The “tolerance-intolerance” debate has now reached the “yawn” levels. The mud-slinging continues, the ‘award wapasi‘ brigade remains defiant and the Prime Minister continues to live in a different time zone, both literally and metaphorically.
So when actor Aamir Khan spoke his mind about growing intolerance in the country we could have dismissed it as an actor’s publicity stunt. For we all know the marketing genius that Mr Khan is and if it is anything that he does better than acting then it is marketing of his films. But no, we shall not live under any such delusions. We will dissect his statement, shred apart every bit of it and then draw inferences.
And it is Mr Khan’s peers who are the first ones to hurl stones. Consider this: Mr Rishi Kapoor asks Khan to deal with the situation, that’s heroism, he says. The tolerant brigade’s neta, aka Anupam Kher, throws a slew of questions/suggestions at Mr Khan ranging from how the country made him ‘Aamir Khan’ and to which country his wife wants to move to. He also asks Mr Khan whether he will wait for regime change or leave India right away. Yesteryear actress Raveena Tandon wants to know why he didn’t speak during 26/11 or Bombay bomb blasts.
Maybe all the above is correct. This is publicity stunt by Mr Khan. Maybe he should have spoken up earlier. Maybe he shouldn’t have said the bit about leaving country.
But what if he actually believes in what he says. He is a human being after all, with all his fears and complexes well in place. He belongs to a minority community in this country. A community which has lately been targeted for various reasons ranging from their choice of meat to their allegiance to a neighbouring nation. Yes, we have lived in terrible times. We have had our terror attacks, bomb blasts and dozens of communal riots. Maybe Khan did speak during those days. But we didn’t have Twitter and armchair bhakts to flare up his statements. Maybe Khan didn’t speak at that time because he was scared or thought it was none of his business. Whatever be his reasons, does it mean that he can’t voice his opinion now? This jumping the gun and saying “where were you when….” is getting repetitive and boring.
Allow Mr Khan to speak his mind. Comeback with a better retort. Don’t judge them because they live in mansions. Their fears are as genuine as yours and mine.