In recent times, the Indian intellectual elite has been cribbing about rising religious intolerance and the lack of freedom of expression in this country. Yet, the institutions they run often discriminate on the basis of caste and creed
The world's largest free literature festival, the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, came to a close recently, without running into any major scandal. Although some controversy crept in, it made little impact. Film-maker Karan Johar sarcastically said that the freedom of expression in this country was a joke and democracy, an even bigger joke. He also tried to fuel the 'intolerance' debate by saying that it was difficult to say one's mann ki baat in this country. By criticising India's freedom of expression, Mr Johar has made a mockery of himself.
It was only due to the freedom of expression which the Constitution guarantees to every citizen of this country, that Mr Johar had the courage to say that democracy was a "joke". Some say that artistes are emotional creatures, but Mr Johar appeared to be childish. Perhaps, some people who came to this planet with a silver spoon in their mouth will never appreciate the essence of democracy.
Also, Mr Johar's jibe adds substance to the perception that celebrities willingly rake up controversy when they have a film or a book to release. They know that public memory is short and, therefore, they make controversial comments without worrying about the consequences. It's only when Mr Johar's biography was to be released, that he realised that there has been a rise in intolerance and that our democracy is a joke. Actor Shah Rukh Khan too expressed his views on intolerance just before the release of his film Dilwale.
However, when a section of people gave a call to boycott his film, Mr Khan said that Dilwale was not just his baby but a collaborative effort. The fact is that film stars think that controversy ensures instant success for their films or books.