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An Open Letter to Gulzar

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An Open Letter to Gulzar

Dear Gulzar Sir,

(Actually I wanted to address you as“Ji” or “Saab,” but you might have construed it as religious intolerance)

When I read your recent statement that “We have never witnessed this kind of religious intolerance”, even the words of the Super Secular Times of India appeared as prophetic. The Times of India had written, “Smart people have a hard time being anything but smart. But *wise* people can play the fool when necessary. Gulzar saab has often written lyrics where you can’t find much meaning, but they’re so catchy, you gotta love them!”

Super Secular Times of India had published this in the context of the lyrics of the song “Horn OK Please” from ‘Dedh Ishqiya”. But you have written other equally low-level songs like “Kiss of Love” in “Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom.”

What a degradation, Gulzar sir!  People will now find it difficult to believe that it is indeed you who had penned songs like “Tujh Se Naaraz Nahi Zindagi, Is Mod Se Jaate Hain, Khaamosh Sa Afsaana, Mera Kuch Saaman” etc.

While saying “We have never witnessed this kind of religious intolerance,”you forgot that you had directed “Macchis” where you not only justified terrorism but you had kind of concluded “in the future, there could be many more Punjabs burning and suffering for years”.

You also seem to have forgotten other kind of intolerance, like the intolerance during Emergency which didn’t allow the release of your movie“Aandhi”.

Mr Sampooran Singh Kalra, you were born in Jhelum district , and your family had to move to India after partition. I could accuse you of being prey to the ‘Stockholm syndrome’ buried deep in your psyche, which has shut your mind to the violence perpetratedby the purveyors and implementers of the two nation theory in Punjab, a  year earlier in Bengal and later in Kashmir just two decades back when you were penning romantic shayari. You probably neither remember your original name nor your place of birth or for that matter why your family shifted to India after partition. Of course, these are all mere speculations on my part just the same way as your speculation about said intolerance.

That makes us equals now, doesn’t it?

I am not sure if you forgot all of it when from Sampooran Singh you became Gulzar Deenvi (and later simply Gulzar. For the uninitiated, Gulzar is a Muslim name) or when you wrote the anthem “Nazar Main Rehte Ho” for the phony“peace” campaign (Aman ki Asha) jointly started by media houses of India and Pakistan”.

The world has seen enough violence and intolerance during the years of your dear secular party’s prolonged regimes, to which you seem to have been blind.Somehow you had managed to create an image of a conscientious citizen. It is not OK to be a sensitive poet,at the cost of being blind to sufferings of fellow brethren, or to the sensitivities of your own faith or its followers.

I am sure you have earned enough name and money that you can happily migrate to your place of birth. You will feel much better and safer there and won’t face the kind of religious intolerance you are facing currently in India. Adnan Sami, who has just taken citizenship of India, can guide you better on this.

Moreover, the Karachi Literature Festival is still waiting for you, which you gave a miss in 2013 for unknown reasons(per media reports). This time around, it may even be construed as a continuation of your current protest. Here’s my suggestion for a couplet on the Karachi Lit Fest occasion:

“Tujhse Naaraz Nahin Taliban
BJP ke Intolerance Se Hairan Hun Main”

Bon voyage.
Sandeep Singh
Your former fan