Actor Aamir Khan joined the debate on intolerance which is raging across the country and needless to say, Twitter was swamped with reactions to his remarks.
Speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism awards ceremony on Monday evening, the actor said he was ‘alarmed’ by the number of incidents of violence, adding that his wife Kiran Rao had even suggested leaving the country.
In response, a large number of people on Twitter invited the actor to leave the country, with tweets ranging from vile personal shots at the actor, his family and his films to incredulity that he too has “hopped on the intolerance bandwagon”.
“No benefit of doubt to Aamir Khan, just being part of the propaganda. This is sheer hatred that is coming out,” said one.
No benefit of doubt to Aamir Khan, just being part of the propaganda..This is sheer hatred that is coming out.— Hemanth (@hemuhere) November 23, 2015
A popular post among those critical of the actor’s views, which would eventually garner over 700 retweets, read, “Aamir Khan is neutral. Speaks of 2006 Vadodara but not the KP exodus. Takes on Hindu rituals, not Islamic ones. Raises intolerance without stats.”
Aamir Khan is neutral. Speaks of 2006 Vadodara but not KP exodus. Takes on Hindu rituals, not Islamic ones. Raises intolerance without stats— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) November 23, 2015
Another post chose to do a comparison of “tolerance levels” in other countries, raising issues faced by the Muslim population in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, also mentioning Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments during his campaigns in the US.
“Perhaps Aamir Khan and family have considered moving to the UK? Latest news from the UK on rising intolerance towards Muslims.”
Meanwhile, author Taslima Nasreen highlighted the fact that even a well-known celebrity like Aamir Khan felt uneasy by the rising incidents of violence.
“We’ll get intolerance more or less everywhere in the world. India should be the safest place for India’s celebrity filmstar Aamir Khan and his family,” her post read.
We'll get intolerance more or less everywhere in the world.India should be the safest place for India's celebrity filmstar Amir Khan& family— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) November 24, 2015
Some ardent fans of the actor seemed deeply distressed. “Seriously sad and appalled by the statement which Aamir Khan has made. You were a role model for zillions but it’s really shameful.”
Seriously sad and appalled by the statement which AamirKhan has made. You were role model for zillions but its really shameful /1 #AamirKhan— Deora Ramcharan (@DeoraRC) November 24, 2015
No Twitter outrage is complete without a conspiracy theorist who believes that the debate on intolerance is part of the Congress party’s “grand design” to undermine support for the ruling government. This incident was no different.
“The kind of cheap political tricks Congress is playing through the likes of Aamir Khan is politically and socially dangerous for the country.”
The actor found plenty of support as well, with many pointing out that the adverse reactions to his remark indicate how intolerant the country has become.
Vir Sanghvi said, “Hey Sanghi Control Rooms: if you ask your trolls to viciously attack Aamir for complaining about intolerance, don’t you just prove his point.”
Hey Sanghi Control Rooms:if you ask your trolls to viciously attack Aamir for complaining about intolerance, don't you just prove his point?— vir sanghvi (@virsanghvi) November 24, 2015
“Our famed tolerance does not even extend to letting people express the fact that they may feel less than safe in India.”
Our famed tolerance does not even extend to letting people express the fact that they may feel less than safe in India— IndiaExplained (@IndiaExplained) November 23, 2015
“Instead of trolling or abusing award returnees or those who feel disquieted, it would serve India better if there was a sincere introspection.”
Instead of trolling & abusing award returnees or those who feel disquieted, it would serve India better if there was sincere introspection— Rana Safvi رعنا राना (@iamrana) November 24, 2015
News anchor Rajdeep Sardesai said, “Can we please allow Aamir Khan to express his opinion wihout labelling him or anyone. Jiyo aur jeene do is what makes India great.”
And can we please allow @aamir_khan to express his opinion without labelling him or anyone. Jiyo Aur jeene do is what makes India great!— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) November 24, 2015
Some responded to the oft-repeated argument that India has to be tolerant, since Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir would not have become superstars otherwise.
“I like to think Aamir and Shahrukh became stars because of the hard work they put in..Not because of tolerance. Radical thought, I know.”
I like to think Aamir and Shahrukh became stars because of the hard work they put in...Not because of Tolerance. Radical thought I know— Ashwin Mushran (@ashwinmushran) November 24, 2015
Meanwhile, some people even directed their ire at the champion of the “India is tolerant” camp, Anupam Kher .
“Mr Anupam Kher, maybe Aamir Khan took this tweet seriously and decided not to remain silent.” (In reference to an old tweet by Kher that quotes Abraham Lincoln, “To sin by silence..”.
Others found the humour in the uproar. “Dei people in Chennai are taking boats to work. Otha Aamir Khan discussion a. Sorry da North East. Now I know how you feel.
Dei people in Chennai are taking boats to work. Otha Aamir Khan discussion aa. Sorry da North East. Now I know how you feel.— Local Tea Party (@localteaparty) November 24, 2015
Comedian Rohan Joshi of AIB said, “Everybody’s acting like they’ve never ever thought about leaving the country ever for even one second ever.”
Everybody's acting like they've never ever thought about leaving the country ever for even one second ever.— Rohan (@mojorojo) November 24, 2015