India is ready to talk about religion. Is Pakistan?

Published: January 4, 2015

The mobs claiming to kill in the name of religion in Pakistan may be a small minority of the country but they are the most vocal and there are no avenues for the silent majority in Pakistan to make their voices heard.

The new Rajkumar Hirani-directed Bollywood movie PK starring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma has divided opinions in India. ‘#BanPK’ trended on Twitter, there were protests all over India and religious groups burnt posters of the movie at processions but the movie is in course to be the highest grossing Indian film of all time.

India’s silent majority is letting its position on the issue known by supporting the movie. There are no mass protests in support of the movie but the positive reviews online and thousands of people taking to social media to praise it shows India is ready to have the ‘religion’ debate.

There was outcry from religious groups, and threats of mob violence but the courts and the government must be admired for not bowing down under the pressure of these mobs. The Supreme Court passed a verdict simply saying,

“Don’t watch the film, if you don’t like it.”

It is not as if the religious groups are not as strong in India as in Pakistan, it is just that their state is stronger than ours. In a country with the writ of law, mobs cannot act with complete impunity. The Supreme Court judges who passed this judgment were not afraid they would be shot in their chambers after passing the judgment. Having worked in the legal fraternity in Pakistan, I can testify that some judges in Pakistan are afraid to pass judgments based on their feelings and reason in cases which may involve religion.

India prides itself on being a secular country, despite the Narendra Modi-led regime riling the Hindu nationalism to gain votes; the regime paved its way to victory largely due to its economic performance in Gujarat. For the common man in India, how the country will perform economically is more important than the religion of the leader.

The previous Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was a Sikh and in the regime before that the president, Abdul Kalam, was a Muslim. In Pakistan you have to be a Muslim to hold the highest offices in the country. In fact, even to become a citizen of the country or get a Pakistani passport, you have to sign a form declaring that you find Ahmadis to be non-Muslims.

PK has raised many questions about how religion is exploited by people claiming to be ‘managers’ of God on earth. The director insists it is not so much about questioning people’s religions but the use of religion in society. In Pakistan, we are having a similar campaign with Jibran Nasir leading civil society representatives against people like Maulana Abdul Aziz and Aamir Liaquat. The difference in Pakistan is that the state structures buckle under the pressure of mobs.

The mobs claiming to kill in the name of religion in Pakistan may be a small minority of the country but they are the most vocal and there are no avenues for the silent majority in Pakistan to make their voices heard. People do not even share their opinions on social media over fear of backlash.

PK is doing well in Pakistan, the device of an alien combined with the focus on the Hindu religion means that the movie has not come to the right wing’s attention in Pakistan. We are not even ready to have a debate on blasphemy law, let alone religion in general. Religious clerics such as Maulana Abdul Aziz still garner huge support and Mumtaz Qadri remains a hero to some factions in the country. Judges are afraid to hear his case. Lawyers and judges involved in blasphemy cases have been shot down in the past.

In fear of all this violence, people with differing views on religion choose to remain quiet. PK’s success in Pakistan may not be indicative of the public opinion but it shows there is a certain section of society that does aspire to the ideas put forward by the movie. The civil society’s movement against Maulana Abdul Aziz is further evidence of that. None of that means that Pakistan should be a secular country or religion should not play a part of our lives in Pakistan but people who may hold differing opinions should not have to live their lives under the constant threat of violence.

I doubt anybody involved in the making of PK feels any passer-by may shoot them whereas in Pakistan the news of Salman Taseer being shot by his own security guard did not even come as a shock to most people – it seemed inevitable since the first time he ever questioned the blasphemy law.

It is this fear that religious leaders use to promote their ideas under the guise of religion. They are allowed to act with complete impunity by the state because the actors in the state are too afraid of the mobs these people command. The recent recommendations by the state are a positive step in the right direction but a lack of any commitment on the state’s part to act on those recommendations shows there is a long way to go before a movie like PK can be produced in Pakistan.

If the state is too afraid to take a stand against people misusing religion in the country, how can you expect the common people to? This is why the civil society’s stand against Maulana Abdul Aziz must be admired. Now we have to wait and see whether, like in the movie PK, Maulana Abdul Aziz kay pass wrong number hai (Maulana Abdul Aziz got the wrong number).

