Screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar, in a signed article in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, has said that Hindus are the most tolerant majority in the world and that India could never be equated with Taliban-ruled Afghanistan as Indians are by nature moderates.
The Shiv Sena, through Saamana, had earlier this month criticised Akhtar when he had compared the RSS and VHP with Taliban. The Saamana editorial had called his statement disrespectful to Hindu culture and said that though Akhtar had been speaking openly about fundamentalism and fanaticism, it does not agree with the comparison between the RSS and Taliban.
“Actually, in the recent interview, I have said ‘Hindus are the most decent and tolerant majority’ in the world. I have repeated this time and again and also emphasized that India can never become like Afghanistan because Indians by nature are not extremists. It is in their DNA to be moderate, to keep to the middle of the road,” said Akhtar in his opinion piece in Saamana.
He further said that his critics are angered by him as he finds a lot of similarities between the mindsets of the Taliban and the Hindu right-wing. “As a matter of fact, there are a lot of similarities. While the Taliban is forming an Islamic government based on religion, the Hindu right-wing wants a Hindu Rashtra. The Taliban wants to curb women’s rights and put them on the margin, the Hindu right-wing has also made it clear that they don’t like the freedom of women and girls,” he added.