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Congress takes jibe at PM Modi over ‘Narendra Modi Mobile App’

“It was nail-biting wait as the Prime Minister’s was on three-nation visit where he said he had breakfast in one country, lunch in another and dinner in a third country. It was dream of former Prime Minster Manmohan Singh… he said the same, but the then opposition, the BJP, opposed the trip. We heard the speech of Prime Minister and it was interesting. But more interesting was his mention that India Afghanistan relationship will be build by a bridge in Pakistan. These are two sovereign nations. Do we need bridges built by Pakistan? We are independent nations and we are capable of dealing with each other without bridges from Pakistan,” he said, adding that incursions and cross-border terrorism still persist.

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Aamir to star at festival in Mulayam’s sefa

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The festival will open with a recital by Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law, Aparna, an accomplished singer. Ghazal singer Penaz Masani and contestants from reality TV show ‘India’s Got Talent’ will perform on the second day.

Aamir Khan, Mika Singh and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will star at the ‘Sefai Mahotsav’, the annual jamboree held at chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s native village in Etawah district, to be held from December 26 to January 11.AR Rahman had performed at a concert in Sefai on Mulayam Singh Yadav’s birthday on November 22. Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit had added Bollywood glamour to the Sefai festival last year. In earlier years, too, megastars from the celluloid world, including the Bachchans, have been part of the glitzy show in this remote but privileged village.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though opposition parties have often slammed the ruling Yadav clan for the alleged “ugly display of power and money”, they have carried on regardless, contending that not a single penny of government funds is spent on the festival.The festival will open with a recital by Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law, Aparna, an accomplished singer. Ghazal singer Penaz Masani and contestants from reality TV show ‘India’s Got Talent’ will perform on the second day.A dance drama based on Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s ‘Madhushala’ is to be staged on the same day as Mika Singh’s performance on December 29.Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan would be performing on January 8.A fireworks show will light up new year’s night on December 31, followed by an entertainment night with TV stars on January 1.The grand finale on January 11 is expected to feature some Bollywood biggies.Given Mulayam’s penchant for ‘kushti’, a wrestling championship will be part of the ‘mahotsav’ in keeping with the festival’s tradition.Volleyeball and badminton tournaments besides Indian Gramin Cricket League (IGCL) matches are also planned.A women’s self-defence display, aimed to set a record as the world’s largest exercise of its kind, is planned on January 5.A cycle marathon, folk music programmes and a grand performance by 200 folk dancers would be other highlights of this ‘mahotsav’.

Online jihadis abuse girls who went on an army sponsored tour

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Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.

It is turning out to be redux of the Praagaash controversy in the strife torn Kashmir.Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.Unfazed by the abuses, the girls put up a brave face as they arrived after the 10 days of tour on Wednesday. From saluting to shouting loud Jai Hind to singing patriotic and Bollywood numbers, the girls’ message was loud and clear that they cannot be browbeaten to submission by online abusers and separatists.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 80 girls had signed in for the 10 days tour to different parts of the country. However the army pruned the list and selected 30 girls who were taken to Delhi, Agra and other places. During their tour, the girl students met President Pranab Mukherjee, HRD minister Smriti Irani and visited parliament.But back home, the girls and the parents had to face abuse where in the online `jihadis’ posted pictures and videos on social networking sites calling for social boycott of the families. “Third rate girls from third rate families”, reads one abusive post on the face book.Another netizen asked the society to boycott these girls and their families. One face book user even went to the extent asking boys not to marry these girls. “Kis besharam baap ki beti (daughter of shameless father)”, reads another abusive post.The abuse had an eerie similarity with Praagaash all girls rock band which was disbanded after Grand Mufti of Kashmir Bashir ud-din Ahmad issued fatwa calling music un-Islamic in 2013. This had followed abusive and hate messages posted on the social networking sites against the three girls of the band.Unperturbed by the abuse, the girl students said the tour has helped them to open up vistas and horizons. “It was a great experience for all of us. World opened before us”, said one of the girlsLieutenant General Satish Dua, General Officer Commanding (GoC) 15 corps, admitted that some of the comments were so low that he could not even mention it here. “It is up to the civil society to take stock and whether young girls should be subject to such trauma”, he said.The army commander said it was very voluntary tour with the assistance of schools, education department and with the consent of parents. “In fact we had the list of 80 students. But we had to prune it down. And those who could not tour were disappointed”, he said.Lieutenant General Dua said India is a free country and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. “Social media even more so. Similarly the children and parents are entitled to their opinion and attitudes,” he said.

RSS members organise film fest in Indore on socio-cultural issues

At a time when Bollywood joined the intolerance debate, some people associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are organising a film festival revolving around the themes of family ethos, socio-cultural issues and nationalism.The “Chitrabharati Film Festival” for documentary, animation, short and campus films (made by students) is being organised in Indore from February 26 to 28, in what is the first such exercise.”In an attempt to create awareness in society on issues like socio-cultural issues, moral values, family ethos and environment we thought we could provide a good platform to young directors working on these issues,”said RSS’ Praveen Kabra, Prant Prachar Pramukh, Malwa region, who is the director of the Film Festival.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, when asked about the intolerance issue on which comments of Bollywood stars like Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan had sparked off a row, he said “we would like to stay away from this controversy. Our focus is on family system and cultural issues.” The RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor, had been critical of film-makers and others returning awards in protest against “growing intolerance”.Though he said the list of films to be screened at the festival was yet to be finalised, these would be selected from among those made in 2013 and 2014. The University of Indore Devi Ahilya Vishvavidyala was the co-organiser of the festival.The organisers are trying to rope in Bollywood personalities like Anupam Kher, Rajpal Yadav and Raghubir Yadav to attend the festival. Besides the competetive section, there will be an open forum with film-makers during the festival.Kabra said he and some of his associates involved in organising the festival were not from the RSS had planned on holding the festival last year but due to some preoccupation had to put it off. “Indore is a business hub and is now becoming an education hub. We wanted to encourage film-making here to make it a centre for film production,” he said. Ahead of the festival, a one-day workshop titled “Appreciation of Film” is being held on January 16 on various aspects of film production. However, the festival would be confined to short and documentary films and not include feature films.

2002 hit-and-run case: Fans rejoice Salman Khan’s acquittal

“It’s a big reason for happiness for us. He is an honest person. We are happy for him. Our prayers are with him,” added another fan.

Salman Khan’s fans on Thursday expressed their delight over the Bombay High Court’s decision to quash all the charges against him in the 2002 hit-and-run case and described the Bollywood actor as a very good ‘human being’.”Salman Khan is a very good human being. It’s good that he got acquitted. I watch his movies. I am waiting in front of his house to see him. I am very happy that he got acquitted,” said one of his fans.”It’s a big reason for happiness for us. He is an honest person. We are happy for him. Our prayers are with him,” added another fan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, scores of fans of the ‘Dabangg’ actor have gathered outside his Galaxy apartment in Mumbai to celebrate his acquittal.The Bombay High Court earlier quashed all the charges against Salman in this case.The High Court said that on basis of evidences produced by the prosecution, the appellant cannot be convicted, no matter how differently the common man thinks.Pronouncing the verdict, Justice AR Joshi observed that the prosecution has failed to establish the case against Salman.The High Court also observed that appreciation of evidence by trial court is not proper according to principles of jurisprudence. There has been a faulty manner to establish procedure for connecting chain of evidence with regard to biological evidence, the High Court added.The actor was convicted of all charges by a sessions court earlier this year in the case relating to 2002 when Salman’s Toyota Land Cruiser had crashed into five men sleeping outside a bakery on Hill Road in Bandra in the early hours of September 28. One person was killed and four others were injured.

Salman Khan hit-and-run case: Bombay HC may discard evidence against actor

. Salman was granted bail by the Bombay High Court the same day he was convicted and sentenced by the session’s court.

The Bombay High Court may discard the evidence by the main prosecution witness Ravindra Patil in the 2002 hit-and-run-case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan. The court observed that evidence of the injured is not devoid of inconsistencies and the prosecution had failed to prove the truthfulness of the witness, who claimed that Khan was intoxicated.”It’s difficult to accept the answer of witness Ravindra Patil (Salman’s bodyguard), who said that car tyre burst due to impact. In a criminal trial it’s the duty of the prosecution to establish its own case and not for the accused to prove his innocence,” the High Court said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the Supreme Court had rejected the plea to cancel the superstar’s bail filed by Patil’s mother. Salman was granted bail by the Bombay High Court the same day he was convicted and sentenced by the session’s court. On May 6 this year, Salman was convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, besides several other offences and sentenced to five years jail against which he filed the present appeal in the High Court.