PK may not leave a huge impact on the people of Pakistan. They may laugh at the eccentricity of the opinions of PK or at the strange pointed out ears of Aamir Khan in the movie. People may have a good time at the theatre and go home without pondering over the deeper issues raised but Indian cinema must be admired for attempting such a bold theme. Pakistan may never be able to come out with a movie addressing any of the similar issues faced by the country but in light of the recent civil society uprising in Pakistan, PK comes at the right time.

I will leave you with the question that PK leaves for all of us to ponder over in an adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot idea, we live in a small city, in a small country, of a small world, in a small galaxy with millions of planet. A galaxy contained a cluster of galaxies and a universe with an infinite number of these clusters. A vastness of space with billions of galaxies, stars, planets and worlds that God presides over yet in this small city we feel we need to be the protectors of a God of all these infinite worlds?


Shehzad Ghias

A graduate from the LUMS Law School and is running his own theatre production company, Cogito Productions.He works as a theatre teacher at various schools. He tweets @Shehzad89 (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • wiserneighbour

    Your thoughts are well put and in the correct context.A nation was carved out of religious compulsions.When religion controls your life’s every aspect,the people who control that religion becomes the monarch and controller of mob you obey.The hunger for absolute authority and associated wealth is satiated through this manipulation.How the middleast monarchies control their citizens?it is a sedative mixture of religion and ruthlessness.There is no scope for any kindness.The laws are framed and mixed with religious colors.Religion is your private affair and the connection between you and your own god,whoever it is.Dont mix it with politics.Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    To be honest a large percentage of Pakistanis want to be rid of extremist mullahs who spread hate in the society. But , sadly, they are so “indoctrinated” that they think of mullahs as “infallible” and never rise against them.
    I recently had a conversation with a person here on ET whose sole “excuse” aka justification for the blasphemy law was that the “scholars” have created this therefore it must be right. I asked him about 40 times if it had any basis in Quran and he continued to say that mullahs created it, so it must be true.
    until Pakistan gets rid of this “infallible” mindset they will remain indoctrinated.Recommend

  • Komal S

    Indians movies have been debating religion for ages. You have to just look at our regional films in tamil, malayalam, Bengali and other regional movies and see how these have been discussed threadbare for many many years. So this is not new to Indian public. A film like this 20 years back would not have seen a protest by anybody, but we all have become hyper-sensitive these days. By the way, i watched PK and at best it is an average movie. Don’t know why it is making so much money. Kind of tells you about the quality of movies produced by Mumbai these days.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “India is ready to talk about religion. Is Pakistan?”

    Pakistan is overwhelmingly Muslim in numbers, it is a few Muslims who kill Muslims/ Non Muslims on the name of religion, as soon as they do that the Pakistanis will call it a conspiracy by Jews/Hindus/Christians and if proven wrong, will call the perpetrators non Muslims, end of discussion.Recommend

  • Spock

    you should watch another blockbuster called Oh! My God. It is more hard hitting and yet entertaining.

    It will take another 5 decades before pakistan can make such movies without fear of getting killed.Recommend

  • Fazal

    I think Pakistani film makers have already made much bolder movies like Khuda ke Liye etc. Our media n civil society is much more vocal than Indian counter parts. But alas our state n judiciary z weak due to wasted interests of politicians n legal fraternity Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Well said. You could also say that we treat the fringe with the same amount of irreverence, with the difference being the composition of the fringe. In India it is comprised of idiots who think tearing posters and throwing stones at theaters is protection of religion/ culture; they will always exist – but we can afford to ignore them, since they are low in numbers and have no popular appeal beyond their immediate ‘frog in the well’ circles. The phenomenal business that Pk has done in India proves that most people are not swayed by these tactics. In Pakistan, the fringe is unfortunately comprised of people like the blog writer, as proven by the widespread support for the blasphemy law and the impunity with which mob justice is delivered with shocking regularity. In Pakistan too, you can afford to ignore the fringe and get on with life.Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath

    To put it in The words of M J Akbar, ” The idea of Pakistan is weaker than a Pakistani while the idea of India is stronger than an Indian”.Recommend

  • mimi sur

    India is ready to discuss because its Hindu religion and culture and it’s inherent secular and tolerant nature . Forget 2014 or some movies , go to Great King Ashoka era where a king adopted Buddhism by his own will and helped it spreading through out Asia without a sword unlike other religion . Be assured, No so called fatwa or beheading will be announced .Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    great. A positive article about India from Pakistani press.

