By Vijay Sanghvi
In this age of hast and hurry, even intellectuals rush with their opinions without verification of facts underneath. Nasreen, Bangladesh author always in thickets of controversies rushed with the opinion that Aamir Khan could earn Rs. 300 crore from his film PK only in India. He would have been done to death for making such a film in Pakistan or Bangladesh. Her opinion like of many intellectuals compartmentalizes humans in blocks of their religion and not by their talent. She could not appreciate talents and courage of Aamir Khan to challenge a pretender who let it be believed that he had monopoly rights over the concept of god while making the film.
Her message began making rounds in the social media circles for it supported the general belief that Aamir Khan gave vent to dread felt by his wife Kiron Rao over threat to life of their children. He told media that she wanted to shift their residence to another safer country. His talk to media was treated as a typical view of a Muslim who wanted to run away from his native country at first sign of a danger. The underlay message was that Muslims are not patriotic.
Yet another message making rounds in the determination of widow of the martyr Mahadik declaring she would enroll her children in the armed forces only. The message is forwarded because it speaks of patriotic fervor of a Hindu woman. But not a single person who reveled in message reading and forwarding to few other friends thought of sending a money order of a hundred rupee to her widow to share her grief.
Sympathisers of fanatics who are spreading climate of intolerance are used to fry food out of empty words. They see human beings in compartments of different denominations and not as humans with similar kind of emotions, feelings and responses.
As Acharya Rajnish once said, no child is born with a particular religion. They are imposed religions without giving them a choice or chance of selection. It generally presumed that everyone is born with religion of the family they are born in.
Aamir Khan had given vent to the dread of his wife who was a born in a Hindu family. She was in panic to receive threats to her children a natural phenomenon regardless of her religion. Most women panic in similar fashion. Those who berated at Aamir Khan for sentiments of his wife to escape to safety have unwittingly provided an opportunity to hi to prove the self in a braver hero by staying in India in total disregard to threats to life of his children. The BJP spokesman who accused him of playing the Congress game of defaming the Bharatiya Janata Party and also the Narendra Modi government has laid foundations for him to build his pedestal to stand over it as a brave hero
Men and women who suffer from a streak of communal attitudes have fervently circulated the reaction of Nasreen to their friends who have further caught on other friends. All of them were gleeful that a Muslim woman condemned Aamir Khan. Hence message deserved to be circulated as widely as possible to reach millions. Under the condemnation of Aamir Khan is also hidden a message of great tribute to the Indian people, millions of spectators of the movie PK. Despite the communal approach to film by Nasreen, Indians forked out large sums to watch the talents of their favourite actor as an alien who questions several of Indian traditions. The movie was a team work to question several orthodox traditions in the Indian way of life. Even a stone with right colour combinations can become a deity instantly with several superstitious offering their homage.
The enduring scene is the confrontation between the pretender religious ascetic and the alien. When the pretender talks of our god, the alien immediately corrects him to point out god made by him and likes him was a different from god of masses. Theirs’ was exclusive god created to look after interests of rich alone. Poor have no place in its presence as they are debarred from entry into temple where rich men’s god resides.
The movie does not question any religion, least the religion of the majority in India. The movie merely questions pretenders who use religion and human sentiments merely as vocation for their luxuries and comforts of life. The movies also delivers a message to say several traditions are concepts are not right and the heroine helps to reach out larger audience through the television network she works for. The attempt was not to damn religious rites but to expose wrong traditions that gave rise to such rites.
Aamir Khan was chosen as a target for a different reason for he had questioned through his several programmes the hypocrisy hidden in social behaviours. His misfortune was that he produced these programmes in the time of fading out of the Congress from the public approvals. He showed no hesitation to call on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accept his felicitations.
But timing for intensification of climate of intolerance is intriguing for it came when NaMO was striving to convey a different kind of message. He wanted to win over younger generation of Bihar with his message of only economic considerations as essence of life. It was a message that ran contrary to aims and objectives of those who desired the continuation of the social structure as devised three thousand years ago. In changes coming through the economic betterment was anathema to their life standards. How can a lower caste young man stand erect with raised neck and wide eyes looking into an upper caste member as if both were equal in social terms? NaMO was driving the nation towards modernization and the religious radicals were not ready for the new age as they could not relish the idea. The Muslims were the first targets in spite of the fact that 80 percent of voters in Kashmir expressing their clear choice for India by participating in the state assembly election dispite calls for boycott and violence let loose when lines of voters grew even in rural areas. They were not running away.