Dear Javed Akhtar, Good Luck Pandering To Fascism: Asad Zaidi

Asad Zaidi | Courtesy: Raiot

I don’t care to know whether saying ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is my duty or not but it is my right

(Javed Akhtar in his final speech in Rajya Sabha)
He then chanted ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ a number of times.

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Same day Waris Pathan, MLA, was suspended from the Maharashtra Assembly for refusing to chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’. He apparently did not have the right to not chant it.

* * *
For those who remember the period when the Salim-Javed team ruled the roost in Bombay, Javed Akhtar’s latest rhetorical flourish in the Parliament comes as no surprise. One can only quote ill-fated Mughal ruler Jahandar Shah’s immortal line:

pahunchī vahīn pe khāk jahān kā khamīr thā

Dust rose, flew to other places, to finally settle back at the place of its origin

The loutish duo of Salim-Javed was primarily responsible for constructing the undemocratic ‘angry young man’ avenger figure and the subsequent rise of proto-Fascist cinema in India in the 1970s and the 80s. For the twosome, who still remain unrepentant, there could be no forgiveness. This screenplay and dialogue writing team cynically exploited the political disillusionment and mass social discontent to create a popular demand for authoritarian and extra-constitutional solutions for the problems of the day. Taking the law into one’s own hands and wreaking vengeance were the main characteristics of their hero figures. Theirs was a cinema tailored to fit the needs of Sanjay Gandhi’s brand of politics. It took more than one and a half decade for their stranglehold over the Hindi film to loosen. In the meantime the team broke up. Javed, clearly cleverer of the two, carried on along the same line for some time, looking for an opportunity for a make-over.

The made-up secular icon, litfest fixture, re-formed messenger of peace and amity, and an all-purpose son of India we know today as Javed Akhtar belongs to this late period.

But another transformation may soon be coming. As Allama Iqbal said:

Sitāron se āge jahān aur bhī hain abhī ishq ke imtihān aur bhī hain

Other worlds exist beyond the stars—
More tests of love are still to come. 

  • Saptarshi Das

    get a life

  • river2sea

    so true….wonderful writing

  • Javak

    I opened this link eagerly, hoping to get a new perspective, but sadly this turned out to be a poorly argued ad hominem attack. If this is the way India resists, I am afraid India’s had it.

  • Hindusthani

    Javed Akhtar is a filmi guy and needs appreciation from the crowd. And Owaisi is trying to gain political points in raising this issue. However, what Waris Pathan did was correct. He said he is willing to say Jai Hind and not Bharat Mata ki Jai specially as he was being forced to say it. It is wrong to test the patriotism or love of a person in this stupid manner. The Constitution wants to make sure that religious sentiments are respected. This is the reason cow slaughter is not allowed even though many Indians of all religions eat beef. Hence, it is not for Javed Akhtar or Owaisi to speak for all Muslims. Some may think their religion does not permit praying to Bharat Mata though they can die for protecting their country as they will do for their own mothers.