September 11, 2012
Slumdog Millionaire, a Work of Art:
Bridging Humanities and India’s Culture
In the late 1800’s there lived well-known Hindu monk by the name of Swami Vivekananda. It was his reputation to be wise and many people looked to him for guidance. One of his most famous quotes states, “the great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.” This statement is one that can have many different meanings to different people. One may find that this quote is enough to bridge the gap between the western mindset and a fundamental ideology of a belief found amongst the people residing in India. In some senses there can be made a correlation between Vivekananda’s quote and a boy who plays the main character named Jamal, in the 2008 film “Slumdog Millionaire” directed by Danny Boyle.
Jamal’s story of success can be related to Vivekananda’s quote as well as the topics discussed in class through many ways. A few of these ways include the belief of karma, dharma, and oneness. It is arguable that Vivekananda is discussing the idea of both karma and dharma in his quote. Jamal follows his dharma throughout the film by being a good brother to Saliam to spite some of the wicked ways his brother has treated him growing up. He is also following his dharma by caring for Latika even though situations are not always ideal for the couple. Jamal’s ridged childhood has scared him emotionally, but he managed to make a negative into a positive. Jamal learns, grows, and develops an optimistic outlook on life trying to make the best of what he had given his situation. Even when Jamal’s situation was worsened by external forces in addition to internal conflict he did not allow negativity to stand in the way of what he knew was right and wrong. Through following his moral compass Jamal followed his dharma. Following his dharma had a definite influence...