Art gives no Space to Extremism
- Adv. Masood Peshimam
Art gives no Space to Extremism

The hotheads in Pakistan have never tolerated the flourish of the talents in music, acting, literature or any other creative endeavour more so if it is close to liberal moorings.  The mighty hotheads in Pakistan have many a time roughed up the artists of their own country and there is no end to turmoil which sometimes lead to assault.  The fatal assault over the noted Pakistani Qawwal was a case in point.  The reason of the fatal assault was an outcome of the exasperation with the ideological deviation from the religious philosophy of the attackers though his father Gulam Farid Sabri a legend in the art of Qawwali for the number "Bhar Do Jholi Meri Ya Mohammad” had earned an enormous laurel captivating the hearts of the people.  Such crimes are in furtherance of the bigoted and extremist ideology bereft of any logic and rationale.  It’s a different matter if an actress like Veena Malik is in troubled waters with her skimpy outfit or no outfit dazzling the display of her physical assets arousing the inflammatory passions.

However notwithstanding the sensitivities of the radical elements in Pakistan the Pakistani artists have been drawn into the trouble waters in India for the different reasons.  Here the Pakistani artists are targeted by the Right wing Hindu brigade over the unhappy Uri incident in which 19 soldiers are martyred.  The Uri attack was reason enough for the right wing Hindu brigade to fish in the troubled waters. The Raj Thackrey led MNS set the deadline of 48 hours for Mumbai based Pakistani artists to leave the country.  The Shiv Sena and MNS routinely target the cultural figures from Pakistan.  The xenophobic sentiments are whipped up close on the heels of Mumbai municipal elections.  There is one up-man ship born of political compulsions.

The formulation of hostile narrative against the Pakistani artists is visible in their own country as well India which can be explained in one Urdu couplet,
”Waize Tang Nazar Ne Mujhe Kafir Jana
Aur Kafir Ye Samajasta Hai Ke Musalman Hu Main”.
[The narrow minded sermonizer treated me an infidel and whereas the infidel feels that I am Muslim].

It is not the question of keeping the Pakistani artists on boil in Mumbai in Maharashtra but there are vigorous attempts to create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for the people of U.P. and North who are to bear the brunt in the name of damaging the interests of the sons of the soil.  Even the students appearing in the Railway Exams are not spared.
 The savage attack evolved against the north Indians from the south Indians under the very nose of the police with impunity.  There is no exaggeration to say that those playing the communal regional card playing with the sentiments of the people have not done anything to alleviate the sufferings of the people decaying to death lying on railway platforms.  The underscrible agony of the poor and wretched thirsting for the glass of water has never factored in the priorities of the prevailing political culture focusing on the incendiary stuff to fragment the society for its own vested interest.  Only the sympathy card is played for those living the catastrophic subhuman existence.

Those not interested in pulling the people from the brink of catastrophic sub human existence are only indulging in maniacal tirade.  The situation has gone to such an extent that an appetite is developed to penetrate the kitchen rooms to ascertain as to what meat stuff the Briyani is made up.  Given the volatile situation to know the components of Briyani do we need the Briyani Ministry at the state levels and the Centre.  The fasccist attack over the Dalits and Muslims in the name of cow protection continues uninterrupted despite Modi’s loud talk of exercising restraint clearly explaining that his words were pretty much water off a duck’s back.

It is the same flexing of muscles in the name of nationalism the Pakistani artists are targeted as if they are involved in Uri attack.  The artists focus on their performance and nowhere involved in the escalating conflict between India and Pakistan.  Artists in both countries have no leverage to calm down the frayed tempers with the jingoistic overtones.
The nationalism or patriotism is not the monopoly of any group, political formation or religious identity.  The vast mobilization of Muslims in protest against the Pakistani role in the Uri attack in Kashmir has fairly rebutted the delusion of patriotism or nationalism being the monopoly of those blowing the trumpet of nationalism.  The Muslims are very much rooted in national soil.  They are as Indians as their counterparts. Despite facing all-round ignominious offensive against its dignified survival the Muslim community in India was in the forefront to deplore and condemn Pakistan for its role in Uri incident.  Falling in line a rally to pay tribute to the martyrs of Uri was organized in Kalyan by Parvez Ali Sayyed and Ms Alka Oulaskar.  The people irrespective of any consideration have risen to show the resentment and anguish over terrorist strike in Uri.  However notwithstanding the protest against Uri happening asking for the repeal of AFPSA Act or disagreeing with the use of pallet guns no way erodes the patriotic credibility.

With the reference to the Pak artists the fact remains that interaction with the Pak artists is quite an old one as the migration of artists and literary figures took place in both the countries with the trauma of partition.  The filmi personalities like Kapoors notably Raj Kapoor, Raj Kumar, Dharmendra, Deo Anand, Balraj Sahani and the lyricists like Gulzar, Naqsh Lailpuri and scores of others have come from the area now falling in Pakistan. 

In the same breath the legendary Ghazal singers like Mehndi Hasan and Gulam Ali had their roots in India.
Another noted name migrating from India was of popular mimicry artist Moin Akhtar.  He went to Pakistan from Sewree, Mumbai.  There was an incident associated with Moin Akhtar in Sewree, Mumbai when as a child he replied in a song to the song recited by the domestic help who was washing utensils in the common bath room as there was no flat culture in Mumbai in the sixties.

The literary figures have also origins in both the countries.  Prominent among them was the celebrated fiction writer Saadad Hassan Manto.

Ayesha Jala wrote the biography of her uncle Manto. The author Ayesha jalal commented in the biography "Toba Tek Singh Was, is and will continue to remain one of the most revered short stories written by the celebrated Urdu writer Saadat Hassan Manto.  Remembered for the incomprehensible babble of the Sikh Asylum Inmate, Bishen Singh, who cursed both India and Pakistan in the same breath, the story questions the twisted dogmas of both nations even today.
 Ironically, Manto shared a reciprocal turmoil with his protagonist both coped with an incurable void after being displaced from nation they called home and both died searching for an identity "on a bit of earth, which had no name”.
The writer like Manto advocated equality and attacked social injustice and extremism through his writings.

Art plays the larger role in cooling down the frayed tempers and the jingoistic mood which is not allowed to do in the city like Mumbai which would have become Asia’s financial capitol had there been no provocation in the name of region, religious or anything of that kind.

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