    Some corrections – So called violent religious groups in India are just fringe groups trying to garner some publicity for themselves – or some green horned obscure leader trying to stamp his name in the political field. Raj thakre of MNS did benifit with such tactics.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    You may not like to hear it and I m sure tribune will also not like it…Muslims and muslim country as a whole r averse to difference of opinion and freedom of expression..Questioning islamic religion is out of question even in india ..India as a non-muslim country should always remain beacon of freedom of speech and development in south asiaRecommend

  • hp kumar

    Secondly this movie will be known for its mediocre story line..Not even worth imitatingRecommend

  • Farhan

    For your kind information, Pakistan made movies like Khuda k liye & Bol. What else you want??Recommend

  • Indian

    As an Indian and a Hindu, I welcom such movies even though I am not happy with some characterisations in the movie myself. I fully accept the message of the movie and in-fact it is because of such ethos that India survived as the only religiously-conscious-democracy-of-the-world, despite being plundered and looted by many religious imperialists (who ended up falling in love with the country and staying back in it). It is a different matter however that I will never watch an Amir movie despite being a long-time fan, for being insensitive to particular religions.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    This blog made my day! I haven’t seen the movie but everything I’ve read about it makes me feel it’s a movie version of satyamev jayate.
    It’s not just about the state being stronger, the Indian public is not as fanatical as the masses in Pakistan are
    There will be ten people who might now posts links here about religious violence in India, but the fact of the matter is that these incidents are isolated occurences involving a tiny minority and religious violence in India is not as commonplace as it is made out to be on the pages of ET.
    I can criticize Hinduism, Islam, christianity or any other religion openly without fear of blacklash. Indian have for a long time now being questioning many practices (some of which have been done away with or are on the way out)
    Indian muslims, too, are not as radicalised as their counterparts in muslim majority countries.That’s the beauty of a pluralist society; tolerance and acceptance are the main lessons it teaches you.The diversity in India ensures that everyone is a minority here.
    As a result, the Indian populace has learnt to coexist in harmony having understood that only a stable country can be a prosperous one. This is the conditioning Indians receive from a young age and the result is before you all to see.Recommend

  • wb

    I don’t know who chose the title.

    If ET editors chose the title, they should be more responsible in the future and at least try to have some fundamental understanding of the topic on which they’re giving the title.

    If the writer chose the title, the same advice goes to the writer.

    PK created a controversy. And Indians whose world view is only limited to or expanded only by Bollywood or Big boss or Satyameva Jayate lapped it up. And as usual, the bigger the money, the bigger the controversy.

    However, here is my point: India has never shied away from talking religion. We banned discrimination of caste system at the outset of our independence. We have always been talking about religion in the last 3000 years. We have always been criticizing our religion in the last 3000 years.

    Buddha came more than 2000 years ago, criticized Hinduism and reformed HInduism. He did not create Buddhism. His followers however became Buddhists. So, the tradition of discussion our religion and reforming it is in our blood and it has always been.

    So, to give credit to a bollywood nonsense for Indians’ liberal nature shows how ignorant the person who gave the title is.

    Indians, Hindus, have never and will never shy away from criticizing our own religion. We will keep at it always.

    We don’t need a Bollywood nonsense to spur us into thinking.Recommend

  • Striver

    For those brought up on “bollywood” films you deserve a rude awakening. Let me tell you Pakistan started talking about religion long time ago. If you haven’t noticed it then you have had your head and eyes glued to the screens watching “bollywood’s” and then trying to copy them in your school, college and university functions.

    Had you spent half the time and energy watching Pakistani sitcoms/dramas they would have been the subject of intellectual discourse on these very blogs since long. Perhaps the glamour and glitter of Indian films is too enveloping for the immature teenage mind and perhaps the not so teenage mind.

    Pakistani dramas are educational It all depends on how the viewer treats them.

    … and then there was Khuda Key Ley…….

