Irked by Rahul's Jibe, Mocking 'Man from Canada': Javed Akhtar's Bhopal Visit is a Mixed Bag for All
On Rahul Gandhi's 'chowkidar chor hai' jibe, Javed Akhtar says there are graceful ways of saying things. The lyricist also expressed dislike towards Modi-led BJP but praised other leaders in the party.
File photo of Javed Akhtar
Bhopal: Coming down heavily on Bharatiya Janata Party leadership at Centre, noted lyricist Javed Akhtar here claimed that in utter desperation, they (BJP) have "unmasked themselves" completely this election.
Replying to a question on Pragya Thakur's candidature from Bhopal, Akhtar, who was in city on Thursday, said, "They are desperate this time but don't have time to wear the mask."
"The Lok Sabha pick has also exposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in the recent past has been avoiding making statements on communal issues. If they were really hopeful of winning, they wouldn't have offered ticket to Thakur," the lyricist said, adding that by fielding a blast accused, BJP has "insulted culture, thinking and intellect" of local residents.
The writer called 2019 polls, the most important elections in the history of independent India. "We are standing on a two-way path and either way chosen, would take us a long way forward. It's a defining poll which would ascertain what path the country would move forward on," he said.
To a pointed query on BJP, Akhtar candidly claimed he did not like Modi and his "close associate" (hinting at Amit Shah).
Slamming the anti-national debate, the writer of many Bollywood mega hits, said that if one does not support Modi then you are dubbed an enemy and anti-national. “Modiji is not the country. He's a mere leader who will come and go but the country remains," the lyricist added.
Don’t teach me nationalism, said Akhtar recounting his childhood days "when his family used to inculcate love for the country and kept the tricolour at home with utmost respect".
He also mocked film star Akshay Kumar by saying ‘Oh you are talking about the guy from Canada’ when asked about his interview with PM Modi.
Asked about Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks — 'Chowkidar chor hai’, Akhtar clarified that anything which is said below the dignity wasn’t acceptable to him. There are graceful ways of saying things.
On being asked whether he saw Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate, he declined saying he does’t think he has done anything special as of now. If the BJP fails to get sufficient seats, even Modiji is not assured of PM berth. “An alternative is ready for Modiji, though he remains ill,” he said with a sly smile.
On being asked about burqa ban, the noted poet claimed he was raised in a family of working women so he knows least about burqa, adding there are countries like Iran where covering face was banned. “If you want to pass a law banning burqa, the government should also ban ghoonghat (veil) taken by women in Rajasthan,” said Akhtar who also recounted his 4.5 years spent in Bhopal during student days.
I am indebted to this city’s love, humanity and generosity and any amount of wealth won’t be insufficient to repay this debt, he said.
Talking about BJP, he said there was also a BJP of Atal Bihari Vajpayee which was completely different from this party and even the former CM of Madhya Pradesh (Shivraj) did things with limitations.
Good and bad people are in every party. “I won’t hesitate to thank BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley who had helped a copyright law passed in Parliament which is helping artists immensely, said the noted poet.
On being asked about Pragya Thakur’s shraap (curse), he laughed saying the shraap should be used against enemies of the country and I would request Modiji to destroy terrorist like Hafiz Saeed and others with her curse.
He also likened Thakur with Ravana, saying "don’t always trust sadhu-sadhvi as Ravana also came in Bhagwa attire to kidnap Sitaji in Ramayana, he did not come as a liberal."
Asked about former Bhopal MP Uma Bharti who won in 1999, Akhtar said she was a person who only saw Babri Masjid being demolished but she (Thakur) had even climbed on the masjid. His remark intended poking fun at Thakur’s statement in which she had claimed that she had climbed with others on Babri masjid and demolished it in 1992.
Personally, he said, he never faced any discrimination on communal lines but claimed where politics gets mixed with religion, democracy gets destroyed.
He mocked slammed glorification attempts of UN declaring Masood Azhar a global terrorist. “We should be ashamed of living in a world where a notorious man who himself calls a terrorist required 12-15 years to be declared international terrorist and the delayed verdict is being eulogised like anything.”
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