By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
If only people know how to take back their words or knowing beforehand the implication of their views we’d never have breaking news. Aamir Khan might never have thought the blowback on sharing his wife’s concern about safety in India. He made this remark casually or deliberately only he can tell but if he was looking to get some attention by jumping in on intolerance debate, he got more than he bargained for.
People are not angry at Aamir Khan for expressing his opinion, he has full right to do that but what Indians are finding so hard to digest is to why Aamir Khan, the superstar people adore and respect, might feel threated in India. What made is wife Kiran Rao so afraid that se is even scared to open the newspaper in morning. We spend so much public funds to protect hundreds of politicians who are in all practical sense good for nothing, I am sure we can spare some for Aamir and his family too. But another fact to be noted here is that Aamir is a celebrity, he doesn’t travel in buses or trains that might be targeted by Terrorist. His doesn’t live in a neighborhood of Mumbai that might come under cross fire of communal riots. In fact, the last time Mumbai saw some tension was during the time of Yacub Memon’s hanging but it didn’t escalated into anything. Yes there were incidents like Dadri but that doesn’t mean Hindus and Muslims are out on streets burning each other homes and shops. In India, riots never appear out of thin air, things flare up only when incited. What Aamir’s intention was only he might know but people took it as an alarm call that India is no longer safe for Muslim and this coming from a Muslim celebrity was like rubbing salt on an open wound.
Now coming to the public backlash. I remember Aamir mentioned in the interview at the Ramnath Goenka awards that he favors any kind of protest that is non-violent. I don’t know about the actor but the irony here is that any and all backlash he has faced on his comments is either on social media or at the media outlets. Not a single stone is thrown at his house, nor anyone in his family was harmed. All people did is to boycott the products Aamir endorse, does that make us intolerant? If Aamir has right to his opinion then a fan of his is well within his right to delete the Snapdeal app from his smartphone. I am not saying that Snapdeal should face the music for someone else’s views, they haven’t done anything but hey, people are free to choose who they buy or do business with. It is the cost of being a public figure, a liberty with responsibility. It wouldn’t be surprising if people stop watching his movies because of this. It’s a free (tolerant) country after all.
A lot has been said on this intolerance debate, argument and counter argument were made but all I can add is we are not as bad as some people think.