    As they say its all in the mind and “bollywood” seems to have occupied your minds for far too long. Grow out of it now for your own sake and that of your next generation.Recommend

  • pk

    No religion in world is as tolerant as Hinduism. You can question the presence of God right inside a temple. At the most people will be slightly angry, but no physical assault or Apostasy.Recommend

  • Baddi Magane

    Excellent column by Mr. Ghias. It is true that “PK” is generating lots of debate and awareness about superstitious practices in India, which is good in the long run for the country.
    Unfortunately, vast majority in Pakistan will bypass the underlying message of the movie by a simple declaration that “Islam is perfect as it is”. End of discussion. It will be just another Bollywood masala movie for Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Pravin

    Agree with your article and view that PK is a welcome step ahead in the discussion of religion in India.

    One differing point though:
    “It is not as if the religious groups are not as strong in India as in Pakistan, it is just that their state is stronger than ours.”

    There are some factual issues.
    1. There are many religious groups in India but their orientation is spiritual in nature. Many of them could be fake as shown in the movie.
    2. Religious ‘political’ groups in India who can stifle such movie are absolutely in no comparison with their counterparts in Pakistan. They are weak and sparse.
    3. The movie is rightfully supported by state and courts not because our state is that strong. It is because everyone knows the general tolerance of Hindu society to discuss religion.Recommend

  • Farid

    It is not about weak or strong state but about secular state. Despite changes in recent years, constitutionally India is a secular state.Recommend

  • abu1916

    It was really good to read that the author has taken more matured view on the subject. Recommend

  • James

    The answer is NO. Had this movie been made in Pakistan, the Pakistani Raju Hirani would have been in Prison by now as said by Tasleema Nasreen. I mean Do you expect Pakistan ever producing movie showing a Pakistani Muslim girl in Love with an Indian Hindu guy. I bet there Will be shows by people like Mubasher Lucman and Zaid Hamid on how Indian culture is influencing them…The film Ranjhana was banned in Pakistan just because the film shows a Muslim girl falling in love with a Hindu Boy…Recommend

  • Milind A

    Well to begin with… most of the Indians are riled because most of these secularists or actors take liberties with Hinduism, but are scared to touch Islam and Christianity with a pole….
    So rather than hurt sentiments, its the double-standards that’s bothering most Hindus..and PK has provided an opportunity to vent the anger.
    Last paragraph of your article is awesome…Recommend

  • Maria Khan

    It is true that India talks about religion and questions about it quite openly, as compared to Pakistan, and it should be appreciated for this. but we all know it is a secular country only by name. we know what happened to Muslims in incident of Gujrat, and many other such incidents, the story in India regarding religious unrest/intolerance in society is NOT so different than in Pakistan despite of the fact that they are talking about religion and we are NOT. Their state is perhaps not strong but sharp n clever who knows very well how to maintain their “largest democracy” and being “secular” notion across the globe, and their media is smart.Recommend

  • Sam

    Shehzad – you deserve a standing ovation for a well thought through article.Recommend

  • Freeman

    Brother Shehzad, an excellent to make good people think. (Bad people do not think; they act out of personal or societal prejudices.) The last question about a Supreme God, the Creator of this almost infinite Universe and even Multi8verses, is the one I’ve posed in several such blogs on ET. But people will listen to you as you are a Muslim. It will undermine the very basis of most religions for their diminution of this Supreme God in their parochial definitions.Recommend

  • Amina, Kerala

    @ Shehzad Ghias :”It is not as if the religious groups are not as strong in India as in Pakistan, it is just that their state is stronger than ours. ”
    Wah!!! Hit the nail on the head..Wonderful article…Good Job!!!
    I will look out for more of your work…Recommend

  • Saif

    Brilliant article !Recommend

  • Ali

    Yeah Pakistan won’t . But can’t you recall India’s alarming social violence ? Can’t you imagine how helpless they are with their emerging ‘social issues’ accompanied by numerous sects in the country . Pakistan is much better than India and even if you have not realized this yet then brother live a life for short span in India and then complete this talk . ThanksRecommend

  • Geekay

    Best thing is to take cover while asking these questions. In a country which is in turmoil neither you can ask questions or expect answers. Anybody whoever opines to your thoughts provoking arguments would be as naive as you. So stay away from probing questions until the direction of wind changes which could be around the corner.Recommend

