What exactly had been said:
For the last six to eight months, there has been a growing despondency, I would say. Kiran (wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our life in India. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment to make to me.
What happened next was unprecedented. The actor, Aamir Khan, had become the most sought after discussion on social media news feeds and, yet another scapegoat for media houses nationwide. His statements had been in many a places misquoted, misinterpreted and served as a mouth watering appetizer for millions. What followed further were aggressive debates, discussions and so called ‘in depth’ analysis as to what the actor ‘might have’ intended. All of this in turn only strengthens, the actors remarks on the state of growing intolerance in the country that seems to be on the boil with each passing day. The statement that was made was only a concern that had been raised in public. He had never made a mention that he was indeed leaving the country nor does it point out to any anti national comments in any regards. But, the disastrous means by which reporters of various news channels had misconstrued his statements for rise in viewership is nothing but a new low as far as the ethics of journalism in this country is concerned. This indeed had been many a times highlighted; be it the case of the Nepal earthquakes earlier this year, or the disastrous turn out of poll predictions for the Bihar elections of 2015.
Earlier this week, in an interview that the Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani had given to Barkha Dutt; she was asked to layout her thoughts on these statements made by the actor, to which she had responded stating:
Aamir Khan is a brand ambassador for tourism in our country – Incredible India – and that what’s incredible…that he can be a brand ambassador for our government and he can be on a platform in front of the Information and Broadcasting minister (Arun Jaitley) and speak his mind shows that free speech thrives.
With all due respect madame Minister, but, the way in which the whole situation was allowed to spiral out to such extremes has in itself, a scent of intolerance in every step of the way. But, what is more ‘incredible’ is the fact that how an individual who had filed false documents pertaining to her educational qualification still continues to hold on to her portfolio as a cabinet Minister in New Delhi. And, more bizarre was how the reporter had never touched upon these topics for the chance she had for this said interview. This again, reiterates how journalism is more or less being streamlined alongside those issues that are currently in trend in the present tense.
Aamir Khan is perhaps, the latest in a series of celebrities from the film fraternity who had been targeted for speaking his mind out. But, if this is the plight of individuals who hold such esteemed positions in society, it is rather easy to value the voice of the ordinary citizenry. Times have turned around so much so that, the Prime Minister of this country is eligible to carry out his ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ on national radio, unquestioned; and the rest finds themselves in a position were they cannot. There is certainly no doubt that there is an air of intolerance prevailing in the country. But, the manner in which facts are distorted and how news feeds are tailored to suit the taste of the end user is bound to have disastrous implications in times to come.