It has been well over a month since Indian government stripped Jammu & Kashmir of its autonomy.
While the concerned parties; journalists, not only from India and Pakistan but from around the world and politicians, predominantly from Pakistan, have been busy reviewing the grim situation, there are some who are lost in the glamour of their own worlds!
The celebrities of B-Town have not been silent altogether: Kangana Ranaut called the abrogation of Article 370 a “historic step” in the direction of a terrorism free nation, Vivek Oberoi labelled it as a homage to all martyred for a United India and Anupam Kher flagged it as the Kashmir Solution.
There are some who were expected to speak up against it, but they haven’t; they are busy producing obnoxious action series on Netflix, announcing movie sequels or making headlines because of their daughters’ dating ventures!
The celebrities of B-Town have not been silent altogether: Kangana Ranaut called the abrogation of Article 370 a ‘historic step’ in the direction of a terrorism free nation, Vivek Oberoi labelled it as a homage to all martyred for a United India and Anupam Kher flagged it as the Kashmir Solution
In 2015, when Aamir Khan expressed his concerns on rising intolerance in India, he was scathed by politicians and his Bollywood associates alike. The backlash forced him to give a follow-up on his statement, in which he told us how much he respected his country. The Mr Perfectionist did not exactly retracted what he had said earlier but his remark that the people who called him “anti-national” were only proving his point, said a lot. In the same year, Shahrukh Khan said in an interview that there was extreme intolerance in India. This unequivocal opinion, not surprisingly, got him into a tornado of criticism. As harbingered, later the same month, in an interview, the Biggest Movie Star in the World refuted and opined that he never said India was intolerant.
So are we right in guessing that the forbidding disapproval they can face on speaking in favour of Kashmir is what keeping Bollywood celebrities silent? Yes. How? This is the only thing Sonum Kapoor’s stance on the issue clarifies. The actress recently stipulated, “It’s heartbreaking to see where the situation has landed right now but I am very patriotic. So for me it’s better to keep quiet and let this pass because even this too shall pass.” Sadly, it appears that she had confused patriotism with avoiding the trouble. Because being patriotic entails neither indolence on humanitarian issues nor staying inaudible if you think your government’s policies are diabolical. Priyanka Chopra was quick to tweet and celebrate the so-called air strike on Balakot but the UNICEF Ambassador of Peace has been, so far, hushed on the lockdown in Kashmir.
So what does this disturbing attitude of top Bollywood celebrities portents? That Bharatiya Janata Party’s government is more of a monarchy. The men in power shall say and do as they please. There is no stopping them. The resentment of party workers towards opposing superstars is still somewhat laid out in a meticulous fashion, but the hatred shown to people of less status is on a whole other level. After revoking article 370, the ministers had been openly talking about “getting” fair-skinned Kashmiri women. Just to give you an idea of how dirty the ceasepool gets, social media troll pages that misogynise women that chide the government for its policies have been followed by BJP ministers, including Narendra Modi.
On a final and a rather deviating note, the reason to write this article was really my admiration of Bollywood! I, like many other Pakistanis, have watched the rich culture of Indian Film Industry for years and likened many Bollywood actors and actresses. In 2016, when Salman Khan spoke in favour of Pakistani artists, I was neither surprised nor overjoyed. The reason being that I expected nothing less of that man. Speaking what is right even in face of overwhelming opposition is the most valuable asset of a human being. But this is exactly what makes their inactivity on Kashmir issue so disappointing.
The silence is really unsettling.
The writer is a student at Punjab University College of Information Technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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