. Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Karan Johar and Dibakar Banerjee tell us four separate stories combined by a common thread in celebration of hundred years of Indian Cinema.

Dibakar Benerjee has adapted a short story of Satyajit Ray. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a failed actor who can not even get the job of a security guard. Telling stories would have been his vocation if he had stuck to acting. However, he looked for the safety of a job, landed nowhere and is not even able to tell a story to his daughter. He finds an opportunity to do a tiny role by accident. He gets in touch with his lost soul and finds the story of his life.

Zoya Akhtar takes up the riveting conflict of desires of a middle class father and his tiny son about the latter’s future. The father wants him to play football and be Macho. The tender hearted kid wants to dance with effeminate moves. The stage is set for a pulsating story but it splutters when the story moves to the kid’s fascination about Katrina Kaif.

Karan Johar deals with the complex topic of bisexuality of a married man in a hard hitting manner. The background of the song “Lag Ja Gale” creates artistic tension. I am still grappling, whether, the use of lovely old song was to soothe the nerves or to inflame passions! The pain of your most tender passions being in conflict with social norms is portrayed touchingly. A brush with reality can change Karan Johar. Karan, Please leave Shahrukh and Firang locations. Go to Kalahandi or Gorakhpur and tell us some beautiful stories which you seem to be capable of.

Anurag Kashyap tells the fantastical story of the obsession of a father-son duo from Allahabad about the Mega Star Amitabh Bachan. Anurag’s story is the weakest link of the battery. Is it so because he is not in his familiar territory of reality and has gotten into fantasy?

Dibakar Banerjee’s story is the true celebration of hundred years of Indian cinema. Dibakar seems to be perfecting his art in his fifth movie. He shows almost complete command over the medium and gives a flawless treatment to a beautiful story. This is expected from somebody who has made Khosla Ka Ghsola, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Love Sex & Dhokha and Sanghai.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Talaash Movie Review

                              
A thriller keeps us glued to the chair by constantly challenging our intelligence and engaging our curiosity. Talaash has a brilliant first half. The question, whether the accident is a mere accident or a murder, troubles the protagonist and his quest for an answer goes through the labyrinth of red-light areas with inevitable connections to the plush apartments. The story telling is raised to another level by intertwining the outer quest of the protagonist to crack the case with his inner turmoil. It is rare in a Hindi movie, where you find a protagonist, who is as vulnerable as us ordinary mortals but can still get on with the job to give his best. His quest finds more questions than answers which gives us a tense build up and anticipation for the second half. You have less time for the rest-room and getting the pop-corn in the interval because you do not want to miss the first scene of the second half.

A thriller, generally, lacks depth which has to be compensated by speed. This can be done by a tight plot developed with fast narration. The first half has both, second half none. The second half, which loses pace under a meandering plot is full of emotionalism which grows into supernatural. The director forgets that, the genre of thriller, by its very nature seldom touches the heart but cannot succeed without capturing the mind. The movie is like watching a fifty over match, where, after watching a scintillating start @9 per over by Tendulakar and Sehwag you saw VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid struggling to score @4.5 per over. The curious mind eager to find the answers is confronted with supernatural.  A kind of anti-climax. 
However the movie has many attractions. It is mostly shot in the dark in beautiful frames. The scores move the story forward, hauntingly. There are cops, pimps and sex-workers in the movie yet no item number. Such a relief.  Aamir Khan does a good job of a police officer who is facing a tough case without and a tougher conflict within. However, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as the side-kick of a pimp, steals the show. Kareena gives us the same plastic smiles as a sex-worker which she could have given as a college student. Her street walking is more like a cat walk on the ramp. Without the overly glitzy clothes and some good dialogues given to her by Farhan Akthar and Anurag Kashyap, it would have been difficult to establish that she was a sex-worker. Rani Mukherjee has a no make-up role of a troubled house-wife which she performs with some ordinary acting. The women in minor roles in the red-light areas are far more convincing than these leading ladies. Overall the Aam Actor does far better in the movie than the stars like Khan and Kapoor. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has had a super year as an actor with Kahani and Gangs of Wassepur also under his belt. The movie is more than watchable for the performances of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and other Aam Actors directed by a talented young women director who deserves the kudos for giving us the brilliant first half. If you are a believer in supernatural then for you the second half may not be as lame as it was for me. 


PS: The movie explores the reasons of death of a big star Aarman Kapoor!!! We can not imagine Hindi movies without Khans and Kapoors and Congress without three Gandhis and one Vadra. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Pushkar


Pushkar is seventeen kilometers from Ajmer in distance but in time it travels way back to Puran, Ramayan, Mahabharat and beyond. Its genesis is associated with Brahma. It has more temples and tourist lodges than perhaps homes.

My day in Pushkar started with one hour pre-dawn trek to Savitri Temple which sits on the highest hill around Pushkar. First wife Savitri was not around and Brahma married his second wife Gayatri because he was in a hurry to perform a Yagna whose auspicious time was expiring and which could not have been performed in the absence of his wife. Savitri was furious and gave a Shrap (curse) to Brahma that he would not be worshipped anywhere else and left him and went and sat on top of the hill.

The view before sunrise from Savitri Temple was awesome. Barren hills form a ring around Pushkar. Then fifty two Ghats of white buildings with yellowish domes form a bowl around famous Pushkar Lake. Sun rises and with one splash of a brush, paints everything with totally different colours.

Unfortunately for me some Lake restoration work was under progress and there was hardly any water in what could have been a beautiful Pushkar Lake. The hills around also were barren and not mighty as if they had been stunted by  the internecine wars Rajasthan had seen. I could see my own life in a huge mirror which lay before me. I felt like those hills a bit stunted by my own numerous struggles. The moisture and the greenery was not to be seen around me. Brahma - Savitri, water less Pushkar Lake, barren hills presented my own picture and the picture of my society before me. The man stunted. The woman struggling to make her presence felt.

I longed to see and become the mighty hills of Garhwal. Those hills have the magnificence, expanse and ambition of the best of the men. They have the greenery, unceasing creativity, beauty and grace of the women. Suddenly I realised why, since the time immemorial, some of the best of our talents, when they wanted to find themselves went to Himalaya. I do not know whether they realised god there or not. However in the magnificence and beauty of Himalaya they must have realised what the best of men and women could become when they became magnificent, complete and one.

PAAN SINGH TOMAR

                                                       
Paan Singh is the true story of a champion Jawan who wins laurels for the army in the steeplechase events.  His life has none of the obstacles which he crosses with √©lan on the track. It is like a smooth flight of a bird. He is happy and contented in his professional success and is loved by his dusky wife. The story is beautiful – made more so by the flawless narration.

However this much of happiness does not last for long. Be it screen or real life. His land in the village is encroached by the powerful neighbors. He takes early retirement and goes back home in an attempt to retain the ancestral land. This effort endangers his life and his family’s who are brutally attacked by the encroachers. He runs to the organs of the state for protection only to know that protection of his life and property is none of their concerns. When faced with this barrier he jumps towards a ditch. Like steeplechase. Only this ditch does not have mud and water. It is a one way journey of revenge, murder and a following career of a dacoit run on the money earned from abductions. (Paan Singh would object saying he is a BAAGI(rebel) and dacoits are only found in Parliament.)

The theme sounds familiar but is narrated with originality. Each frame of the movie is a work of art. Irfan Khan’s performance is as breathtaking as the murderous beauty of the ravines of Chambal. He metamorphoses from a Forrest Gump like awkward runner to a Gabbar Singh like dacoit with such ease which can come to him only. The depiction of his relationships with his wife, brother, son, coach and so on is enchanting. But what makes the movie a masterpiece is his relationship with the state. He is a jawan raring to lay down his life for the country in 1965 war. He is not allowed to do so because his life as a champion sportsperson is a national treasure and needs to be preserved. However when in village, the threat to his life and property would not bother the state. He does not exist when he is threatened or as long as he murders a few. The state becomes interested in him only when his criminality scales up across the districts and states and the number of abductions and murders committed by him are far too many and far too frequent making him a threat to the state. That is where the movie rises from being an individual’s story to the story of Indian State in relation with the multitudes.

Modern democratic state exists in an eternal tension between the individuals basic rights of freedom and equality and the control of the state on the individual. The individual is an end in itself and parts of his liberty and freedom are ceded to the state only to ensure that those inalienable rights of the individual are protected. Indian State exists on the same theoretical foundations. 

However the practice is inverted. Indian State is an end in itself. It has to be preserved for its own sake. Its law and order machinery is effective only to that extent. Otherwise what happens to the individual in the hinterland depends on his own luck. State would have nothing to do with it expect when the individual is to be used as a source of revenue generation for the state or for its officers. The precise reason for the existence of the British Raj or its collaborator Indian feudal elite was revenue generation. Its successor Indian State, as far as it concerns the ordinary multitudes, has not travelled much from those objectives.   

Paan Singh is far too simple to understand this and has too much energy. He has to be done in by the state.