Amid the storm over his comments at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony, actor Aamir Khan Wednesday said neither he nor his wife Kiran have any intention of leaving the country. He also said that those hurling obscenities at him only prove his point about intolerance.
“First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future. Anyone implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying. Secondly, I stand by everything that I have said in my interview,” Khan said.
“To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that. To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point,” he said.
“To all the people who have stood by me, thank you. We have to protect what this beautiful and unique country of ours really stands for. We have to protect its integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, its many languages, its culture, its history, its tolerance, it’s concept of ekantavada, it’s love, sensitivity and its emotional strength,” he said.
He added, “I would like to end my statement with a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, it’s a prayer really:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, Where knowledge is free, Where the world has not been broken up into fragments, by narrow domestic walls, Where words come out from the depth of truth, Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection, Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way, Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit, Where the mind is led forward by thee, Into ever-widening thought and action, Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.” Khan signed off the statement with “Jai Hind”.
During Monday’s ceremony, Khan had said: “Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day.”