A regiment with little internal issues but ready to sacrifice anything for the motherland. A challenging war at the threshold. A Sikh commander – the master of the most rightful ethics and commitment towards Dharma. Sounds like a remake of ‘Border’? Well, Akshay Kumar starred ‘Kesari’ may resemble to the 1997 hit, but the approach to the narrative of the film is phenomenal in the Indian cinema. Written and Directed by Punjabi cinema director Anurag Singh, Kesari is based on the historical battle of Saragarhi fought in 1897 between 21 soldiers of 36 Sikh regiment and 10,000 Afghan Jihadis.
The film is not a mere business but can be seen as a social mirror as the cinema is said to be. The writers have touched various social and human issues in a single war-genre film. ‘Kesari’ briefly showcased that the Sikh community which is considered to be one of the most liberal communities was also not untouched by the bane of casteism. But the film can be stated as the first Indian main stream film ever to narrate the true spirit of Sikhism. The Sikh concept of Sewa which Bhai Ghanaiya Ji followed during the 1704-05 Mughal-Sikh war at Sri Anandpur Sahib by offering water and first aid to even the enemy soldiers. The same concept is exhibited in ‘Kesari’.
‘Kesari’ which narrates the ideas of Havildar Ishar Singh, also attack the dichotomy of radical Jihadis and the Raj which enslaved and exploited the Bharatvanshis for more than 1000 years. ‘Kesari’ must be credited for not playing with the facts for mere appeasement. The film bluntly presents the facts that showcases the real face of radical Jihad as a modern anti-humanity ideology and not a matter of faith and religion. On the other hand, the film elaborated that how the Raj used the ethnical qualities and values of all the indigenous communities of India for the military and political administration through brainwashing them as ‘week slaves.’ The very expressive writing and direction of the film shows that how the radical Imams and the colonial-imperialist powers are just using their ideologies around the world for various geo-political and epochal gains.
Finally, the film is the call to the men who have forgotten their history. Saragarhi is located in Samana mountain range in the Indian sub-continent which was undoubtedly a part of undivided India and under the British rule. After the news of the bravery of 21 Sikhs reached the house of commons, the Parliament is said to have observed a two-minute silence in the honour of the Sikhs. But the fact is very disheartening that the day Saragarhi went in the administration of Pakistan after the partition of India, not only Pakistanis forgot the great war because of their anti-minority ideologues but the Indians also unintentionally chose not to remember the war which could have ignited the generations for raising up against the inhumanity and Dharma wherever in the world. In the end, thanks to the film ‘Kesari’ for being a ‘conscience keeper’. And this ‘conscience keeper’ must be introduced to the children and all the humanity believers alike.
“The wars we forget, are the wars we lose”