  • Umaima

    Though we have long way to go when courts become strong enough…Pakistan had started making films to question some nonsense beliefs with the release of the film ‘Bol’. It questioned the state of trans-genders, women, and emphasized the man’s power of free will. More movies like ‘Oh My God’ must be made in Pakistan.Recommend

  • kapil

    Really a good article. I am happy today that there people which are thinking about the society in a positive member. Good one.Recommend

  • Yo2Da2

    Shehzad Ghias, you rock!!!Recommend

  • M ZainulAbedin

    In India, ‘….mobs cannot act with complete impunity.’ Really? Have u forgotten Babari Masjid, Samjauta Express attacks, Malagaon blasts, Makka Masjid attacks, attacks on Muslims across Gujrat, genocide on Sikhs, etc? Pakistan has its issues, but plz don’t fool yourself by turning a blind eye to the reality of mob attacks and genocide in India.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    ” There are no mass protests in support of the movie” People have other useful work to do than to waste time on stupid movie..Now its all b/w Hirani ,khans and Bajrang Dal activistsRecommend

  • KS

    Just a correction. “Mumtaz Qadri remains a hero to the majority in the country.”

    It’s not “some factions”.Recommend

  • ab1990

    It is laughable to see this question from a man who forgets that his country was formed because of religion. Pakistan is one of the most religious countries in the world.

    Pakistanis use religion in every field of human life including cricket field like recently in dilshan incident. What more is there to talk when the country lives on religion?Recommend

  • Azeez

    Excellent.”…..congrats ShehzadRecommend

  • Thotatum25

    Beautifully writtenRecommend

  • Chaitannya Mahatme

    I think Pak should get one thing straight that Modi was not voted based on Hindu Nationalistic sentiments, infact it is quite the opposite. He was voted based on his administrative skills that he had demonstrated in Gujrat. The one very important reason that he won elections was when he took the agenda from Hindutva to development. His mentor LK Advani who had orchestrated the Babri Masjid demolition, fell flat on his face oin 2009 election with the Hindutva rhetoric. It was BJP’s Maharashtra CM who is a RSS cadre, Devendra Fadnavis who had issued a statement say “If censor board has cleared the film, I need not intervene. I will provide security to all the theaters screening PK”Recommend

  • Max

    A logical and true opinion by not only the author but also the voice of millions.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That was a great read and the Carl Sagan bit at the end was just perfect.

  • Bhupal

    you are far ahead of current time line, but a desirable proposition.Recommend

  • hassan

    well Aamir khan is still alive in India even after performing in a movie that questions one’s religion. which would be a sensitive issue any where in the world.

    yet Aamir khan lives on(btw I pray for his good health) this shows the character of Indian society that they have not only progressed economically, they have even developed some (more than Pakistan) tolerance towards religion, which is commendable.Recommend

  • Banana

    I sense a condescension towards right-wing Hindus in this article. The author should know that many right-wing Hindus like me who will otherwise support the Modi government’s Hindu nationalism or the ghar-wapasi and such, still do not find PK offensive. Just check out the tweets supporting this movie and you will find that many self-avowed Hindu right-wingers in fact are proud about their ability to laugh at themselves. As G.K. Chesterton says,”It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it” and I think we keep passing that test more often than not and you should acknowledge that instead of being condescending.Recommend

  • SD

    Bravo, man…Recommend

  • rationalist

    Excellent article. The moral: “he who decides to ride the tiger can’t afford to dismount for fear of being devoured alive”.Recommend

  • rationalist

    In most of those cases, there have been huge provocations from the people of the minority community.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Good article. If someone says something wrong to religion in India then mob will burn posters with or without verifying facts . If similar things are done in Pakistan then mob will burn that person, with or without verifying facts.Recommend

  • INDIA999

    Beautifully written article. I checked twice whether this was really from a Pakistan media!!Recommend

  • Rana Eddy

    Those movies did not attack/question religion but rather at the end reaffirmed the alleged Superiority of Islam.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)

