Browsing through my FB feed today, I happened to read a blog by a senior entertainment journalist – Soumyadipta Banerjee – where he has written an open letter to Fawad Khan urging him (and other Pakistani artists) to leave India. After my precious 4 minutes of reading, the title of this blog is exactly what I wanted to ask him. Seriously sir, what is it that you are high on? Reads a lot like misplaced patriotism.
The said open letter spews venom in the name of misplaced patriotic emotions and coming from a senior journalist who had advocated cultural exchanges in the past this is such an emotional but irrational rant. Don’t get me wrong, sir. I am not advocating that cultural exchanges should be kept separate from the political tensions of the countries and should be encouraged with a country which is waging a proxy war with my country. No, not at all. In fact, in my opinion, there should be no exchanges, at all. At any level. At this point.
Unfortunately, you, despite being a journalist don’t sound much different from a nuisance-creating political party or an attention hungry playback singer. Atleast they have their agendas and those are pretty result oriented. Definitely not pardonable but you know we have be ignoring those jokers all this while and will continue to do so. You will consider that we are a country that even tolerates KRK.
But you Sir, do you know what the problem with your rant is? You got so emotional about the Uri Attack that it fogged your mind to the extent of not asking the most important question – why? When our government and the complete political and security machinery knows the kind of neighbours we have; when they have past incidents to prove the intention time and again why are the security levels not impregnable? Why will our jihadist (who disapprove any form of entertainment) backing neighbours be hard hit if their artists are sent back? Why not a full stop on every trade and transaction and only cultural and sport exchanges?
I was taught during my MBA that numbers narrate the best stories, so sir here are some for you. Pakistan’s direct export to India is about half a billion, India’s direct export to Pakistan is 7 and a half billion and informal trade, mostly through Dubai, is estimated at 9 billions. Do you really want to hit where it hurts? Urge the Indian government to put a full stop to all of this trade. A blanket ban. That is the ban we need not artist banning.
When cockroaches start getting into the kitchen through the sink drain, we spray insecticides into the drain. We don’t stop cooking in the kitchen or using the sink, sir. I empathise with your patriotic feelings. I am no less an Indian than you are and a patriotic one at that. My heart bleeds to know that my fellow countrymen have died while protecting the borders. And I don’t believe these candle marches and arm chair social media activism bothers the concerned much. You wrote in your letter that Fawad Khan lacks courage, conviction and guts to stand up the the jihadists and the government of his country that backs them. Sir, it will do us no good if he stands up or not. Because even if he does, either he won’t be taken seriously (which jihadist listens to a filmwala) or he will be killed. But if our government stands up to truly implement the security protocols, trust me the roaches won’t come in.
Sir, if you really think everything that is wrong is with the other country, look at the compensation offered to the martyrs, by your own. 2 Lakhs by the West Bengal Government. Something similar is given to a drunkard who dies in a drain after consuming hooch! That is the value assigned to the life by the government that you are baying the freedom of artists for. Our governments have been long practising the policy of being a pacifist, which is rational too, but that sir, with an irrational neighbour is the problem. We are not hitting them where it will hurt. Yes, we can throw their artists out. Big deal. Art will find voice in Europe, US or any other part of the world. But we, dear sir, will be behaving like the errant child who wants his neighbour’s kid out of his house, right away, because his own mother gave the extra chocolates to the kid.
You know what every voice that is baying for the banning of these artists sounds like to a common Indian? It has a sound of impotency. Don’t want to ban trade, economics suffers. Don’t want to foolproof the borders; takes effort. What do we do? Let’s punch the soft targets. Let’s take out our vengeance and then go back to our routines satisfied that we have been patriots of the highest order.
Its show time sir. And you just assigned yourself the role of a jester. In jest of course.
And now Amul India has a similar take too in an advertisement released on 29.09.2016: