Inner voice

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This was carried by the Indian Express(National edition) on Friday 5th Feb on their Op-Ed page.

Inner voice

There comes a time in life, when an inner voice urges you to give back. One can either stand up at that point and decide to act, or carry on with life’s pursuits. The question is, when you do decide to stand up for what you think is right, is your spine strong enough to bear the weight of your beliefs and convictions?

I have always been an idealist, always made an attempt to speak out, but there was a time when one just couldn’t be heard. Fortunately social media platforms like Twitter and the media have changed all that, empowering the average citizen with a voice. And its this voice that is begining to make a difference.

Being from a 3rd generation Armed Forces family, I have been raised with a strong sense of discipline, integrity  and a very clear value system. The Army is an organisation, that to me represents the heighest order of ethics and morality.The principles and ideals I live by are a result of my upbringing in the Armed Forces environment of justice, integrity and propriety. These principles took a hit when the institution that gave me all I have, appeared to be shaky on integrity.

What sets the Armed Forces apart from the rest of society is not that nothing wrong can happen with in it’s confines: after all it’s made up of elements from society, but that justice and retribution is swift, when such wrong comes  to light. When this differentiating  factor doesn’t hold good, my conscience goads me to speak up.

The Sena war cry of Mumbai for Marathis, is also a violation of an ethical and moral code of conduct. Denying an Indian citizen a right that is guaranteed by the Constitution is against the law and just not acceptable. Sure the Mumbai infrastructure is overburdened, (not just due to the influx of migration),but so is the case with a city like Delhi. One doesn’t find such madness there?
The Shiv Sena’s use of the ‘Marathi Manoos’ agenda to exhort violence and hatred cannot be exonerated.  Sadly,the State’s record in protecting it’s people (read common man) against such acts of  intimidation ,violence and hooliganism is dismal. How can any body deny a Constitutional right and get away with it? How can anybody break the law? Again and again?

Shah Rukh Khan is an Indian citizen and has the right to free expression. How can that be questioned  ,debated or even politicized?  And yet it’s become a huge issue with  reams of newsprint and prime time  being dedicated to it. Kudos to him for not bowing down to the powers that be. Perhaps, the fact that the fate of his film is in question, is incidental.
The Film Industry so far , has not taken a united stand. That’s because the State government’s past record , once again, is abysmal as far as providing security to  the industry in such matters is concerned.
The issue however is much larger than a film. It’s about upholding the Constitution of India .Are the thousands of migrants living  and working in ‘unsecure’ (when compared to Mannat, Khan’s house) areas expendable? Do their battles not deserve our support ? Where is the justice of it all?

I was brought up to speak up and stand up for what is right, even if it’s unpopular. I am fortunate indeed to be where I am today,but what good would that be if I didn’t raise my voice against issues that bother me, bother us? I might as well be an uneducated, unaware woman living in my village in Punjab! Which I might have been were it not for accident of birth.

Being honourable and upright is not an accident but a choice. A choice we all can make to collectively alter the course of our Nation . No issue is too small to stand up for and certainly no issue too big. If a million issues found a million voices, how could it not make a difference? Being upright is no longer the prerogative of our elders, with the majority of our population being ‘young’, the mantle is now on us. Because we the young, the youth are the future of India. Are we going to allow this glorious future to be derailed by lapses of our collective conscience? It’s time to stop being on the sidelines. Its time to stand up for what is right. It’s time to get involved.

 

71 Comments on “Inner voice”

  1. Jigar shah

    +1 on that. Breaking silence and standing against it is the only solution. (Of course, ignoring it is better:) ) Isn’t it racist if we do that to our own citizen ? And we complain about others doing it to our people outside India.

  2. @kushaldas

    Thanks for writing this. This is really the time to stand up together.

  3. TM

    Infrastructure burden due to high influx of migration may turn to
    support SS point. But instead of curbing it either by demanding more
    funds from centre or putting some state level tax on the ppl
    migrating, SS has made it a political agenda emitting only personal
    attacks to have some media attention. Delhi also has more influx of
    migration but it is a national capital and so its governance & budget
    structure is totally different. If every city in India is for all, why
    we have reservations for local ppl in state level jobs or educational
    institutions. Its because state govt is responsible for development of
    its people not the whole nation. But if such development is hindering
    sovereignty & integrity of the whole nation, it becomes a paradox. A
    paradox which political parties keep on searching to make it their
    election agenda and win some seats. And such parties will cease to
    exist if our voices will convince the people who vote, not to vote for
    them. BJP debacle is one such example.

  4. Vivek Subramanyam

    Very nicely written, Gul! Eloquent and all so true!

  5. Manas Kumar Nayak

    You are right, think of the situation if same type of demand is raised by in all states so what will be the situation. Now it’s time for all Indian’s to unite and go ahead to make our country powerful, socio-economically stable. These politicians can do anything for vote, be aware of them.

  6. neobluepanther

    It is true that we all have an inner voice, but it is equally true that as we grow up this voice learns to stay silent, because more often than not, we tend to ignore it. The good thing is that with the social media coming up the way it is, people everywhere are getting a chance to let their inner voices speak.

    I hope it is only matter of time before words turn into action, and we all become the change we want to see in the world.

  7. Anshuman Negi

    I liked the part towards the end, where you have written about accident of Birth and Importance of Choice.
    Great Writing, figuratively and practically as well. I believe there are sensible people and there are politician,
    every politician is not in dirty business, we have few of them who are good. But we should not forget we have Sachin Tendulkar and SRK, who like to speak their part as they are very much conscious about their status in India, their word is going to be followed by whole of India. That’s Good ! And thanks for writing !