    One morning Buddha was asked by a man: “Buddha, do you believe in a God?” The Buddha looked at the man in the eyes and said, “No, there is no God, the question of belief does not arise.”- Some time later, the Buddha was asked again: “Buddha, but it is true that there is no God?” And the Buddha saw the man in the eyes and replied, “Yes, there is a God, without God life would be completely dead, unconscious. God is the intelligence of existence!” – Ananda, who had been listening attentively, was very confused, but there was still a third man, who asked the Buddha, “Buddha, I do not know what to believe, is there a God or not, please help me?”. – Attentively listened Ananda, how would Buddha now respond where he had already given two completely contradictory answers to the question of God. The Buddha listening the man did not answer, but closed his eyes and went into deep meditation . The man, seeing the beauty and grace of Buddha meditating, himself fell…..You know that kind of experience, if you are sitting with a few people and one man goes yawning you start feeling sleepy also. We are not Islands, we are connected, so things enter in each of us. And a man of the quality of Buddha, with such tremendous silence, created such an atmosphere that the man fell into that silence, he also closed his eyes. Together they silently absorbed in the moment; the sun had gone down, the birds had settled on the trees, silently the Buddha and the questioner enjoyed an hour, the peace and quietness of the late day. Then the man opened his eyes, touched the feet of the Buddha and said to him: “How great oh Buddha is your compassion. You gave me the answer that I needed, I shall be eternally grateful to you..” – Still confused than before, Ananda could no longer hold back and asked the Buddha for an explanation. He replied, “The first man was a theist and just wanted a confirmation of what he was already convinced of and required no answer, with which he could run around just bragging that I share his conviction. The second man was an atheist. In his question the answer was already hidden, he also wanted merely confirmed from me. Neither of the both were really knower, neither were they seeker, they were both caught in their prejudice. The third man but was a seeker, for he had no preconceived ideas, his heart was open. Whereby I could help him, with a teaching of silent awareness. To search for God, words are absolutely useless!Recommend

  • Kushal

    Yes Maria. India is so similar to Pakistan, that the Muslims population in India has grown to 15% since independence , whereas in pakistan the population of Hindus has fallen from 20 to 3 % in the same period. Every year we see influx of Pak Hindus to India, (some muslims as well), but on the hand show me a single Muslim (except for Dowd Ibrahim, off course) asking for refuge in Pakistan, despite all the gujarat riots which you point out all the time.Recommend

  • Dushyant

    I am fed up of reading of Gujarat again and again. Why don’t you guys understand that it happened because of Godhra train burning incident? Can you guys dare to make movie on Islamic malpractices?Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    No, person will not go to jail, person will be burnt by mob. Even if a small girl or mentally unstable guy is found with some burnt paper, they will burn them alive.Recommend

  • wb

    “By the way, i watched PK and at best it is an average movie. Don’t know why it is making so much money.”

    Because we’re a country of a billion people. Tell me when was the last time a really thought provoking, intelligent movie with strong characters and great depth and performance has been successful in India?Recommend

  • نائلہ

    But then you are talking about religion, not the followers. The same things can be done for Islam aswell. Recommend

  • نائلہ

    I don’t understand how this comment has anything to do with anything. Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Not too be the Mr negative over here but I really doubt it when it is said that Mulana Abdul Aziz and his kind are in a “minority”; I consider those that may not hold the same extreme views as Aziz but do nod “yes” when a question such as “are shias not muslims?” as part of the deeper problem. Even if this mentality is a “minority”, it may be a minority by a percentage of 49 to 51. I remember when Taseer was murdered and I was entering Isb club and I asked the guard at the gate what the commotion was all about and he said, “uss Taseer ko maar diya hai” and he said it with a smile on his face. I remember an “educated” person from my colony saying that “Taseer was a liberal and there’s no need for his views in Pakistan”. I seriously hope I am wrong but these kind of views are every where.Recommend

  • Dajjal

    “India is ready to talk about religion. Is Pakistan?”
    Its not whether Pakistanis are prepared to talk about religion that seems to be the issue, its their unwillingness to speak/Listen to the truth about it which seems to be the problem… No?Recommend

  • wb

    You can criticize Islam without fear in India?!!! Maybe in your drawing room.

    Try criticizing Islam before a group of Muslims and see what happens.

