The worried Indian: on Naseeruddin Shah expressing his opinion

 

 

The worried Indian: on Naseeruddin Shah expressing his opinion

Actor Naseeruddin Shah had every right to express what he did without fear of retaliation
The intimidatory(आक्रामक/भयभीत) power of the mob(भीड़ ) made itself felt once again when the Ajmer Literature Festival abruptly(अचानक) cancelled veteran(अनुभवी ) actor Naseeruddin Shah’s keynote address. This followed the torrent of abuse heaped on Mr. Shah by a loose coalition(मेल/गठबंधन,) of persons, ranging(लेकर) from anonymous trolls on social media to functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party, after he spoke about the dangerous amount of power that mobs wield in India. In a reference(संदर्भ) to the violence(हिंसा ) over allegations(आरोपों) of cow carcasses(शवों) found in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district this month that led to the killing of a police officer and another person, he spoke of the growing(बढ़ती ) insecurity(असुरक्षा) over being targeted by vigilante(सतर्क/सजग ) groups. “There is complete impunity(माफी/नपुंसकता) for those who take law into their own hands,” said Mr. Shah. “I feel anxious(चिंतित ) thinking about my children.” Unfortunately, in this climate(जलवायु/आबहवा ) of hyper-nationalism, even an expression(अभिव्यक्ति) of anxiety is twisted out of context(प्रसंग/संदर्भ) and portrayed(चित्रित किया) as disloyalty(अरुचि) to the nation. As Mr. Shah has explained, he was only speaking as a worried Indian about a country he loves. But amid(के बीच/के दौरान) the acrimonious(उग्र/चिड़चिड़ापन) outburst(भड़का/धड़ाका) against him, no one cares to listen. A fringe group in Uttar Pradesh has offered him a one-way ticket to Karachi. And State BJP chief Mahendranath Pandey suggested, outrageously(अपमान/प्रबल रूप से) , that Mr. Shah was growing into the character of the Pakistani agent he had played in a film.

That a mere expression of anxiety about lawlessness(अराजकता/अव्यवस्था ) and vigilantism could be fraught(भरपूर) with such repercussions(नतीजों/प्रभाव) is deplorable(दु: खद/शोचनीय) in a democracy(प्रजातंत्र/संघ). Three years ago, another actor, Aamir Khan, was hounded for expressing alarm about growing intolerance; pressure was even applied on a private company to dismiss him as its brand ambassador. With each such reaction, the message is sent out to the next celebrity(प्रतिष्ठित व्यक्ति) to hush his or her intervention(हस्तक्षेप) in the public sphere. Governments have often given in to the mob’s diktats, either as the easy way out or for political signalling. In this case, the Rajasthan Chief Minister did the right thing by tweeting his regret(सोच/खेद प्रकट करना) over the fact that Mr. Shah couldn’t participate in the Ajmer event, saying his “administration was fully prepared to hold [the] festival peacefully”; some arrests of those who attempted(प्रयास किया/आज़माना) to vandalise(धूम मचाना/अंधेर मचाना) the festival venue have also been carried out. But his own record of standing up for free expression, like that of many other politicians, is marred by inconsistency(बेजोड़ता/असंगति) and underwritten by expediency(लाभ/सुविधा). In his previous stint as CM, Mr. Gehlot and his party were of a piece with those who pressured Salman Rushdie into pulling out of the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2012. Ultimately(अंतिम रूप में/फलस्वरूप) it is the responsibility of those in power to support those who feel threatened(खतरा ) for their views and to come down hard on those who attempt to silence them with intimidation and threats.

 

Important Vocabulary

1. Intimidatory(आक्रामक/भयभीत)
Synonyms: alarming, dangerous, frightening, threatening, approaching
Antonyms: remote, aiding, assisting, helping, unthreatening

2. Coalition(गठबंधन,)
Synonyms: affiliation, alliance, amalgam, amalgamation, bloc
Antonyms: detachment, disconnection, disunion, division, divorce

3.Vigilante(सतर्क/सजग )
Synonyms: neighborhood watch, vigilantes, watch committee

4. Expression(अभिव्यक्ति)
Synonyms: definition, explanation, interpretation, language, phrase
Antonyms: question, silence, concealment, denial, quiet