Intolerance debate: PM remains silent when rationalists get killed, Rahul Gandhi’s salvo at Modi

He countered PM Modi’s speech about Constitution Day saying that according to him common man – Hindu, Muslim, rich and poor were the real authors of the Constitution. He noted that the PM did not mention this in his speech.

Rahul Gandhi on Tueday addressed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday as the intolerance issue was discussed. He said, “When I heard PM yesterday, I realised how broadly we differ.”He countered PM Modi’s speech about Constitution Day saying that according to him common man – Hindu, Muslim, rich and poor were the real authors of the Constitution. He noted that the PM did not mention this in his speech.Slammimg the BJP on the Intolerance issue, he said, “Kalburgi and Dabholkar were killed by fanatics and the PM did not break the ice.” <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that VK Singh after being sworn as an MP and holding the post of General of Indian Army compared Dalit children to dogs. Gandhi said he directly challenged the Constitution.Rahul also spoke about various personalities speaking about intolerance and facing severe backlash. He also added that Arun Shourie faced flak for being critical of PM Modi. “I would like to tell you that Arun shourie, who is BJP man, was trolled on Twitter because he criticised Modi,” said Gandhi.He spoke about Dadri saying, “A Muslim man is killed in cold blood. The man ultimately responsible for his protection, the PM, remained silent.”He said that while government talks of ‘Skill India’ voice of FTII students complaining about ‘mediocre man’ heading the institute was ‘crushed.’ Talking about Aamir Khan speaking out on rising intolerance he said, “Modi ministers are trying to send Bollywood star to Pakistan…Pakistan failed because they crushed the voice of their own people.”

Aamir Khan Intolerance Row: Woman commits suicide after husband criticizes actor

“Sonam Pandey and her husband Mayank were talking about newspaper reports about Khan’s statement yesterday morning. My son poked fun at Sonam, saying what kind of man is the Bollywood star, who wants to settle abroad on the advice of his wife,” said Mayank’s father, RP Pandey. Angered by her husband’s criticism of Khan, Sonam ran upstairs and locked herself inside a room, he added.

File Photo

A dispute with her husband over remarks by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan saw a woman here committing suicide by consuming poison, her family members claimed. Police said they are investigating the alleged suicide by one Sonam Pandey and the claims by her family members that she took the extreme step as she was distressed by her husband’s comments mocking Khan. “Sonam Pandey and her husband Mayank were talking about newspaper reports about Khan’s statement yesterday morning. My son poked fun at Sonam, saying what kind of man is the Bollywood star, who wants to settle abroad on the advice of his wife,” said Mayank’s father, RP Pandey. Angered by her husband’s criticism of Khan, Sonam ran upstairs and locked herself inside a room, he added. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After a while, she started screaming and, when Mayank went to her help, he found her vomiting. It appears she consumed some poisonous substance. Sonam was rushed to the hospital, where she died later, Pandey said. When contacted, Kotwali police station inspector Praful Shrivastava said they were “investigating the matter and will proceed accordingly”. Khan had touched off a storm with his remarks earlier this week that his wife Kiran Rao had asked him whether they could settle abroad given the incidents of intolerance in the country.

Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit refuses to join ‘intolerance’ debate

A number of artists, literary persons and film stars have expressed their concern over the alleged growing intolerance in the country in recent months.

Abdul Basit

Pakistan on refused to join in the ongoing debate on alleged intolerance in the country saying it was an internal matter of India.”I would not like to comment on your internal matters,” Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit told reporters here on the sidelines of a function. He said this when asked to comment about alleged rising intolerance in India.A number of artists, literary persons and film stars have expressed their concern over the alleged growing intolerance in the country in recent months. The latest to join the debate was Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, who recently had said that his wife Kiran had expressed fear for their child in the current atmosphere, inviting strong reaction from BJP and others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday, Khan had said that he stood by his comments on “intolerance” and asserted that neither he nor his wife have any intention to leave the country.

Differentiating between the two dissent: App-wapsi is every bit as legit as award-wapsi

How does one show dissent in a democracy?

Noted Indologist Wendy Doniger, whose work Hindus: An Alternative History was pulped by a publisher of international repute when faced with a lawsuit, reckons that returning of awards by writers and filmmakers is a legitimate form of protest in a democracy and that it can be really effective.

Her views are echoed by Pritish Nandy, politician, film producer, writer and artist who, in a recent blog for The Times of India, explains that creative individuals who return their awards, do so because they have no other way of voicing their discontent.

Aamir Khan. Getty ImagesAamir Khan. Getty Images

Aamir Khan. Getty Images

Nandy goes on to say: “Most of the people I know (including Jayanta Mahapatra who he describes at length as a non-partisan poet) who are returning their awards are doing so because they know no other way to voice their anguish at the current scenario… Those who are returning their awards are sad, disappointed people. And they are sadder because their motives are being misconstrued.”

Doniger sees this is as an indication “that the great Indian tradition of debate is alive and well.”

It is widely accepted that authors, filmmakers, historians, scientists and men of repute who have been at various times honoured by the state for excellence in their fields, may use their awards as a tool of protest when they are anguished about an issue or a discourse.

Their gesture may rightly be construed as freedom of expression. Their dissent is an invaluable part of the checks and balances of a robust democracy. It also proves why democracy is a far superior system of governance.

Now let’s ask ourselves, if the return of an award by a writer is freedom of expression, why should uninstalling of an app by a consumer be any less?

The autorickshaw driver, insurance agent, student, homemaker, office goer or a small business owner may not have an award to return but they have every right to take recourse to a peaceful and legitimate form of protest to lodge their displeasure.

Or is the anguish of a common man less important than the angst of a writer or a scientist?

It is perverted logic to differentiate between dissents and term ‘award-wapsi’ as ‘legitimate non-conformism’ and ‘app-wapsi’ as ‘commercial bullying’ when the mode of protest is voluntary and involves no coercion or threat of physical harm.

The millions who thronged at Aamir Khan’s movies and cheered for him, may have not found resonance with his views of an ‘intolerant’ India. Their action to disassociate themselves from Snapdeal, the brand which Khan champions, is every bit an extension of the freedom of expression that is the lifeblood of a democracy.

Till the writing of this report, over 91,000 consumers have, in the past two days, downgraded the Snapdeal app to one on a scale of five in App Store and Playstore and there are reports that close to 7,00,000 have uninstalled the app from their mobile phones.

Aamir, a genuine A-lister and one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actors, have in the past endorsed a plethora of brands including Coca Cola, Titan, Tata Sky, Godrej and Samsung, just to name a few.
While Snapdeal has issued a statement distancing itself from the actor’s remark saying the comments made by Aamir were “in his personal capacity”, Godrej hastened to add that Aamir is no longer associated with them.

It is evident that brands are feeling the heat, as is the norm in a free market economy where customers worldwide voice their dissent by peaceful consumer boycott whenever a brand ambassador lands in a controversy.

When you associate your brand (in this case, Snapdeal) with a celebrity (here, Aamir), you buy into his charisma, marketability and worldview. If a company wants to leverage his stardom, it must also share his negative publicity.

From Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, Wayne Rooney, Mike Tyson to Chris Brown, Madonna or Kate Moss, brand endorsement agreements worldwide are littered with instances where companies have dropped ambassadors like hot potatoes when faced with consumer boycott. Why, Nike, weighed in on FIFA to get rid of Sepp Blatter, something that nobody could do for decades.

It is downright silly to suggest that those consumers who reacted by disassociating themselves from a brand when they were angry with its ambassador were indulging in some sort of commercial bullying.

If anything, what the uninstalling of Snapdeal app after Aamir Khan’s controversial remarks tell us is that Indian consumers are an informed lot who are ready to exercise their choice (key word in a democracy) and cannot be taken for granted.

Let’s understand that freedom of expression is a two-way street. And ‘award-wapsi’ brigade has no copyright over it.

