Aamir Khan speaking out on what he thinks is the growing tolerance in India has led to heated debates outside and even within the Bollywood industry. On Monday, the actor said the growing sense of insecurity and intolerance in the country had led his family to consider moving abroad.
In what seemed like a frank admission, he said his wife was scared to open the papers every day, that she was afraid of the atmosphere in the country and whether it was safe for her child. But after this statement, a lot of industry people — prominently led by Anupam Kher — made caustic comments varying from how Aamir had no right to speak about intolerance and how he should be grateful at having been bestowed superstar status in this country, to how he should be packed off to Pakistan.
Whether Aamir’s remarks were right or wrong in the given circumstances is debatable, but it is definitely worrying that someone is not allowed to express his opinion freely. Those opposed to his point of view say that it is a star’s responsibility to not spread fear and paranoia among the masses. But if a superstar feels (justifiably or unjustifiably) the effects of growing intolerance, shouldn’t he have every right to openly express them in a democratic country?
It is a matter of deep concern that even someone of his status is not allowed to speak his mind or express his fears. As someone who’s a celebrity and who’s looked up to, shouldn’t we instead expect honesty from him and support him for it?
While those opposed to Aamir’s views are out there with a volley of verbal attacks, very few have come out in support of him. This is no surprise, considering that people can no longer be sure what will come of any attempt to lend support to or agree with his opinion.
This could dangerously mean that opposing views are no longer being encouraged. If this is not intolerance, what is?