Hate Pakistan comments recoil on Indian NEW DELHI: A prominent Sikh writer expressed outrage on Thursday at Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s description of Pakistan as a veritable hell, saying the land of Guru Nanak’s birth gave him his cultural values even if the minister from Goa may not understand the fine point.
The Congress party had earlier mocked the voluble minister by reminding him that if Pakistan was the hell of his vision, it was a strange place for his leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to make a virtually uninvited visit.
Joining issue with Mr Parrikar, eminent Punjabi playwright and director Atamjit Singh was quoted in The Tribune as saying that Pakistan could be hell for the minister or “some people from Goa and Maharashtra”, but for him “it is the land where (his) cultural and religious values are rooted deeply”.
Speaking to The Tribune, Atamjit Singh said: “My mother was born in Peshawar and father in Lahore. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was born in Nankana Sahib. Baba Farid, the first great poet of my language, was born in Multan. When so much in that land belongs to us, how it could be hell for me and other Punjabis like me?”
He said: “There would not have been great literature in the absence of legendary poetical narrative of Heer Ranjha written by Waris Shah, who was born in Jandiala Sher Khan. Half of my creative and spiritual strength comes from that part of India, which is now known as Pakistan.
“Some immortal songs of my language are sung by legendary singers such as Reshma, Nusrat Fateh Ali and Ghulam Ali who belong to the Punjab of the other side.”
Mr Singh said he would not have been offended had Mr Parrikar confined his vitriol to the ISI, the military and some politicians of Pakistan, “who are sowing the seeds of hatred for their vested interests. I will gladly join you in doing so. But please have mercy on me and don’t call hell the whole land of my ancestors”.
In Karnataka, reports said the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists pelted eggs at Ramya’s car, as the popular movie actress arrived at the Mangalore airport. A Hindutva inspired advocate has filed a sedition case against her for saying Pakistan was no hell as she was treated very kindly by the people there.
Speaking to CNN-News18 Ms Ramya said: “I landed in Mangalore. There was a tight security. Some people pelted eggs at my car. I don’t know who they are. The people will try all sorts of things. It is not going to affect me. I am not going to backtrack. I am not at all worried.”
“I wish our leaders to be sensitive in making such statements as millions of people might silently listen to their insensitive comments but can’t digest them so easily,” Mr Singh told The Tribune, supporting the stand taken by Ms Ramya, a Karnataka-based actress and former Congress MP, who recently visited Pakistan.
Mr Parrikar had earlier this month told a rally that “going to Pakistan is the same as going to hell”, as Indian security forces killed five protesters and injured 10 others.
Mr Parrikar went on to say that Indian troops had “sent back five terrorists yesterday”, referring to the gunmen who were reportedly killed while attempting a cross-border incursion.