After the Uri attacks, which claimed the lives of at least 19 soldiers and the injured many civilians in Jammu and Kashmir, there has been a constant state of unrest across India. This is despite the momentary euphoria that followed the Indian Army’s surgical strikes that were conducted along the LoC, in response to the brutal attack.
Social media platforms were bombarded with messages of hate as well as those of love and peace in equal amounts, and from people from both countries.
Though the relationship between the two countries have been on tenterhooks since Independence, recent incidents have only led to further strain. In India, MNS (Maharashtra Navnirmana Sena) has called for a ban on Pakistani actors. Many have seconded the party’s decision, while many others in the industry and outside have supported the Pakistani artistes and questioned the MNS boycott. Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt have both spoken openly in support of Pakistani actors working in India.
While people are divided over the ban of the artistes, more and more former Army men are coming forth with their perspective on the state of affairs – both political and military. One such voice is of Major Gaurav Arya, who wrote an open letter on social media supporting the ban of the actors. “This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? … How many of you would like it if a soldier felt that this was not his personal war”, he wrote.
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Here’s the full text of his post.
“MALA FIDE INTENT
Our boys have just about returned from across the Line of Control after a very successful surgical strike. The entire nation is delirious with joy; the entire nation, except a few.
Today, I was part of a panel discussion in JNU, interestingly called “Intellectual Terrorism”. The term is self-explanatory, though wide-ranging. I will discuss one type of intellectual terrorism here. The proponents of this type of terror are to found in every walk of life, but the roots of this disease are embedded in some institutions of higher learning. More of that some other time.
Karan Johar wants to know if asking Fawad Khan to go back to Pakistan will stop terror. Mahesh Bhatt joins the chorus by saying “stop terrorism, not talks” implying that we must continue to talk to Pakistan. The cricket board will continue to play matches with Pakistan. Certain business houses will continue to do business with Pakistan. All this, while our soldiers are dying on the border.
Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan? No, it most certainly will not. But there is an emotion called solidarity. You cannot make films, play cricket and do business as if everything is fine, because it is not. It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”
This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”
How many of you would like it if a soldier felt that this was not his personal war, and he, like Mahesh Bhatt, should walk across the Line of Control and shake hands with a Pakistani soldier? Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry?
A soldier will die before the thinks of such treason, but it’s certainly food for thought, isn’t it?
Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier. India is Mahesh Bhatt’s country, as much as it is the soldier’s.
The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.
For 70 years, Pakistan has been killing Indian citizens. Are we so inured to the pain of our fellow brethren that making a movie or playing a cricket match takes precedence over a soldier’s mourning home?
18 families have been shattered like glass. Not a word for them by our Bollywood royalty, mind you. But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems. A tweet in support of Pakistani artists is mandatory.
These directors and producers will have you believe that before Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang for Bollywood, there was no music of significance in the Hindi film industry. The cricket board is so busy making money that a widow’s silent sob and an orphan’s scream does not matter. What actually matters are day and night matches between India and Pakistan. The most keenly contested sporting event in history, they say; even better than the Ashes.
And the soldiers? Well, as far as they are concerned, they are on another planet, far removed from the glitzy Bollywood studios, and the teak-paneled walls of the stately boardrooms of the BCCI. The blood, the mud, the screams and the exploding gunpowder are just distant and inconvenient, not very different from traffic during the Mumbai monsoons. Life must go on.
It’s easy to ask for peace when you are a thousand miles away from the Line of Control, and your primary concerns are which party to attend this evening and where to get financing for your next film.
Peace is not a punch line. It is the end result of war.
There is a 10-year-old girl, Aditi, who understands the nation and its ebbs and flows far better than Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar. See her letter attached. Then see the poster made by Mahesh Bhatt, which he so proudly displays.
I leave it to you to decide who speaks for you. My vote goes to Aditi. This little angel has the spirit of a soldier.
The others have mala fide intent.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
The post has been shared over 3,500 times at the time of writing, with many commenting on it as well – most of whom agree with the Army veteran. Though, India and Indians seem to be still divided over the debate, Major Arya’s post gives us much to think about, since it comes from a perspective so close to the border.