Fifth column: Bollywood stands for actual secular values that must be cherished, writes Tavleen Singh

One is the type that LK Advani as soon as known as ‘pseudo secularism’ and which turned the Congress Get together’s predominant technique of maintaining its Muslim vote financial institution intact.

In these first months of Narendra Modi’s first time period, after I was a ‘Modi bhakt’, I had a dialog with an RSS mental about Bollywood that makes extra sense in the present day than it did then. We had been at a ebook launch on a chilly Delhi night and received speaking about politics and Bollywood got here up in a context I not keep in mind. The reminiscence that is still clear is him saying, “We’re coaching younger Hindu boys to have six packs in order that we are able to oust the Khans from Bollywood. They’ve an excessive amount of energy.” The reminiscence of this dialog has come again to hang-out me in current days, as I’ve watched Bollywood maligned on information channels that move off unabashed authorities propaganda as information.

Final week a few of the strongest individuals in Bollywood lastly reacted by submitting a defamation swimsuit in opposition to 4 anchors from these channels. Of their swimsuit they objected to the usage of phrases like ‘filth’, ‘scum’, ‘druggies’ and ‘grime’ by these anchors who, of their efforts to show that Sushant Singh Rajput was murdered, made the Hindi movie trade sound like a den of vice and evil. Evening after night time they hurled abuse at an trade that for many years has been a very powerful car of Indian delicate energy. And, over and over I remembered that dialog I had with the RSS mental. The RSS has an antipathy to Muslims that’s no secret. However, this was not the one motive why he wished to ‘oust the Khans’. What appears to be the true motive behind the assault on Bollywood is that it represents secular values that in these Hindutva instances have completely no place.

There are two sorts of secularism in India. One is the type that LK Advani as soon as known as ‘pseudo secularism’ and which turned the Congress Get together’s predominant technique of maintaining its Muslim vote financial institution intact. As an alternative of faculties and jobs, Muslims got Haj subsidies and different spiritual concessions. The excessive level of this ‘secularism’ was when Rajiv Gandhi modified the regulation to permit Muslim males to make use of the Shariat to keep away from paying upkeep to divorced wives. It was inevitable {that a} correction would occur and it has on this first yr of Modi’s second time period in an unsightly method. Social media platforms have been used to unfold hatred in opposition to Muslims and even Urdu. After they wish to insult me, as an example, they name me ‘Mohtarma’ (Madame in Urdu) or Bibi with out realising that almost all Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs use the phrase Bibi for mom.

On this environment of hatred and vile abuse if there may be one formidable bastion that has stood in the best way of the malevolent ‘new regular’, it’s Bollywood. Not solely has it proven that concepts like ‘love jihad’ don’t have any place in its world nevertheless it chooses to stay oblivious to the creed or caste of those that enter its portals. All that issues right here is whether or not the field workplace likes a film or a film star. That is why the fees of ‘nepotism’ flung on the trade by those that wish to see it destroyed are absurd. No quantity of nepotism could make an actor a star if the field workplace rejects him and but we’ve got seen Bollywood ‘nepotism’ mentioned for weeks on primetime. Why it now looks like a marketing campaign led by males on the very prime of the BJP is as a result of print journalists of Hindutva persuasion, who write about economics and politics, have leapt in to put in writing articles about how Bollywood makes ‘anti-Hindu’ movies. The cost is pathetic and ludicrous.

If I write in the present day in defence of Bollywood, it’s not simply because I feel it stands for these actual secular values that must be cherished extra in the present day than ever earlier than. But in addition as a result of those that wish to destroy our strongest weapon of sentimental energy are doing India actual hurt. On my travels I’ve heard Hindi movie songs within the deserts of Morocco, in night time golf equipment in Europe and seen the black marketplace for pirated Hindi movies that flourished in Lahore and Karachi when tensions had been so excessive that some navy dictator banned their import.

It’s my fervent hope that the efforts being made to demean and maybe destroy Bollywood fail, however there isn’t a level in denying that the boys who wish to see it destroyed are in the present day extraordinarily highly effective. They’re decided to make use of Bollywood as a car to unfold their model of ‘nationalism’. If within the course of they find yourself inflicting extra hurt than good, they might not care much less. It saddened me when Bollywood appeared to react in a spineless, supine approach to these efforts to assault its very foundations. And that is why it happy me to see the movie fraternity come collectively to struggle again final week. It happy me extra as a result of this occurred within the week that the mighty Tata group bowed to Hindutva goons on social media and eliminated that Tanishq industrial that portrayed with magnificence and wonder what actual Indian secularism is about.

This can be a time when Indians who consider that actual secularism is value combating for to face up and converse. They might want to converse loudly as a result of there are too many who shriek ‘sickularism, sickularism’ a lot too loudly today. Fanatics are silly so they don’t see that it’s they who’re sick.

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