Shiv Sena blasts NCP chief Sharad Pawar for backing Aamir Khan

“If according to Pawar intolerance means betraying the country whose food you eat then you should call Aamir Khan to Baramati and honour him with ‘Nishan E Baramati’ award,” Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

Sharad Pawar – File Photo

Shiv Sena on Thursday lambasted Sharad Pawar for defending actor Aamir Khan over his intolerance remarks, saying the NCP chief has lost connect with the sentiments of the people.”If according to Pawar intolerance means betraying the country whose food you eat then you should call Aamir Khan to Baramati and honour him with ‘Nishan E Baramati’ award,” Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.”What Pawar is saying in Aamir Khan’s defence does not befit the character of Maharashtra,” it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”By that yardstick seeking (extradition of) Dawood Ibrahim and raising voice against Pakistan will also be construed as intolerant,” the editorial said.”It is unfortunate that a leader who has been in politics and in power for so many years should consider anti-India remarks of the actor as a personal view”, the party said.”It is not surprising that chief of the party which feels terrorist Ishrat Jahan was a saint should support Aamir,” it added.”It is necessary to tell Pawar to make comments befitting his age and experience,” the editorial added.Leaders do not know what is going on in society and have lost connect with people’s sentiments, it said.Slamming Aamir Khan’s critics, Pawar yesterday had said that the tone and tenor of the reactions to the Bollywood super star’s statement on growing intolerance in the country actually lent substance to the debate on the issue and to say that he got his wealth in India itself betrayed an intolerant attitude.The 50-year-old actor in an interaction at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism awards ceremony on Monday had said, “Kiran (his wife) and I have lived all our life in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India … She fears for her child, she fears about what the atmosphere around us will be.”

Intolerance row: Aamir Khan clears the air, says he is a proud Indian but stands by what he said

The brand ambassador of ‘Incredible India’ campaign also said that he is proud to be an Indian national and does not need anyone’s permission to prove his Indianness.

PTI
Two days after he was under the eye of a storm over his comments about growing intolerance in the country, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan on Wednesday evening clarified that neither him nor his wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country as he is proud to be an Indian.The brand ambassador of ‘Incredible India’ campaign also said that he is proud to be an Indian national and does not need anyone’s permission to prove his Indianness.Khan also thanked people who stood by him and appealed to the people to protect India’s integrity, diversity and inclusiveness..<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here is what Aamir Khan said in a statement. First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future. Anyone implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying. Secondly, I stand by everything that I have said in my interview. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that. To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point.To all the people who have stood by me, thank you. We have to protect what this beautiful and unique country of ours really stands for. We have to protect its integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, its many languages, its culture, its history, its tolerance, it’s concept of ekantavada, it’s love, sensitivity and its emotional strength. I would like to end my statement with a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, it’s a prayer really : Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,Where knowledge is free,Where the world has not been broken up into fragments,by narrow domestic walls,Where words come out from the depth of truth,Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way,Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,Where the mind is led forward by thee,Into ever-widening thought and action,Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake. Jai Hind.Aamir Khan had on Monday joined the debate on the growing ‘intolerance’ and had said he was”alarmed” by a number of incidents, and that his wife Kiran Rao even suggested that they should probably leave the country.Aamir on Monday night speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Awards event had said, “When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm. You feel why this is happening, you feel low. That sense does exist in me.”

No intention of leaving country, proud to be Indian: Aamir Khan

Mumbai: Under fierce criticism from BJP and its allies over his remarks on intolerance, Bollywood star Aamir Khan on Wednesday asserted that he stood by what he had stated and that neither he nor his wife Kiran Rao have any intention to leave the country.

The 50-year-old Aamir, who drew flak from BJP and a section of film fraternity for expressing his “alarm and despondency” over the rise in recent incidents of intolerance, came out with a statement, saying he is “proud to be an Indian”.

Aamir Khan. AFPAamir Khan. AFP

Aamir Khan. AFP

Hitting out at Aamir, Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said the “extreme reaction” given by the actor has not only “dented” the image of the country but also his own.

Joining his party colleagues who have been critical of Aamir’s comments, Javedekar said the reason why his party did not agree with the actor’s statement is because the country has a “legacy of tolerance”.

Another Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said tolerance is in India’s DNA and the actor need not leave the country, advising him to not come under the influence of “fabricated political propaganda”.

“Tolerance is in India’s DNA. There is no space for intolerance in the country. People don’t need to get influenced by fabricated political propaganda,” he tweeted.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, “Some are propagating wrong things some are coming under wrong propaganda. There is more tolerance in India. People of India are tolerant.”

The government had called Aamir’s comments alarmist, with ministers alleging a conspiracy to tarnish India’s image.

In his one-page statement, Aamir said,”First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future.

First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never…

Posted by Aamir Khan on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

“Anyone implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying,” he said.

The actor had kicked up a political storm with his remarks at a function in Delhi on Monday about his wife expressing fear for their child in the current atmosphere.

He had said, “Kiran and I have lived all our life in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India… She fears for her child, she fears about what the atmosphere around us will be.”

A defiant Aamir showed no signs of relenting on Wednesday in the face of fresh attack.

“I stand by everything that I have said in my interview. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that,” he said.

Sources close to the actor denied media reports that Kiran was asked to leave Mumbai for a few days in view of the raging controversy. She is in Mumbai and has no plans to leave the city, the sources said.

BJP had hit out at Aamir, saying “Where will he and his family go other than India? There is no other better country like India and no better neighbour than a Hindu for an Indian Muslim. What is the situation in Muslim countries and Europe. There is intolerance everywhere.”

Shielding him from the attack, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had said the government should instead of branding all those who question it and the Prime Minister as “unpatriotic, anti-national or motivated” reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them.

In his statement, Aamir said, “To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point.” He also thanked those who stood by him.

“To all the people who have stood by me, thank you. We have to protect what this beautiful and unique country of ours really stands for. We have to protect its integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, its many languages, its culture, its history, its tolerance, it’s concept of ekantavada, it’s love, sensitivity and its emotional strength,” he said.

The actor ended his statement by quoting Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem, “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, Where knowledge is free, Where the world has not been broken up into fragments, by narrow domestic walls, Where words come out from the depth of truth.

“Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection, Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way, Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit, Where the mind is led forward by thee, Into ever-widening thought and action, Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake,” signing off with “Jai Hind”.

Naqvi said, “There is nothing wrong as peace and harmony are prevailing in the country. So Aamir does not need to leave the country. He should stay back and should not come under the influence of fabricated political propaganda,” he added.

Deprecating the actor’s remarks, Javadekar said, “The statement of Aamir may have been his personal opinion but the country has been hurt by it to a large extent. If such an extreme reaction is given by a prominent artiste, then naturally some people get hurt and sad.

“The reason why we do not agree with the statement is because our country has a legacy of tolerance which is there even today. Not only has Aamir’s statement dented the image of the country but his own image has been dented,” he said.

Accusing the BJP of indulging in “fascist and discriminative” politics, the Samajwadi Party came out in open support of Aamir.

Senior SP leader and Cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav told reporters in Jaunpur in UP, “Aamir does not need to leave the country. He can live anywhere in UP.”

Wading into the controversy, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said a “strong backlash” against Aamir only strengthened his views on intolerance.

“A strong backlash against @aamir_khan also amounts to #Intolerance. It would only strengthen his views on intolerance.”, Pawar said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

PTI

Sedition case filed against Aamir Khan, wife Kiran Rao in Bihar court

Muzaffarpur (Bihar): A complaint was filed in a court in Muzaffarpur on Wednesday against film star Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao under various sections including sedition over his remarks on intolerance.

The complaint was filed by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Sushma Trivedi.

Aamir Khan. AFPAamir Khan. AFP

Aamir Khan. AFP

The court fixed December one for hearing into the matter.

Ojha stated in the complaint that he felt hurt hearing Aamir’s remarks.

The complaint was filed under sections 153 (A),(B) and 124 (A). 153 (A) pertains to promoting enemity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

153 (B) relates to imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration and Section 124 (A) relates to sedition.

Khan found himself in the eye of a raging storm after he commented last Monday in a programme, “Kiran and I have lived all our life in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India…She fears for her child, she fears about what the atmosphere around us will be.”

PTI

Intolerance debate: Rahul Gandhi supports Aamir Khan, says issue disturbs him as an Indian

Gandhi further said it’s always better to listen to someone who has an issue instead of ‘blanket attacking them’.

Voicing his support for Aamir, the Congress vice-president had yesterday said that the government should not ‘bully or threaten’ the people who question them.

File Photo
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday continued his tirade against the government over Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s remark on growing intolerance in the nation, saying it disturbs him as an Indian. “I do not like what is going on with regard to intolerance. It disturbs me as an Indian. Your principal told me today that women feel uncomfortable walking on the streets. It’s imposing your will on somebody. It’s just bullying,” said Gandhi. “It’s very unpleasant and not going to do good for the country,” he added while interacting with the students of Mount Carmel College here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gandhi further said it’s always better to listen to someone who has an issue instead of ‘blanket attacking them’. “Shouting at people is very very easy. But it is much more powerful to listen to someone. Hating someone is very easy; loving someone is a much more powerful thing to do. I feel the more conversation, the better, the less nastiness, the better, the less hatred, the better,” he added. Voicing his support for Aamir, the Congress vice-president had yesterday said that the government should not ‘bully or threaten’ the people who question them. “Instead of branding all those who question the govt and Modiji- as unpatriotic, anti national or ‘motivated’, the Govt would do better to reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them. That’s the way to solve problems in India- not by bullying, threatening & abusing!” he tweeted.

