When the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan, some of its sympathizers in India had broadcast their support on social media and TV debates to make it to the headlines. To counter these sympathizers, poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar had criticised them for their support of the fundamentalist, medieval Taliban. In the melee, the virtuoso lyricist muddled his lines and ended comparing the RSS with the Taliban. This resulted in becoming a target for the BJP-RSS volunteers and their trolls within a few hours.
Now, Javed Akhtar has tried to control the damage by writing in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana in which he has described Hindus the world’s largest tolerant community. He also said India could never become Afghanistan as it is naturally not fundamentalist. Last week, the Sena in its editorial in Saamana had slammed Javed Akhtar and said linking Hindutva with the Taliban is disrespectful to Hindu culture.
Earlier, Akhtar had said the aim of organizations like RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal is the same as that of Taliban. He had also said if the Constitution comes in the way of their ways then they will cross that boundary too.
On the mob lynching of minorities in India, Akhtar had also said that it is a kind of full dress rehearsal of becoming a full-fledged Taliban. They (the RSS) are the same people, just the name is different. Akhtar had said that those who support organizations like RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal, they need to introspect.
As soon as Javed Akhtar’s interview came out, the anger of crores of BJP-RSS supporters erupted and started protest outside his house in Mumbai. Effigies were also burnt in many cities. Memes started being made against Javed Akhtar on Twitter and it became a topic of discussion across the country.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that it would be good for Javed Akhtar to apologize. The BJP MLA Ram Kadam also warned that unless Javed Akhtar apologizes with folded hands, he will not allow any of his films to be screened in India.
The controversy has led to change the topic of TV debate shifting from Taliban sympathizer to Javed Akhtar and discussion of his old statements and controversies were also started on social media.
The BJP is in power at the Centre but perhaps Javed Akhtar felt that he would not be touched by anybody in Maharashtra because there is a Shiv Sena government which broke ties with the BJP. But he forgot that there are many similarities in their ideologies. Soon after that Shiv Sena gave advice to Javed Akhtar to write in its mouthpiece Saamana.
The Taliban-ruled Afghanistan can never be compared with India, Javed Akhtar wrote in Saamana. His article has also praised Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.
It is worth noting that instead of talking about Sangh-VHP, Javed Akhtar directly told all Hindus to be tolerant, so that the dispute regarding his previous statement can now be laid to rest.