Unwanted hostility


Open Letter to Bollywood stars on their comments on working with Pakistani actors after the Uri attack

Bollywood is conflicted between showing loyalty to the nation and supporting the Pakistani artistes’ right to work in India. The feelings of nationalism of these actors are not entirely expressed in good taste even though their voicing solidarity with the Army is appreciable. Soldiers should be avenged, terrorism should be fought against, safety of the country should be ensured.

However, feelings of hostility and enmity to non-terrorists—in this case the Pakistani artistes—is unwanted. Why should we ban those who do not mean any harm? Fidelity to India and its soldiers is upper-most but the artistes belonging to Pakistan are not the ones who carried out the Uri attacks and have not, in any way, espoused terrorism, and hatred towards India or our jawans. They have earned success here because of their talent. Many Indians love Fawad Khan and singers such as Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

Most of the Bollywood stars who are embroiled in the debate think that nationalism and the acceptance of Pakistani actors in the film industry are at loggerheads. Why? How will it be fruitful to the cause of nationalism or what homage will we give the soldiers by agreeing to such a decision? Will it compel the terrorists not to take any more Indian lives? When has intolerance and hatred brought about any peace?

One constructive plan of action will be to work at greater inclusivity of those people on the border who might possibly act as agents to the infiltrators, so that they serve us rather than enabling terrorism.


Practice in real what you preach in reel

It is an undeniable truth that you are the idols of many Indians who follow and admire you to the level of worship. The innocent audience imbibes your words spoken on the screen like a Gospel. And, if you agree with my observations, it is your duty towards your fans in general and the nation in particular to live up to their expectations.

Unfortunately, recently, some of you disappointed, rather deceived, us all by adopting a pseudo-intellectual stand regarding the Uri attack and the martyrdom of our soldiers. When the entire nation was of the opinion that it’s high time that Pakistan is isolated and a world-opinion be formed to declare it a failed, rogue and banana republic, some of you acted irresponsibly.

While our jawans laid down their lives on the border to ensure our safety, you supported your Pakistani counterparts (actors) under the garb of hollow comments like “they are actors, not terrorists and cultural exchange is the key to harmony”. We know they are not terrorists. The country only expected you to stand by the soldiers who keep you safe without even bothering about their pathetic and miserable condition. The condemnation would have been a symbol of solidarity. It would have infused great amount of confidence in our real heroes if they had come to know that their reel heroes are with them.

But, you missed the chance to repay the debt of these bravehearts. How can we expect the rest of the world to isolate Pakistan when we cannot isolate them on our soil because of the petty commercial vested interests of some people like you? You say actors are not terrorists. Correct! But, aren't cricketers, too? But, we stop playing against them whenever the political conditions demand so. And the biggest testament of this is that in spite of being the biggest cricket extravaganza of the world, IPL does not entertain Pakistani players.

I agree that art, culture and music are beyond boundaries but music cannot be enjoyed on the beats of gunshots, art cannot be appreciated when painted with blood and a culture cannot be imbibed which teaches hatred.

Remember, nation comes first, success afterwards, admiration thereafter, worship even later. And loving the traitor—never.

Rajneesh Batra



Art has no barriers

Your comments on banning Pakistani stars were warmly welcomed in our country. A certain section of stars support the ban, while many others are against it. Remember, music and art have no barriers of language or nationality. Our country is known for its heritage and culture. Many kings who ruled our country patronised art and music. Artistes from our neighbouring countries would cross the borders to acquire royal patronage.

After the independence, India was partitioned into two and one part was

named Pakistan. Many people got separated during partition. But, artistes from both the countries crossed borders to prove themselves. Dilip Kumar alias Yusuf Khan, one of the most renowned star of Bollywood, was also a victim of partition. But, he etched his name in the hearts of Indians with his talent. Pakistani counterparts came to India to showcase their talent and they were warmly welcomed, irrespective of whether they were actors or musicians. Though the instances the other way round are rare, we, being Indians, should be broad-minded to respect artistes no matter where they hail from.

Pakistan doesn’t entertain our stars and it has put a ban on Bollywood movies and TV channels. But, it doesn’t mean that we need to follow the same. We need to show our neighbouring country that though we are political rivals, we are more broad-minded when it comes to art. Art should not come under cross-border rivalry.

Your comments have evoked a biased response. It’s a request that artistes should not be discriminated against based on his nationality.

Arathi Raghuveer



Allow art and culture to bloom

India is endowed with one of the greatest cultural diversities since ancient times. The inter-mingling of multiple cultures has evolved a distinct, unique and exclusive culture whose fragrance can only be felt and not explained.

One should be equally proud of this heritage. It is also worth noting that this evolved culture was not orchestrated and got propelled on its own. Swami Vivekananda rightly emphasised this point when he said that he belonged to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. He believed not only in universal toleration, but accepted all religions as true. His words "I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted" still echo throughout India.

Art and culture are above man-made boundaries and their target is the overall well-being of the entire human race. Our enlightened citizens should pave way for the development of the composite culture to bloom and flourish. The universal community of artistes can contribute greatly to achieve the much-needed world peace irrespective of their nationality.

Gaffar Rafi


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