What tolerance? We killed Gandhi five-and-half months after Independence: Tom Alter

“What tolerance are you talking about,” asks theatre personality Tom Alter, responding to a question on the intolerance debate in the country. “We killed (Mahatma) Gandhi within five-and-a-half months after Independence. If we can kill the Father of the Nation then who are others?”

He was speaking to Firstpost in Patna after performing in a play on Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The play was organised at SK Memorial Hall on 10 November to commemorate the birth anniversary of the first education minister of free India.

Tom Alter in the play. Firstpost/Tarique AnwarTom Alter in the play. Firstpost/Tarique Anwar

Tom Alter in the play. Firstpost/Tarique Anwar

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s famous line, “if you believe in the power of truthfulness, then why do you feel ashamed,” Alter said that “artists have always faced challenges but they keep doing their job”.

He said in India intolerance was nothing new, as it has “always been an intolerant society”. “All government have tried to curb the voice of dissent and criticism. My play Babar ki Aulad (Sons of Babar) was banned in Maharashtra when the Congress government was in power. I got death threats for my play on MF Hussain. And therefore there is nothing new in the ongoing intolerance debate, and I am not disappointed. I have been doing such shows for the past 15 years,” said the 64-year-old artist, adding “intolerance is in our blood but we should have control over it”.

Babar ki Aulad, the two-hour play written by former Union Minister Salman Khursheed and translated into Urdu by author Professor Ather Farooqui, is largely about the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, languishing in exile in Rangoon. The play swings between past and present, logic and emotion, fact and fiction and fantasy and reality. Directed by Dr M Sayeed Alam, the play was an insightful retort to the Hindutva propaganda, especially at the height of the Babri Masjid controversy.

The play on MF Hussain, produced and directed by Nadira Babbar, talked about the life of the celebrated artist. How the restless and carefree Hussain went through various phases of his life, experimenting and exploring. The play gave an insight into his early days in Indore’s Pandharpur, his schooling in Baroda, romance with the brush, his women, marriage, Indianness, ethos and his move to Mumbai. Following the controversy over his nude paintings of ‘Mother India’, the title of the play was changed from Maqbool Se Fida Tak to Pencil Se Brush Tak.

Asked about the spate of ‘award wapsi’ by poets, historians, authors, scientists and others, the Padma Shree awardee said, “anybody could retain or return their awards, depending on their wish. There is no need to either praise or criticise it”.

Coming down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, according to him failed to control the fringe elements, Alter said, “For the first time, we have got a Prime Minister whom people do not believe in. He is not at all bothered about Idea of India.”

About the mandate Biharis gave to Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan (JDU-RJD-Congress alliance), he said, “It is a message for political parties that the politics of hatred and communalism will not work anymore.”

Intolerance row: Lawyer slaps ‘sedition’ charges on Aamir Khan

The case has been filed under IPC section 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds) 153 B (Imputations) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).

Aamir Khan

PTI
Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has been slapped with sedition charges in Kanpur sessions court for his ‘intolerance’ statement and the hearing is set to take place on December 1.Advocate Manoj Kumar Dixit, who filed the case against Khan, said his ‘anti-national’ statement amounts to sedition.The case has been filed under IPC section 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds) 153 B (Imputations) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).Earlier, speaking at the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, Aamir had expressed alarm and despondency over the rise in cases displaying intolerance in the last six to eight months.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He had said that a sense a sense of ‘insecurity’ and ‘fear’ had seeped deep within society.”When I go home and talk to Kiran (Aamir’s wife), for the first time she says, ‘Should we move out of India?” Khan said.

Some are misleading, some are misled, says Venkaiah Naidu on Aamir Khan’s ‘intolerance’ remarks

In the backdrop of a raging controversy over actor Aamir Khan’s remarks on “intolerance” issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said “some people are misleading and some people are misled”.

File photo

In the backdrop of a raging controversy over actor Aamir Khan’s remarks on “intolerance” issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said “some people are misleading and some people are misled”.”Who comes in which category, I do not want to say. Some are propagating wrong things some are coming under wrong propaganda. My suggestion is that the situation in India is better than any other country. There is more tolerance in India. People of India are tolerant. “Recently since our government came, communal clashes have come down. The killing of innocent people by Naxalites have come down. Incidents of atrocities have also come down,” he said in an oblique reference to the Bollywood superstar’s statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aamir Khan was at the centre of a raging debate a day after he expressed “alarm and despondency” over the rise in incidents of intolerance in the last six to eight months. Referring to Dadri lynching incident, the Union Minister said some “stray incidents” are blown out of proportion. “These are issues related to state. Now they are blaming the Centre because they could not digest the emergence of Narendra Modi as world leader. In order to defame Modi they are defaming the country, too.”M M Kalburgi (killing) incident happened in Karnataka, ruled by Congress. Instead of taking responsibility Congress made it political. Dadri incident happened in Uttar Pradesh, which is ruled by Congress-friendly Samajwadi Party. “I am not trying to blame them but if you try to play the blame game then you have to take back it because it will boomerang on you. Let us not vitiate the atmosphere. Try to understand the problem and try to address them,” Naidu said.He said as far as the government of India is concerned it has not done anything wrong. “There are no atrocities by the government. There is no restriction on anybody by the government, no force on anybody by the government. Modi government focuses on development. We are focusing our attention on development and these people are trying to distract from development. “BJP is a rising force in a different part of the country some of the political parties are seeing BJP is a potential state in some of these states,” he said.On the award wapasi issue, Naidu said he would like to remind that some of the people who returned the awards had in past issued public appeal to the people asking them to defeat Modi and not allow him to become Prime Minister. “Now after some time after some incidents here and there, they are trying to defame the government and they are becoming tools of the Congress party. This protest is against the mandate of the people. Otherwise issues are local and they need to be condemned and action has to be taken,” he said.

Cafe Madras regulars get a 1940s’ surprise

HAPPY 75 | To celebrate its diamond jubilee, the restaurant came out with 1940s’ prices, charging customers a mere 20-40 paise on lip-smacking items

A customer clicks a selfie in front of Madras Cafe on Tuesday
Abhinav P Kocharekar

On Tuesday morning, regulars like Prabhakar Rege at Cafe Madras were in for a surprise when they received the bill. A coffee lover, Rege comes every morning from his Shivaji Park residence just to sip filter coffee at Cafe Madras. He was asked to shell out 20 paise, instead of Rs 25 he pays thrice everyday when he comes there for coffee. On Tuesday, Cafe Madras, which satiated taste buds of avid south Indian food lovers for decades, completed 75 years. “To mark the occasion, we decided to have the menu of 1940s be given from morning to noon at the price it was given then,” said Devavrat Kamath, whose family runs the place. The idea to celebrate it in such a nostalgic way was not of Kamath though.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Around 10 years ago, a regular suggested that we put up the menu of 1940, which is when our grandfather opened the place here when he was 23 years old,” said Kamath. The idea struck and the family waited for 10 years to implement it on Tuesday morning when it celebrated 75 years of its existence. “We did not tell anyone. It was just supposed to be a surprise to our regulars. Only those dishes that were available back then at that price were served,” said Kamath. These included upma, idli, coffee and masala dosa. Both idli and upma were prices at 20 paise while coffee and masala dosa at 15 paise and 40 paise each. These are today priced at Rs 35, Rs 25 and Rs 50. “Only four items used to be there at that time on the menu as compared to the over 25 that we have now. We changed the software of our billing system to reflect 1940s prices till the noon time,” said Kamath as he struggles to talk in the midst of congratulatory messages, and mementos from regulars and queries on the special price offered. Old and new who have seen him grow in the vicinity ever since he took over the business 18 years ago found time to pat him. His elder brother Jaiprakash who sits on the billing desk was all busy answering incessant calls after residents got to know of the offer through word of mouth. “It was only for breakfast menu and it was a surprise,” he tells them over the phone. While some inquired and felt dejected that it was only till breakfast, some other regulars like Bhavna Mehta joked that it be extended and if the owners desired money they could take it tomorrow. “I’ve called my friends to have idli and dosa for 40 paise. Please don’t embarrass me now in front of them. If you want money, I’ll pay you tomorrow but let us have items for 40 paise now,” she said laughing. A resident of the area, she has been a regular for the past 30 years. Though Matunga was predominantly south Indian hub, it now has a number of Gujaratis and clientele is a cosmopolitan crowd. Kamath talks in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and of course Konkani, his mother tongue. He does not know Tamil yet, a language spoken in the state from the restaurant got its name from. “But we have stuck to the south Indian dishes and have not altered our menu,” said Devavrat. This has ensured that a number of old timers from Bollywood come there regularly besides prominent businessmen like Mukesh Ambani. “Dirubhai Ambani was a regular and that is how Mukesh too became a regular. In Bollywood we have most of the old timers who are regular like the Kapoor family, Naseeruddin Shah’s family, Jackie Shroff, and Anurag Kashyap and Deepika Padukone among the new faces,” said Kamath. On Tuesday, however, it was the regulars’ day out. People came with their families to be part of the celebrations. “Whenever I come from London, I visit this place at least thrice every week. I got to know from Facebook that they are celebrating 75, so dropped in to savour my favourite items,” said Vasant Shetty.

