Thursday, May 25, 2006


"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passions may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memories, streching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land , will yet swell the chorus of the union , when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
Abraham Lincoln.

I had decided to refrain on commenting on the currently most talked about, emotionally charged issue, apart from the impending American Idol finale, of reservations for OBC's in institutes of higher education and the corporate sector. Not by any means do I undermine the necessity of debating the validity of the announced 27 percent reservation for the students hailing from OBC
category, it is absolutely essential to do so, especially as this seems to be a decision against merit, competence, equality and universal common sense.

I am a big Ed Norton fan. Primal fear, Fight club are all class acts wherein this actor of immense calibre becomes the character that he potrays, breathing life into words and notions emanating from the annals of morbid fiction. It was but natural that I would choose a little known but much discussed, critically celebrated and highly controvercial 1998 release American history X, for my traditional "weekend movie madness". As a student I was always intrigued by the Nazi regime and Hitler's rhetoric of a pure Aryan race, mind you, I do not condone or even minutely agree with his hippocritical philosophies or revolting acts of violence against humanity, but was only fascinated, as a child of impressionable age could be. So this movie which touches on sensitive issues such as neo-nazi american hate groups, racism, immigrant rights, inter-racial violence and all such intellectually stimulating, grossly entertaining assortment of ideas was an obvious choice.

I must confess, I did not expect to be moved, much less be compelled to question my own beliefs. The movie is about Derek (Norton) a charismatic, intelligent suburban white boy who is seduced by Campbell into a Neo- Nazi fold called Disciples of Christ after his father is killed by two black hoodlums. The story follows the events of a night juxtaposed with Danny's (Furlong) memories of his elder brother's life, exquisitely potrayed in black and white sequences. The events that follow compel Derek to question his own notions and inherent hatred as he sees Danny follow him into the misleading white power hate group.

The content of this film is universal and applicable to the current situation of anti-reservation anti-quota protests that are being carried out all throughout the country. I don't mean to compare educated doctors, students and academics to the coloured-immigrant hating disillusioned neo-nazi's potrayed in the movie, nor do I suggest that the situation has become equally violent and anarchist. But the similarities between the two situation are frighteningly true. The overwhleming majority is disgruntled, vindicated and feels let down by the current administration. This decision of imposing reservations will eventually alienate the teeming educated masses who are strongly contesting this decision. This will lead to brewing resentment justified in the minds of those protesting, a feeling of vengeance
and retaliation which will surface at an opportune moment, violating all boundaries of fairness or equality per se. The violent intesity with which this law is being opposed, most certainly, can create a conspicuous social rift, that will create even comprehensive barriers between an already fractionated social order.

The scene in the movie where Derek's father, a fire fighter, harangue's about how he has to depend on two black men included into the service due to affirmative action, because of which "deserving, competent white men who scored more in the tests" lost their job opporutnity. The importance of it in molding his perception is obvious. Also when Derek talks about how 'even 160 years aren't enough for the black man to get his act together' is equally relevant in today's context. I can identify these very sublime seeds of hatred being planted in the minds of the young. Ofcourse, these obsevations made by them are by no means fully incorrect, but the capacity they withold within them to make an entire generation explosive and intolerant is petrifying but also very real. Also the rising sentiment against immigrants can be and infact is being channelised to create a general sense of disillusionment making an otherwise understanding populace intolerant towards other's needs.

I donot suggest that the discontent among the students is not valid nor do I dismiss the intellectual abilities of protesting doctors to understand the prevalent social situation. I only ask for a minimum amount of perpective, to not let the current happenings poison their thoughts, colour the vision of future generations and breed malice against their own.

"Hate is a baggage. Life is too short to be pissed of all the time. It's just not worth it"
Danny in American history X

p.s. for more information on the movie American history X see link or sidebar.


Anonymous said...

There are some interesting observations you have made. I virtually stumbled onto your blog by mistake! Very interesting and thought oriented content.
My contact info and identity, well... I have mailed it to you. Maybe we can talk more.

nessi said...

it seems as though you have a very eclectic taste in movie, books and music.

debasis said...

I watched the movie after reading about it in this space. Quite a gripping and intriguing story. Ed norton is at his formidable best.
But taken in context of today's scenario I don't think that we are a violent, small minded society to lead to such extremity.
The plausibility of the argument though is driven home.

Anonymous said...

idea is great behind the writeup, just as the great ideas behind the movie scenes