This year’s Sahitya Aaj Tak was in for some debate as one of India’s noted poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar took the audience through the evolution of thoughts in India. However, in doing so, he also took a dig at the establishment for allegedly not considering Muslim as Indians. The 72-year-old lyricist further said that people have completely misinterpreting the term “nationalism”, and that in the current scenario he doesn’t mind being labelled as an anti-nationalist himself.
Javed Akhtar was quoted saying:
The interpretation of nationalism for some people is quite strange. They think that they are the nation. If you oppose them, then you become anti-national.
These politicians are like the harvesting crop. They change when the crop changes. They don’t stay here for eternity. Nation is larger than a political party and a politician. Any politician who thinks that he is the nation, then he is wrong.
It is to be remembered that Akhtar had previously criticized central minister V.K. Singh for proposing to rename Akbar Road to Maharana Pratap Road in Delhi, saying that among the great leaders that India had produced, Akbar was one of them.
Talking on the lines, Akhtar said:
This country has produced many great leaders and if you make a list of them, then without Akbar that list is incomplete.
Further elaborating on how Muslims are allegedly sidelined by the majority community in India, he said:
It is saddening that a secular Muslim is always abused by fundamentalist people and the people from the other side.
This is a very sorry state of affairs that any Muslim is not considered an Indian. Tipu Sultan is not an Indian and if I do not agree to this thought, then I become anti-national. Then I am an anti-national.
Needless to say, Javed Akhtar had to be at the receiving end of much criticism, especially on the social media micro-blogging community of Twitter. Here are some comments against him:
Your ancestors were given a chance to go to Pakistan but they choose to remain in India. So be polite to Majority community, because after 2014 India became Hindustan.
— behindtheface (@behindtheface) November 11, 2017
Is this person has absolutely right about Mina Bazaar? If so, then he has got some point!
He praised Akbar but that Akbar converted Birbal & Tansen to Islam & married Jodhabai with undue Influence . He had organised Mina Bazar to sell Hindu girls into d hands of Muslims . Nevertheless he is being called Akbar d Great but not Maharana Pratap.
— Ganesh Gorakhpuri (@gchoudhary4) November 11, 2017
Akhtar’s favoring of Akbar brought a flurry of reactions, mostly against him:
if akhbar was nt an outsider then why you jihadis keep arabic name, why you ppl hijacked hindi language and converted into urdu. you ppl are sick u just want to create an identity within an identity just to satisfy ur ego
— Arpita अर्पिता (@arpita3094) November 12, 2017
मुगलो ने हिन्दुओ को मारा कत्ल किया जलाया मन्दिरो को खत्म किया हमारे लिए वो जल्लाद थे हैं और रहेंगे।
— shripal talera (@Shripal99999999) November 12, 2017
Wat have u learnt from mughals? Wat u got massacre conversn loot fear at least britisher gave us industries constitusn bt we srill scold them we got freedom. wen u guys wl get freedom frm mughls? They are not ansetr might be urs..think twice b4 u say anythg it is nt justified
— arun kumar (@arunkr621) November 12, 2017
Again, this point is to be noted:
You are right Javed Saab ! But Akbar was an intelligent and secular administration rather than a secular person. As an individual he was communal
— shaleen kunwar (@shalinkwr) November 12, 2017
why should we listen to a poet about nationalism, nation and the new age. why should his opinion be considered
— Ramjilal Pradhan (@PradhanRamjilal) November 11, 2017
Do agree that art has no boundaries but he wishes us 2 believe d invasion of India by d mughals was a boon 2 d country. D reason he probably believes this is d fact is that all these yrs d true history of this land has been rubbished & distorted 2 suit d politics at play.
— A.P.CHENGALATH (@kocheng) November 11, 2017
All Katuvey were outsiders like all Christians and Jews or Bahaais.
Hindi, Shikhs,Jains and Buddhists were indigenous people
— Dhabbuji (@Dhabbuji1) November 11, 2017
Akbar was an invader and an outsider irrespective of new r old age
— tkguru (@tkg59) November 11, 2017
Do you agree with Javed Akhtar? Do you think Akbar is as important and respectful to Indian history as Maharana Pratap or Shivaji? Do let us know about your opinion in the comments section below.