A stitch in time saves nine: Aamir Khan’s statement is neither hyperbolic nor motivated

Actor Aamir Khan chipped in on the debate over intolerance and expressed alarm and despondency over the rise in such cases in the last six to eight months. Khan added poignancy and alacrity to his assertions and further stated, “(Wife) Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet,” he said.

The context to Aamir Khan’s assertions is the growing chorus over intolerance and actual incidents of violence in India. The most prominent of these that hogged the headlines are the Dadri lynching of an elderly Muslim man and the murderous arson attack on a Kashmiri trucker. The former was mobbed and lynched over rumors of having stored beef in his house and the latter after the beef ban controversy erupted in Kashmir. Both were innocent victims of a whipped up mob frenzy; not isolated, vigilante attacks that could be brushed aside as aberrations.

Aamir Khan. IbnliveAamir Khan. Ibnlive

Aamir Khan. Ibnlive

While there has been a wide ranging response to Aamir Khan’s assertions — ranging from the churlish and rude to the sober — Khan’s statements should focus and concentrate the minds of sober and thoughtful people.

Deconstructed, Aamir Khan’s statement is neither hyperbolic nor motivated.

Khan’s expression of alarm and then despondency is carefully thought out. He is a Muslim, in fact, a celebrity Muslim that many sections of the media have not ceased to tout as being representative of India’s secular and plural polity. Given the ubiquity of Aamir Khan and other assorted Khans in Bollywood and their celebrity nature, these people were inevitably plum pickings for propaganda and presenting a distorted picture of the Muslim condition in India. It needs to be pointed out here that the abysmal Muslim condition in India has been well documented to belabor any further discussion on Muslims in the country. Aamir — being an astute person — appears to know and understand his status and stature; hence the bombshell he drops. The propagandists have ‘egg on their face’. But this is not the main or major point of Aamir Khan’s assertions. It is more profound.

Essentially, Khan’s statements appear to be in the nature of a plea and need for course correction and review of the contemporary thrust and drift of the country’s polity and politics. It is not rocket science to understand and feel the undercurrents of multiple transitions that India is contemporarily undergoing. The major and the most significant transition is the ‘work in progress’ metamorphosis of the nature of the country’s polity and its politics. The premise of this metamorphosis is the political ideology that seeks to revert India to its ‘Hindu essence’. Admittedly reductive as all ideologies are, this ideology also seeks to ‘purify’ India of accretions and allegedly alien ideas and themes. Broken down and rudely stated, it seeks to cleanse India which, among other things, means the rule of the majority, a second or third class status for minorities especially Muslims and a more aggressive and chauvinistic posture-within and without. Or, in other words, a wholesale transformation and mutation of the idea of India – a new India of India that is Hindu in nature and essence.

This is the broad philosophical tour de force of the this ideology termed as Hindutva. The rest is mere corollary. That is, pedestrian application and crystallisation of this ideology into the entrails of the state, polity and society in India. Axiomatically, the fallout and consequence of all this would be intolerance. And once intolerance sets in and is not offered a contrapuntal and corrective, it becomes normative. It is to these normative implications and consequences of intolerance that Aamir Khan is throwing his status and eminence to. And it should be read and understood against this perspective. Laying out, delineating and deconstructing Aamir Khan’s statement in this essay is not in the nature of a defense of the man; it is an explication of the statement as I understand these to be. I then validate and whole heartedly endorse what Aamir Khan is stating and implying and that is , ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.

Muslims won’t succumb to politics of Sangh Parivar: Asaduddin Owaisi

Hyderabad: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday said that the Muslims would not leave the country, come what may, and that they would continue to live here as “proud Indians”.

“Muslims will not succumb to dog whistle politics of the Sangh Parivar and other fascist forces but continue their democratic struggle for justice, due share and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the country,” the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad told reporters here.

When asked for reaction on Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s revelation on Monday that his wife asked if they should move out of the country due to security situation prevailing in the country, the AIMIM leader said, “I can’t speak for a film star. I can only speak as a proud Indian Muslim that I will never succumb to all these dog whistle politics of the Sangh Parivar and other fascist organisations.”

Asaduddin Owaisi. AFPAsaduddin Owaisi. AFP

Asaduddin Owaisi. AFP

“They can’t create fear in our hearts and minds because this is our county. So long as life on earth survives, Muslims will live in India as proud Indians,” he added. Owaisi said Indian Muslims would definitely struggle for their due share and rightful position, which no one could deny them since it was what the constitution guarantees.

“We are Indians not only by birth but by choice. We have seen many adversities, many riots; thousands of lives were lost. We have also seen destruction of Babri Masjid,” he said.

Owaisi said grievances of Indian Muslims had always been with parties in power as they did not give them the rights the Constitution guaranteed. “Still this is our country. We will continue to fight. We will continue to struggle and definitely get our due share and our position,” he added.

The AIMIM leader said Muslims would not disappoint great freedom fighters who dreamt of Muslims living in the country as proud Indians.

IANS

Hindu Sena activists stage protest, shout slogans against Aamir Khan over intolerance remarks

Mumbai: Hundreds of activists of the Hindu Sena on Tuesday staged a vociferous demonstration outside the home of Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan protesting against his statements on intolerance.

The activists shouted slogans like “Aamir Khan murdabad”, “Aamir Khan chale jao”, and attempted to force their way inside the actor’s home in Bandra, but were prevented by a substantial police presence there.

Later, around a dozen activists were detained and taken to the Bandra police station.

File photo. Image courtesy: AFPFile photo. Image courtesy: AFP

File photo. Image courtesy: AFP

An official said police have deployed in adequate numbers to prevent any untoward incident.

On the issue of beefing up security, the official said that would be decided by a separate department depending on the requirement.

Meanwhile, while on a visit to Solapur, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis declined to comment on Aamir Khan’s comment.

“I have better things to do than react to all such statements. There are more pressing issues of the state than talking about these things,” Fadnavis told media persons.

In Pune, state Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam termed Aamir Khan’s comments as “treason” and said the actor was welcome to go to Pakistan if he felt so insecure in India.

“In India, we gave you so much love — Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. We looked at your art and not your religion. Does it mean we have been feeding milk to a snake?” Kadam said.

IANS

‘Conspiring’ Congress can’t digest elected government, ‘popular’ PM: BJP

“Our Prime Minister said in Malaysia that terrorism can’t be linked to religion, what more can we say. Today the world is supporting India?s bid to join the United Nations Security Council, proving that we are tolerant,” Hussain added.

File Photo

Hitting out at the Congress for spreading rumours that India was an ‘intolerant’ nation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday said the grand old party was spreading a ‘web of conspiracy’ and was stooping to such low measures since they were ‘intolerant’ to a successful, elected government and the ‘popular’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”The Congress, which was involved in the massacre of 100 of Sikhs, took part in several riots. So, they must refrain from teaching India the language of tolerance or intolerance. They can’t tolerate a popular PM and an elected government, which is why they insult the nation when it is progressing,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told the media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> He asserted that the Prime Minister had been working hard to take India’s name to great heights when he was abroad and the Congress was doing exactly the opposite from within the nation.”Our Prime Minister said in Malaysia that terrorism can’t be linked to religion, what more can we say. Today the world is supporting India’s bid to join the United Nations Security Council, proving that we are tolerant,” Hussain added.Training his guns on Aamir Khan for expressing his concerns over rising tolerance and admitting that his wife was considering ‘moving out’ of the nation, he asserted that the Bollywood star would not find any other nation more ‘tolerant’ than India.”Want to ask Aamir Khan that who is advising him on the basis on which he is saying such things Khaj ji, you can’t find a better nation in the world. Wherever you go, you will face intolerance, except India. All Muslims in India have the same right as anyone else,” Hussain said.The BJP spokesperson expressed confidence that if Khan went around the nation, he would not come across anyone who wanted to leave ‘incredible’ India. He, however, added that the BJP was open to a debate where the actor could convince them that an Indian could be happy in another country.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has come out in support of the actor’s concerns and said that instead of branding all those who question the government as ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘anti-national’, they would do better to reach out to the people and try to understand the people’s problems.Aamir had earlier voiced his concern that he and his wife were worried with the alarming rise in ‘intolerance’ in the nation and had considered leaving the country, fearing the fate of their child.

