Vol. 38 No. 277
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  November 28, 2015
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  27 Nov, Friday
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By Vikram Muthanna

Considering the ferocity of the backlash, one would think Aamir Khan has packed his bags and is off to a tolerant nation…I was wondering which country could Aamir immigrate to, if he really wanted to? A country where he will be accepted 100%?

Could he go to Pakistan as suggested by numerous “Hyper-Nationalists?” Nah, because as stated in my favourite Aamir Khan movie Sarfarosh, when ACP Rathod’s (Aamir Khan) wife Seema (Sonali Bendre) asks Naseeruddin Shah, who plays the role of a famous “Indian-born” Pakistani artiste Gulfam Hassan, “Jab Hindustan mein ap ke ethne chahane wale hai tho Pakistan mein kya hal hota hoga” (You are so famous in India, I can only imagine how much more famous you are in Pakistan), Hassan replies “Chahane wale bahut hai Seemaji, lekin hal hai ke, aaj be hame Muhajir kehake pukara jatha hai” (There are many who like me but the situation is that I am still called a Muhajir) and adds, “Pachas saal guzar gaye, lekin aaj be hum Muhajir hai, Pakistani nahi” (It’s been 50 years but even today we remain Muhajirs, not Pakistanis). Ok, so Pakistan is out of question then.

Then how about England? Well, the truth is Aamir may have a “Khan” problem. Here is a true story. Last year, in England, my uncle and aunt were standing in line for a taxi. They were third in line. A taxi pulled up and the driver was a middle-aged man with brown skin and a longish beard. The British “gentleman” in an attempt to mask his racism, or fear, who knows, extended his arm as if being chivalrous enough to let the lady behind him take the taxi. The lady suddenly started looking at her phone and stepped aside, indicating my uncle to go ahead. My uncle was a bit confused, but before he could react the poor taxi driver left.

Soon another taxi came by. The driver was white and beard-free. The British “gentleman” quickly hopped in and disappeared. Yes, Islam-phobia has set in and so “tolerance” is an issue there. So that too won’t do for Aamir.

Next France…Well, I have just returned from that country and my hotel receptionist, a nice man named Mohammed, an immigrant from Algeria, told me, after Charlie Hebdo shooting, he was so glad that he was a Caucasian Muslim because, “they look at brown Muslims funny.” So no luck there.

Then we have USA. Well, if Donald Trump wins then Aamir may have to wear an ID badge! Gosh, he may become target practice for some deranged red-neck. So that won’t do either.

And other European nations...Well, less said the better. How about Gulf nations? Well, we wonder if Kiran will be ok covering up before stepping out and not being allowed to drive? So forget that, that’s intolerant. Ah! Dubai! Perfect. Oh! Wait a minute, but they don’t give citizenship.

Oh! Hell with the search… Aamir is not going anywhere. Also, he doesn’t have to. He is as much an Indian and a patriot as any of us. Most of the backlash in the case of Aamir comes because of his “selective outrage.”

Selective because Aamir said this feeling of intolerance has crept in only since the last 8 months which implied since BJP government came to power. In turn, it meant the Hindu fanatics. Now, why was he not outraged when Assam communal riots happened? When Azad Maidan riots happened? Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right, but if you call one wrong, then call out the other wrongs too.

So Aamir should have cited the incidents that troubled him…was it the beef ban, was it the Dadri lynching, was it the issue of fatwa against A.R. Rehman, was it the gathering of thousands to bid farewell to Yakub Memon, the man who bombed his city Mumbai? What was it? If he had spared us this ambiguity, he wouldn’t be in this mess.

That said, Aamir has every right to feel fearful and despondent (thank you Aamir for the word of the month) as there has indeed been incidents of intolerance during the BJP rule, just like I, as a Kodava, an ethnic minority, feel fearful and despondent living under the mischief-mongering Congress rule in Karnataka.

Now, Aamir Khan must accept that the very fact that he could speak his mind about intolerance was because he knew India is a tolerant nation. How can he forget that when he made PK, a movie that mocked the beliefs of a faith followed by a majority of this nation there were no incidents. Can someone please appreciate that tolerance?

