Ban on Pakistani artists is not a national security measure

Rajeev Dhavan
Rajeev DhavanOct 03, 2016 | 09:01

Ban on Pakistani artists is not a national security measure

On September 29, India claimed it had conducted a surgical strike. Some doubt if it was "surgical".

The Pakistani's deny the strike itself. The "isolate Pakistan" policy led to collapse of the SAARC. India threatens a covert water war through the Indus, which swims on "thin" legal ice. What now? Will Pakistan escalate conventionally or devastatingly? India waits.


Two questions remain. The first and most important is Kashmir. India has a skewed belief that Kashmiris are happy with India, but for Pakistani supported terrorism.


Perish that thought. The people of the Valley are not happy with "India", of which they are a special part.

Ultimately, military skirmishes, surgical or otherwise, are not going to bring Kashmir back to India. Start all over again.

Do not believe that our Army has behaved properly at all times. These strikes cannot eclipse the Kashmir problem or be its solution.

The second problem relates to the people of Pakistan, especially its artists, working or invited in India on valid visas.

Let us start with the simple proposition: Pakistanis are not enemy aliens. Both India and Pakistan have strict "entry visa" policies for relatives, exchanges, health tourism and artists.

I have been to Pakistan for meetings and conferences and would like to take some of my mother's ashes (as per her wish), to immerse them in the Indus at Dera Ismail Khan, where she was born.

What I do not expect is any Pakistani to tell me "condemn your country India's actions or you are not welcome".

An open letter written to Fawad Khan on September 22 by an Indian says that you are welcome to stay, but lays some conditions. "I don't support bans… But I certainly have a problem with your silence…your radio silence. Why are you silent today when India is both hurt and angry after the dastardly attacks in Uri… Have you forgotten how much love and respect was showered on you here?"


This argument is much flaunted, no less by the hopelessly biased Arnab Goswami on Times Now.

BJP MLA Sangeet Som says that Pakistani artists should be beaten with shoes, before returning them to Pakistan. Is this not utter nonsense?

When I have been to Pakistan, I, too, was given undiluted affection: by hosts, scooter folk and panwalas, who sometimes did not take money or reduced prices. No one expected me to condemn India or sing their national anthem.

We don't expect Americans in India to condemn American imperialism. Some do. When in England, Europe, America or elsewhere, I am not expected to condemn India (and, there is much to condemn).

The duty to condemn your own country can never be a condition for your stay in India.


The argument that Pakistanis come here to earn money which they cannot in their own country is equally nonsensical.

Did not our great performers like Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Zakir and others and our filmy famous go abroad? Do our films not earn money in the Middle East, Pakistan and the Indian diaspora states?

Will Pakistan escalate conventionally or devastatingly? India waits. (Photo credit: Reuters) 

The Indian musical is a commercial success abroad. India and Pakistan have a uniquely shared musical tradition across borders. I feel enriched by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; and other Pakistani artists and cricketers like Wasim Akram.


The ban by Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) declares to members: "henceforth, not to work with any artists, singers and technicians from Pakistan until the situation of hostilities… subsides and the government of India declares that all is well with Pakistan and India".

Surely, this is a permanent ban.


Do you expect India to ever make the emphatic statement that "all is well" with Pakistan? Actor Varun Dhawan sported a cowardly neutral stand: if banning Pakistani artists can stop terror, he is fine with the ban.

Salman Khan is forthright in his assertion that Pakistani artists are not terrorists. They come to perform after getting visas.

Ghulam Ali is popular in India. Why cancel his performance?

Fawad Khan is forced to leave voluntarily! Shafqat Amanat Ali's concert in Bangalore was cancelled.

Nineteen Pakistani women finding Indians warm and hospitable carried home messages of peace. Should we have told them to condemn Pakistan and applaud India or return?

This "banning" agenda is the work of the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and forces of Hindutva. Their policy is to ban anything they don't like; Hussain, Wendy Doniger, Laine, Meera Nanda, films, art, anything, followed by threats of burning theatres, attacking research libraries, destroying art, burning books.

Now, they have added another dimension: Ban unless you compulsorily condemn your own country's policies and actions. This is Hindutva jingoism, not a war effort.

Hindutva is as dangerous as ultraorthodox Islam if they threat or use violence.

The BJP's government of India must declare "All Pakistanis or any artists from anywhere in the world who come in peace with valid visas are welcome to visit or perform".

PM Modi do you have the courage to say that?

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: October 03, 2016 | 16:20
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