Intolerance row: Hope Aamir won’t be referred to as ‘Congress man’ now: Singhvi

The Congress on Tuesday backed Bollywood actor Aamir Khan for his views on rising intolerance in the nation and he hoped Aamir won’t be referred to as a ‘Congress man’ after his remark.

RNA
The Congress on Tuesday backed Bollywood actor Aamir Khan for his views on rising intolerance in the nation and he hoped Aamir won’t be referred to as a ‘Congress man’ after his remark.”What Aamir Khan, one of the most respected actor has said, and in the presence of senior BJP people, is what the whole world is saying, all of India is saying, all right-minded people are saying. I only hope and trust that he will not be referred to as a ‘Congress man’, not to be told as a biased person, he will not be referred to in derogatory terms,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singhvi further said that instead of criticising people like Aamir, heed must be paid to the message given by him.Echoing similar sentiments, another Congress leader PL Punia said what Aamir Khan has said is also being felt by people at international level.”It’s a big thing to think to go out of the country for the children’s future,” he said.Punia slammed veteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher for saying that Aamir should ‘spread hope instead of fear’.”Anupam Kher is trying to please the present government and his wife herself is a BJP MP. It is not expected of Anupam Kher to make this matter light. This is really bad,” he added.In a series of tweets expressing disappointment over Khan’s remarks, Kher asked if Khan would suggest millions of Indians to leave the country or to wait till the regime changes.”Dear @aamir_khan. #SatyamevaJayate u talked about evil practices but gave Hope. So even in ‘Intolerant’ times u need 2 spread Hope not Fear,” Kher tweeted.Speaking at the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, Khan had yesterday expressed ‘alarm’ and despondency over the rise in such cases ‘in the last six to eight months’.He had said that a sense a sense of ‘insecurity’ and ‘fear’ had seeped deep within society.”When I go home and talk to Kiran (Aamir’s wife), for the first time she says,’Should we move out of India’,” Khan said.”She (Kiran Rao) fears for her child and what the atmosphere around us will be,” he added.

Two more families claim to be Geeta’s parents: Swaraj Swaraj

Indore: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that two more families have claimed Geeta, a hearing and speech impaired girl who returned from Pakistan last month, to be their daughter but she has refused to identify one of them on the basis of their photographs.

Swaraj also said that efforts will be intensified to trace Geeta’s real parents, which will include exhibiting her photographs in her childhood hair style.

Geeta returned to India after spending over a decade in Pakistan. PTIGeeta returned to India after spending over a decade in Pakistan. PTI

Geeta returned to India after spending over a decade in Pakistan. PTI

Swaraj met Geeta who has been staying with an organisation working for the cause of deaf and mute children here since her return from Pakistan.

“We are trying our best to locate parents of Geeta. Two families, including one from Bihar, have claimed that they are her family members,” Swaraj told reporters.

The minister said Geeta refused to recognise the photograph of a Muslim family, but sought more time to go through another photograph.

Swaraj said that at least four families from Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab had also claimed Geeta to be their daughter, but their claims could not be proved.

Among the four families was Bihar’s Janardhan Mehto whose DNA didn’t match with Geeta.

“However, my efforts will continue till I find her real parents. I am hopeful and confident on the issue,” the minister said.

Swaraj also sought to fend off criticism of government by some quarters over keeping Geeta in the city-based organisation for the children with hearing and speech impairments.

“Some people ask why the government brought Geeta from Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation and kept her in the organisation in Indore. However, there is a major difference in staying in the Pakistani organisation and with the one in her own country.

“In Pakistan, she was staying in a place which was not meant for people like her, but here in Indore she is among those who are like her and she will gradually gain confidence that even without being able to hear and speak, she can become self-dependent and can lead a good life,” Swaraj said.

Geeta had inadvertently crossed the Indian border through Samjhouta Express over a decade ago. Swaraj also asked office-bearers of the organisation to interact with Geeta in sign language and find out what was her hair style when she had crossed the border.

“We will take her photographs in that hair style and exhibit them. It might help us in locating her parents,” she said.

The minister also expressed her gratitude towards Pakistan and Edhi Foundation for ensuring Geeta’s return to India.

“After it was established that Geeta was an Indian citizen, Pakistan allowed us to bring her back without any dilly-dallying. Edhi Foundation has also set an example of humanity and respected her religious feelings. It also provided her facility to worship Hindu gods and goddess and also served her vegetarian food of her liking,” Swaraj said.

On Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney’s concern over the delay in finding Geeta’s parents, Swaraj said, “I am not answerable to Burney and I have informed in detail about the efforts made by us to locate her parents”.

The minister said Geeta was enjoying her stay at the organisation and people working there were like her parents while other inmates were like her brothers and sisters.

“Geeta very much enjoyed the festival of Diwali at the organisation,” she added.

The minister said that besides sign language, Geeta was also learning computer operating and painting.

“This training will help her a lot,” she said.

To a query, Swaraj said that Geeta had communicated to her through sign language the Indian tricolour and Mahatma Gandhi.

“It was necessary for her to return to India and now she does not want to go back to Pakistan. However, she has lot of regards for Edhi Foundation and its people,” the BJP MP said.

Swaraj said that Geeta had shown her a photograph of Bollywood actor Salman Khan and once again expressed her desire to meet him.

“I will talk to Salman over phone and would fulfill her wish,” the minister added.

PTI

Returning an award will not solve any problem: Kareena Kapoor Khan

Kareena Kapoor Khan has disapproved of the trend of writers and filmmakers returning their awards to protest “growing intolerance in the country” and advised them to instead address the issues bothering them.

“Returning an award would not solve any problem. We should learn to address the issue (of intolerance) rather that getting it upon ourselves. It is not a personal issue, it is the issue of entire nation,” she said in a press meet today.

Courtesy: ibn liveCourtesy: ibn live

Kareena Kapoor Khan. Courtesy: ibn live

The Bajrangi Bhaijaan star said she was inspired by the firm stand taken by youths on issues facing the country. “I haven’t returned any awards. But whatever is going on (in the country), the retaliation of youths (over different issues) that is what really inspired me,” the 35-year-old said when asked to comment on filmmakers returning awards to protest “rising intolerance” under the present Government.

Kareena was in Raipur to take part in a series of programmes based on children organised by Unicef, School Education and Women and Child Development Departments of Chhattisgarh Government. The popular star is Unicef India’s “celebrity advocate” for education. She also appreciated the efforts of Unicef and State Government to promote education among children, especially those residing in the remote areas of Chhattisgarh.

Earlier, addressing a programme held to mark the culmination of Child Right Convention Week, Kareena stressed on improving the standard of education and simultaneously increasing enrolment of students in schools. “Though enrolment of students in schools has increased significantly, quality education is still an issue of concern. Ensuring quality education to every child is one of the major challenges before us.”

Quality education and advanced learning techniques in a school can collectively ensure progress of a child to attain a better future, she added. Kareena also advocated for facilities like separate toilets for girls in schools, availability of clean drinking water for students and improving access to schools.

On the occasion, Chief Minister Raman Singh launched a mobile mobile-cum web-based application `CG Edutrack’ jointly developed by Unicef and School Education Department.

The application will help in monitoring the presence of teachers and students in Government-run schools.

PTI

Anupam Kher ‘humbled’ by LK Advani’s praise for his play ‘Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha’

New Delhi: Overwhelmed by BJP veteran LK Advani’s effusive praise for his play “Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha“, veteran actor Anupam Kher thanked the senior BJP leader for his “generosity” to come and witness the play.

“Thank you Advani Ji for your generosity and praise for our play #MeraWohMatlabNahiTha. We loved your presence,” Anupam tweeted.

Anupam Kher. PTI

Anupam Kher. PTI

Directed by Rakesh Bedi, the play is about two ex-lovers, Preetam Kumar Chopra (Anupam) and Hema Roy (Neena Gupta) meeting after 35 long years, to discover the truth behind their separation.

The play was staged in the capital on Saturday, and will also be brought alive on Sunday.

