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‘I’ve faced more intolerance than you’: An open letter to Aamir

As India reacts to Aamir Khan’s remark in the ‘intolerance debate’, Prawesh Lama writes to him an open letter mentioning his fears and episodes of ‘intolerance’ he experiences in the country.

opinion Updated: Nov 25, 2015 13:29 IST
Prawesh Lama
Prawesh Lama
Hindustan Times
Aamir Khan,Intolerance debate,Life in Mumbai
Have I ever thought of leaving this city? I never have, never will. And trust me, when I repeat what you once told us - ALL IZZ WELL. Don’t worry(AFP File)

Dear Mr Khan,

I write this wondering if our country looks somewhat different from those large windows of your posh Pali Hill residence. Mine doesn’t, maybe because l live in a rented second-floor DDA flat. Yes, that is the best an honest journalist can afford these days.

I stress – an honest journalist - so that you don’t confuse me for a ‘Bhakt’ or ‘Presstitute’ – two terms that are the flavor of the season amid the intolerance debate.

Intolerance, you say. I know a thing or two about intolerance. Here in Delhi, I have been referred to as Chinki, Chowmein, Nepali and every other name from the Chinese menu.

Most of my ‘Chinki’ friends share the same experience. We call these name-calling Indians ‘Bhaiyas;’ and get even. My simple life goes on.

Have I ever thought of leaving this city? I never have, never will. And trust me, when I repeat what you once told us - ALL IZZ WELL. Don’t worry.

I cannot change your feelings. Forget influencing you, I have failed miserably in trying to change the feelings of my school crush who once wrote she couldn’t tolerate me.

I was heartbroken as I drank atop a terrace in a down market Mumbai suburb far away from your house while you celebrated the success this country gave you for Lagaan.

So let’s be clear, I have faced a little more intolerance than you. Though let me confess, I wish I had a face like yours. Life would be so much different.

Now that you have added your Midas touch to the intolerance flavour, it has snowballed into a perfect recipe for debate, if any, during the Parliament session. You’re a perfectionist after all.

I have a question that I would love to ask you in person, but the closest I have come was some 100 meters away, a few years ago, when you spoke at the Ramlila ground in support of the JanLokpal Bill.

Have you wondered what happened to Anna Hazare or the JanLokpal Bill? What about Incredible India that you once endorsed? Surely, a Rs 100-crore-club star like you deserves more than just an item number on issues as important like this.

Mr Khan, you and I will probably move on but the fears you have spread will remain. Unlike me, you have the privilege of a one-on-one meeting with our Prime Minister. Did you discuss your fears with him last time we saw your photographs with him at 7 RCR?

Millions of your followers and fans will lap up each word you say. In television studios, they will fight and argue over what you have started. But away from all this drama, you would have moved on. Maybe as I write this, you’re on your way to the gym to add another pack for your next hit.

PS – The next time you visit Delhi, I would love to take you out for delicious ‘beef’ kebabs in Nizamuddin, a place not far from the PM’s residence. And yes, the beef kebabs are on me.

First Published: Nov 25, 2015 13:29 IST