Bollywood entertainer Naseeruddin Shah in his recent interview with The Wire’s Karan Thapar referred to discussion over Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, responsible for demolishing of Hindu temples and forced religious conversion in recent times as ‘separatism’ policy of ‘ruling party’. He then spoke about the recent ‘Dharma Sansad’ that was held in Haridwar where people present there were accused of ‘hate speech’. Shah, very cleverly skipped mentioning about AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi, an elected public representative, who, in a threatening tone, asked Hindus who would save them after ‘Modi-Yogi are gone’. But that doesn’t come as a surprise because speech is not ‘hate speech’ if Hindus are threatened in a ‘liberal’ Indian world.

Shah then starts talking about atrocities of Mughals and quickly corrects it to ‘so-called atrocities’ of Mughals which are being highlighted. Here, Shah insinuates that the Mughals did not really commit atrocities and all the historical evidence of destruction of Hindu temples, forced religious conversion, beheadings of Sikh Guru like Guru Tegh Bahadur for refusing to convert to Islam, were perhaps figment of one’s imagination. Because how can all these things even qualify as atrocities if Mughals, a minority even then, did them.

“The so-called atrocities of the Mughals are being highlighted all the time. They forget that the Mughals were people who contributed to this country. Mughals are people who have left lasting monuments, lasting history, lasting culture, the tradition of dance and music and painting and poetry and literature. No one talks about Taimur, no one talks about Mahmood of Ghazni, no one talks about Nadir Shah because I don’t suppose these people are conversant with that part of the history. Those were the marauders. Who came, looted and left. Mughals came here to make this their homeland. You could call them refugees if you like, pretty well off refugees. But the Mughals are being blamed unnecessarily. And to hold every Muslim in India today responsible for ‘so-called’ atrocities is nothing short of ridiculous,” he said.

Here it is important to note that people have regularly called out the atrocities and looting by Taimur as well as Mahmood of Ghazni. If Naseeruddin Shah hasn’t heard of it (or Islamists being proud of Somnath being looted and destroyed by Mahmood of Ghazni), perhaps he may want to come out his echo chamber.

Responding to a leading question on whether Shah believes that the people who made so-called call for ‘genocide’ of Muslims in Uttarakhand have silent support of Prime Minister Modi, the Bollywood entertainer said that he is not surprised and he expected the same. “I did fear that it would come to this,” he said. Shah said how the PM says he has no problem against any religions “and yet he will parade his own religious beliefs to the accompaniment of zillions of cameras and at the same time to issue a dog whistle about the Muslims.”

Firstly, Shah, about PM Modi wearing his Hindu religious identity on his sleeves, cope. Being head of a state does not mean one has to only wear headgears of other religions to prove one’s secular credentials as previous leaders did. That PM Modi is unabashedly Hindu even while catering to people of other religions in the country (like bringing in laws against instant triple talaq amongst others) is something the likes of you will have to deal with.

Secondly, is this Mughal simping a part of your atonement for asking Indian Muslims not to cheer for Taliban taking over of Afghanistan in August this year? Like, remember how a section of Indian Muslims were extremely excited at the idea of strict Sharia being implemented in Afghanistan and the educated, elite Indian Muslims, who also like to call themselves liberal, attacked Naseeruddin Shah?

‘Liberal’ elites who have problem with PM Modi asserting his Hindu identity were quick to point out how Naseeruddin Shah should not give unsolicited advice to Indian Muslims as he is not even a ‘practicing Muslim’.

Rifat Jawaid’s tweet on Naseeruddin Shah

Terming the celebration by Indian Muslims over the Taliban’s victory as dangerous, Shah had stated that every Indian Muslim should ask himself whether he wants a “reformed, modern Islam” or the “barbaric values” of past centuries. 

Shah even went on to say that his ‘Islam’ is inspired by Mirza Ghalib, which is non-political and ‘Hindustani Islam’ has always been different from the Islam that is practised elsewhere and prayed that the Indian version of Islam doesn’t change so much that it is no longer recognisable’.

But even Karan Thapar’s colleague at The Wire, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, was upset at Shah being critical of Taliban.

Arfa Khanum Sherwani’s tweet on Naseeruddin Shah

Essentially, Naseeruddin Shah was cancelled by Islamists masquerading as liberals in India only for cautioning against celebrating Taliban. After all, Taliban held a press conference after taking over Afghanistan. What if they identified, targeted and killed one of their colleagues, Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui only because he was Indian? His body was also mutilated by the Taliban. And that is just one instance. Since coming back to power, the Islamist group is back at carrying out atrocities against its own people like they were never gone anywhere in past 20 years.

In 2019, during the anti-CAA protests that had turned violent, Shah was found spewing venom against the government of India while instigating Muslims against a law that had nothing to do with them and did not affect them in any way. So when Shah ‘dared’ to school Indian Muslims, they were triggered. How dare he try to deviate from the ‘Dara Hua Musalman’ narrative and even acknowledge that barbarians carry out atrocities in the name of the religion that shall not be named? Don’t we all know that only a Sanskrit chanting Tilakdhari is the biggest threat to humanity in Independent India?

So within just few months of being voice of reason as a non-practicing Muslim and cautioning Indian Muslims against celebrating Taliban, Shah has somersaulted and played the ‘dara hua’ card because he also knows how the ‘liberals’ in India are the most insecure people and tribalistic in nature that anyone who does not adhere to the rulebook gets cancelled. And only thing more terrifying for an entertainer like Naseeruddin Shah, after the prospect of Modi returning as PM again in 2024, is being striped off his ‘liberal’ credentials.

Shah had dared to break the omerta and strayed. And hence, to be welcomed back into the ‘liberal’ tribe, Shah must atone for his sins and whitewash Mughal atrocities because beheading kafirs brings ‘believers’ one step closer to world peace.

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