Anupam, whose actress wife Kirron Kher is a Bharatiya Janata Party MP, also shared a string of photographs in which Advani is seen applauding the actors on the stage. In one image, Advani can be seen with a microphone and seems to be sharing words of appreciation for the actors and director.

Anupam, who has been associated with the world of theatre for long, also appreciated the turnout for the play.

He posted: “What an amazing audience last night for our play #MeraWohMatlabNahiTha. Thank you Delhi for your standing ovation.”

Meanwhile, on the film front, his film “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” has set cash registers ringing at the box office. The Salman Khan-starrer has amassed over Rs.100 crore since its release on Thursday.

IANS

Intolerance is not acceptable: Mamata Banerjee

“Tolerance is life. Intolerance is not acceptable. Every religion has spoken about tolerance. It is also written in the Vedas,” Banerjee said.

Supporting Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan’s views on intolerance, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said India’s culture gives the lesson of unity in diversity irrespective of caste, creed and religion. “Today Amitabhji has spoken on the issue of intolernace. Everyone has spoken on this. Unity in diversity, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, is our strength. “Tolerance is life. Intolerance is not acceptable. Every religion has spoken about tolerance. It is also written in the Vedas,” Banerjee said at the 21st edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival here at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amitabh Bachchan, while inaugurating the film festival, today recalled the contribution of Indian cinema in fostering social unity, communal amity and love at a time when “cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world”.

PM Modi reaches out to NRIs, says headlines not the barometer to assess India

PM Modi was addressing thousands of people, almost all of Indian origin, at a Grand Community reception in his honour at the iconic Wembley Stadium, home to rock concerts and England’s national soccer team.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a welcome rally in his honour at Wembley Stadium in London on November 13, 2015.

AFP photo
Facing attack back home over the issue of intolerance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India’s diversity was the country’s “strength and pride” and underlined the importance of peaceful co-existence. Modi also said that there is no reason for India to remain poor, asserting. “we harbour poverty for no reason.””India is full of diversity. This diversity is our pride and it is our strength. Diversity is the speciality of India.” he said, adding that despite the country being home to diverse religions, over 100 languages and 1,500 dialects Indians have proved how to live together.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi was addressing thousands of people, almost all of Indian origin, at a Grand Community reception in his honour at the iconic Wembley Stadium, home to rock concerts and England’s national soccer team. The event was themed ‘Two Great Nations, One Glorious Future’.Courting the Indian diaspora with rock star-style tour on the second day of his three-day visit to the UK–the first by an Indian Premier in 10 years–, Modi got a rapturous welcome when he reached one of Britain’s most famous sporting venues this evening. An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 people were present at the event, according to the organisers.”Your warm welcome makes me feel home,” Modi told the biggest gathering of Indian diaspora he has ever addressed since assuming office in May 2014.Modi was introduced to the gathering by British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose wife Samantha, draped in a saree, was also present. Cameron greeted the assembled audience with a “Namaste” which drew loud cheers and followed up with another greeting “‘kem cho'(How are you?) Wembley” in Gujarati. He renewed his pitch for India getting a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.”When it comes to UN we know what needs to happen- India with a permanent seat at the UN Security Council,” Cameron said.Britain has a 1.5 million-strong Indian diaspora population. The event was held in a carnival atmosphere following celebrations for Diwali festival. Performers included Indian-origin pop star Jay Sean, popular Bollywood singer ‘Baby Doll’ Kanika Kapoor and Alisha Chinai, who belted out her famous ‘Made in India’ Hindi number of the 90s, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.A dynamic cultural show showcasing dance styles prevailing across India besides a variety of dance mixes with Bollywood songs was on display. The audience also heard classical, folk art and contemporary music performances. There was also a performance by Scottish bagpipers. Special ‘ModiExpress’ buses were deployed to transport the attendees from across the UK. Modi, who acknowledged that terrorism is a challenge to both India and the UK, asserted that the Sufi tradition is the best antidote to terrorism and anybody who understood the message of this tenet would not have picked up the gun.”Kabir and Rahim have been our inspirations. Sufi tradition is the best antidote to terrorism,” he said, adding the two main challenges facing the world today are terrorism and global warming.Addressing the issue of terrorism, Cameron said this is a threat to the very existence of the two countries and they stand shoulder-to-shoulder to tackle it, reminding the gathering about the Mumbai and London attacks. Modi said that his experience in the office in 18 months has made it clear to him that there is no reason for India to remain poor.”There is no reason for India to remain poor, we harbour poverty for no reason. I wonder why we have started pampering poverty” he said, adding that India’s demographic profile is predominantly of youth and hence nobody can stall the country’s development.”65% of the population of the country consists of people below 35 years. India is full of youth and a country which has so many youth cannot continue to lag behind. Nobody can halt its march to development,” he said.On Indo-UK relations, Modi said, “Between two vibrant democracies we are celebrating this very special relationships in this very special venue,” Modi stated.”I was told London will be cold but not so cold. Your warm welcome makes me feel at home. I am grateful to PM Cameron for his kind words,” Modi said.”I want to thank PM Cameron and acknowledge the affection he has towards India,” he added.Modi told the gathering that newspaper and TV headlines are not the barometer to assess a country, a veiled reference to a number of reports in the British media today that were critical of his past and his record on human rights besides bringing up the issue of perceived intolerance in India.”India is not only that much what is seen in newspapers. India is much bigger. India with its 125 crore people is much bigger and better with a preeminent position beyond the screen of Television,” he said.Referring to his meeting with leaders of the Sikh community on Thursday, Modi said, “We shared our thoughts on various subjects. I understand their pain on some issues as well”.Modi said the two dreams India were working towards was a clean India and India with 24/7 electricity. “18,000 villages in India need electricity. In next 1,000 days we will ensure they get it.””The pace and direction of progress in India is such that the fruits of development will be seen very soon,” he said.”World is seeing India as a land of many opportunities”.The Prime Minister announced a direct Air India flightbetween Ahmedabad and London from December 15. He said this connectivity had been established in 2003 during Vajpayee government but was discontinued later.”What is the use of taking names as to who did it,” he said in apparent dig at the UPA government. During the course of his 75-minute address, Modi referred to a youth Imran Khan of Alwar in Rajasthan who made 50 mobile applications and dedicated them to the students without charging anything.”My India resides in people like Imran Khan,” he said. Stating that FDI into India has increased by 40 per cent, Modi said this showed the increasing international confidence in India.Setting the tone for the global summit on climate change in Paris later this month, Modi said India will take a lead in showing to the world how to deal with the problem. He said he will be hosting a meeting of countries rich in solar energy resorces to help tap the renewable energy.The Prime Minister referred to the defence sector and said efforts were on to ensure that weapons systems including submarines, tanks, planes, warships are made in India which will help the country save millions of dollars. He said all major global players in defence sector are knocking at India’s door expressing keenness to manufacture in India.

8 things you should know about PM Modi’s historic Wembley speech

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to speak at Wembley stadium tonight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry and Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal at UK-India CEO Forum meet in London on Friday.

PTI
The Indian diaspora is gearing up to witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak at the Wembley Stadium in London. Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, British-Indian singer Jay Sean and Patricia Rozario, a Bombay-born British soprano are scheduled to perform at the stadium.The Prime Minister will speak at a mass rally at Wembley Stadium, where he is expected to receive an enormous reception from 60,000 British Indians and the rally will be capped off with ‘the biggest fireworks display in the whole country.’ This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the UK in almost a decade and is expected to boost the economic and bilateral ties between the nations. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are some facts about the PM Modi’s speech at Wembley stadium that you should know: 1) With a gathering of 60,000 British Indians, it is the biggest crowd for any foreign elected leader on British soil.2) As many as 2000 volunteers have participated in organising this event.3) More than 600 performers are set to perform on stage during this event.4) 30% attendees are under the age of 30; 55% of female attendees are under the age of 40 and the youngest attendee is just 6 months old.5) People are reportedly flying in from Europe, US and India to attend the event.6) Largest ever Rangoli in the UK will be presented on the pitch.7) It is the first time that UK and India colours will be projected on Wembley arch8) 180 children will be performing in the school choirOn Thursday, India and the UK announced deals worth 9- billion pound as they inked a civil nuclear pact and decided to collaborate in defence and cyber security besides launching a railway rupee bond in London market.

World famous wax museum Madame Tussauds’ to open in Delhi

Madame Tussauds’, world famous Wax Museum, will open its new venture in New Delhi for Bollywood stars as part of the India-UK Year of Culture in 2017, it was officially announced here coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the UK.

