Hype of Individualism


Fortunately or otherwise but from the last three months; Telgu, Tamil and Bollywood movies have been the only source to find solace in life. Being a bedridden person due to some unfortunate circumstances when there was nothing I could develop my interest in: I repetitively kept on watching these movies overloaded with unrealistic action and comedy scenes and left not a single movie unwatched which was available to me.

Having my interests in literature, history and politics; I always watch these movies with a critical eye, analyzing the content and trying to find its relationship with the real world. About two months ago, a movie was released named “Gully Boy” in the direction of Zoya Akhtar casting Ranveer Singh as a street(gully) boy who belonged to a poor class living beyond poverty lines in the slums of Mumbai.

The movie highlights the problems related to economy and class struggle. As Marx said in his communist manifesto that the history of all hitherto societies is the history of class struggle: the movie highlights the struggle between rich and poor classes; the former trying to suppress later. Surely, the credit goes to capitalism which limits all economic resources to the hands of a few and those who have all the resources in their hands have their control on economy. Economy being a core to any society is responsible for structuring and defining the political system of a society. So in other words those who control the economy have power to define the political system of a country.

According to Michael Focult’s power theory; discourse is generated by the people with economic and political power. So these few powerful people decide not only their own future but the future of those less in power. How can a system which gives power to self-centered people be based upon social justice and equality?

Social injustices and inequalities give rise to social disruption and this is what happens in the movie. A boy, who is so willing to make his mark in the world, rebels and denies to be a slave of the system. But here comes the problem. We are living in a world where we are told that an individual fighting alone against the whole oppressive system can make a difference.

But to fight an unjust oppressive system; we need to organize ourselves in order to gain power to make a change in society. Social change is only possible by the change in economic and political system. Making reforms instead of working on economy in a completely disrupted system is like tincturing with the bones instead of working on the bone marrow.

Shah Waliullah, a great Indian scholar of 18th century, uses a term ” “فک کل نظام”” (Fakku Kulli Nizam) which means that destroy the unjust and oppressive system from its roots and replace it with an alternative system based on social justice and equality. And to fulfill this purpose we need to prepare ourselves for a revolution. A revolution needs a consistent functioning ideology and a group of people working on that ideology to bring social change. It takes many years of struggle as well.

The point I am trying to make is that an individual can fight for his/her own rights but can not fight against the power of a system. This idea that an individual can make a difference has its roots embedded in two hundred years of colonialism as Western powers promoted individualism so that we (colonized) may never be able to organize ourselves to fight against their oppression.

The only way to revolutionize a society is to break this hype of individualism and promote the agenda of collectivism. What we need to do is to inculcate one simple thing in the minds of our youth that sticks tied in a bundle are always unbreakable.

Writer’s bio Note:
An English literature major who was always afraid of writing even a single sentence particularly in colonial language. I always considered that writing is not my cup of tea and doubted my creative abilities. My areas of interest are history, power politics and socio economic changes of a society.


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