Naseeruddin Shah says that the BJP is “smartly playing on” the hatred of Muslims.
Indian star Naseeruddin Shah recently said that he was worried about the growing hatred that Muslims face in his country. He said that it has become “fashionable” to hate Muslims. Shah talked to The Indian Express about the rise of unapologetic Islamophobia, the dangers it poses for a country as diverse as India, and how this kind of propaganda is being used to get people to vote.
When asked if the fact that some movies and TV shows are being used to spread false information is worrying, Shah said, “Oh, sure, these are definitely worrying times. People are eating up propaganda that doesn’t even try to hide the fact that it’s propaganda. This is a sign of the mood of the time. Hating Muslims is in style right now, even among smart people. It’s how the ruling party has very smartly gotten to this spot. We talk about freedom and secularism, so why do you bring religion into everything?”
The veteran actor said that the current party, the BJP, has done a good job of combining religion and politics to take advantage of this feeling. “I mean, what kind of weak people are on our election commission? Who doesn’t even have the courage to speak. If a Muslim leader had said, “Allah is the greatest, push the button,” things would have gone crazy.
“But in our country, our prime minister says things like this and still loses. So, I’m hoping this will go away. But right now, it’s for sure at its best. This government has played a very smart card, and it has worked. Let’s see how long it keeps working,” he said.
Shah has said bad things about the Indian government before. Last year, he said that the government is putting out ads for movies like “The Kashmir Files” instead of making sure that the Hindus in Kashmir are safe and getting them back on their feet. In another interview, he said that it was a “jingoistic agenda” for the government to try to get Bollywood to make more pro-establishment movies. Shah, unlike many other artists, is known for not being afraid to say what he thinks.