A book or a movie brings out different emotions in different people. Some might take them as words that are to be read, enjoyed and forgotten; for others they signify thoughts that might change the way they look at the world. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (book as well as the movie) is the tale of young man who realizes that one’s own country remains with a person no matter what choices they make. A person always returns back to the familiar comfort of one’s own culture.
You might be an Asian living the “American Dream” or a British enjoying the opportunities that the world provides or just a person who is trying to make the ends meet and live a life that you have dreamed since childhood. No matter who you are, where you are and what you are; one’s own country like culture, family and tradition is one’s own.
In India, I see people around me who love to show how modernized and westernized they are. Why give an example of others, when I can tell you about myself. I am a modern girl and I am proud of it, because this open-mindedness had let me see the world, which provides opportunities that narrow-minded people cannot see. I own 4-5 pairs of jeans and assortment of t-shirts while I have about 3 suits, which I only wear when I go to Gurudwara or if I want to look traditional or when there is a function that calls for it. I don’t how to read Punjabi (at least not fluently); nevertheless, with all my modernized clothes and thinking, I still love big fat Punjabi weddings and want one for myself.
I love each and every minuscule festival that happens. From Diwali, Dusshera to Gurpurab(s) and Holi, I love how different is my culture and my country. I respect and like the culture of people across the globe but I definitely do not like the people who always believe that their culture is best. I mean every country and culture and religion have their own strengths and shortcomings.
In The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Changez wants to live the American dream for he sees that in country there are not many opportunities. He sees is father- a poet- though established, but not earning much. In the Asians, especially Indians and Pakistanis (for we are cut from the same cloth), there is a strong case of providing filial duty. We children want to provide for our parents, be their rock; and this is what Changez wanted to do.
Forgive me for saying, but 9/11 was more tough on Muslims around the world than it was for the Americans. Yes, people lost families and death and terrorism can never be justified. However, think about those people who are discriminated because of their religion and color. Just because you are a Muslim, it does not mean that you are a terrorist. A work of 2 mad men doesn’t mean that others should be harmed or victimized. Ku Klux Klan were (sorry for the expression) fucked up people who thought that white supremacy is everything and they were Christians, so should everyone around the world victimize Christians because wrongdoing of a few people. They bombed school buses, shot people, massacred and lynched them—same thing terrorists are doing. Terrorist not Muslims, same way it is Ku Klux Klan, not Christians.
A person when thinks of living in different country than its own home and wants to make it is new home, is disillusioned, disappointed and disheartened when he is not welcomed with open arms but placards asking him to “go back to the hole he is from”. That is not only heartbreaking, but also totally disrespectful. And that is what happened to Changez. Disillusioned and disappointed to from the country and life he wanted, he came back to what was his and was hated by people across the globe.
No matter how much terrorism is there, we have to keep in mind that it is not the religion that is bad or asks for death and killing. It a few people who have wrong beliefs and understood the religion in a wrong way. Why blame a religion or culture for the work of a few?
I think what Mira Nair and Mohsin Hamid want us to know is the fact that terrorism and religion are two very different things and shouldn’t me mixed together. It is the Humans who are wrong and mis-guided not the religion or culture of a country.
Am I right or have I got it wrong way?