Friday, December 29, 2017

"Newton" Fell on My Head

YESTERDAY NEWTON FELL ON MY HEAD: My Musings on the Film's Ideas Including That of Human Equality

At one point, Loknath ji asks Newton Kumar about the source of his courage. "You must know a politician or some other big shot. Otherwise, how could you take on the police officials?" Of course, the source of courage that Newton Kumar, the presiding officer of a Dandakaranya election booth, had was his sense of duty. He wished to work honestly. He wished to work honestly in an environment that is clogged up with lies, indifference and make-believe.

But that is not all. Our personal sense of right and wrong is not the only thing that determines that we will choose the right thing. We choose the right thing also because we are inspired by some heroes. Who was Newton Kumar's Hero? Newton Kumar, a government officer from Dalit background, we know, is committed to the Indian Constitution, which in popular imagination is the brainchild of Dr B. R. Ambedkar. For a fleeting second, one could see that in Newton's room is hung a portrait of Dr Ambedkar.

But that again was not all.

We are inspired by ideas we believe to be true. Sometimes these philosophic ideas are bigger than heroes. The big idea that gave edge to Newton's resolve to be honest was an insight into the work of Isaac Newton, the apple-wala scientist! Nature is no respecter of people. Natural Laws are the same for all. ("You can throw a business tycoon and a tea seller from a cliff and both will meet the same fate!", says a senior officer) By implication, all are equal. The vote of every single individual is equal. That is why Newton Kumar is ready to put his life on  the line to make every single voter cast his or her vote.

The little problem is that nature does not always teach us equality. Nature, to many people, teaches "survival of the fittest". By the way, our social experience teaches us that it is much easier to throw a tea seller than a tycoon from the top of a cliff!

It may sound strange to most people but Isaac Newton, the scientist, was also a man of religion. He considered God, and not nature, the final arbiter of the question of human equality and dignity.

Human beings have dignity and they deserve to be treated equally because all of them are made in the image of their creator.

Last but not the least, the ability to give oneself a new name and new identity could be very empowering. Nutan is a beautiful name, but in the given context, Newton changed the life of the man. I am also reminded of the call by Professor #KanchaIlaiahShepherd to add English surnames to one's given names.

By the way do watch the film #Newton #NewtontheFilm. #RaghubirYadav as Loknath is masterful. It has moments of genuine comedy and leaves you feeling inspired. Stay back till the closing credits are over and enjoy Raghubir Yadav's song!

(FB Post/6.10.2017)