What Happened When Anupam Kher And Team Met PM Modi Over Award Waapsi : An Eye Witness Account
A month back, scribes went on rioting over Award Wapsi from a section of so called authors and self-made poets, without asking the PM’s version over the issue. A lot was written in support of those who returned their awards opposing the growing religious intolerance in the country.
Amidst the furore, no one shown a will to listen to that person who was under the eye of the storm- PM Modi. Obsessed media kept throwing filth without allowing him to tender his points against the allegations made by a nexus of paid journos, opposition leaders and lost celebrities.
PM Modi shared his version to a delegation led by noted actor Anupam Kher on November 7th and encountered the allegations one by one. The article is an eye witness account by Vivek Agnihotri who was the part of that delegation.
Vivek Agnihotri Reveals What Happened in That One Hour At PMO
This was written by Vivek Agnihotri, who was among the delegation (against the#AwardWapsiGang) led by Anupam Kher along with many others from film industry about their meeting with PM Narendra Modi on 7/11/2015.
By the time we came out of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Anupam received a message from PM Modi asking us to meet at 6.30PM.
While waiting in a small hall in 7RCR, I could feel meticulous professionalism and humility all around. We were not sure if PM would make it on time as he was travelling back from Kashmir and it was also the eve of Bihar election results. 6.30 sharp he arrived in spotless white kurta payjama and his trademark jacket. He listened to us, one by one, with absolute concentration and then he spoke with wit, humor, concerns, anecdotes and hope. I have never heard a better half hour speech on tolerance. Some highlights:
He told us about his belief that cultural space should not be ‘rajya aashrit’ (Government dependent) as it takes away the voice of reason but it should be ‘rajya puraskarit’ (Awarded by the state). And without ‘fearless cultural evolution’ we would be a robotic society.
He clarified that he never received any request from any ‘Kalakar’ to meet him. “One day I saw on TV that Shri Munnawar Rana was saying that ‘if PM invites us, we will go and tell him about our concerns’ so I immediately called my secretary and asked him to invite Shri Rana at his convenience but till date no one has come’. As a PM, he just cannot go beyond this. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has publicly extended invitation, twice, but no one has responded.
On Kalburgi and Dadri, he said that no one has met the Governors of respective states and lodged their concerns in order to be channeled to him as he is not supposed to interfere in State’s issues. He had asked the Karnataka Govt. to send him all the files on Kalburgi murder but they have not sent them as yet.
He illustrated an example of administrative intolerance. During the last days of AB Vajpayee’s government, it was decided to create 6 AIIMS. The then health minister Sushma Swaraj named the Patna AIIMS as Jaiprakash Narayan Institue and similarly other 5 were also named on non-Congressi national leaders. Vajpayee’s government lost and Congress came in power. UPA passed a bill in the parliament and ‘banned’ these names to be used for any Government project. That was the level of intolerance, he cited.
He was concerned about ‘political concern v/s national interest’. He cited that 54 Heads of African countries were in India for the Indo-African summit. “So many heads of state do not even attend a state funeral’ he said sarcastically. “1/3rd of the world’s population, its concerns and aspirations were represented yet in our media and public discourse this event was absent’. He said emphatically ‘If there is a loss to the country due to my mistake, please criticize me which you must… punish me… but just to oppose me or any other political rival, one should not forget national interest’.
He quoted how Galileo was killed for opposing a belief but in India, when Charvak, an atheist, challenged Vedas with logic and rejected the idea of reincarnation he was given the title of ‘Rishi’. Indian thought is not about tolerance, it is about acceptance. He reminded that the societies, which championed the cause of human rights, are the ones who initiated two world wars whereas India has been the most peace generating country, in global context. He said ‘I have absolute faith that ‘tapasya’ of thousands of years can’t be destroyed by you and me’.
I proposed to him that he should talk to people from ‘cultural sphere’ including those who do not agree with him. I told him that I had want to hold such interaction in Mumbai as in Delhi ‘culture can’t be without politics’. Amidst laughter, he instantly agreed. I said we would organize it whenever he has time to which he said ‘…then it will never happen… you tell me the time and I will adjust’.
This wasn’t a one-way speech. This was informal, interactive chat filled with humour, ideas and positivity. And of course, there was chai along with chaas, dhokla, idlis and veg kathi rolls which were literally forced down on us by the Prime Minister himself.
My take away from the meeting was that he has immense faith in Indian youth. In him I found a man who is eager to talk to everyone and is ready to solve problems. I hope that disappointed artistes will accept his invitation and make him aware of their concerns. Maybe, he can help