Government of India responds to Aamir Khan

Aamir Khan said this yesterday

In response, this is Nalin Kohli, BJP spokesperson:

Taking a dig at Khan’s comment at an award ceremony on Monday that his wife Kiran Rao had wondered if they should move out of India, he said many people chose to settle abroad for various reasons, including education, career, business and taxation.

“This is an individual choice. There is no constitutional bar on it,” he said…

 

…The very fact, he said, that the country was witnessing a free debate, including expression of dissent, was an evidence of a tolerant society. “Can something like this happen in the neighbouring country?” he asked

Aamir Khan said many sensible things yesterday, and made the mistake of bringing up leaving India as an option in response to what bothered him. The government needs to either respond with dignity, or not respond at all. In any case, “you are free to leave the country” sounds like a retort in a teenagers’ brawl.

Trotting out these arrogant lawyers is what cost the UPA dearly – BJP should not forget that.

Modi, his colleagues in the government and his party, and their supporter trolls must realise something: opposing a politician is not intolerance. Banning a book/movie, ad-hoc rewriting of history, being unscientific, dictating what people can eat, watch, etc – that is intolerance. There are two groups most squarely affected by that – one, the poor and powerless who face the brunt of majoritarianism; and two, public figures, whose views or work draw violent reactions. The poor are fighting their own battle – they are not in the public eye, as they rarely have access to mainstream media, much less social media; on the other hand, public figures who have access will naturally use the media to highlight their fears or perceptions. As citizens, and people operating in the pubic space, their experiences and perceptions may be different from social media warriors who spread venom and abuse from their cell-phones and laptops.

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