    Secularism doesn’t mean living under delusions.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I have criticized Islam in front of Muslims (Indian muslims) many times. And I have lived to tell the tale. Recommend

  • Banana

    He said, “At the most people will be slightly angry, but no physical assault”. He is indeed talking about the followers.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I have criticized Islam many times in the presence of Indian muslims and have lived to tell the tale. This is my experience and nothing you say will change it. End of story.Recommend

  • Prashant

    I see the most liberal of Pakistanis having an issue addressing a Muslim who kills people on the name of religion as a Muslim terrorist rather they would call him a non Muslim for being on the wrong side, when you see these people in significant numbers, would this approach work especially when the change has to come from within and not outside irrespective of the community being discussed.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “I can criticize Hinduism, Islam, christianity or any other religion openly without fear of blacklash.”

    You cannot criticise Islam as a faith else Salman Rushdie would not have to maintain the secrecy he does while coming to his birth place and Indian Govt would not have denied asylum to Taslima Nasreen, India will remain secular as long as the Hindus are in majority.Recommend

  • Manish

    A brilliant story…

    Thank You for sharing it with usRecommend

  • Prashant

    He is talking about the followers itself, I do not see Hinduism to be prefect and like many other in this world, I am not interested to know different religions, you cannot expect every non Muslim in the world to read the holy Quran before they make an opinion of Muslims, they would only see the actions of Muslims and come to an opinion of Muslims, most Hindus are peaceful but some of them killed innocents of other communities at different times and thus giving a bad name to the entire community, the question is why is violence so common among Muslim communities, it is difficult to believe when a six year old carries a placard which says kill all those who criticize so and so of Muslims.Recommend

  • Iceman

    You can always have such examples. Compare situation of minorities in Ind v/s Pak v/s BD ——— Percent of minorities in 1947 — 10% v/s 20% v/s 20% —– 2011 14% v/s 2% v/s 8%. Or name top 5 masjids in India, you can do it coz they are still in great shape. Name top 5 temples in Pak or BD comparable in size to those masjids in India.
    There are riots in India – xyz muslims get killed, and xyz hindus get killed. In Pak, there are no riots, coz the minorites are at the mercy. Forget hindus, check how many shias and ahmedis were killed. They live with abuses everyday, no capacity to fightback. You’ll get the answer. India is still a safe place for minorities.Recommend

  • Rishi

    PK is just receiving undue attention and is overhyped, Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar starrer “Oh! My God” raised similar question in a better way and created the eccentric mockery of people exploiting in the name of religion. That movie was way ahead of PK which is a typical “Bollywood” masala.Recommend

  • Monu Pandey

    You can criticize hinduism ..that’s true …but you can’t criticize islam/chritianity in india …Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Hope you have seen and understood Bol and KKL …..Recommend

  • Ikbal Buland

    The movie portrays only Hindu faith being questioned hence no strong reaction. Had it been depicting Islam or Christianity in same way the heavens would have fallen. Recommend

  • Arsha

    How many years back did Gujarat issue happen and what provoked that? Please answer.

  • wb

    I haven’t seen KKL, but Bol spoke not a word about Islam.

    Hope you have watched Bol.Recommend

  • wb

    There is a recommendation from one Ikbal Buland for my comment. I wonder if it is Iqbal Buland of rawal tv!!Recommend

  • Hypocrisy?

    Leave her be…she has been parroting the same thing regardless of the subject for quite some time, I bet she didn’t even read the article.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Criticizing Islam in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan can have catastrophic consequences but Indian muslims aren’t as staunch. They are definitely saner.Recommend

  • Critical

    Some lesser known facts about Indian movies and secularism

    Da Vinci Code- A movie about Jesus was banned in Tamilnadu even though it was released in major Catholic countries with no problem and even the Pope gave his blessings because he was confident that christians are not that weak to lose their faith over a movie

    Vishwaroopam – Anti-theist Kamal Haasan movie was banned by tamilnadu after muslims protested that a blood river will flow if it gets released even though the movie showed a muslim RAW agent who infiltrates into Al Qaeda and prevents a Muslim terrorist from blowing up New York

    While Kamal is well known for his anti-Hinduism and anti-Brahminism in his movies…Looks like he didnt get a similar response from his muslim brethren whom he always shielded from criticism in his previous movie

    Paradesi – This movie had few censor cuts because it showed how christian missionaries woo poor people into christianity by giving money

    Shivam : A Kannada movie was recently trimmed by the censors who remove certain dialogues criticizing the Muslim community…

    In short,India is not tolerant about movies depicting religion.Rather it is just one religion which is tolerant while others show the same attitude….Recommend

  • