June 2, 2009 3:20:26 pm
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan said that his decision to “politely” turn down the Honorary Doctorate by an Australian university was a call of his conscience.
“It was a personal decision that I decided to make public through my blog. I did not feel like accepting the honour when so much dishonour against my countrymen was taking place (in Australia),” Bachchan told reporters during a press conference to promote the upcoming IIFA awards.
The actor,who was also slated to attend a retrospective on his films in Brisbane Film Festival,cancelled his trip in the wake of the recent racial attacks on Indian students in Australia.
When asked whether his decision to reject the honour was premature,the actor said,”I do not know the cause but I reacted to it on a personal level. I followed my heart and that is all to it.
“Brisbane film festival retrospective was like a celebration and for me to be going for my own celebration to a region which witnessed such atrocity against my own countrymen. I don’t think it was ethical and therefore I turned it down politely,” the actor said.
The superstar,who is revered by millions of fans across the globe,on Saturday had declined to accept the doctorate offered by the Queensland University in Brisbane.
The honour was to be conferred on the star in July as a part of celebrations to commemorate the retrospective of his films to be inaugurated in the city.
“I mean no disrespect to the Institution that honours me,but under the present circumstances,where citizens of my own country are subjected to such acts of inhuman horror,my conscience does not permit me to accept this decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity to my fellow countrymen,” Bachchan had written in his blog inviting feedback from his fans.
He later wrote a formal letter to the university stating his reasons for declining the honour.
“I write to you with a heavy heart on a matter that has now reached sensitive proportions,” Bachchan wrote in an official letter,which was also published on his blog.
“I have observed with utter dismay the anguish this caused to the families that have become unfortunate victims,” he added.
The university is,however,still keen to honour the superstar and has said that it will wait for “another opportunity” to confer the honorary doctorate on the “towering figure in Bollywood”.
“The acts against Indian students in Australia is incredibly unfortunate and to be deplored and sensitivities back home in India are well understood,therefore we understand entirely the reasons,” QUT Vice-Chancellor Peter Coaldrake said.
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