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It's Kisna or Kashmir

India is a secular state and in this global village only inclusion can bring peace, writes Nabanita Sircar.
PTI | By Nabanita Sircar, London
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2005 08:32 PM IST

The devastating tsunami left an empty and sad feeling among most, be they in

any country, ushering in a quiet beginning to a new year. But the holiday season had already begun before the disaster, and Indians from Britain had descended upon India to enjoy their break. There were parties galore, be it Mumbai or Delhi. As a prominent London socialite agreed that it was more like mini London. But come January and we are all back to our regular lives, under the grey clouds of a British winter.

Not all is so dark and grey though. Subhash Ghai's  "Kisna" had its screening in London, with the promise of another English version of the film to be released soon. Although its too early to say what the fate of the film will be, but one good thing that came out of it was the £10,000 raised at the film's charity dinner, where the costumes of the stars were auctioned. And it was encouraging to find Indians generously bidding for them.
      
Though I am not one for hanging around film stars and feeling chuffed about talking to them, but I have to say a word or two about Vivek Oberoi. I must say I was impressed by the way he had rushed to help the Tsunami victims last month. He was not one of those Bollywood stars who posed for the press and publicised their donations, instead it was a hands-on approach. And true enough I found him to be a down-to-earth person when I met him at a dinner last night, to celebrate "Kisna"'s producer and director Subhash Ghai's birthday at Sir Michael Caine's restaurant Deya, in London.

Devoid of any starry airs, talking about his charity efforts, Vivek simply said he was only doing what he had learnt from his parents. It's his warm personality that makes him more charming than his cute looks. Even during the evening he was out there watching out for other guests at the table, seeing if anyone needed anything. As one female admirer noted, "I know what Aishwarya sees in him - he's so normal, unlike a Bollywood star."  Hopefully, also unlike Douglases and Streeps of Hollywood.

While Vivek came across like a breath of fresh air, the anti-India feeling among Pakistanis here is really disheartening. I was at a debate in SOAS organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Society and South Asian Society of the institute, on "Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan". The participants were not the problem but when the debate was opened to the house, it became apparent how Pakistanis in Britain, with little knowledge of India and facts, spew venom at the mention of India. If these youngsters are to be believed there can never be any resolution to any Indo-Pak problems and the whole world would be "happily" shred into bits on the basis of religion. 

Basere se Dur, no one should forget India is a secular state and in this global village only inclusion can bring peace! 

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