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Kher in JNU: Those who speak against the nation shouldn’t be treated as heroes

“Let us not change the definition of a hero. Someone who talks in favour of the nation is a hero. How can someone who speaks against the nation be a hero,” he said.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: March 19, 2016 4:31 am
Anupam Kher in JNU Friday. Ravi Kanojia Anupam Kher in JNU Friday. Ravi Kanojia

Actor Anupam Kher Friday took a dig at JNU students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, saying those who “speak against the country” and are out on bail are not “Olympic medalists” and should not be treated like “heroes”.

Kher made the comments during a screening of his film, Buddha in a Traffic Jam, organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at JNU, even as a group of students raised slogans against Kher while he was speaking at the Administrative Block.

The film’s director, Vivek Agnihotri, and CBFC member Ashok Pandit were also present for the screening. “Let us not change the definition of a hero. Someone who talks in favour of the nation is a hero. How can someone who speaks against the nation be a hero,” he said.

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He added, “I believe there will be some victory march today. People who have come out on bail have not come after winning an Olympic medal. They are not Sachin Tendulkar, Saina Nehwal or even Hanumanthappa.”

Kher spent a large part of his 15-minute speech talking about politics and nationalism. “I heard someone here said ‘desh se nahi, desh mein azadi chahiye’ (I seek freedom in my nation, not from it). Can you say that in your house? Can you say I want azadi in my house and not from my house,” said Kher.

He said JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was “not doing enough to help his poor parents”. “He repeatedly said his parents are very poor, but what did he do to fix that? What was his contribution? My father’s salary was Rs 90. When I got my first scholarship of Rs 200, I sent Rs 110 home. That was my contribution,” said the actor.

Talking about his film, which is about a “Naxal teacher brainwashing his student for his own politics”, Kher said, “Buddha in a Traffic Jam is the most contemporary film of our times. It’s ironic that three years ago, Vivekji (Agnihotri) thought of a film that was proved right three years later.”

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  1. S
    Mar 19, 2016 at 6:53 am
    Mr. Kher, Dr. Paranjpe are very brave in raising contrarian voices at JNU, despite the 'right to dissent' activists disruptions. All of us who are outraged by the sloganeering at 'cultural' events in JNU, must emulate Mr.Kher/Dr. Paranjpe by never yielding to the 'lal-am' frauds, and forcing them to back-off. JNU must be reclaimed for academic excellence ...
    1. S
      Mar 21, 2016 at 9:35 am
      @Khushboo Wonderfully and eloquently expressed. There were lines where I felt you had slipped into my mind and stolen my thoughts :) So happy to read such an articulate and yes, courageous post. I completely agree that this w issue is NOT about Kanhaiyya's ideology at all, but his right to express himself. Everyone is free to mock at his thoughts or debate them. They are NOT free to stop him or jail him for them. In the current atmosphere where fear seems to be seeping in insidiously and even public intellectuals seem to be caving in to pressure or paranoia, I have so much admiration for the likes of Kanhaiyya, Khalid and Anirban who have fought back regardless of the consequences. If we are fortunate enough and Indian democracy survives this government, it will be all thanks to bravehearts like these. One need not agree with their economic philosophy , that's perfectly alright - but be thankful that there are people unafraid of jail or other abuses, who believe so fiercely in civil liberties and basic human rights for all. As ever, the middle cl prefers to look the other way and not rock the boat, so very sadly it is up to these youngsters to save the day for us. More power to them, may their tribe increase !
      1. K
        Mar 20, 2016 at 2:07 am
        Hi! You are making my point for me. I am not saying become a communist nation. No. It is not about the ideology KK or Kher represents. It is about their freedom to express it. If Kher can sprout ultra nationalism, why can't KK talk of egalitarianism?there is still NO proof other than doctored videos that such slogans were raised. Further, by your narrow traitor standards, how do you rank SAD govt in Punjab making illegal laws that harm the consutional unity of this country? Your view is not even consistent. Such outrage at one particular political opinion is hypocritical at best. By all means, say what you believe in. But then apply it uniformly. Please understand India is not a democracy because BJP is protecting it. We are one despite it. and we can't restrict someone's individual liberty despite their political ideology.
        1. K
          Mar 20, 2016 at 12:18 am
          Unity of the country Mr Kher, if it were to be threatened by naive student leaders from across the ideological spectrum, India could not have existed all this while... I am not fooled by your silly rhetoric ...and even I pay tax...have paid it all my life. I have no problems subsidising education of a thousand students aspiring to do PhD. Am not amused by your rant against students... Wish you had the same guts to have opened up and said the same to Sanjay Dutt....and his seditious acts.
          1. V
            Mar 19, 2016 at 7:15 pm
            Dear Khushboo, I read your comment and was smiling throughout. KK is a communist. I myself very strongly belive in a stronger type of Governance like communism. But we also have to agree, we like it or not, if India was a communist nation, by now people like KK and some like minded dignitaries would have been crushed under military tanks. The very kind of governance they are against is the sole reason they have the liberty to speak against freedom. Ironic!!. Isnt it? Rest India is all for compion, love, freedom and expression. Castes need to be abolished and talking about reservation made a criminal offence. Help poor and needy not minorities or lower castes should be the target. Those who ask for Kashmirs freedom and raise slogans in Unis in favor of terrorists hanged by law and consution should be treated as traitors and even their helpers. Khushboo, if someone gets into ur house with force and then raises slogans that the house is his, what would you do? Kashmiri pandits the original domicile of Kashmir have been forced to leave their homes. What you say about them? Please introspect. God Bless all.
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