Poet Javed Akhtar was slammed on Monday by the Shiv Sena, due to the comparison between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) to the Taliban, referring to the link as disrespecting to the Hindu culture. The party, led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, urged on people who make similar comparisons to “introspect” in its mouthpiece Saamana. “Nowadays, few people compare anyone to the Taliban, claiming the Taliban as the greatest threat to society and humanity. Both non-democratic countries, Pakistan and China, are continuously supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, the reason being the non-importance of human rights for such countries. However, we live in India, a democratic country where individual liberty is given utmost importance. Indians are secular and won’t accept the Taliban’s ideology. As a result, comparing the RSS to the Taliban is incorrect. In every sense, India is incredibly tolerant,” a Sena editorial in Saamana stated. Last Friday, the poet Akhtar linked the RSS and VHP to the Taliban in an interview with NDTV.
“There are many here who want a Hindu Rashtra, similarly like the Taliban wanting an Islamic state. Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Jews all have the same attitude. Of course, what the Taliban is doing is cruel, but so are those who support the RSS, VHP, and Bajrang Dal. India, on the other hand, would never become a Taliban country since the vast majority of Indians are highly tolerant and decent,” the former parliamentarian stated.
Several others, including Ram Kadam of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose ideological godfather is the RSS, got offended by Akhtar’s words. Kadam, a BJP MLA, said that unless and until Akhtar apologizes, his films wouldn’t be permitted to be released in Maharashtra. A lawyer in Mumbai has also filed a police case against the lyricist.