Also, let’s not forget Aamir Khan signed a petition that derided the then PM Dr. Manmohan Singh for objecting the Visa denial for Modi by the US. This petition had compared Modi to Hitler. Yet, Modi government made Aamir the Brand Ambassador of India. Is that not sign of a tolerant mindset?

Now, when Aamir agrees to a suggestion made by his wife that India is so intolerant that even a movie star like him may have to flee like a Syrian refugee, it sounds outrageous because it’s just not true. We are an evolving Democracy, not a failed State. In fact, we are the only thriving democracy on the Indian subcontinent.

That said, no one can question Aamir’s patriotism; surely he’s more patriotic than the corrupt leaders who have toyed with our nation. Unfortunately, Aamir sometimes over-dramatises — from his claims of nation-fleeing intolerance to uncontrollable tear glands. Surely that can be forgiven.

The fact of the matter is, Aamir and all the ‘award- returning’ intellectuals will have to accept that all nations have varying levels of “tolerance” depending on their diversity and demography. And a diverse and overpopulated nation like ours is bound to have them too, but that does not mean you run away. As Aamir himself says in Sarfarosh, “Mera mulk mera ghar hai…” India is our home. So we stay and fix it.

As another Bollywood superstar sang Jeena yahan marna yahan… so while we plan to “Make in India,” we also have to “Make India” because “We live in India” and will probably “Die in India.” It’s our home, only home.

P.S: For the thousands of NRIs, who have been screaming “Get out Aamir” or “Go to Pakistan Aamir” on social networks..., my dear country cousins, you please come back to India first.



With frequent expositions putting on show artistic products on display, the art-lovers in Mysuru will always have something or the other lined up to pay a visit to. This time, it’s something special for those who love being cotton-clad.

All those who admire the elegance of cotton clothing and revel in being dressed in cotton-made attires have a vibrant show in the name of Cottonfab-2015, an exclusive exhibition of cotton and silk clothes and products at the premises of Bharat Scouts and Guides Ground, behind DC Office, Mysuru.

For the next ten days, a vibrant collection of hand yarn cotton clothing of all varieties from various States across the country will be on for display and sale at the venue, organised for the third time in Mysuru by Awadh Hathkargha Hastshilp Evam Gramodyog Samiti of Lucknow.

Explaining that the expo has been organised with the main aim of bringing buyers and weavers on a common platform, the Association Secretary Javed Alam says, their intention of doing so is to popularise the Indian art and weaving craft among the public so that our weavers feel encouraged to do more and better work.

The fair, which commenced a week ago, has already been witnessing a decent response, with the sellers having a wide variety of options for the visitors to choose from. From the best of chikankari collections from Awadh, Lucknow; Banjara ethnic design sarees from Kutch, Bhuj of Gujarat and Punjabi suits to Baluchari and tant saris from West Bengal, cotton saris from Tamil Nadu; cotton and silk dress materials from Jammu and Kashmir and silk and cotton sarees from various parts of Karnataka, they have it all.

What’s more, apart from clothes, the expo also has for the shopoholics, a variety of home furnishing items, Hyderabadi pearl jewellery, artistic hand bags, decorative items for home, colourful lac bangles, wood carved show-pieces and idols, jewellery items from Delhi, Mumbai and Rajasthan to choose from.

With mostly things being items that attract women, one can find a lot of women shopping here with the crowd being the maximum during weekends. Speaking of the products on sale, Prerana Suresh, shopping for comfortable cotton clothes for her little child said, “I liked most of the things here but the best I found are the simple sober coloured cotton clothes for babies. Kids are most comfortable in them for they are very soft and not harsh on the skin. I purchased a few for my baby as we don’t find them on display in the heart of the city often.” While elders and housewives are attracted towards the household products and sarees, youngsters were mostly found shopping bangles, ear studs and artificial jewellery.