  8. Charu Pandey

    Very true.. We die the day we stop speaking about things that matter.. If we dont take a stand today, we will never see INDIA again.. We will be left with Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam but not INDIA..

  9. venkat verma

    kudos fr that !!! I was just wondering where is Indian film industry when the king of bollywood is in trouble and there u make a start.. Some marathi manoos should also come up with a firm stand and that would make a real difference in people’s mindset especially the Sena’s. I just dont understand why ppl like Ritesh deshmukh wont speak up even when they know whats right and it’ll make hell lot of diff when a Marathi guy will speak in SRK’s favour.
    Newayz u did d right thing. I appreciate it. Way to go….

  10. J.D

    I think wat SS wants is attention and vote of marathi public through their insane actions and mumbai-for-marathis rhetoric….and i think they are ggettin wat they want wen media gives dem front page space and news channels conduct debates on dere idiotic stands…..govt should take action against such peace disturbing forces….i mean ppl like sharukh and sachin represents our country and instead of being proud of dem sainiks are threatening dem…,,,its a shame

  11. AP Dubey

    shiv sena is just slaping again and again on gov people and telling them you are good for nothing

    I admire the action that SRK taken and I love your words too…

    Shiv sena is not doing any thing for Mrathi manus they are just baking there own cake on ovan of Marathi manus and a reginolism…

    Shiv sena and MNS should get banned for life time

  12. Tanusree Saha

    Our constitution gives us the right to express, have constructive debate on every points of view, even if that view is not supported by all. This is y I am proud to be a part of this great democracy. Lets stand by our respective points of view n encourage discussion …

  13. Anupe Vincent

    Read up your article earlier from the Indian Exp link.. I hope this space will help create a platform to bring like minded citizens to take a stand on matters that count towards taking us as a nation forward.

  14. Ricky Singh

    I belong to an Army family too but first thing’s first, our Indian Army is plagued with corruption as much as the next Government institute but the only thing the Army does well is hide it tracks. Like any Government institute there are good/honest people working there as your father but a huge chunk of it is corrupted as you had recently pointed out with General Kapoor controversy.

    As far as SRK’s controversy is concerned, I think its getting a little too much coverage while regular people are dying of hunger and suicides in our country. Who cares if “My Name is Khan” is not released in Mumbai? People will watch it on pirated videos and the movie will make 50 crore less. I guess, SRK will say its more about principle but then why was he quiet when Modi banned Aamir’s movie? At the end of the day its all about $$. And “My Name is Khan” can’t get a better publicist than Shiv Sena.

  15. G N Nagaraj

    Nice article. I object to just one sentence, though I am completely with you in sentiment and in your stand for all Indians. “The Sena war cry of Mumbai for Marathis, is also a violation of an ethical and moral code of conduct.” This is unfair statement. Iam glad that Sena has sounded a war cry for Marathis in Mumbai . There needs to be war cry for creating more employment oipportunities for people around their homes.

    I am unhappy that to them this means that other Indians in Mumbai are a liability. I am completely distressed they believe that by breaking a few taxi’s driven by North Indians they will achieve this, while all that they have achieved is only a few broken taxis and the Marathi Manoos lifestyly remains the same. Then they tried breaking a few more taxis to see if Marathi Manoos lifestyle and employment opportunities increase, and they found that this time too all that was achieved was a few broken taxis. Then they attacked the reputation of Amitabh Bacchhan, Sachin Tendulkar , Mukesh Ambani and now SRK. It remains to be seen if this will increase the employment opportunities for Marathi Manoss. I dare to venture out and air my view that it will not. To mitigate this risk, they are now on SOnia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi’s case. Will this increase the employment opportunities of Marathi Manoos… well again I air my view which is “Not”. They have tried taxis and failed. Then they have now experimented with celebrities and public personalities and the result is awaited on this. If lets say, this experiment fails to increase the employment opportunities for Marathi Manoos.. what next?

    I suggest they turn their attention to Marathi Manoos itself. Why not they be the subject of experiment. Lets look at where they lack and architect solutions to improve their employability and availability of employment opportunity. If a whole lot of others are making it good in mumbai, then why are these people not able to?

    Mr Udhav T and RajT : can you take this as a weekend homework assignment and complete it with full accountability and commitment to start making a difference in REAL TERMS to the Marathi Manoos from Monday morning? Can you please stop shouting and fighting with unrelated people and bring about enough courage to take some of those unpopular decisions to decongest mumbai of migrants and create employment opportunities for mumbaikars? Can you venture out to have a dialogue with other states to talk about their programs for employement generation which could end the migration problem from those states? Will require a lot of courage and guts to talk to people and debate and bear the repurcussions of your past deeds without chickening out under a farce show of anger and emotion. Are you up to it?

  16. Inderjeet Singh

    Nice write-up Gul,

    I wonder if you have same feelings regarding the basic human right of self defense? Proposed new restrictions on gun owners from MHA are steps towards disarming INDIANS and leaving them vulnerable to terrorists and goons. Apart from that it effects shooting as a sport too, so the shooting sessions/lessons which you take with your brother won’t be available to you if MHA gets its way.

    Are you going to do anything for it or are you also going to keep mum like many other celebrities who enjoy shooting as a sport but just want to keep mum, may be because of the fear of anti-gun/so called green brigade?

    Thanks

    Inderjeet Singh

  17. Neeraj Bhushan

    Journalists Turning Movie Stars ‘N’ The Stars Turning Journalists Are Rare Occasions. This One Is One Of Them. Good Gul! Let’s Take On Sena On Their Platform Now. Chalo Mumbai Chalein!

