Actor Anupam Kher on Monday said people should not feel defensive about being patriotic, questioning why the patriotic fervour sweeping the country was making some “restless”.
Speaking at the valedictory function on day three of Lokmanthan, jointly organised by the state culture department and Prajna Pravah, a RSS inspired think-tank, Kher spoke about the importance of having respect for one’s parents, which, he said, laid the foundation for a strong family.
“If your family is strong, only then can you strive for a stronger nation. If you are strong, only then can you love and fight for your country,” he said. “My message today is — speak the truth, be with your parents and be with your country.”
“If somebody has a problem with it, it is their problem. For the last two and half years, some people are deliberately raking up the issue of religious intolerance. When a debate was started on religious intolerance, the Indian in me was awakened and opposed that discourse. The question that arises is why should we be defensive about being patriotic?” he said.
Kher said that being a Kashmiri Pandit, he was well aware of how his community was hounded out from their homeland Kashmir. “Because the blood of patriots runs in our veins, we never took up arms, despite being exiled in our own land. Despite our displacement, we never spoke against our country,” he said.
Talking about his humble beginnings in Shimla, where he lived in a family of 14, Kher said his father and grandfather inspired him with their conviction in truth and goodness. “Once, when I told my grandfather that we are poor, he said that when you are poor, the cheapest thing available is happiness,” he said.
Speaking later at a press conference, Kher lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes. “The question is about black money and corruption. In the long run, the move will help to check these,” he said.
“It is easy to criticise, but appreciating a decision like this is turning out to be difficult for some people. Let us be constructive and optimistic,” he said.