Letters

Deepika’s gesture

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Deepika Padukone’s gesture of solidarity with the JNU students conveyed the message that even those who cannot be described as ‘political animals’ have made common cause with the protesters to preserve India’s cherished values. Despite the risks involved in these days of muscular nationalism and Hindu revivalism, the fine and famous film star had the courage of her convictions. The stand taken by a celebrity like Padukone should make the BJP and the Modi government to sit up and take notice.

By her gesture of letting herself being flanked by Kanhaiya Kumar and Aishe Ghosh at JNU, the screen idol erred on the side of humanity and lent her support to the people’s movement for preserving the ‘Idea of India’ predicated on secularism and pluralism. It was no surprise that the bigoted and narrow-minded supporters of Hindu Right trolled her online for her ‘support to the tukde-tukde gang’ and favoured the boycott of her upcoming film Chhapaak in which she is featured as an acid attack victim.

Unlike other superstars who continue to maintain a studied silence on issues of existential importance, Padukone chose to stand up and be counted. We wish celebrities emulate Padukone and join the ongoing protests to halt India’s drift towards a majoritarian state. Silence when speaking out is called for and becomes a duty can be tantamount to acquiescence in wrongdoing.

Much of the turbulence that India currently undergoes can be safely ascribed to the ruling party’s mistaken belief that the great nation of ours belongs only to upper caste Hindus with inherited privileges and its all-out attempts to impose Hindutva hegemony on the polity. Nobody has the divine right to say that India is the ancestral property of the self-styled nationalists and it does not belong equally to all of us.

The BJP peddles xenophobia and virulent nationalism to gain acceptability for its hold on power and tighten it. But more and more people now realise that the BJP and the Modi government are pulling the country backwards by attempting to fulfil the ‘majoritarian’ agenda set by the RSS instead of pushing it forward with concrete action to improve the human development indices. It is encouraging that women are participating in large numbers in the protests to save India from drifting into a state where citizens are graded on the basis of creed (religion), caste and class.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Deepika Padukone’s visit to the JNU on Tuesday, in solidarity with the students injured in Sunday’s attack in the campus, has evoked unnecessary controversy. It did not take long for Internet trolls to take a cue and get all riled up, calling for a boycott of her upcoming movie. We have a democracy; any common person, not just an artiste, can go anywhere and express his/her opinion and even dissent. There should not be any objection to it by anybody either in the government or the Opposition. Even the electronic media debated on this unwarranted issue and wasted precious time. Instead of taking up such issues, the media is duty-bound to organise debates on important and alarming issues linked to unemployment, economic slowdown, poverty, hunger and law and order being faced by masses.

S.K. Khosla,

Chandigarh

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 1:25:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/deepikas-gesture/article30527776.ece

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