  18. Harkant singh

    HI All,

    This is the last thing i ever imagined to write and waste my time for these morons,but i believe we have to face them and give them back if possible.I agree with the fact that It is NOT religion cast or borders tat divide us but our POLITICIANS.And they r not even subtle about it anymore.
    Once asked what haapens if the same is done with the other marathi manoos residing in other states,,,,they had no answer for tht and they were even least bothered bothered about them or even to answer.
    Coming to the aggresive side,if we do the same to the people they support,,,,,, lets say we remove them all from punjab and if we come to it ,,we punjabis are damm good in it. i am a punjabi not hindu,not muslim,,but i am an indian too,and thts have been my priority always and i believe thts the same thing they have been tought by their parents elders and every one,,, but no!!!! they forgot and just to be a part of some stupid activity and stupid politics which will use and throw them.
    aggression continous,,, i work for a multinational companty in banagalore,,,wht if i will throw all the employes who are marathis or even belong to maratha(i will never do that,,,there is a lot(not something)of difference in me and them),will they be even least bothered to do somethng.
    All i want to say in the end is these were the reasons which lead to partition in the past and no one got benifited out of it.we still regret for tht.Please dont let that happen again ,that will lead to break india and indian into shattered pieces.please guys jaagooo and do the needful,,whatever u can and teach these guys a lesson

    God bless india,,,indians,,hindu,muslim,punjabi,marathi manoos,,every one,,,,,,,lets not break our home with our own hands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Tauseef Ansari

    Reading your article was a wonderful experience……….I want public voices to be raised on an official platform.

    Ask to the Sena…………if every country starts throwing the Indians out their country saying that the country belongs to the locals and Indian must leave their country. Would you provide employment to those people? Do you have to much capability to create jons for them??? If not, then please better SHUT UP and start doing something sensible

    Tell me one incidence that the Sena has done anything crucial for the Marathi manoos other than playing Battle of Words………which can be done by even a roadside ‘charsi’……….how do Sena differentiate between thenselves and those charsi, who also give opinions every minute of their life………because they don’t have anything worthwhile to do in their life

    Hope these voices from the public get raise against these hooligans……….God Bless Everyone!!!!

  20. Manish Dikshit

    Like me, i think every citizen of India and Bombay (i prefer to call it that) would want to stand united against this evil form of politics.
    No body has the right to stop from expressing ones self here. srk is right on his part, so were many unknown people who have voiced their opinion, only to be attacked by these hooligans.
    It was very pleasant to see the regular traffic flow today on my way to work, unlike few years ago, when such threats (welcoming Rahul Gandhi with black flags) used to paralyze the entire city, who didn’t want to take a chance.
    This is just a roaring injured tiger, which needs to be ignored.

  21. Ravindra

    The Stand of SRK is correct but don’t you think it is like using the Opportunity for one sake. I support SRK but just give a thought.

  22. priyamigo

    SRK has stood up for him..! n its real good to see that his colleagues too are tryin hard to make a difference..! kudos to GUL..! hope we soon d sumthing about this ..! We shud realy get the Shiv sens outa the illusion that they can rule us..! Mumbai doesnt have tis name thru them,,Weas seperate Individulas..We as seperate Identities have Contributed to the beterment of Bombay..! So no marathi manoos can live alone in here..we all need each other..! We need Amitabhs..We need more of Sandeep Unnikrishnans..and dey do not belong to the so called community of MARATHI MANOOS…!! SHiv sena..! get well soon..! i pray for thee..!

  23. Kapil

    I am an engineer and a management post graduate. One thing I am always taught is to ask, “Why?”. Why is always more productive than What. I guess your focus is more on “What?” is happening and what needs to be done? But I always wish to go deeper to know Why exactly this happens?
    Miss, I think there is nothing right or wrong as such but just difference of perspectives. One can’t argue everyone or anyone to look at the things by his perspective. Being practical doesn’t mean not to be emotional but it’s about having a holistic view. Trying to understand others emotions and the situation as well.
    Criticism in these sense remains most unproductive thing in this world, which results in nothing. What Sena is doing or other politicians are doing is visible what needs 2 find out is the rout cause of these things.
    In management language, It is like the difference between tactics and strategies. Tactics are the results of strategies and are visible. Where strategies are always in the minds.
    I strongly believe, changing or fighting against system won’t be enough as it is made up of us only. The change needs to be taken place in every individual. The process may take time but anyways, THERE IS NO SHORT CUT FOR SUCCESS.
    Kapil

  24. Jeevs

    The last time I was there in Mumbai was from Oct to Dec 31- 2008. I would say, it was the most eventful time I had in my life. Perhaps, the most eventful time in Mumbai too.
    I saw the arrogance of MNS, when people like us who came from outside Maharashtra were beaten for no particular reason!
    I saw the incompetency of the system during the siege of Taj, and during the actions of 26/11.
    I saw hundreds of mails asking to pray for people like Karkare and Sandeep. Now, after all these that happened, Mumbai still stands tall. Mumbai is what it is, not of the buildings, or offices in Nariman point. Mumbai is its people. I have every right to say, I AM MUMBAI, and no one, Thackerays or Shiv Sena or MNS can deny me the privilege.

    Guys!! Mumbai is the culture that accommodates its guests. It is made of all of us,Indians.And if we, the youth of the nation will not stand straight to protect our rights, who will?

    This Tyranny cannot be justified. We need to raise our voice. Again, if necessary.

