This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Lekha Vijaya. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I Really Don’t See Why Aamir Khan’s Comments Are Such A Big Problem

More from Lekha Vijaya

By Lekha Vijaya:

The word ‘intolerance’ is gaining unexpected popularity in our country these days. While some argue that there is no such intolerance and it was some cooked up agenda of the rival parties, in another wider section of the populace their opinion is rising up against the ‘rising intolerance’ in the country. It seems to me that the word ‘intolerance’ itself is perceived with much intolerance by both groups. Following the trend set by Nayantara Sehgal, a dozen writers and rational thinkers have relinquished various recognitions of the Government like the Sahitya Akademi award and Padmabhushan, citing the rising cultural intolerance in the country. And the recent controversy surrounding the comments made by Aamir Khan is a continuation of that story. While a section of the people hail the cause, another claim it as a belligerent action to tarnish the image of our nation in the international scene. I personally view this is as a gesture of one’s protest, which is well within the boundaries of the rule of law of the land.

Fotor Intolerance in India

One should remember that, every Indian citizen is guaranteed with the fundamental right to freedom of expression. The rationalists and literary scholars of our country had always upheld this right and protested whenever that right is at stake. It is nothing new. This can be seen during the period of Emergency too. When the Indira Gandhi government suppressed the freedom of expression during the Emergency, then also a protest of a similar kind happened. But the hefty censorship imposed on the media during that time might have kept such voices of dissent at a minimum coverage. There is no such censorship now and so all the voices of dissent are can be taken note of. And the influence of social media has its share too in the mass coverage received in these protests. How a personal opinion of Aamir Khan has demarcated his life and opinions with social media trolls is an example of this. I wonder why such a personal comment of an actor is creating ruckus in a country which has more pressing problems like death due to poverty, open defecation, rape, child marriage etc.

The main reason for the sudden upsurge among the scholars and rationalists is the looming silence from the authorities. The fringe elements seem pretty much on the loose these days, attacking the plurality and secularism of our nation (be it the Dadri incident or the murder of M.M Kalburgi, etc). The killing of the rationalists like Pansare, Dhabolkhar and the still evading culprits behind these murders are a cause of concern. One should note that the latter two were murdered during the time of UPA Government regime, not the NDA. The protest is not against any untoward incident that happened during the period of NDA alone, but the altogether rise of fringe ideologies in the country. A word of assurance from the Government to Indians is the need of the hour.

Contrary to this, the statements made by the members of the ruling party are only augmenting the fears. The pseudo-secular views of a section of political parties are not helping either. The oppositions are kind of utilizing the situation for a political favor. The end result is nothing but confusion and concern among the minorities, free thinkers etc. In the chaotic situation, we expect a strong statement of pacification from the responsible people and the absence of it for sure will raise eyebrows. As long as strong action are not meted out to fight this at least by a strong word of condemnation , our rational groups are obliged to join hands against this intolerance.

Intolerance and communal riots were present in India all through these years since Independence, one cannot ignore that fact. On certain occasions the spark will turn into a big blast of fire which attracts widespread condemnation. As responsible citizens, each of us has the right and duty to express our opinions against these. And for the writers and scientists in India, they have a great major role in this. And they should in the manner they prefer, provided the conditional clauses of fundamental rights are not violated, should oppose such events. Free thinkers in India had expressed their oppositions through their writings and in other manners in earlier occasions too. That is not showing wrath against any political party.

What I want to say here is that one should be given the space to express his/her opinion. If that opinion is attacking the truth you have every right to correct it. But if it is hurting your pride, deal with your conscience before correcting.

You must be to comment.

    I am surprised at the very title of this post. How can U NOT see that Aamir Khan's comments are indeed a huge problem?
    First of all Mr.Aamir Khan did NOT make the comment just about INTOLERANCE. INTOLERANCE was NOT the thing people were so agitated about. What he talked about was having to leave India because things are NOT safe here.
    That is a very serious accusation on the country. And coming from a celebrated movie-star who is looked after by many it was seriously threatening the GOODWILL of the COUNTRY, especially at a time when the NEW GOVT was working so hard to bring in more investment and improve the relationships with all the world-nations and world-super-powers, the area which was left dormant during the earlier decade.
    ONE should be given the space to make their comments, and ONE should have the freedom of expression, but there are bound to be limitations for celebrities, especially the Movie-Stars with mass-appeal. Because people idealize them as well as people can get more hurt by their comments. And people were indeed hurt by whatever Aamir-Khan said.
    Let's NOT forget that before making these comments AK did already upset a large section of population by insulting the religious beliefs and sentiments of HINDUS in a predominantly HINDU nation through his PK. Even journalists from PAKISTAN commented that if he had done it in a Muslim country he would have faced serioius consequences.
    Now this time, saying that the country became unsafe for Muslims added fuel to fire.

  2. nandakishore

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation”, … TRANSLATION : “Ur comment may NEVER see the light of the day. What did U think, U will disagree with our article and we will post Ur comment on our website below the article LOL!”.

More from Lekha Vijaya

Similar Posts

By Arya Jha

By Rajan

By Subhajit Murmu

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below