It needs to be asked the controversial film-maker of The Kashmir Files fame what locus standi he has to dictate his own terms to fellow citizens. Who has entrusted him the power to decide who should occupy the coveted position of the country’s executive?
Rashaé K | Clarion India
REACTING to the ongoing discourse over Rishi Sunak, a South Asian, becoming the prime minister of a white Christian majority country the United Kingdom, the BJP tried to hide its anti-minority prejudices behind India’s track record of electing presidents and a prime minister from the minority communities.
Going a step ahead, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri gave a weird sectarian twist to the narrative. He linked the high office of the prime ministership to the communal agenda.
Setting his own whimsical terms for a Muslim to become the prime minister, the controversial film-maker of The Kashmir Files fame tweeted, “The day all Muslims of India will ban the word ‘Kafir’, speak unconditionally against Islamic Terrorism, commit Kashmir is an integral part of India, identify as Bhartiya first then anything else & say with same vigour & commitment ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and Vande Mataram’. You Ready?”
What Agnihotri seems to suggest through his tweet, in simple terms, is that the Indian prime minister has to be necessarily a Hindu. A Muslim can’t become prime minister as long every Muslim subscribes to Hindu beliefs. Nationalist credentials of any Muslim are unacceptable until the entire minority community swears by Hindu ideology.
In other words, he calls Muslims, and by extension, all minority groups who don’t subscribe to the Hindu worldview, not credible Indians, and hence not eligible to become the prime minister of the country. In effect, what he is saying is that India is exclusively for Hindus while people of other faiths can live in the country only at the pleasure of Hindus.
According to him, while others have to prove their loyalty not only to the nation but also to the Hindu faith, members of the privileged majority community need no such test to prove their nationalist credentials. Here he seems to suggest that being a Hindu itself is proof of one’s nationalism.
He doesn’t end here but puts forth more such bizarre criteria for Muslim candidates aspiring to become prime minister. One of them is that the entire community should collectively speak unconditionally against Islamic terrorism. A person becomes prime minister, not his entire community. Does he mean before a prime minister’s swearing-in a referendum of an entire community should be conducted? A person becomes a prime minister in his individual capacity, not his community. Only an idiot can think otherwise.
There is no such thing as Islamic terrorism. Even if for the sake of argument it’s accepted that religious terrorism does exist, why only Muslims should bear the cross, and why not Hindus? Let the entire Hindu community condemn minority bating, lynching, Islamophobia, and casteism in unequivocal terms first.
As regards Kashmir being an integral part of India, why only Kashmir, all the Muslims living in the country belongs to India, but will the people of Agnihotri’s ilk accept the Muslim claim to India?
He wants Muslims to identify themselves as Bhartiya first then anything else. Every Indian citizen is an Indian irrespective of caste, colour, creed, etc. It’s foolish to think one identity of a person could be diluted by his other identities. One person will remain a son to his parents even after becoming a father himself, a brother, a friend, or a neighbour. Will any of his identities come into conflict with his other identities? Only a dimwitted person would indulge in such a trivial issue.
By now slogans like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and Vande Mataram’ have become a predictable ploy to undermine Muslim nationalism. Before calling on Muslims to indulge in such hollow sloganeering (with vigour & commitment), Agnihotri should first make sure how many Hindus know their meaning. If slogans are to be accepted as a yardstick to judge a person’s nationalism, anti national elements will pass the test. Does the worthy have a barometer to gauge the conviction of his compatriots?
He calls on Muslims to stop calling Hindus Kafir to pass the nationalism test. Granted, Muslims won’t call you Kafir, but when will you ask fellow Hindus to stop calling Muslims by epithets Katwe, Mulle, antinational, Pakistani.
“You Ready…” Vivek Agnihotir should better ask this question himself.
Above all, it needs to be asked the flamboyant film-maker is what the locus standi he has to dictate his own terms to fellow citizens. Who has entrusted him the power to decide who should occupy the coveted position of the country’s executive?
Photo: Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri. — PTI