  25. sudhanshu

    Yup, we need to stand up to that. well said!

    But the bitter truth is, hooliganizm is just the downgraded version of terrorism… i.e. forcing of ideology with power (not choice).. and most of these ‘pseudo’ terror activists are youth!

    The first way should be to make them realize, how severe it is ‘not to abide by constitution’..
    Our country has 1% rule of law and 99% rule of politics and support.. this is the problem

  26. Abhinav Chandel

    Hey a very nice portraying of your thoughts.

    And yes you are right, its a high time now for us to stand against shiv sena and other such groups. The Indian Laws are for us citizens and no one has a right to forbid us from taking advantage of that. The over-crowding of Mumbai is only because they have job opportunities here for which local people are not enough. And such conditions are prevailing in every other big Indian city, do people oppose there, no they dont. I think a big reason for this is the state government for not taking action against such people, and also the public that supports such parties like shiv sena n mns. Action should be taken against from brain washing the youth and making them think that Maharashtra is not a state for the outsiders.

    I support SRK for what he is doing. And all of us should, who believe in him.Am thankful to you guys from Film Industry who are supporting him despite knowing what nuisance these shive sena guys can be.

  27. SHIVARAM KAMATH

    I appreciate your views. My inner Voice totally in concurrence with urs. & I am sure Majority of Indians concur too including Mumbaikars. But the question is will this tweeting , blogging, discussions continue after feb 12th ? Will this fight be pursued till the logical conclusions ? So fat its rhetoric only.

  28. Yogesh Agrawal

    I appreciate you writing this, and support you on this. I dont know how democracy allowed them to talk like this. We should have concrete structure to stop these things.

  29. Pooja Agrawal

    Kudos…May the conscience and the common sense of the peoples be awakened, so that we may reach a new stage in the life of nations..

    Pooja

  30. Mahi

    your article is very Gul jeeeeee
    aap se ek bat kahana chaha ta hu Gul. jee aap kuch article Hindi mey bhi likha (write) kiya kary jeeee jo hum jeysy aap key lakho fan ko padney my asani ( Ezi ) ho. plezzzzzzz gour farmay jeeeee

    thanks
    your big fan
    Mahi Gorele

  31. Vardhan Koshal

    Sociology, mass psychology and economics have all the explanations for incidents mentioned by you. Shiv Sena is a product of securing an identity, and a normal shiv sainik can find no better place than in Sena for such power doses. Education and socioeconomic development is the key…which indecently takes much more time than we expect. Its wonderful to see it’s early effects through you, me and all other around us. But there should be an awareness of the fact that any action from educated few wont curb the problem from the root. It will only produce more Rajs and Bals.

  32. Ketan Patil

    A very nicely written article Gul, always have admired your views.

    But on this particular story I couldn’t agree less with Ricky Singh above. I think the whole thing boils down to publicity. The Sena is doing it for publicity and for the same reason did SRK speak. Or who in the right mind would call Pak a great neighbor? I think supporting the players was ok, we as cricket fans love to watch them compete. But calling them Pakistan a great neighbor is where it went wrong…And then the point is why not KKR bid for any of them?

    By this I am not supporting Sena’s stand, (@Venkat Verma I am marathi) playing with public property should note be tolerated at all. And they should be punished for that.
    But again as I said, the while thing is for publicity, Sena is doing it for the BMC elections coming up and SRK for his movie. And in a way they are helping each other.

  33. Amit

    Hi,
    It was good to hear your voice… but how long a single voice talk justice in a mass of jokers with loud voices, the sena was mum during the 26/11 attack just coz they didn’t have the powers to retaliate with the people who shook mumbai, their target is the king khan for simple reasons like publicity, I think the best way is to stop showing their hooliganism on media and print and keep them ignored.

  34. iTraveller

    All the way with you on this Gul. We’ve been turning a blind eye to the antics of the Shiv Sena under the guise of political activism. The constitution upholds tolerance, and bestows the right of freedom of speach and expression. Why then is such blatent violation of the constitution by a political party overlooked time and again?

    Here is a party that has persisted with violence and communalism. Here is a party that has shown blatant disregard for the Indian constitution. What has been the measure adopted to contain this menace, not just contain, but to ensure that there is no repetition? NOTHING. Doesn’t that tell you how much cowardice and self interest lurks in the corridors of power, be it the Election Commission, the Central Government or the State Government?

  35. arunsipani

    Hi Gul,

    Problem lies within us, ” We seldom stand for our rights”, how many times we have ever used our right to constitutional remedies? If some party is violating or encroaching upon our constitutional granted five rights, we can move them to the court.

    What is sorry to see, that people who have power, educated and influence in the society shy away from this remedy and justice. And simply choose the easy way round. May be because our legal system is slow.

    I understand people are busy with their daily chore, but some one needs to “STAND UP”, or we can keep on cribbing. I would quote the FON {Father of our Nation}”Be the change…..” Lets not lose hope from the epic body of justice. “Sure justice is delayed but not denied”.

    Regards,
    Arun Sipani,
    IIM Kozhikode Student

  36. matt

    Hi

    Good one ….nice ….you shd write more…. the constitution represents the ” General will” of this nation state. We are proud of this document which has stood the test of time. Anyone who challenges the constitution by words or by deeds should be condemned and should have no place in the political space.

    Wishing success.

    Matt

  37. Subhrajyoti

    Great stuff Gul !! i like the part about million voices for a million issues 🙂

  38. Vishy Kuruganti

    I’m not a huge fan of SRK or his movies but definitely laud his admirable stand against the toxic (& hopefully dying) Sena.

