India has had the history of choosing to protecting Islamic sentiments. Remembering India’s stand on Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” reminds us of just how tolerant our country has been.
It may not have occurred to many, but let’s not forget that PK was a film that openly offended many Hindus. Just imagine if the same movie depicted Islam in poor light. What would have been the consequences if the movie with scenes and dialogues that mocked or criticised Islamic rituals or history? Not just the counties like Pakistan or Bangladesh, but the Muslim community within India would have been outraged!
Even with regards to Salman Rushdie’s book “Satanic Verses”, India had taken a stand against the book and defended the sentiments of Muslims by banning its publication. Similarly, when M F Hussain made paintings that offended Hindus, the country acted against him too.
This only goes on to show India’s consistency in upholding secular values and religious sentiments of every faith be it that of Muslims or Hindus.
While I am not a supporter of absolute censorship, it gives me happiness to remember that the government doesn’t just protect the sentiments of one religion but all, in situations like these. But having said that, I also don’t think Aamir Khan’s patriotism needs to be challenged or condemned for his statements even though one must debate the potential consequences if his PK movie was aimed at mocking Islam. I can say with conviction that the government wouldn’t have hesitated from banning the film.
The fact that the government did not ban PK when it offended Hindus, but it banned “Satanic Verses” when it offended Muslims, shows that it is the tolerance of this country that gives special protection to minorities and makes them feel secured and accepted.
And in relation to Amir Khan, his statement was in context to the “growing” religious intolerance, not that India was fundamentally intolerant.
We must remember that religious criminals, of any country do not define how tolerant the country is. A million statements can be passed by RSS or Shiv Sena, against Muslims or by Owaisi against Hindus, but the past decisions of India, in cases like these reminds us that India, protects the sentiments of Muslims. Whatever may be the individual mentality, the country’s constitution remains secular and tolerant.