When India was celebrating, it’s 74th Independence day, Indian actor and superstar Aamir Khan was meeting Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan at the presidential residence at the Huber Mansion in Istanbul. The news is that Aamir is in Turkey for ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’s shoot. The reports also suggest that the two discussed social projects, cultures, and humanitarian activities.
In admiration, Aamir praised Erdoğan for supporting many humanitarian projects concerning women and children. At the same time, the first lady Emine Erdogan applauded Aamir for “courageous handling of social problems” in his films. Weird, ain’t?
Weird because the same Emine Erdogan, who is concerned about women’s education, had praised the Ottoman-era Harem as an “educational establishment that prepared women for life.”
Aamir’s meeting with the Erdogan family is no regular event, and it raises valid suspicion over this man’s intent.
Choosing Turkey as a film location is absolutely okay. But at a time, there are severe travel restrictions, what was the desperation to travel that long, and “request a meeting” with the ever-controversial Erdogan and family?
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has also recently been in the news for converting the iconic 6th century Byzantine church Hagia Sophia from a museum back into a mosque in a perceived attempt to appease hardliners Turks. Openly calls for the re-establishment of the Islamic State, and the conquest of Jerusalem.
Erdogan has also trying to expand its influence among South Asian countries, and build an alliance of non-Arab Islamic countries including Pakistan and Malaysia. It’s his attempt to challenge Saudi Arabia’s dominance in the Islamic world at a global level and projecting himself as the messiah of Muslims, much like the Ottoman Caliph.
Even if one ignores Erdogan’s caliphate dreams, an Indian cannot overlook his clear Anti-India stance. PM Narendra Modi had canceled his official visit to Turkey after Erdogan criticized India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in J&K in the United Nations General Assembly. Then this year, Erdogan raised the Kashmir issue in the Pakistan parliament, drawing a comparison with the battle of Gallipoli.
The issue here is not Erdogan, but an Indian celebrity meeting the Erdogan family at a time there’s official conflict in the relationship between the two countries. Indian government officials have clearly called that Turkey is emerging as “the hub of anti-India activities.” Islamist radical organizations in parts of the country, including Kerala and Kashmir, are being supported and funded by Turkish outfits backed by President Erdogan.
However, it’s not happenstance. Both Aamir and Erdogan seem to have a strong affinity for each other. Aamir had met this rabid Islamist and anti-India head of state even before when he traveled to Turkey to have a photo-op. Their ilk only refuses to meet India’s trusted friends, like Israel’s PM Netanyahu. Remember all these Khans publicly took a stand of not attending a dinner meeting with Israel PM when he was visiting India?
Amir Khan’s movie PK was a direct attack on Hindu symbols and traditions. In the popular series ‘Satyamev Jayate,’ he was explicitly seen targeting Hindu practices. They all were big hits. But as soon as the ‘intolerance brigade’ started their campaign, Aamir was immediately alarmed by his wife, and the couple felt like moving out of India.
But he never felt anything wrong meeting a man who openly supports ISIS, whose party members parade severed heads of Syrian soldiers, and whose Son-In-Law money launders for ISIS. Aamir is fine to endorse Erdogan under whose regime women are forced to marry their rapists, journalists are murdered in broad daylight, but calls a vibrant democracy like India intolerant.
I wrote an article on Aamir Khan’s hypocrisy – “When it comes to Hypocrisy, Aamir Khan is second to none.” That was when Zaira Wasim, the 16-year-old Kashmiri actor (played the character of Geeta Phogat in Aamir Khan’s DANGAL), was vehemently abused by the fundamentalists for acting in a “polluted” medium and bringing shame and disgrace to Islam.
Many people on Social Media requested the Bollywood biggies, including Aamir, to assert and stand in support of the minor girl from their fraternity and to condemn this targeted abuse by fundamentalist Islamists. None took a stand. In fact, those who responded, they condemned social media. Aamir himself posted a ‘public statement’ appealing people to leave her alone instead of asking people to speak up and stand by her side. As if he was asking for forgiveness for the wrong she committed. Asking people to leave Zaira alone while she is being abused and intimidated, was nothing but cowardice.
Same Aamir, who gave us a hit movie on religious satire, did not utter a single word about the Godzilla-sized-elephant in the room. What a role model – in hypocrisy, doublespeak, and petty politics.
However, that act of Aamir can be given a pass as hypocritical or foolish bravado. But meeting Erdogan and family twice is nothing but betrayal. This creates genuine suspicion on this man’s veiled, sinister agenda. What is Aamir’s game?