Published: 14th February 2019
I did not call anyone an Urban Naxal: Vivek Agnihotri
Drawing from his own ‘bad experiences’ in Universities like the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Agnihotri said that educational institutions are ‘infested’ with the Maoist ideology today
India will be secular as long as it is a Hindu-majority State, announced Member of Parliament and BJP leader Rakesh Sinha, speaking at the second and final day of ThinkEdu Conclave 2019 on Thursday.
He was a part of the panel discussing ‘Are we creating liberals, nationalists or Urban Naxals of Young India?’.
In a politically-charged debate spanning an hour, national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress Khushbu Sundar, filmmaker and author Vivek Agnihotri and Sinha, along with senior journalist Kaveere Bamzai, who discussed the various labels and prejudices that come with them.
According to him, secularism needed a little tweaking, “Without Indianisation, the original form of Islam or Christianity will not be able to serve the secular purpose of the country,” he said, speaking on what the term ‘secularism’ has come to mean today. He was of the opinion that India has no use for the ‘Western’ concept of tolerance because the country was secular “even before the Constitution, before the Mughals came.”
And when things are as charged as this panel was the issue of cows can never be too far away, “Those who worship cows are, in a way, animal activists and are the most liberal. Beef eaters, on the other hand, are the ones who display the highest level of intolerance,” he added.
He narrated an incident from when he was studying at Delhi University in 1984 when a panel of teachers asked him what the difference was between Nathuram Godse and himself, at his MPhil interview, because he based his thesis on RSS Founder KB Hedgewar.“ Every adherent of the ideology is not a follower of Godse,” he said.
Drawing from his own ‘bad experiences’ in universities like the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Agnihotri said that educational institutions are ‘infested’ with the Maoist ideology today. Calling his colleagues in Bollywood ‘business people’, Agnihotri said, “The same people who signed a letter in 2014 to stop Modi and called him a fascist, are now taking selfies with him.”
On his controversial ‘Urban Naxal’ comment, he said that he did not understand why people felt the need to jump on the defensive because he was not pointing fingers at anyone specifically.“When I made mediocre films, no one seemed to have a problem with me. It is only after I made the film on Naxals that it started,” he said.
When asked which of the three labels — liberal, nationalist or Urban Naxal — she would come under, Khushbu Sundar said, “I’m all of them rolled into one.”
Reiterating that she has never sought to hide behind the name Khushbu when her given name is Nakhat Khan, she said, “I was born as Nakhat Khan and that’s still my name.” Proceeding to invoke the words spoken by Shah Rukh Khan, she said, “My name is Khan, but I’m not a terrorist.”
Sparked by a question from the audience on Rahul Gandhi’s ‘increased’ visit to temples of late, Khushbu and Agnihotri got into a debate surrounding the furore over Gandhi’s gotra. “It is fake news. How can Rahul Gandhi have a gotra when his father and grandfather were not Hindus?” said Agnihotri.