mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
India à la Modi
Bollywood Star Decries “Growing Intolerance” in India

Complaints of intolerance have intensified since Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi’s inauguration in 2014 and contributed to his BJP party’s defeat in the populous northern state of Bihar several weeks ago. Now, Bollywood star Aamir Khan has joined the chorus of artists and intellectuals decrying the trend.

After accusations that he was being unpatriotic, Khan has refused to back down, according to The Times of India:

“I stand by everything I have 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,” 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,” Aamir says in the statement.

“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 says.

That one of Bollywood’s top stars (most of whom are Muslim) is taking on the Hindutva movement brings India’s messy identity politics into some focus. Prime Minister Modi was elected in part because the secular Congress ideology was failing to create a national purpose and a set of unifying values. But the only real alternative, Hindu nationalism, alienates India’s sizable minority groups. Ethnic tensions in India have been known to turn violent, notably under Modi’s watch in the Indian state of Gujarat. That ever-present possibility, combined with the domestic effects of a flagging world economy, are cause for concern.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • Kevin

    How much of this is the social elite Congress supporters just grousing about the BJP being the “wrong sort” of people?

    So much of this seems similar to the rise of the nationalist right in Europe and perhaps Trump or the Tea Party in the US. When the establishment tries to rule certain issues out of bounds and rig the political economy in favor of the well connected, anti-establishment parties will find fertile ground.

    • Tom

      Some of it is INC grousing, and some of it is well-founded–the BJP makes OWS look like the Tea Party in terms of the mess left behind them.

    • Andrew Allison

      And how much TAI grousing about the BJP being the “wrong sort” of people? There seems to be a predisposition to be of Modi.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Anything printed in the Times of India can usually be regarded with the same consideration that one would give an article in the New York Times. It is a mouthpiece for Congress, and always has been.

  • Dale Fayda

    A Muslim complaining about religious intolerance? Wow, he must have a real problem getting his pants on in the morning, considering how big his testicles must be!

    Yes, if only all those other religious groups would learn a thing or two from those tolerant, peace-loving Moslems – what a wonderful world this would be…

    Khan needs to thank his lucky stars that he lives in a majority non-Moslem, relatively religiously permissive country. If he were to make a solitary peep about religious persecution in any Moslem hell hole, head head would already be on the tip of a pike.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service