Popular lyricist, poet cum screenwriter Javed Akhtar is currently in the news for all the wrong reasons. Now probably incensed by the backlash on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Javed Akhtar has started playing the victim card, accusing the Indian society of becoming more regressive.
In a one sided interview to Times of India, Javed Akhtar wailed on the shrinking space for the freedom of speech and expression, which in his opinion, is the ethos of Indian democracy. In his own words, ‘It is very unfortunate but true that as a society we are becoming more regressive. The elbow room for creativity, literature, and cinema or for any kind of point of view is shrinking and that is not advisable at all.’
Javed Akhtar further compared the situation in India as of now, to that of the extremism prevalent in the countries of Middle East. To quote him, ‘India has a democratic environment that is absent up to the Middle East. Why? ……..Now, some forces are trying to put this society into a straitjacket, much like the way some of the other societies are.’
While it’s true that certain sections of Indian society are far from being progressive, it’s now rather time when someone actually shows a true mirror to the hypocrisy that this self styled intellectual possesses. Interestingly, this very person once attended the famous show, which collaborated TedX Talks and Shahrukh Khan, titled ‘TedX Talks : Ek Nayi Soch’, where he talked about the theory of the ‘Gift of Words’. According to him:-
“A man is known by the company he keeps, and similarly words”
“Words reflect your culture, traditions, inheritance”
While not many people in India have a good memory, one cannot forget the way he mocked athletes like Yogeshwar Dutt and the Phogat sisters for not kowtowing to his dictum in support of the Gurmehar Kaur episode? Dear Mr. Javed Akhtar, weren’t you the one who had mocked these people for their educational qualifications?
If a hardly literate player or a wrestler troll a pacifist daughter of a martyr its understandable but whats wrong with some educated folks
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) February 28, 2017
If anyone even tries to remind Mr. Akhtar of his hypocrisy, here’s how he responds: –
How dare you question my integrity. Who are you . First prove your own fairness , objectivity , secularism and if you can’t just shut up .
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) November 25, 2017
And when the nation was obsessed with Gurmehar Kaur, Prerna Bharadwaj, a student of Political Science at Kirori Mal college, New Delhi who was at the same place protesting against a seminar where Umar Khalid (who faces grave charges of sedition) and Shehla Rashid were invited to the Ramjas college. During the protest, Prerna Bharadwaj who belongs to the ABVP (just as Gurmehar belongs to AISA) was protesting on the campus. Suddenly she was physically assaulted and molested by the left students union AISA & SFI. Javed Akhtar had no words of condolences for her. Did the elbow just got a bigger room?
The view that ‘the elbow room for creativity, literature and cinema of any kind….is shrinking’ is not only absurd, but also hilarious. What sort of shrinking is he imagining, when the entire Bollywood subscribes to the very ideals he professes? If what Mr. Akhtar said was really true, would the likes of atrocious movies such as ‘Jodhaa Akbar’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’, ‘PK’ etc., ever have hit the screens?
Do I need to remind the people of the silence that this person kept when the likes of Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri were heckled for presenting movies like ‘Indu Sarkar’ and ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’? Can we forget the deathly silence he maintained when Salman Rushdie was heckled and debarred from attending Jaipur Literature Festival in 2012, just because he was the author of ‘The Satanic Verses’?
Though he surprised many by vocally defending the call of ‘Vande Mataram’ against the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi, he was back to his original ways, when he mocked the entire Rajput community for the vandalism of Karni Sena, spreading rumors of Rajputs being hand in glove with the Britishers during their rule for almost 200 years, a fact for which even Mahendra Singh Mewar, successor to the famous Sisodia clan of Mewar protested against him.
Mr. Javed Akhtar this is a very tolerant country. This is a country where over 10 recognized religions, 850 recognized castes, speakers of over 500 dialects have co-existed in peace and harmony. Don’t ever compare us to the middle east again where even a seemingly homogeneous community is in a state of constant war with each other. Javed Mr. Javed Akhtar, criticism is fine, and would be accepted in healthy taste, but not hypocrisy. Your statements reek of the latter. Do practice what you preach.
Javed Akhtar’s Twitter Handle