On Tuesday, Pakistani stand-up comedian Shakeel Siddique was forced to leave a studio in Mumbai by activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) who did not want any Pakistani artists to feature on Indian television shows. A hurt Siddique is back in Pakistan now. He spoke to Janaki Viswanathan on what he is feeling about the whole episode.
It’s just a handful of people who didn’t want me around in Mumbai. They asked me to leave, so I left. And here I am, back home. The fact is, when the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena volunteers barged into Mohan Studios on January 14, I’d just gone over to collect my dues. But they didn’t let me speak nor explain myself. There could have been a scuffle but thanks to the channel staff, I got out unscathed.
The point which most miss is that stand-up artistes such as myself go around making people laugh. Dilon ko jodna, logon ko hasaana humaara kaam hai (it’s our job to unite people and make them laugh).. humne kissi ka kya bigaada hai? (have we hurt anyone?)
Anyway, what has happened has happened. I’m back home, I’ve forgotten the unpleasant incident and I forgive them. A group of few people cannot determine what the entire public thinks about artistes like me. Until now, I’ve only been received with affection by Indians.
When it comes down to it, the common man from Pakistan and the common man from Hindustan have no ill-feelings towards each other. Yes, my countrymen have expressed displeasure at my being thrown out of India but that’s obvious. They can’t be blamed. After all, I am not a terrorist. We at Pakistan condemn and hate the terrorists as much as Hindustan does. I’m currently keeping busy with my talk show here in Karachi, live shows and other serials. As for my returning to India for more work, Inshallah, I will, as long as the people in India love me. The day they throw me out, I won’t dream of returning.