Anupam Kher led the #MarchForIndia early today from National Museum to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) November 6, 2015
His march was a counter to a series of ‘Award Wapsi’ by those suddenly claiming that India has become “intolerant”.
His call was answered by many.
Kher posted these images on his Facebook page.
Till date roughly 75 people including writers, artistes, scientists and historians, have returned their awards.
On his 50th birthday, Shah Rukh Khan spoke about ‘growing intolerance in India‘.
Kher supported SRK’s remarks and slammed those who asked the superstar to go to Pakistan.
Some members of the BJP really need to control their tongue & stop talking rubbish about @iamsrk. He is a national icon & We r PROUD of him.
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) November 4, 2015
But Kher, himself a National Award winning actor, alleges that ‘Award Wapsi’ is defaming India by projecting a “wrong” picture.
“India is a very tolerant country. Some people have coined the term ‘growing intolerance’. They are very few. Not every Indian thinks like that. We are secular people. We do not believe in pseudo-secularism, selective outrage or selective patriotism.”
His concern is that such selective outrage will tarnish India’s image abroad.
Industry leaders have already hinted that investors are growing concerned about ‘intolerance’ in India.
N.R. Narayana Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Lord Meghnad Desai warned that growing intolerance is concerning for the economy.
Their concern is genuine because India is trying to become a leading investment destination.
UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2015 puts India as third most attractive economic destination for 2015-17 in the world.
Kher says that communal incidents must be condemned but adds that those returning awards should not insult the country for it.
At the end of his march, Kher met President Pranab Mukherjee presenting his stand on the ‘intolerance’ wave.
Madhur Bhandarkar, Madhu Kishwar, Chandraprakash Diwedi and Priyadarshan lent support to Kher’s campaign.
Bhandarkar tweeted pictures from their meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee.
But some were critical of the march.
Arundhati Roy has always insulted India whenever she has gone abroad, says Anupam Kher who manages to do so without leaving the country — Hartosh Singh Bal (@HartoshSinghBal) November 7, 2015
Right now, Anupam Kher is performing the most Comical Role of his entire career — Joy (@Joydas) November 7, 2015
Citing the recent episodes of communal insensitivity, Vikram Mehta, Chairman of Brookings India, writes in The Financial Express that investors are asking whether India is “indeed liberal, tolerant and democratic, or is it conservative, atavistic and authoritarian”.
“The argument that India has confronted many incidents of religious and social intolerance in the past carries no weight. What carries weight is the perception that India’s future will be grounded on values of liberalism, equality, tolerance and inclusion.”