It has been a talking point of late. Terrorism has always been the foster child of Pakistan, but the recent attacks on Uri and Zakura has kind of shaken us up. This is certainly not the first time that this state-sponsored terrorism has affected us, nor is it the first time that India has become the victim to the diabolical designs of Pak. Post September 18th Uri attacks, India has quite rightly exposed Pakistan to the world, at various international fora – including the United Nations – as also made successful military expedition of cross-LoC surgical strikes on the terror troops, which was a need of the hour.
However, the well-carried out operation of the valiant army has been taken over by the jingoism of a section of the political arena. And as such we find that there is a drift of the discussions and debates towards the film fraternity. It’s difficult to understand how a film became India’s villain all of a sudden. Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ seems to be the real problem at this point in time. The casting of the Pakistani artist Fawad Khan in ADHM has sparked a controversy and the ultranationalist groups have threatened to ban the screening of the film. They feel that India has many great artistes and we don’t need to import people from that terrorist state to come and work here. This argument would have been perfectly alright if this had been our national stand since the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 or the Kargil war of 1999.
KJo’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ is not the first film that Fawad Khan is doing in Bollywood. He has done ‘Kapoor & Sons’ (2016) and has received warm response. And this was something after India had quite a number of wars with Pakistan, the Mumbai blasts, the frequent cease-fire violations by the Pakistan army and the recent attack on Pathankot. Nobody raised an eyebrow at that time. The threats of the fringe groups have led to Karan Johar giving out a video message where he has kind of surrendered and requested people to allow the screening of his film, saying that he would never cast a Pakistani in future.
Indian Constitution ensures everyone the freedom of expression and as long as the films are not banned by the State (for justified reasons), it seems bizarre how some people should have a problem with the screening of the movie. And the viewers should also have some choice to watch or reject the film. That’s what we should be expecting from a mature Democracy.
Former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had rightly said, “We can change our friends, but we cannot change our neighbours”. So this remains a fact that we have to – willy-nilly – coexist in this subcontinent and what we may try is to use all our means – diplomatic, military or otherwise to internationalize the villainy of Pakistan and to expose their vicious designs. Needless to say, Pakistan is already suffering from the terrorism that it has sown in its own soil.
We, as the citizens of this vibrant democracy, must reflect – who is our real enemy? Is it Pakistan, who has been carrying out state-sponsored terrorism, or some artistes who have come here to earn a living? Are we against Pakistani people per se, or the inhuman activities of their leaders? Difficult, yet pertinent question!
The writer, Nilanjan Das, is a student of Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.