Commenting on being a Muslim in India, veteran Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah has said that he cannot remember a time when the community was suspected en masse of being unpatriotic. The actor also says if someone urge India and Pakistan not to hurt each other, he will be labelled as “pro-Pak.”
“Never before in our country have rational statements of concern and pleas for peace, not only from Muslims, been interpreted as cowardly or seditious,” the veteran actor said in an article in the Hindustan Times.
“Evidently, as a Muslim, it should not be my concern to urge India and Pakistan not to hurt each other and if I did I was pro-Pak,” he added.
In his piece, Shah says it was ‘essential’ for Muslims in India to stop feeling victimised and persecuted, and assert their claim on India.
It seems essential for Muslims in India to get over the feeling of victimisation they are in now; it is a trap all too easy to stumble into - we must determine to stop feeling persecuted, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding; we must stop hoping for salvation from somewhere and take matters into our own hands- not least of all to take pride in our Indian-ness and assert our claim on our countryNaseeruddin Shah, Veteran actor
Shah also argued that the on-going political ploy of labelling Muslims as “outsiders” will be abandoned when it has outlived its usefulness.
The immeasurably greater number who take intense pride in being Indian and who connect deeply with the country are hurt and angered at our patriotism being under scrutinyNaseeruddin Shah, Veteran actor
“But over the past few years, the nightmarish possibility of my children being someday confronted by a mob demanding to know their religion could be inching closer to reality,” the actor continued.
He also urged that Muslims have to “throw the caretakers of religion out and form their own beliefs based on an understanding of what their holy book actually says.”
“Nowhere else perhaps is the Quran recited so much and understood so little as in India,” he added.