Tuesday, June 21, 2005

And a hero dies in you...

When I was a kid my favorite heroes were Amitabh Bachchan and Kapil Dev. And when I say heroes I don't mean the 'bollywoodized' version of the word but in a pure sense of the word hero (as in idol). And if I ask any of my cousins this, they would name a new set of names albeit coming from the same sections of society maybe... films and sports.

But our heroes are drug abusers, bribe takers, match fixers, mafia supporters in their real life and it is their reel life avatars which we seem to be taking to. And what if the line between the two avatars gets thinner and finally is effaced? Will we still look up to our heroes? Isn't there a real danger that the youngsters will imbibe the values of these recipients of their misplaced hero worship?

Are we a generation which lacks heroes and which has no true idea of heroism, then? Agreed, in our modern day context we can't identify with the heroes of yore maybe. But they could still teach us a lot more than our present day idols. We could still learn from our Subhash Chandra Boses, Bhagat Singhs and Shivajis. Instead, our pedestals seem to be occupied by chain smoking Sharukh Khans, drug abusing Fardeen Khans and gun toting Sanjay Dutts. We seem to think it is cool to mouth 'bhai' lingo. Well no harm there but I hope we also remember the real life don is not the Ajay Devgan of Company or the Aamir Khan of Rangeela, but a ruthless, heartless monster who makes his money and derives his respect from killing people, exploiting them, extorting, kidnapping and threatening.

Indeed we seem to be a generation which are devoid of true heroes. On one hand, the world seems to be spewing out poisoned versions instead and the youth seem to be enamoured by extremisms and senseless violence while on the other hand the true heroes are being ignored or worse still misunderstood and judged as having selfish motives. At times I feel maybe I have lost the ability to admire the goodness in people... I am too cycnical, too suspicious of their motives. Even my heroes are routinely put up in the courtroom and tried by my cynicism... guilty unless proven innocent!

Meanwhile what happened to true heroism? What happened to idealism? What happened to selfless, noble causes not colored by race, creed and religion? Are they being looked down upon and laughed at as impractical and unprofitable? But were they ever otherwise? Wasn't it always one individual against the system, who fought alone but never gave up simply because he believed and had the integrity to stick by it. And yet haven't mountains been moved and the impossible achieved... not once but time and again!