Srijana Mitra Das, TNN | Aug 29, 2011
He’s a superstar – but his latest appearance wasn’t filmi. In an exclusive chat with Srijana Mitra Das, Aamir Khan discussed his role in the Jan Lokpal movement, people’s right to peaceful protest and the task facing MPs.
When did you join the Jan Lokpal movement?
The last time Anna sat in protest. He got my attention onto the issue of the bill. I went on the net, researched the government’s draft and the Jan Lokpal draft. I was not impressed by the government’s draft- but I found the Jan Lokpal a strong anti-corruption mechanism. I wrote a letter to the PM and Anna with my thoughts.
Was picketing MPs’ houses an idea you gave Team Anna?
‘Picketing’ is a loose word but yes, I spoke with Arvind Kejriwal 10-15 days ago when I did mention my thoughts…In a democracy, the person I’m electing is my MP. We can’t all fight elections and sit in Parliament. We select one person to do so on our behalf. Strong, forceful communication with our MPs is essential. Each MP votes on bills. If my MP doesn’t convey my thoughts, I won’t vote for him next time. If they do, they’ll get my support.
The Lokpal Bill too is now in Parliament. It’ll go through drafting, discussions, going to the standing committee, being voted on. We must continue sustained dialogue with our MPs until the Bill is finally passed. All eyes should now be on our local MP.
Did protests force Parliamentary procedure?
This is a democracy. Everyone has a right to protest. This protest was entirely peaceful, no force was used. In what other way could the people communicate with their elected representatives? There is no system of recall. And all bills are passed with political pressure and corporate lobbying. Several interested parties get involved. So what is wrong if the people of this nation – its most interested party – put pressure? Everyone lobbies. This time, the people are lobbying.
Wasn’t Anna’s fast about force?
No-one goes on a hunger fast as his first option. Anna did it as his last resort. This bill has not been passed for over 40 years. The hunger strike had to be done now. For the first time, I saw people come out in support of an idea. To my mind, these are all signs of a vibrant, alive democracy. It’s very heartening. And it must continue.
How do you see this movement continuing?
The ball is now in Parliament’s court. MPs are being looked at with hope. If they pass a strong anti-corruption bill, they will win the confidence of the people – if they don’t, they will lose that. Anna and his team are doing a great job. The media, including your paper, has been excellent. It must keep the issue in public consciousness.
There’s skepticism about film professionals coming out during movements – your view?
Whenever there’s a social movement, I normally don’t see anyone coming out. The business community, doctors, homemakers, everyone stays away. The majority of people – not just the film industry- think ‘Choro yaar, kaun panga lega?’But this movement brought everyone out.
I was enthused to see housewives, lawyers, teachers, even government employees coming out because corruption is an issue that affects everyone.
Will a strong Lokpal make the film industry, famous for black money, transparent?
A strong Lokpal will help everyone be more transparent – including the film industry. A person’s integrity has nothing to do with their profession. Noble professions like medicine or law can have corrupt people in them. It is your own conscience, your moral fibre that propels you to be clear. That is what is happening now. That’s what we must build. On my part, I will continue to support the Jan Lokpal movement.
Courtesy: The Times of India, AP
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