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Koral Dasgupta @KoralDasgupta

Updated: November 25, 2015, 12:12 PM IST
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Calling someone unpatriotic today is perhaps the easiest and obvious backlash of calling India “intolerant”. The recent debates and discussions that followed after Aamir Khan’s interview at Ramnath Goenka Awards is an eye-opener about how everything in India assumes communal hues. Social media ruthlessly reacted for or against Aamir’s statement that his wife asked whether they should leave India because of the strange ambiance this country has created for itself! And then there are reports of protests outside his house.

If you hear out his entire interview instead of impulsively reacting to one statement, you would know that the actor was logically trying to explain certain things that had happened in HIS country in the recent past. And of course, it was HIS logic; it depends on you whether you find sense in it or reject the argument altogether. What mainly irked the audience was probably a casual statement made in private, which assumes greater importance when a loved actor mentions it in a reputed platform. But I, a Hindu, am seriously hurt when Aamir Khan, a Muslim, talks about leaving OUR country in whatever big or small, metaphorical or literal capacity!

I personally don’t believe that intolerance or communal disharmony has risen in the last few months. Media has published enough statistics for me to take this stand. India has always been intolerant. There had been burning issues in the past 68 years, which goes beyond the last one year and a half. All communities have felt the heat of communal atrocities at different times in different pockets of the nation. I, a much smaller writer, too have been subjected to humiliating comments and reactions whenever I have tried to write my take on something as generic as Indian mythology and culture. We have lamented over those, conducted some candle-light marches, blamed the ruling government of the times, and moved on.

But what I feel is not the issue. I would rather ask India, what is our collective stand?

I am sure that many rational and educated Indians like me are feeling helpless today. It is not about Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan or any other celeb. It is not about majority or minority. It’s about the country and the choices it makes together. How do we really bring about a change? Can we start a movement that is positive and practical enough, which forces the fringe elements to behave? Is there any measure we can take that helps people to control their minds and stops them from judging each other on the basis of religion? Can we all feel secured in our respective homes so that we don’t ever feel violated for co-existence? Can we do something to ensure that no Indian is asked to go to Pakistan? Or do we still sit back and watch, blame the government, put up a social media status and wash off our hands feeling we have fulfilled our responsibilities?

Here’s calling India to come up with ideas. And my urge is to Indians across the world. I am introducing a hashtag as in #WontLetThemWin. Let’s start pouring in ideas that help us ensure that no one in this country can divide and disrespect on the basis of religion. Our ideals and affiliations may differ, but I am sure all well-meaning citizens of the country believe in togetherness and want to walk the path together. Here we won’t discuss politics, we won’t blame our leaders; we will just look for means to work towards a joint cause. We won’t discuss the past; our target is the future. India has been shamed enough on the world map. I’m sure that an accumulated force which intends to give back the country its pride and build back its ideals of love and harmony, will be able to usher a change that we individually could not achieve! Let all our positive energies accumulate under #WontLetThemWin and then, we, the people of India, will try our best to liberate the country from its “intolerance” stigma. Because together, we are a resource; isolated we are only vision supressed voices.

Come, let’s spare a while, and work for India.
First Published: November 25, 2015, 12:12 PM IST

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