    My favorite part: “Being honourable and upright is not an accident but a choice. A choice we all can make to collectively alter the course of the Nation.”

    I really wish more folks from Bollywood supported SRK’s stand on this.. As they say, the real mettle of people can only be gauged when the chips are down.

  39. ashish agrawal

    thank u for standing what is right..
    i am a shahrukh khan fan but right now what you talking abt is truth and you talking on behalf of all indians..
    i really appreciate ur efforts.. !

    thank you again..

  40. Bhupesh

    Hi,

    Very rightly said by you that Indian Constitution gives right for free expression as well, as per Indian constitution any part of India belongs to all citizens of India…………… I think Shiv Sena and MNS have forgotten that author of our Constitution was himself a Marathi Manos Mr.Babasaheb Ambedkar and now they themself are trying to go against him…………. when voting time is around both parties will beg votes in the name of Ambedkar and now what they are doing is just opposite of what Ambedkar has wriiten.

    But i think, even Central Govt. is responsible for this, at the time of Lok Shaba election there was not a single leader who stood up and opposed to what MNS did……. bcoz they were unsure about the results…… will they require MNS or not…………….

  41. Atul Kulkarni (a Marathi Manoos)

    Gul,

    I am a Maharashtrian, grew up studying in KVs. I am from PUNE! I don’t like what Sena is doing, I prefer stability over division. I am divided over the question who is good (Sena / BJP / Cong / CPI(M) / SP / BSP ) . I hate to see people being divided based on place where they live, the language they speak, religion they follow, caste system they follow, etc. But well we all know all of those political parties mentioned above and the remaining do play caste or region politics. This stupid stance is simply a part of it, what Mr. Khan said is right but I think he missed the point (may be, as we all might expect, misrepresentation by the media?). Mumbai is for everyone and Marathi Manoos is also an Indian and has some genuine problems of employment, over populated cities, lack of infrastructure, etc. Although it might sound outlandish to you, is it really a crime to expect employment near your house? Should one need to leave house and go far to get a good job? Is it wrong if one says they be given priority for employment in the state because they have lived there for decades? It is simple if you want to work with th majority of the public in the state then the person who knows local language will be able to work better?
    If u don’t support such preference to people then I would say we need to remove all sorts of preferences from our system. Caste based reservations, gender based reservations and regional reservations! If not then your stand is hypocritical…

    Atul.
    @atulskulkarni

  42. vikas

    Hi Gul,

    Kudos to u for speaking up ! I think some people in ths country are trying to take a lot of us for ride and for cheap thrills and political milage they go to any extent damaging the social fabirc of this country. While the right of freedom to speak is voilated, there is unnecessary energy which goes into addressing this midless provocation repeatedly. Am sure, shortly, there will be enough of people like u and us, who would make a change !

    cheers and long live our senses !

  43. Kalpesh Jalgaonkar

    Hi Gul,

    That’s nice post. What SRK said is absolutely right but its timing is questionable. I feel that passing such comment just before the release of new film is innovative way to ensure good publicity for film and its opening. In case of Shivsena, they too are just trying to create saviour image and woo marathi voters since MNS is giving them inferiority complex  They could have done much better job when they were in ruling party. Instead of focusing on development issues, such politicians are using divisive politics. Being Maharashtrian, I feel extremely sorry for such incidents. Please note Shivsena and MNS doesn’t completely represent Maharashtrian people and their culture.

    Every Indian is allowed to stay and work anywhere in India, but does that mean one can build hut or slums on government or private land and stay there illegally? This is more important question than marathi and non marathi people. More than 50 % population in Mumbai stays in slums, exploiting water, electricity illegally. No one is focusing this point. What do you think Gul?

    Finally, the best part is SRK is not going to say sorry for his comments…hope he doesn’t change his stand.
    Keep sharing your Inner voice, would like to read many more articles from you.
    Cheers,
    Kalpesh Jalgaonkar

  44. Kalpesh Jalgaonkar

    Hi Gul,

    That’s nice post.

    What SRK said is absolutely right but its timing is questionable. I feel that passing such comment just before the release of new film is innovative way to ensure good publicity for film and its opening. In case of Shivsena, they too are just trying to create saviour image and woo marathi voters since MNS is giving them inferiority complex  They could have done much better job when they were in ruling party. Instead of focusing on development issues, such politicians are using divisive politics. Being Maharashtrian, I feel extremely sorry for such incidents. Please note Shivsena and MNS doesn’t completely represent Maharashtrian people and their culture.

    Every Indian is allowed to stay and work anywhere in India, but does that mean one can build hut or slums on government or private land and stay there illegally? This is more important question than marathi and non marathi people. More than 50 % population in Mumbai stays in slums, exploiting water, electricity illegally. No one is focusing this point. What do you think Gul?

    Finally, the best part is SRK is not going to say sorry for his comments…hope he doesn’t change his stand.

    Keep sharing your Inner voice, would like to read many more articles from you. Cheers,
    Kalpesh Jalgaonkar

  45. Lewis Simon

    Kudos Gul,

    Had been following your tweets the last couple of days and could see that you were upset over this whole sordid issue. Gal you have it in you, not only guts but the ability to voice your thoughts when needed most. Shame on your Marathi Manoos industry friends for not coming out openly and speaking their minds. Just tweeting My name is DESHMUKH and I stand by My name is KHAN is all that we can expect. Don’t worry there are still plenty of Bhaley Manoos around to stand behind you who understand as you rightly put ‘Being honourable and upright is not an accident but a choice. A choice we all can make to collectively alter the course of our Nation.

