Dissent

Text of Aamir Khan’s Statement

On Wednesday, November 25, the actor Aamir Khan issued a statement refuting the allegations made against him by various politicians and individuals in the media. The Wire is reproducing the brief text in full.

Actor Aamir Khan speaks at the 8th edition of Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards in New Delhi on Monday. Credit: PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan

Actor Aamir Khan speaks at the 8th edition of Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards in New Delhi on Monday. Credit: PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jai Hind.

Here are the relevant excerpts from his interview/interaction with Anant Goenka at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism award function on November 23, 2015, as released by Indian Express:

Anant: But of late Aamir, last 5-6 months artistes have after a very long time been getting up and taking a stance, especially the last couple of months. Your thoughts about the stance that your contemporaries have taken, even other artistes not just actors.

Aamir: Well, I think for creative people to voice what they feel is important and I think that a number of creative people like scientists, historians increasingly had a certain feeling in them which they felt to express. So, for creative people to express their dissatisfaction and disappointment is to return awards. I think that is one way of getting your point across, certainly.

Anant: So, you are endorsing the way there was a protest.

Aamir: Yes, I would actually endorse any protest which is non-violent… as long as you don’t start beating up people, as long as you don’t resort to violence. All individuals have a right to protest and they can protest in any manner that they feel is right as long as they are not phsically harming people or taking law into their hands. It is certainly a way to protest.. for creative people.

Anant: Aamir, are you agreeing with the protest or do you think it’s called for… do you think it is premature?

Aamir: Well, I think, if I am not mistaken there are so many people in this room who are much more knowledgeable than me so I am feeling intimidated to speak in front of all of you. But my understanding is that a lot of people from the creative fraternity are protesting because of the growing discomfort they felt or the growing atmosphere of intolerance that they felt around them… growing sense of insecurity and disappointment with that, and as a result that was their way of showing that they are not happy with the situation.

As an individual myself, as a part of the country, as a citizen, we read in newspapers what’s happening and certainly I have also been alarmed. I can’t deny that I am alarmed.. by a number of incidences. For any society it is very important to have a sense of security. I mean there will be acts of violence in world for different reasons. But for us as Indians, as a part of society to have a sense of security… two-three things are very important, I feel. One is sense of justice. If there is a wrong step that anyone takes, then a correct justice is what is required. Common man should feel that justice will be done. That’s what gives a sense of security. The second and very important sense of security is the people who are our elected representatives – people who we select to look after us for five years if at state level or Centre. When people take law in to their hands and when there is a sense of insecurity, we look upon these people to take a strong stance, make strong statements and speed up the legal process to prosecute cases. When we see it happening there is a sense of security but when we don’t see that happening there is a sense of insecurity. So it does not matter who the ruling party is. It’s happened across ages. On television debates, we see where one political party, in this case, the BJP which is ruling right now, is accused of various things. They said, ‘But what happened in 1984?’. But that doesn’t make right what’s happening now. What happened in ‘84 was disastrous and horrendous. At other times also, through ages, whenever there is a violent act, when an innocent person is killed, be it one or a large number, that’s very unfortunate. And these unfortunate moments are the ones when we look towards our leaders to take a strong step. Make statements that are reassuring to the citizens.

Anant: you know but..

Aamir: To complete my answer that there is a sense of fear more than there was earlier. I do feel there is a sense of insecurity. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran. (Wife) 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 everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet… growing sense of despondency. You feel depressed, you feel low.. why is it happening? This feeling exists in me too.

The full transcript of the interaction can be read here.

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