Actress Aishwarya Rai poses at the ‘Bollywood 4 Beginners’ photocall at Madame Tussauds on September 30, 2004 in London.

Getty Images
Madame Tussauds’, world famous Wax Museum, will open its new venture in New Delhi for Bollywood stars as part of the India-UK Year of Culture in 2017, it was officially announced here coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the UK.Bollywood stars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif are among the most popular exhibits at the famous waxworks in London.According to the announcement by British Prime Minister David Cameron, a Shakespeare First Folio, treasures from the British Museum and a copy of the Magna Carts will go on touring displays in India for the 2017 cultural exchange. A festival of India will be staged in the UK during the year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The great partnership between India and the UK extends beyond economic ties to the boards of The Bard and the beaches of Bollywood. We have some of the best cultural exports in the world – and it’s about time we celebrated this, together,” Cameron said.The British Library will be digitising 200,000 pages of their South Asian archives, making India books from 1714 to 1914 accessible around the globe. A year long-programme to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and UK cultural ties has been announced by Cameron.The Year of Culture 2017 will see an exciting festival of events celebrating the vibrant cultural history of the 2 countries. Top UK institutions will partner with their Indian counterparts to strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two nations, and showcase British creativity on the global stage.”The great partnership between India and the UK extends beyond economic ties to the boards of The Bard and the beaches of Bollywood. We have some of the best cultural exports in the world and it’s about time we celebrated this, together. To mark the start of this cultural pairing, the British Library will be digitising 200,000 pages of their South Asian archives,” Cameron said.”Two centuries of Indian print will be part of a major programme to make the wealth of Indian printed books held by the British Library dating from 1714 to 1914 accessible to anyone around the globe,” he said.The parent group of Madame Tussauds’, Merlin, is set to invest 50 million pounds in India over 10 years, rolling out other UK favourites such as Sea Life aquariums and Legoland Discovery Centres across Indian cities.Two of the most iconic British texts will tour India as part of the programme. The British Library will showcase Shakespeare’s First Folio the first collected edition of the Bard’s plays and the 1225 edition of the Magna Carta.One of India’s premier museums the CSMVS Mumbai will tell the story of Indian civilisation in the context of world history using some items on loan from the British Museum.The UK is already a big hit with Indian tourists. Last year saw a record breaking 400,000 visits to the UK from India and in the first half of 2015 Indian tourists spent 199 million pounds during their stays.

‘Shah Rukh Khan hounded on Diwali for speaking the truth?’ asks Congress

“We recorded Khan’s statement yesterday in connection with the violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act,” ED sources said in Mumbai.

File Photo

After actor Shah Rukh Khan being grilled by ED on Diwali-eve, Congress wondered whether the superstar has faced the wrath of the authorities for speaking up on the issue of intolerance. “A noted filmstar like Shah Rukh Khan is grilled for four hours… Whether he is facing wrath for speaking out or whether something wrong has been done by him,” chief spokesperson of Congress Randeep Surjewala said. He said that suspicions on this score arose as the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI have nowadays become “instruments of vendetta”. Citing an instance, Surjewala alleged that Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is the senior most Chief Minister in the country, faced ED raid on the day of his daughter’s marriage. The Enforcement Directorate has recorded the statement of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan in a matter of alleged irregularities in the sale of shares of Knight Riders Sports Pvt Ltd (KRSPL) to a Mauritius-based company.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We recorded Khan’s statement yesterday in connection with the violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act,” ED sources said in Mumbai. The case, dating back to 2008-09, pertains to the share sale of KRSPL, owned by Khan’s Red Chillies along with Juhi Chawla and her husband, to a Mauritius-based company owned by Chawla’s husband Jay Mehta. ED is probing allegations that shares sold to the Jay Mehta-owned Sea Island Investments were undervalued by eight to nine times. Khan had faced ED once in 2011 when he was questioned about alleged foreign exchange violation of around Rs 100 crore.

‘March for India’ protest: Anupam Kher meets PM Modi on intolerance issue

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met a delegation of artistes led by Bollywood actor Anupam Kher protesting against a section of artistes who are returning their awards over “intolerance” in the country.

“He (Modi) listened to us and said the intolerance issue is harming the country and its reputation,” Kher said after meeting the prime minister.

File photo. Image courtesy: TwitterFile photo. Image courtesy: Twitter

File photo. Image courtesy: Twitter

“The filmmakers and documentary makers must make an attempt to talk to the PM and not wait for the government to contact them. We have to express our anguish but nothing should come between us and the integrity of the nation to be discussed outside India in an intolerant manner,” he added.

Earlier on Saturday, the delegation led a ‘March for India’ to protest against those returning their awards over intolerance.

After the march, Kher called on President Pranab Mukherjee, and described it as a “great meeting” where he raised concerns about the ‘award wapsi’ by various people.

Kher also said the Prime Minister’s Office had invited renowned Urdu poet Munawwar Rana, but he has not replied to it so far.

On October 18, Rana had returned his Sahitya Akademi award along with the Rs.1 lakh cash prize amid the ongoing debate over growing intolerance. Rana had said that if he is called by the PMO, he will go and meet Modi.

IANS

Mahira Khan posing with ‘Shiv Sainik’: No one should have to say sorry for good humour

It all began when the Shiv Sena announced in the last week of October that it will not allow any Pakistani actor to step on Maharashtra’s soil. The party also made it clear that Pakistani actors like Mahira Khan or Fawad Khan would not be allowed to promote their upcoming films in Maharashtra.

Mahira Khan’s response, however, could not have been wittier. An image surfaced online a few days back showing Mahira at a Halloween party in Lahore posing with film director Asim Raza, who was dressed up as a Shiv Sena leader holding the placard that read, “Mahira ko bahar nikaalo“.

Anger and outrage erupted against Mahira Khan because of that image, reported IANS. Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who has thundered in support of the right-wing several times on TV news channel debates and has also tweeted saying that “Shiv Sena was so right in their act of blackening” Sudheendra Kulkarni’s face, also tweeted against Mahira.

Pandit said that he condemned the ‘intolerant’ act of Mahira Khan, stressing on the fact that she was a Pakistani artist.

Eventually, Mahira Khan apologised for the picture. She said she didn’t intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments and artists should not be dragged into politics. She also said the image was made out “to be something it never was”, although she didn’t mention who the people responsible for that interpretation were.

But why should Mahira Khan have to apologise for that picture in the first place?

Did that picture contain any communally offensive jibe?

Was it sexist, racist or elitist?

Was it anti-India?

The answers, we can all agree, are no, no and no.

The picture was just a response to a political party whose idea of patriotism is to ban everyone from Pakistan from entering Maharashtra — except Malala Yousafzai, of course.

(From left) Asim Raza and Mahira Khan. Image courtesy: @TOIEntertain/Twitter

(From left) Asim Raza and Mahira Khan. Image courtesy: @TOIEntertain/Twitter

The picture was a counter-view (and that too, in the form of a joke) to a hardline stance taken by a political party. What seems to be lost on the likes of Pandit is that if what Mahira and Asim did was indeed an act of ‘intolerance’, then political cartoons and caricatures — which by nature take digs at political parties and their ideologies — become ‘intolerant’ acts.

Without belabouring the point, the biggest irony is that the picture is being called ‘intolerant’ by a person who could apparently not tolerate a light-hearted joke about the behaviour of a certain political party to which the person has taken a fancy.

Far more unfortunate, however, is the fact that one should have to justify the context of a picture. Bear in mind, this wasn’t an inflammatory statement delivered from the pulpit of a rally, or oven a television broadcast. It was a photograph of two people at a party.

The merits of freedom of expression notwithstanding, so long as that expression is not sexist, or communal or racist, or biased against a community, this sort of attack on someone’s expression is baseless. Disagreeing respectfully with that point of view is one thing, attacking the right to make a point — not to mention turning the whole issue personal — is a different thing altogether.

Moreover, one of the most ridiculous aspects of this situation was that Mahira Khan had to apologise whereas the person actually dressed up like a Shiv Sena leader and holding the placard was Asim.

Of course, this doesn’t mean what he did was wrong.

This just goes to show that the outrage, apart from being wrong in principle, was also misdirected. Is this also a thinly-veiled case of sexism or just the fact that Mahira is probably better known in India than Asim? Whatever be the reason, it’s laughable when the person who faced the most criticism was someone standing next to the person who caused all the outrage.

Intolerance against a point of view which opposes a political party’s stand is exactly the kind of thing that worsens the already terrible reputation of tolerance in India.

When people have to worry about what they can wear at a Halloween party, we’re entering a truly dangerous time.