    Regards,

    Lewis Simon

  46. Tapaas Chakaravarti

    H Gul,

    This is first time ever I am writing commenting to such an article. Why? Because its extremely intelectual,simple,tuthful,idealistic and sensitive coming from inner soul than mind or heart…that is so idealistic and remided of my initial college days of truthfulnes..no diplomacy but just passiaonte expression of truth. So philosiphical and toucing.
    At my position this kind f expression is motivating to open up more.though my fedituary and official resposibility to the shareholders,thousands of my employees and my family is primary…still within certain limits I am motivated to speak out my, “” Inner voice..Gold Fish”
    3 Cheers Tapaas

  47. Saurabh Vaish

    With this article, you just swept me off my feet.. You got one more supporter now.. 🙂 Keep up the good work..

  48. TM

    Parties with ephemeral ideologies will cease to exist if our voices (like ur article) will convince the people who vote, not to vote for them.

  49. Varun Gautam

    Shiv Sena wil get votes due their stance so who is really responsible for all this ? “Mumbaikars”

    Their View point

  50. Lotta163@twitter

    Dear Gul,
    now that I have read all the other comments here, I feel that I should not really be commenting at all, the topic of your article being India and me being a foreigner. So I hope you and the other commentators will forgive my trespassing.
    You are a very gifted writer with a sharp eye for the things that matter, this I even notice in your tweets. It is a pleasure to follow you and in my eyes you’d make a fantastic journalist (well, you are a fantastic journalist, your photos on twitter speak volumes). Any time I’d give this piece of writing to my students to examine it for its style and rhetoric, and they would find everything well placed, put and structured. I’ll definitely do…
    I do not want to comment on the issues of government and executing laws. It would be grossly out of place coming from me, nor do I want to join the chorus of “Go to the cinema on the 12th no matter what” because it doesn’t take much guts to do so in safe Europe. The only thing I can say something about is that of integrity, because it is a universal concept.
    You state that the reason for the film industry’s failure to take a united stand so far is its past experience with the lack of security provided by the state. I would argue that even if security was provided in every instance, this united stand would not be found. Too much is at stake for the individuals involved, in an industry based on competition. I like your point “Being honourable and upright is not an accident but a choice” – I subscribe to this and it underlines very well Shah Rukh Khan’s tweet of Thursday morning, in which he mentions “non negotiable integrity”.
    Alas, not many people are honourable and many do negotiate. What am I to make of the so-called personal friends of SRK who run for cover? What can be so dangerous about typing one short tweet saying “I’m in support”? What is the twitter follower to make of the guy who, calling himself SRK’s best friend, uses the wave of fan support only to advertise his book? What of those celebs who belittle fan comments, what of those people who use even the word “fan” as a derogatory? I can’t blame those who, on the 12th, or any other release date for any other film, ask themselves why they should risk getting their butts honourably kicked if the brethren in the fraternity aren’t all upright themselves.
    You are right with your wake up call, Gul, and I truly hope and believe that it will fall on fertile ground. I also truly believe that Shah Rukh Khan sports the non negotiable integrity he speaks of – like you do. But for the rest… I fear most will not ever stand up for any greater ideal anywhere in the world, inside or outside India.

  51. FauxMonkey

    The only thing holding India back from success is the chauvinistic attitude of some Indians. Mumbai for Mumbaikars, breaking the states into smaller and smaller states on the basis of regionalism. When does it all stop?

    Shame on those who divide India on the basis of caste, creed and religion. Shame on us for keeping quiet while it happens.

    FM

  52. Nayan

    awesome article, i really admire your courage to voice your opinion in spite of being a public figure. not people would do that, enjoy reading your tweets too.

    Nayan
    @desidiver

  53. francis

    Hello Cul

    Great article Gul, I strongly support SRK , They are just doing it for getting votes and publicity,
    Some political parties did the same thing in Tamil nadu too ,they supported srilankan cause to get publicity , votes in Election but after election overed they closed their mouth………

    Francis

  54. harsh

    DIVIDE and RULE was a Colonial dictum in the last century and centuries before that. Its unfortunate that we are re-living what our forefathers gave up their lives fighting against. Its time we stood up and said NO!
    Kudos to Gul for voicing your opinion without fear………….its something we all should take a lesson from.

    KEEP THE FIGHT ON

  55. Aum Architects

    Following is the new item in a web site:

    How can Shiv Sena ask a freedom fighter’s son to quit India and go to Pakistan?

    New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) The Shiv Sena has no right to ask Shah Rukh Khan to go to Pakistan, says 83-year-old freedom fighter Trilochan Singh, pointing out that the Bollywood superstar’s father was a prominent Quit India movement activist who chose to migrate to Delhi from Peshawar during partition.

    ‘It is so ironical and tragic that the Shiv Sena which didn’t do anything during the freedom struggle is asking Shah Rukh to leave,’ said Singh, who had joined the Quit India movement along with the actor’s father, Taj Mohammad Mir, in Peshawar, which now lies in Pakistan.

    ‘What is important here is that we were Hindus and we quit Pakistan, but here was a Muslim who chose to come to India. How can the Shiv Sena tell Shah Rukh, whose whole family was involved in the freedom fight, to go to Pakistan?’ agonised Singh while talking exclusively to IANS.

    Shiv Sena activists are seeking an apology from Shah Rukh over his remarks against the exclusion of Pakistani players from the Indian Premier League and have threatened to ban his upcoming release, ‘My Name Is Khan’ in Mumbai theatres if he doesn’t retract his statement.

