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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Times Of India

10 September 2010

A colonial invite must be spurned by Aamir

Tarun Vijay

“Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan and his filmmaker wife Kiran Rao Khan have been officially invited to dine with the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles at the Marlborough House in Westminster, London. A source says, "Aamir is honoured and has accepted the invitation from Prince Charles inviting him to cocktails and dinner being hosted for a select gathering."

I would have loved Aamir saying he is having dinner with the Thai king or a Nepalese democratic leader. Or a Sri Lankan, even a Pakistani would have been a welcome host. But who is this Charles anyway? What's there in him to feel honoured at his invite? Forget what he did to Diana or even the fact that Charles had any known or unknown affection for us Indians except a ‘Ramu’ attitude, exhibited in cuddling coloured Indian kids for a photo op, what do these British rulers have that Indians should advertise a sense of elation receiving their invites?

Lagaan and 1857 forgotten, the British remain the most barbaric rulers India has ever seen. They cheated us, looted us, raped the country, stole our most valuable jewels and books and documents and the Saraswati statue. They built their industrial revolution on our money. Aamir must read Dadabhoy Naoroji’s thesis and Will Durant’s book – A Case for India. Aamir must know that British rulers were rogues and savages. Durant writes, "Until 1918 the total expenditure on public health, of both the central and the provincial governments combined, was only $5,000,000 a year, for 240,000,000 people — an appropriation of two cents per capita. Sir William Hunter, once Director-General of Indian Statistics, estimated that 40,000,000 of the people of India were seldom or never able to satisfy their hunger. Weakened with malnutrition, they offer low resistance to infections; epidemics periodically destroy millions of them. In 1901, 2, 72,000 died of plague introduced from abroad; in 1902, 5000,000 died of plague; in 1903, 800,000; in 1904, 1,000,000. In 1918 there were 125,000,000 cases of influenza, and 12,500,000 recorded deaths...”

The British never apologized for the crimes they committed against Indians. The Vatican apologized to Australian victims of paedophile priests. The majority of people in Australia agree with their government’s decision to apologize to Aboriginal communities for what is known as the Stolen Generation. For over 60 years and into the 1970s, the Australian government — and Catholic church missions — forcibly removed Australia’s Aboriginal children from their families and placed them in institutions or with foster families.

In November 2001, the Vatican issued a formal apology for the Church’s role in the Stolen Generation. In October 1998, in preparation for the Millennium, Pope John Paul II, the spiritual leader of about one billion Christian Roman Catholics, indicated that he and the Vatican were reviewing past Church sins and preparing a global apology statement.

The British government apologized on a recent issue of child abuse this year on February 10. A headline ran thus: UK apologizes over 'shameful' child migration program. Even the Pope received an apology from the British government for an issue that would look so trivial before what they did to fellow Indians of Aamir Khan. See this: Pope receives apology from UK Foreign Office for 'condom' memo. (

But they never apologized to us for hanging Bhagat Singhs, Rajgurus and Sukhdevs and ‘disposing of’ their dead bodies clandestinely, against all laws, in kerosene oil, at Satlaj, or for their crimes post 1857.

Did Aamir ever feel he should be more honoured having daal-roti with villagers of Khatkar Kalan? (What’s Khatkar Kalan anyway? It’s the birth place of Bhagat Singh). The Tribune in 1931 , giving news of Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary colleagues’ hanging said: ‘Dead bodies secretly disposed of’, 'no last interview with relations’.

Those were the British who did Jalianwala Bagh massacre. They did everything to insult, humiliate and belittle whatever India possessed.

Should it be an honour to dine with the inheritor of such a barbaric legacy who remains unrepentant on what his predecessors did to us?

I love Aamir and his films. Especially after Tare Zameen Par, Lagaan,1857 and Peepli Live, he has risen to unprecedented heights of glory and respect, very justifiably, not just amongst Indians but in the esteem of a global audience. In fact, Charles would be gaining more to have Aamir with him and Camila Parker Bowles on dining table. But should Aamir, a proud Indian, oblige them?

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