【Mumbai】The army of trolls and their abuse and threats on the web may not have affected veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah but he stated in an exclusive e-mail interview to The Hindu that it was definitely not comforting to hear chants of "Shoot the traitor!" directed at him.
"The vicious jingoism masquerading as love for the country has reached truly scary proportions and so has the constant whataboutery in response to almost everything. 'The earlier rulers did this, what's wrong if we do it too?' 'The Aussies dish out abuse, what's wrong if we do it too?'" he stated.
Mr. Shah has been at the receiving end of extreme outrage and hatred over an interview in which he had expressed anxiety over mob violence and lynching and concern for the future and well being of his children. "The poison has already spread. It will be very difficult to capture this djinn back in the bottle. In many areas we are witnessing that the death of a cow has more significance than that of a police officer. I feel anxious thinking about my children. Because they don't have a religion… tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks 'are you a Hindu or a Muslim?' they will have no answer. It worries me because I don't see the situation improving anytime soon. These matters don't scare me, they make me angry…" he had said.
On Friday he was prevented from inaugurating the Ajmer Literature Festival (ALF) following protests by BJP Yuva Morcha members. A session with him titled "Naseer Ki Nazar" was also cancelled.
He told The Hindu that he was not surprised at the reactions to what he said and he does not feel defeated at the turn of events. He confessed being a bit saddened but more angered. "It does seem that for the moderate Indian staying silent is not a choice any more," he said. Mr. Shah stated that he can only speculate at whose bidding all this would have happened but whoever was exhorting those goons did not realise that they actually ended up endorsing what he had said in the interview (the moderate Indian staying silent is not a choice any more).
○His children no ned to be scared as "tolerance was in the DNA of the country": Union minister
【New Delhi】While Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah was supposed to deliver the keynote address at the fifth edition of a three-day the Ajmer Literature Festival (ALF) in Ajmer, he was prevented from inaugurating the ALF following protests by BJP Yuva Morcha members.
Raas Bihari Gaur, the coordinator of the festival, said, "Shah was scheduled to inaugurate the festival but he did not come because of protests by some locals. "He was also scheduled to launch his book at the opening session, but this too was cancelled.
With several people pointing out that this had happened under a Congress government, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted on Saturday evening that what had happened was "unfortunate". "It is very unfortunate that organiser of Ajmer Literature Fest asks Mr #NaseeruddinShah to avoid his inaugural appearance amidst some news of protest. Administration was fully prepared to hold festival peacefully. Our govt respects all rights & liberties of each & every citizen."
Reacting to Shah's remarks, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Saturday that the veteran actor's children need not feel scared as "tolerance was in the DNA of the country". "I think his emotions may have been right, but his words were probably misconstrued and a mountain was made out of a molehill. Tolerance and harmony are in the DNA of the country, and despite the circumstances, nobody has succeeded in destroying that strong legacy," Naqvi told PTI in Mumbai.
Jingoism has reached scary proportions: Naseeruddin Shah
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