This is a rare post which might sound out of my interest topic. I recently watched a Hindi movie during a bus ride to Malaysia – Bajrangi Bhaijaan starring Salman Khan.
In summary, the show was about an India man (Pawan) who tried all means to return a mute 6-year-old Pakistani girl (Shahida) back to her parents. The girl got separated from her mother on their train ride back from India after her mother’s attempt to make her able to talk by bringing her to a famous shrine there.
I should highlight that Pawan was a very staunch and sincere Hindu Indian whereas Shahida was a Muslim Pakistani girl.
I am inspired to write this reflective post on the movie after thinking about the subtle messages hidden in it.
Be steadfast and stick to your principles
Pawan was a very strict Hindu devotee who was extremely honest. In his strive to return Shahida home, he met situations where it might have been easier to lie. For example, he did not lie to the Pakistani soldiers when he crawled under the fence of the Pakistan-India borders. He did not lie when he was caught by the Pakistani policeman. Wherever he goes, he will say the truth instead of covering things up.
I must say that it is not easy to stick to your principles in life. But I believe that is not a strong reason to not tell the truth in life. Personally, I was once criticised for being too honest as an entrepreneur. I may not have the millions yet but my heart was at ease by being truthful.
Use your expertise to help others
Chand Nawab, the Pakistani reporter who always fail to get his reports aired, helped Pawan by publishing his report via Youtube to spread the news of Pawan’s mission. First of all, Chand Nawab used his reporting skills to record an impactful video of Pawan’s ordeal. Next, after reaching out to local media failed, he relied on Youtube to share his clip. That was when the news got viral and garnered the support of people both from India and Pakistan.
I thought that this is a powerful message to all. I believe that everyone has got a special skill within them that could benefit others. You will be amazed at the things that you can offer to help others.
Do not be too dependent on the common system
The movie inspired a few moments where following a system might be restricting. Take for example when Pawan could not hand Shahida over to the Pakistani embassy leading him to enter the country illegally. And the aspiring reporter, Chand Nawab who relied on Youtube to publish Pawan’s story when the mainstream media refused to air his reports.
One could lightly take the examples as simply thinking out of the box. But on a deeper level, those scenes brought forth the notion that sometimes one just need to go against the system to get some things done (well I meant positively).
Help from Him comes in many forms
Shahida’s mother may have been devastated to lose her in a foreign country. From praying for her to be able to speak, now she had to pray for help from the Almighty to help her return home.
Although this was only a movie, but another message it was trying to show that He has His way of answering to our prayers. Who would expect that of all people in India, a staunch Hindu devotee will help Shahida?
Perhaps, it was also a personal reminder to trust that the Almighty hears our prayers and, as He promised, He will answer it. InsyaAllah.
Using your strengths to share about Islam
(This one took me some time to digest.)
I was initially curious thinking why Salman Khan, who proclaims both a Hindu and Muslim himself, decided to take on the role of a Hindu devotee. And I must say that he played that role extremely well to the extent that he was chanting Hindi verses and saying prayers to the Hindu gods during the movie. I would not be surprised if his acting was controversial although on the human rights front he is free to “take on” any sides.
However, I must highlight on his top acting to show the perceived barriers that people have towards Islam.
In one scene, he demonstrated being reluctant to enter a mosque when Shahida ran there. In another, he ran out from a mosque in the morning after realising he took refuge there through the night.
Instead, through other characters, such as the Imaam from the mosque, the movie illustrated the beautiful, non-violent and universal values of Islam.
To be fair to Hinduism, Salman’s role also exemplified how religions are generally good in nature. But, in light of the ever-increasing attacks on Islam globally, the movie was trying to do justice to Islam and put it in good light. For that, I must give my utmost salute to the whole cast of the movie. It definitely took tremendous courage to take up the various roles.
(Once again, this is a rare post coming from an outdoor educator. However, what I believe is that the outdoors provides a form of experience for people to reflect on. I do acknowledge that there are many avenues to gain an experience. I argue that watching or learning from others could also be an experience of its own. But reflecting over an experience is the crux of the whole learning process.)