    They demonstrated in front of his house, carrying what they called was a ticket to Pakistan.

    ‘Both I and Shah Rukh’s father Taj Mohammad are from Peshawar (Pakistan). We were involved in the Quit India movement. Taj Mohammad’s elder brother Ghulam Mohammad Gama was an illustrious freedom fighter in Peshawar. And that’s how Taj Mohammad got involved.

    ‘Both Taj and I were around the same age. We used to be popular teenage public speakers. Both of us got arrested,’ said Singh, a Congress member who once worked closely with former prime minister Indira Gandhi and accompanied her during elections.

    ‘After matriculation I moved to Lahore and there I revived the Quit India movement among the students. I was arrested in Lahore and finally I was exiled from Punjab. So I came back to Peshawar.’

    ‘Taj was born and brought up in Peshawar. They had a business in Qissa Khwani Bazaar. It is still the main maret in Peshawar. We carried on the Quit India movement. Taj Mohammad and Ghulam Mohammad were prominent participants in the movement.’

    Singh said that after independence, Shah Rukh’s father was one of the few Muslims who decided to leave Pakistan and settle in India.

    ‘After independence, I came to Delhi. Incidentally Taj also came to Delhi. He was one of the few Muslims who migrated to India from Pakistan.

    ‘The Shiv Sena and Bal Thackeray had nothing to do with the freedom struggle and they are asking Shah Rukh to go back to Pakistan. It’s very shameful for Shiv Sena leaders. They are saying it because he is a Muslim. I think we all Indians owe it to our freedom that the Shiv Sena should not get away with such statements,’ Trilochan Singh told IANS.

    Singh is not too active in politics any more and is more involved in cultural activities. He is the secretary of Heritage Society of India and also chairman of the Dr.Shroff Charity Eye Hospital in Darya Ganj.

  56. RAVI KANT

    AT LEAST SOMEONE HAS THE COURAGE TO SPEAK UP AGAINST THIS CAMPAIGN OF THE SHIV SENA. RAHUL WITH HIS HUGE SECURITY COVER AND GOVERNMENT SUPPORT CAN WELL DO IT BUT AN ORDINARY CITIZEN HAS TO HAVE A LOT OF COURAGE TO SPEAK AGAINST THESE SEPARATIST FORCE.

    I CONGRATULATE YOU FOR SPEAKING AGAINST THESE FORCES.

    RAVI KANT , ADVOCATE , SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

  57. midhun

    You are absolutely right. No doubt each person feels proud about his state, but also feels proud of his country too. The Shiv Sena and MNS have been playing regional politics for so much time, and they are let scot-free – completely unjust.

    It is merely the possessiveness of mankind that creates borders – right from walls around one’s house to colonies to districts to states and to countries. Yes, thre are other factors like a common language and culture too.

    Another thing I feel is people should not just feel a sense of belonging to their country, but feel the same about the whole world. Like Sunita Williams said from outerspace, “From here, the world has no borders.”

  58. Anand shukla

    I completely agree with you Gul !

  59. offpoint

    You and Indian media are quite naive! SRK is the epitomy of opportunism. I have just run into this space and am appalled by people like you who suck upto what SRK does – but, yes he’s a sucker too! So, it’s good you’re all in that boat.

    It’s a shame though!

  60. gaurav shukla

    i dont know gul that whether all the causes that u r taking up . is it real or just the publicity stunt .but still eitherway u r motivating lot of people kudos fr that.
    u r talking abt ethics nd ineer voice .some people in u r post called fr patriotism ,ideals .
    we indians have been proud abt our armed forces but how many of us know the extent to which it has rotten up. general kapoor was that man deserved to be the .A.C many of us know how he became army chief .but still what happend he got away even after all the things he has done(who knows it better then u) .
    ethics nd inner voice r now thng of history . now is the time which demands survival of fittest nd the fittest is one who mould him up as per situation .so instead of wasting time in idealizing all the values which had died long ago people shud start worrying more abt themselves then abt affairs fr which they cant do ny thng .

  61. srinidhi mishra

    dear all i have read this all article and your stance regarding this very sensitive issue as we are living in an era where we all have right to raise our voice without any fear. We all are saying that this was wrong shivsena should not behave like this putting a lot of question and answer as well infrastructure is over burdened system should get extra fund from center bla bla bla …i just want to say that to say that weather this is right or wrong is not in our hand this is very circumstantial and particullar question to say right or wrong because every person have its own point of view and different parameter to measure this.I just know that whatever had been happened is not as per the Law It was not as per the Indian Constitution and this is one of the most important point where was the security forces and govt.what they were doing while this all happening Mumbai is not the property of the Thakerey family and its high time to awake them by the govt that accept it that every land of India belongs to every Indian ..

  62. Jolly Kapoor

    I am amazed on the clarity of thoughts Gul Panag has.A very matured head on her shoulders.What she says is absolutely correct. Shiv Sena and ite leaders seems to have no direction or goal. If saying sorry to Bal Thakre makes you Desh Bhakt and not doing so Desh Drohi,then I feel it is a high level of pervertness.Shiv Sena and its leaders have a very narrow vision and Ican say they are living in a fools paradise.

  63. mattid

    Hi Gul,
    Great article- well written, good message, great structure and also inspiring.
    I could go on praising various other aspects of it which i would have, if the responses were not as overwhelmingly positive as it is in this case. Hence i raise here some of the issues, though only marginal, i found with the post-

    1. You mentioned in the beginning of the article that social media platforms like twitter and the media have empowered the “average citizen with voice.” This is clearly not true as only a small percentage of Indians have the opportunity to use the internet let alone express their views on the national media.