5. Climate(जलवायु/आबहवा )
Synonyms: humidity, temperature, altitude, aridity, clime

6. Outburst(भड़का/धड़ाका)
Synonyms: burst, eruption, explosion, flare-up, frenzy
Antonyms: calm, peace, dislike, harmony, order

7. Acrimonious(उग्र/चिड़चिड़ापन)
Synonyms: belligerent, bitter, caustic, petulant, rancorous
Antonyms: happy, helping, kind, mild

8. Portrayed(चित्रित किया)
Synonyms: characterize, depict, describe, illustrate, interpret
Antonyms: confuse, mix up, obscure, be original

9. Outrageously(अपमान/प्रबल रूप से)
Synonyms: brutally, awfully, badly, foolishly, offensively

10. Deplorable(दु: खद/शोचनीय)
Synonyms: dire, disastrous, disgraceful, distressing, dreadful
Antonyms: acceptable, bearable, blessed, fortunate, good

11. Lawlessness(अराजकता/अव्यवस्था
Synonyms: chaos, confusion, disorder, terrorism, irresponsibility
Antonyms: calm, method, order, organization, system

12. Celebrity(प्रतिष्ठित व्यक्ति)
Synonyms: figure, hero, luminary, personage, personality
Antonyms: commoner, nobody, nonentity, unknown, obscurity

13. Regret(सोच/खेद प्रकट करना)
Synonyms: anguish, annoyance, apology, bitterness, concern
Antonyms: calmness, comfort, contentment, delight, happines

14. Inconsistency(बेजोड़ता/असंगति)
Synonyms: deviation, difference, disagreement, disparity, divergence,
Antonyms: accord, agreement, alikeness, conformity

15. Ultimately(अंतिम रूप में/फलस्वरूप)
Synonyms: basically, conclusively, finally, someday, sooner or later
Antonyms: never

16. Threatened(खतरा )
Synonyms: exposed, vulnerable, imperiled, jeopardized, warned
Antonyms: guarded, protected, safe, invulnerable

 

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

 

Actor Naseeruddin Shah had every right to express what he did without fear of retaliation
The intimidatory power of the mob made itself felt once again when the Ajmer Literature Festival abruptly cancelled veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah’s keynote address. This followed the torrent of abuse heaped on Mr. Shah by a loose coalition of persons, ranging from anonymous trolls on social media to functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party, after he spoke about the dangerous amount of power that mobs wield in India. In a reference to the violence over allegations of cow carcasses found in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district this month that led to the killing of a police officer and another person, he spoke of the growing insecurity over being targeted by vigilante groups. “There is complete impunity for those who take law into their own hands,” said Mr. Shah. “I feel anxious thinking about my children.” Unfortunately, in this climate of hyper-nationalism, even an expression of anxiety is twisted out of context and portrayed as disloyalty to the nation. As Mr. Shah has explained, he was only speaking as a worried Indian about a country he loves. But amid the acrimonious outburst against him, no one cares to listen. A fringe group in Uttar Pradesh has offered him a one-way ticket to Karachi. And State BJP chief Mahendranath Pandey suggested, outrageously, that Mr. Shah was growing into the character of the Pakistani agent he had played in a film.

That a mere expression of anxiety about lawlessness and vigilantism could be fraught with such repercussions is deplorable in a democracy. Three years ago, another actor, Aamir Khan, was hounded for expressing alarm about growing intolerance; pressure was even applied on a private company to dismiss him as its brand ambassador. With each such reaction, the message is sent out to the next celebrity to hush his or her intervention in the public sphere. Governments have often given in to the mob’s diktats, either as the easy way out or for political signalling. In this case, the Rajasthan Chief Minister did the right thing by tweeting his regret over the fact that Mr. Shah couldn’t participate in the Ajmer event, saying his “administration was fully prepared to hold [the] festival peacefully”; some arrests of those who attempted to vandalise the festival venue have also been carried out. But his own record of standing up for free expression, like that of many other politicians, is marred by inconsistency and underwritten by expediency. In his previous stint as CM, Mr. Gehlot and his party were of a piece with those who pressured Salman Rushdie into pulling out of the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2012. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of those in power to support those who feel threatened for their views and to come down hard on those who attempt to silence them with intimidation and threats.

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