Thursday, November 26, 2015

The India in Intolerance

By the time this message will be read, a lot of dust would have settled over the entire Aamir Khan and 'intolerance' issue. A lot of you would have already formed opinions, not wanting to read anything contradictory. Many others would still be wondering if this 'issue', if we may call it that, really deserved all the attention that it was provided. In either case, I will take this opportunity to speak out loud and give voice to my two cents. You may need patience to go through this post entirely and if you reach the end, feel free to agree or disagree. It is your right- inalienable and indestructible.

1. "This country has made Aamir Khan. He should be thankful to it"- Allow me to crash your icy castle of high hopes, but Aamir Khan became Aamir Khan because he worked his ass off to be where he is. He has had his fair share of struggles and has dealt with them successfully. He may not be a 'common man' now, but there was a time when nobody knew him. There was a time he was like us- another man, lost in the sea of unknown. Fortunately for him, he worked hard, put in his best and earned his fame and money. We did not "make" him. His "talent" made him. We watched his movies because we liked what we saw. We weren't doing him a favour. Just like you don't do your boss a favour. She pays you, you work. That is that.

2. "If he wants, he should leave the country"- For God's sake, did you even listen to the interview? Do you know five Union Ministers were in presence, nodding and smiling when he said what he did? And why exactly should he leave the country? He feels unsafe, so he feels unsafe. Quite like a number of our women do when they want to go and watch a movie after eight in the evening. Just like our mothers do, when they send their children to school, not knowing if the institution harbors teachers or sexual predators. How is his feeling of a lack of safety different from any of these? He merely expressed an apprehension. He candidly put forth what he felt. He boldly stated what he thought was correct. And just like you or me, he has a constitutional right to do that, without being subjected to prejudice or harassment. To add on, people are socially committing that they will never "watch his movies or use the brands he endorses". Do you know what this unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour different from one's own is called? Intolerance.

3. "He is a Congress Stooge and is doing this to defame the nation"- When all of us took to the streets in 2011 to express our solidarity with Anna, were we BJP stooges, out to defame the nation? When we lit candles for justice to Nirbhaya, were we ruining our international image? When we inform the government of broiling problems, are we maligning the nation? We aren't. And you know that pretty well. You also know that in recent times the psychosis of fear has seen an upward trend. This is not the first time it is happening. Major riots, murders, violence and killing has happened under different regimes in the past and there isn't much difference between then and now. Except that this time, our beloved supreme leader who is kind enough to remember and wish the Prime Ministers/Presidents of various countries on their birthdays, has chosen to stay mum. His ministers have undertaken hate campaigns (which, by definition of sedition, classify as one) publicly and yet no action has been taken against them. Dadri was a 'stray incident'. Such incidents happen everyday. Okay. Those returning awards are 'pseudo-intellectuals'. Nobody cares what they do. Okay. After all, we are all dogs and no one can blame the government if a stone is thrown at us, right?

At the end, I would like to make a few things clear- Personally, I am not an Aamir fan. I do not like his acting abilities and I think he was a hit, only because he had a cute face. But if he has an opinion, and it does not bide well with the majority, I will make sure that I respect it. Also, I do not think India is an intolerant nation. We have had communities living together for decades and our cultural diversity has only strengthened. But I do think that by jumping at everyone who disagrees with us, showering them with abuses, aspersions, character assassinations and hidden agendas, we are doing everything we can to show how right Aamir Khan really may have been.

PS- I shall not be replying to any views expressed in the comments section. I have said enough and do not think this matter deserves any more debate. After all, it is better to be discourteous than intolerant. Good day smile emoticon