Bollywood star Aamir Khan says his statements on 'intolerance' last year which stirred more zing into an existing storm may have been taken out of context. At an awards night last year, Aamir Khan spoke about how his wife Kiran shared her worry about status quo in India and his quotes from that evening went on to roil the winter session of Parliament and never really died down.
Most recently, Amitabh Bachchan has replaced Aamir Khan as the brand ambassador of the Incredible India campaign.
Speaking at the 10 anniversary of “Rang De Basanti”, Aamir Khan attempted to clarify his statements on “growing intolerance”, reports The Indian Express.
“Some could understand me and some couldn’t. And those who are hurt, I can understand their feelings. I would have been hurt had I been in their place because they were told something that was not true,” Aamir Khan said.
Khan said his comments were taken out of context.
"I was hurt and along with me many people have been hurt because of this misunderstanding. I give this credit to you all (media) because you all have twisted my words. I request you all that please don't do this," Aamir said.
“Our country is a beautiful example of unity in diversity. Take my family for instance. My wife is Hindu. My two sisters are married to Hindus — Farhat is married to Rajeev while Nikhat to Santosh. My cousin Mansoor Khan has married a Catholic. I have three kids and they are half-Hindu and half-Muslim,” he said. “Both Kiran and I never bring our religions into the picture. I am an Indian first and always will be an Indian,” Khan said.
“Let me tell you that I never said that. I was born in India and I will die in India. I never thought about leaving the country. Neither Kiran nor will I think about it. In fact when I stay away from the country for two weeks I get homesick,” The Indian Express quotes Aamir as saying.
Aamir says his statement was not a generalization but more specifically certain people who are polarizing opinion one way or the other.
“Our Prime Minister has said unity is our strength and that one shouldn’t spread poison. I love my country and people who are spreading negativity, I with folded hands ask them not to do not. Unity in diversity is our main aim,” said Aamir.
“Why should I do Satyamev Jayate? It’s because I love my country. I feel happy that I am lending a hand in nation building. I belong to a freedom fighter’s family. My great grand uncle is Maulana Abul Kalam Azad,” he said.
Barely a week ago, senior bureaucrat Amitabh Kant, a key driver of the Incredible India campaign during his stint in the Ministry of Tourism, took a swipe at actor Aamir Khan saying that he is damaging India's brand image when he calls India "intolerant".
After speaking to television channels in Ahmedabad, Kant reportedly repeated his statement on Twitter Tuesday. “Being a Brand Ambassador imposes responsibilities. U can’t run down what u’re promoting. That’s damaging d brand,” he tweeted, reports The Indian Express.
DIPP Secy Amitabh Kant: Incredible India's brand ambassador saying India is intolerant damages nation's brand entity https://t.co/ky39kdz7Wf
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 19, 2016
Kant referred to Khan’s remarks at the Ramnath Goenka Awards night last November where Aamir Khan had said: “(Wife) Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child.
She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet.”
“A brand ambassador must be the best ambassador for promoting and marketing India, he cannot be the destroyer of the brand… If the brand ambassador of India promotes it as Incredible India, then people will come here for sightseeing and tourist inflow will increase. But if the brand ambassador of Incredible India says that India is intolerant, then he is not working as the brand ambassador, he is damaging the brand entity of the nation, then people won’t come here,” Kant said.