Ever since George Floyd, a black American died at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis in the state of Minnesota, the world has expressed its objections and disapproval for the actions of the police and #BlackLivesMatter has dominated the world headlines. The whole issue has been ably aided and abetted by President Donald Trump for his unconventional interludes and impeccably maintaining his unpredictability.
Taking a cue from America, people in Australia demonstrated in major cities yesterday – bringing to the fore the issues of Aboriginals lagging behind in society, their unacceptably high rate of incarceration and very high number of aboriginal deaths in police custody. Whenever Australians with some following spoke, they spoke of justice and fairness – in ‘localized settings’ making it relevant and meaningful.
But not the very special Indians – residents of ‘Bollywood Bubble’ do not have time to think and look around their own. Imagine a Karan Johar in his ‘Cosy Bolly Nestle’ losing sleep over the death of George Floyd?
Karan Johar marked ‘Blackout Tuesday’ posting an empty black template and captioned the photo, “#blackouttuesday.” So did others including Ritesh Deshmukh, Karisma Kapoor.
And then it was Kareena Kapoor Khan who posted a picture of Time magazine showing a black man being chased with 1968, 2015 & 2020 with a caption – What Has Changed, What Hasn’t.
Responding to Kareena Kapoor Khan’s post, Amina Afsar (amina_afsar) replied:
When injustice happens against citizens of your own country have the spine to speak for that too..hypocrisy at it’s best.. shame on you..!!
These Bollywoodians are a very special species, many of them alien to India. They also have God like special powers to be where they want without the need to travel. No wonder, physically in India, they mentally live and thrive abroad. And when it suits them, they use their special qualities – to be able to Not Feel, Not See, Not Hear and Not Think when it suits them. In the last few months – India has had to undergo a lot – not a single voice was heard.
Fortunately, of late some outsiders who have managed to get their foot in are more and more vocal whenever there is real need to help the process of nation building. They have started flouting the norms and unwritten sense of comity and safety defying the status quo. I see that as a welcome change.
One such welcome message came from Abhay Deol who, in response to those posts from the alien Indian Bollywoodians, wrote:
“Migrant lives matter, poor lives matter, minority lives matter. Maybe it’s time for these now? Now that ‘woke’ Indian celebrities and the middle class stand in solidarity with fighting systemic racism in America, perhaps they’d see how it manifests in their own backyard? America has exported violence to the world, they have made it a more dangerous place, it was but inevitable that it would come back karmically. I’m not saying they deserve it, I’m saying look at the picture in it’s totality.”
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Maybe it’s time for these now? Now that “woke” indian celebrities and the middle class stand in solidarity with fighting systemic racism in America, perhaps they’d see how it manifests in their own backyard? America has exported violence to the world, they have made it a more dangerous place, it was but inevitable that it would come back karmically. I’m not saying they deserve it, I’m saying look at the picture in it’s totality. I’m saying support them by calling out the systemic problems in your own country, because they turn out to be one and the same thing. I’m saying follow their lead but not their actions. Create your own actions, your own movement, relevant to your own country. That is what the black lives matter movement is all about! In the larger picture, there is no “us” and “them”. There is not a country that’s real. But a planet in peril. #blacklivesmatter. In addendum : What I mean when I say the US “exported violence”, and “made the world a more dangerous place” is in reference to their continued development of dangerous weapons, which are then exported to countries around the world as a solution to their problems. Even their own people do not support endless wars. And I’m not letting the other players in the war theater off either, that’s why I have said a “more dangerous” place. That mentality has led them to militarize their own police, and that’s where the “karma” comes. Karma means action, and their action of always fighting fire with fire has lead to a mentality which they then repeat on home ground. How many more decades must pass before we see the need for a different approach? A dialogue is what is needed, communication, not intimidation, whether on home soil or another country! An eye for an eye will make the world go blind and ironically it is only the US who is in the best position to lead us towards peace.
Abhay continued, “I’m saying support them by calling out the systemic problems in your own country, because they turn out to be one and the same thing. I’m saying follow their lead but not their actions. Create your own actions, your own movement, relevant to your own country. That is what the #blacklivesmatter movement is all about! In the larger picture, there is no “us” and “them”. There is not a country that’s real. But a planet in peril. #migrantlivesmatter #minoritylivesmatter #poorlivesmatter #blacklivesmatter.”
Abhay Deol’s post has been ‘liked’ more than 100,000 times.
Actor Kangana Ranaut also attacked these celebrities for not highlighting similar issues happening in India. In an interview to Pinkvilla, Kangana said, “The Sadhu lynching happened a couple of weeks ago; still no one said a word. It happened in Maharashtra where most of these celebrities reside…Bollywood anyway is a derived name from Hollywood. It is a shame they [Bollywood celebrities] continue to live in a bubble and never fail to jump on the bandwagon, which can give them two minutes of fame, but ‘white people’ must drive the bandwagon. Perhaps, it is because of their pre-independence colonial slavery genes.”
Ironically, politician Omar Abdullah also took objection to these celebrities supporting George Floyd. He wrote:
“So much respect for all the celebrities tweeting #BLACK_LIVES_MATTER. It takes courage to bring your cowardice to the fore when you tweet for American lives but can’t tweet for Indian lives.”