Kabir Khan condemns violence during CAA protests, says he has 'never been more aware of my Muslim identity'

Kabir Khan comments on the student protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.

FP Staff December 31, 2019 14:44:49 IST
Kabir Khan condemns violence during CAA protests, says he has 'never been more aware of my Muslim identity'

Filmmaker Kabir Khan has opened up on the widespread disruption plaguing the country right now. Amidst student protests across states, and the government's policies of the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens creating a considerable furor, Khan pens a heartfelt note in The Indian Express about his university days, and how he feels most aware of his Muslim identity in the divisive environment of today.

At the outset, Khan recollects how his childhood days were spent growing up in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, since his father (Rasheeduddin Khan) was one its founding professors. The space, he claims, encouraged healthy debating, and there was an environment of dissent. Having done his masters from the Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC) at Jamia Millia Islamia, Khan was used to rigorous sessions on politics, especially since documentary filmmakers like him would require to be familiar with current affairs.

Kabir Khan condemns violence during CAA protests says he has never been more aware of my Muslim identity

Kabir Khan. Image from Twitter

Khan laments the visuals of protesting students being barred by police authorities today. He questions the logic behind restricting the youth from peacefully holding protests and expressing their opinion. He adds it is only when the citizens question the government, does it reflect of an active, thinking nation. He explains students have always been a nation's conscience. Unlike adults, Khan claims, students embody idealism — a crucial factor in a flourishing democracy.

The filmmaker notes at present, questioning the government has become equal to questioning a person's national identity and loyalty — "this is dangerous," Khan says. "A government has never been equal to a country. Governments will come and go," the director says.

Citing instances of students being dragged out of college libraries and being physically harassed, Khan confesses that in the last six years, the national narrative has equated the politics of the nation to the idea of India itself.

He then moves on to explain how he plans to make his voice heard, and hopefully create a difference. He says he will ensure that he can depict his ideology and principles through his films. Comparing the Indian political canvas with that of the US, Kabir points out how the latter, despite having its own share of issues, has always thrived in an environment of healthy, constructive criticism. Taking the example of the chicken song in Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), Khan says he has always tried to build a filmography he actually believes in. He says he can overlook a bad screenplay, editing or cinematography, but never bad politics.

Encouraging the students, Khan concludes by urging Indian citizens to raise their voices if they feel something is unfair.

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