Appeal in Shades of Grey – An Enquiry for the Shift from Righteousness
By N. C. Joshi
India has been a land of sages. The sagas of the great Indian culture make one aware of the idealism as well as practicalism. If we look back at this great culture even in a broad way and not minutely, and try to find out even something from out of the window only, we will turn up finding something precious from this priceless treasure. The great epic Ramayana tells one about Maryada Purshottam Lord Rama, who is regarded as an ardent example of idealism, while Mahabharata vis-à-vis Bhagavad Gita makes us aware of the teachings of Lord Krishna who can be regarded as the real teacher of the principles which helps us to face practical contingencies.
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But it seems that with the passage of time and with the dilution of the principles of righteousness, Ravana, the great asura king, is getting more appeal nowadays than Rama. The knowledge and wisdom of Ravana, which no doubt he had up to quite an extent, is being cherished and promoted by the so-called pseudo-intellectuals wherein they knowingly or unknowingly are undermining the same of Lord Rama. Similarly, the heroism and valor of Duryodhana is often highlighted by many ardent readers of Mahabharata, while ignoring the (mis-) deeds done by him that a civilized society cannot accept. Nowhere it has been said or written, that a person who is walking on the wrong path can’t do anything right. Even a person who is walking on unjustifiable path can do something good which should be appreciated, but the same can’t negate the misdeeds done by him. So this leads us to an enquiry behind the appeal of the masses in this grey shade, which attracts them and sometimes make them an ardent follower of such people and glorifying that path.
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In modern times, Hitler may be regarded as one of the best subject that can throw some light on the issue. Hitler went on to become the chancellor of Germany on the basis of mass popularity. But it leads us to the question that does becoming popular and favorite of the masses can justify the deeds done by the person? The answer to the same doesn’t come out to be affirmative from what the history of wars alongside the hue and cry that resulted afterwards shows us. Hitler is not the only example that is there in the history. The rise of many of the political heavyweights with a substantial fan following from amongst the goons, mass murderers, smugglers and people indulging in the heinous crimes can be drawn out from the political history of most of the countries of the world. India also not being any exception to the same.
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So it leads to another question, is the dark shade of the people more appealing while the so-called righteous one (which is hard to find in today’s time) second??? It is generally perceived that so called good people will turn up doing something as per the prescribed norms, while there are no fixed guidelines for the grey shade. So such people have a greater amount of flexibility and options in carrying out any task. It is perceived that there is always a quotient of surprise beneath this grey shade. This surprise element often keeps one guessing about what lies ahead.
So are good people just boring? Does moving on the righteous path have proven an act of evil for the right ones? No doubt, the dark path could have an appeal and wow factor for (non-) right ones, but it demands a lot from those who think otherwise.
This nature of glorification of grey shade has taken the driving seat since 20th Century especially with the spread of the mass media. There is always an aura of appeal in this grey shade, as perceived by many pseudo intellectuals.
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Many creative souls of media and cine world across the globe have always tried to glorify these grey shade images while proving their mettle in creative world. Hollywood movies like The Godfather, Once upon a Time in America, Goodfellas, City of God, American Gangster which are regarded as cult movies and had been the money spinner for the makers of these movies, have glorified the grey shade of the central character of the movies.
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Off late, Bollywood has not been an exception to the same. Noted gangster and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim has been one of the dearest characters of our Bollywood and has been the subject of interest of many of the Bollywood hits. This love has not been limited to him only and has been extended to many such other lawbreakers, many of whom had been his friends or foes. There has not been dearth of such people who can be a role model to the masses that too in a right way for a civilized society, but it seems that darkness is needed for bringing the best out of creativity.
However, in today’s era, defining anything as dark or otherwise discretely in black or white is very difficult. But we should not forget the so-called theoretical right path has never been easy since ages. It’s only the short grey path, which may have darkness from the beginning or at latter stage, that has been appealing to people from times and ages. Let us do the self-introspection and decide on the basis of our wisdom and experience- which path we needs to follow, depending upon where we can find the everlasting peace and solace.