    2. Almost contradicting your above point, towards the end you say that because of the “accident of birth” you were fortunate to be in a position to raise your voice against issues, which you would not have been the case if you were “an uneducated, unaware woman living in my village in Punjab”. Other than the contradiction, by making such a comment you end up treating the average Indian woman in disdainful manner.

    3. You have said that the army is an institution which maintains discipline, integrity, justice, propriety and ” the highest order of ethics and morality”. This might not be false a statement even if there were a few controversies that taint the army’s image; but not so when for decades the Indian Army has been accused of causing countless Human Rights violations in Kashmir and the North-east.

    4. You have dismissed the demand of “Mumbai for Marathis” without going into the real issue which the locals face. Also you have praised SRK when there is a high probability that SRK is actually seeking a lot of publicity for the movie and the media is also being “paid” to give 5 headline stories on the movie.

    5. You have said that being honourable and upright is not an accident but a choice. While this might be true for you and a lot of others, by the “accident of birth”, one might find himself/herself doing acts which are not honourable, upright or reasonable. Here the person has limited choice as the circumstances force him to do things which we say are not “honourable and upright”

    Having said all this, i still think this was a rather moving article with its positives clearly outnumbering the negatives. Hope you take notice.

  64. Yunus baxamusa

    The Thackeray Circus has 3 Jokers who keep on performing this stupid acts which has lost all its appeal to even the people who had some liking for it some years back when I lived in Mumbai. Now all the Mumbaikars want is some peace from this drama which keeps on coming back when there is no audience to cheer !!
    Why can’t they understand that the average Indian , the common man has understood that life is more than time spent behind this trivial matters. This year they were so engrossed with the My name is Khan episode that they missed the Valentine Day altogether!!!
    I think the best was when the Local fishermen community of Mumbai had commented to Bal Thackeray that he also does not belong to Mumbai because they are the original natives of Mumbai.

  65. anil3sp

    I may be a discordant note in this cheering friends….i have no quarrels with your main thesis…just two supplementary questions…and neither should be read a way of justifying the tamasha created by SS and SRK!!

    1. Why did SRK not choose Pakistani players when he was bidding during the auction? Because he did not want to potentially waste his money?
    2. Why did SRK speak up about speaking up and taking a stand during the release of MNiK? Because he did not want to see his money wasted? Because controversy would generate traffice to a movie which is otherwise slow and pontificating?
    3. Why does SS not make an issue about Amitabh Bacchan’s participation on stage with our friends from Pakistan?
    4. Why does SS not grow up to realise that the Marathi Manoos does not need protection but they do?

    and lastly
    5. Why do we as thinking and acting adults not stop this diarrhea of words and instead work on the constipation of ideas on this issue of lop-sided development and non-inclusive growth all around?! Any takers?

  66. pratap

    constitution of india gave the right to everyone for living anywhere in india but it can not tell us go anywhere
    in india occupy government land illegally for shelter, break the pipeline for water,free electricity ,It is justify
    who pay the bill & tax. SRK & sena did for publicity stunt.

  67. pankaj

    Probably i know what you want to say in the article mentioned but the fact of the life is THE STR OF THE SPINE which for an average human being at an average place of power is nothin but a shortlasting effort the eg of army given by u is the finest eg . But thats very true u hve 2 options of tracks to be followed one very simple carryon till u reach the top where u can make the diff or the second one being start clearing the muck right frm the down below without worryin of the amount of ladder ur able to climb .IM A DIEHARD FAN OF UR DAD we require atleast half a dozen people like this to get us on the right track thanks

  68. Manu Sanga

    i think you are as unique as me…….or as everybody else…its no big deal…

    but yes i like you in DOR…nice work…KUDOS!!!

  69. Gul Panag

    Anil,
    You missed the word “perhaps” in my reference to SRK:p (Mattid too). Praising SRK was not what my piece did.
    Very valid points raised.

    Mattid,
    Accident of birth is what positions us where we are in society. Its not being disdainful, in fact its putting an additional responsibility on those who are privileged to by the accident of birth.

    More later.
    Gul

  70. mattid

    Deat Gul,
    Just want to appreciate your spirit for replying to my (and anil’s) comment. It surely does show your maturity and thoughtfulness. I felt the article was well written and inspiring but just pointed out some issues since all the other comments were positive.
    The “accident of birth” aspect was just one of the issues i had with the article, nevertheless good to see your response to it. The accident of birth does determine a lot of what you are and what you can be- moreso in a terribly unequal society like India. An important task of the state is to reduce the correlation between the accident of birth and a person’s chance of being successful. But have we, people benefiting out of the accident of birth, understood this properly and will we tolerate such government action?
    I do endorse your view that as those privileged by the accident of birth, we have an additional responsibility towards the society. But our attitude, reflected through our language, should not be one where our superiority is reaffirmed. Even charity and sympathy towards the less fortunate is not enough, we also have to recognize their rights and relevance.
    We may also have to unlearn perceptions and social constructs conditioned by our background. We must be careful when we take a high moral standing by basing it on our upbringing, for it could resemble an attitude of patronage. Hence even while sincerely appealing for change, lets not use language that belittles, even inadvertently, those unlike us.

  71. sajeev kumar menon

    Hi Gul,
    The inner voice is our strength when it comes to making decisions in life. It is never agitated when you make a decision that goes by your nature. But when you act in fear , then your inner voice is disturbed. It is important to stand up for what one feels right in life!

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