"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

I also love Kareena, but for a reason Featured

 

Gurpreet Singh

For the past several weeks, the followers of Bollywood diva are celebrating her 19 years in the Indian movie industry.  The twitter is flooded with greetings and best wishes to her from all over the world.

Kareena Kapoor Khan made her entry into films in June 2000, with her acting debut in Refugee.

Though her parents and the Kapoor clan are long associated with Bollywood, Kareena made an independent place for herself in the film industry with her talent and beauty. It goes without saying that her father Randhir Kapoor and mother Babita, besides sister Karishma, had dominated the movie industry for years, but Kareena remains one of the most sought after movie stars.

Undoubtedly Kareena is gorgeous and many people, including me, would like to date her. I never miss an opportunity to like her pictures on Twitter and Facebook and remain one of her followers on Instagram. I felt on top of the world when I got myself pictured with her wax statue at Madam Tussaud’s museum in London, but some other elements of her powerful story are much less discussed.

That she chose to marry a Muslim actor Saif Ali Khan, who is ten years older than her and was previously married, says lot about Kareena. It shows that she thinks independently and will make a choice that is close to her heart. She could have easily found someone younger and richer and also from her own Hindu community to marry, but she fell for Khan.

The story doesn’t stop there. She chose to adopt Khan as her last name and invited the wrath of Hindu fundamentalists who accused Saif Ali Khan of luring her and convert her to Islam. But Kareena never buckled down. Another reason why the Hindu fanatics were up in arms against her was when she chose to name her son Taimur, after a Mughal emperor who is often accused of tyranny by the Hindu historians. She and her husband were viciously attacked by the troll army on social media.

Today, she openly goes by the name Kareena Kapoor Khan, when most Bollywood stars prefer to align themselves with the Muslim haters in power, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who belongs to the right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Most Bollywood stars have remained silent to growing attacks on religious minorities under Modi. It goes to the credit of Kareena for standing for eight-year-old Asifa Bano, a Muslim nomad girl who was raped and murdered by Hindu extremists in Jammu in January 2018. They did that to terrorist Muslims and force them to migrate. Thus, Asifa’s body was used as a battlefield. Kareena was one of those few actresses who posed themselves with a placard that condemned this gruesome act taking place inside a temple on social media.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. She went to cast her ballot at the polling station in the recently concluded general election along with her son whose name had generated an unwanted controversy. This action itself was strong enough to send a message to the Hindu fanatics that she hasn't forgotten what they did to her family. This election was a mandate on the performance of the BJP. It is a separate matter that the BJP won again with a brute majority. While Kareena never revealed whom she voted for, I have reasons to believe that she wouldn't have voted for the BJP. She had admitted in one TV interview that she wanted to date Rahul Gandhi, who recently stepped down as opposition Congress Party President after losing the election to BJP. Rahul Gandhi is a vocal critic of the sectarian politics of BJP. Kareena’s liking for Rahul sets her apart from other prominent stars who are enamoured by the popularity of Modi. Notably, BJP supporters have frequently mocked Rahul. This is not to suggest that Rahul Gandhi is a perfect politician or that his party is a great alternative to the BJP, but Kareena’s admiration for someone who is despised by BJP says something about her.                           

We need more role models like Kareena in today’s world to challenge growing bigotry and Islamophobia. Love you Kareena and I wish I get an opportunity to meet you one day to tell you how much hope you give in these depressing times.

 

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