And though was content with the response, Secretary Javed is happier since the last two days, courtesy - rain gods having finally decided to show some mercy on the shoppers who are now able to peacefully visit the venue. “Since the last three days, there were very less visitors due to continuous rains. I am glad it’s sunny since a couple of days now and we have more people visiting the expo. Our weavers are also happy to meet the buyers directly, especially those who are participating in the expo at Mysuru for the first time.” —AN


By Dr. G.B. Aravind

The worst nightmare of any parent would be to find out that their child is missing. Parental anguish is aggravated further by knowing the fact that a child goes missing every eight minutes in India. This scenario is evident by the figures of National Crime Records Bureau that 69,848 children were kidnapped during 2014. However, this is not the real numbers of children missing and kidnapping is not the only reason for it. There are various reasons for a child to be missing from home. As there is no legal definition for a ‘Missing Child’, when the matter is reported to the police, they are compelled to write down in a register for a missing person, write down all the details such as the description, photograph and where and when last seen. In case of a foul play or definite proof of it, the relevant sections of law are enforced by registering the case and writing down the FIR. This being the scenario, the fact remains that every missing child is not kidnapped. Despite of this, the largest single cause for children (aged between 0-18) to be missing is attributed to kidnapping with purpose for forcible marriages, illicit intercourse, selling of babies, prostitution etc. [Crime in India, 2014, NCRB] this accounts to approximately 40% of the cases. However, the larger numbers are due to a host of reasons which have a great deal of significance on parenting and also bringing up of children with moral and ethical values.

Why do children run away from home?

This question has vexed several scholars and the contributory factors are:

Lack of parental care and control, quarrelsome parents, a child does not find “Home” to be attractive and has the feeling of running away from it at the first given opportunity. Neglected children are some of the significant numbers of missing children. They may be children of alcoholics, substance abusers, immoral and unfit parents.

Over control or over-discipline has also been found to be determential for negative atmosphere at home. This condition is perhaps even more dangerous as the entire family lives in a state of fear and the thought to escape from home is even greater here. While all parents have aspirations of their children growing up to become successful persons in life, most parents push their hidden or latent aspirations on their children and thus become the driving force behind the targets or goals. Extremeness in these lead to the child rebelling or simply disobeying the parent, leading to conflicts. Stress is the single largest cause for the child to take up such a decision. The choice of a career must be left to the child and every profession has its honor and worthiness in the society.

Violence and abuse is perhaps the dominant factor that has been found while interacting with children who have run away from home. Parents or any other person who has projected a very violent and abusive tendency may be the cause for it. Abuse may be both verbal and physical and sometimes sexual also.

While most of the children cope up to the above factors with good schooling, unfortunate children, particularly in the pre-teens or teenagers simply feel embarrassed to express their family conditions to anybody, they do reveal a great deal of information to their teachers. It is the teachers that get the first indication of a child’s problems. In absence of good or proper schooling, which believes in only enforcement of discipline, the child has nowhere to go but fall either into bad company or simply run away.

Poverty too has always been attributed to be one of the causes; however, economic conditions do not really matter. Herein, lies the fact that the sheer numbers of persons belonging to the lower socio-economic strata may prompt one to believe it to be the most significant cause; it is also true that the greater is the population belonging to this strata. Hence it cannot be attributed to be so. Nevertheless, economic causes, that is to become rich instantaneously, to flaunt materialistic and trendy things such as mobile phones, vehicles, accessories etc is perhaps the single largest cause. Hence, a child in conflict with law is part of the largest group of children who go missing from homes.

While children need all the care and protection which the families and the societies can provide, it is also important to inculcate good moral and ethical aspects of life into children. There are always some who are ‘Against-The-Tide’ and it becomes the role of the society and the police to rein in and bring a check on these.

Some of the simple ways which we as responsible citizens can contribute are:

ASK: We can always ask a child why he/she is not in school; doing something which may be imminently dangerous to him or herself such as smoking, drinking and other activities illegal to be performed at their age.

Where do they stay? Whose children are they in case of unknown children, when found loitering or in places such as bus stands and railway stations? Sometimes, this is also counterproductive as children are told by parents not to talk to strangers.

Inform the Police or authorities concerned about any suspicious issues connected with a child.

[The author is an Associate Professor and Head, Department of Criminology and Forensic Science, SBRR Mahajana First Grade College, Mysuru]

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