15 August 2010

A Thought for Independence Day 2010

Happy Independence day.True feedom will be attained when people are ends and also its means.

Yesterday, we happened to complete the remaining portion of My name is Khan depicting the the denial of freedoms post 9/11 in the United States of America and how it was overcome by love. There are many interesting scenes, and I will only recount a couple of them.

There is was this scene in Rizwan's childhood leading to communal violence and how his mother explained the notion of good versus bad. The lesson from this is that a child needs to be told effectively to understand and differentiate the difference between the two. A must watch scene for parents and teachers of the pre-primary and primary level children.

The second one is in a mosque, much later in life, when Rizwan is praying and on the other side we have Dr Faisal, who is trying to incite people to take up the fight in the name of 'Allah' and while doing this he invokes how Ibrahim sacrificed his own children. To this Rizwan reacts by putting forth a different interpretation of Ibrahim's sacrifice, a message of love.

This takes me back to an earlier working paper (2003 version, 2009 version) of mine where, using some Bayesian logic for the technical part, I had argued that post 9/11 an effective aproach would be to effectively use the teachings of Islam through moderates and at the same time to also be sensitive to some of their genuine concerns. As depicted in the movie, this line of thinking had few takers in the immediate aftermath.

Over time, this is changing and leading credence to supporting the coming up up an Islamic centre near Groudn Zero (referred to the place where the twin towers stood prior to 9/11). The call to moderates and being sensible is like a call for a dialogues between two civilizations, a dialogue for peace and love where hatred is left behind (my interpretation of Huntington) and where, in a Rawlsian sense, it is mutuality and trust that matters.

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