Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I am proud of being an Indian – Maulana Azad

So India finds herself in the midst of another ‘Khantroversy’. This time it’s Aamir Khan.

The first time I found what had happened from the media, I couldn’t help but think about Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The same learned scholar and freedom fighter, whom Aamir Khan proudly talks about being related to. So proud that Khan claims he named his son after him.

Maulana Azad was a journalist, poet and politician. He joined the Indian freedom struggle and was against the idea of the Partition of India. But it did happen. And with it came terrible loss and hurt. After Partition Azad worked for the safety of Muslims in India. He toured affected areas in Bengal, Bihar, Assam and the Punjab, guided the organisation of refugee camps, supplies and security. He gave speeches encouraging peace, and encouraging Muslims across the country to remain in India and not fear for their safety and security. He firmly believed in Hindu-Muslim unity.

This post is not to deny the killings of Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi or the Dadri lynching or the aftermath of it all. These incidents are painful reminders that we as citizens, and our politicians have done something terribly wrong somewhere. And there should be protests against these incidents. This post is for a filmstar who says he is proud to be related to a real leader like Maulana Azad, and then talks about ‘intolerance’ and a suggestion of leaving India. Unlike Khan, his hero Maulana Azad, never thought of leaving India. Even when Partition, something he was opposed to happened, he chose to convince Muslims to stay in India and help them.

“I am proud of being an Indian. I am part of the indivisible unity that is Indian nationality. I am indispensable to this noble edifice and without me this splendid structure is incomplete. I am an essential element, which has gone to build India. I can never surrender this claim,” Maulana Azad had said at a Congress session in 1940.

It is difficult to go beyond criticism and try to change someone or something. It is easier to abandon someone for one’s own safety. But would you abandon a family member if he or she did something very wrong? India is like a family where some members are taking the wrong decisions. If other members feel something is wrong, they should help make a positive change.

Khan, who made the serial Satyamev Jayate, has the freedom to make his opinion. But he should not talk about being a proud relative of Maulana Azad and the ‘suggestion of escaping to safety’.

Maulana Azad did not desert his country.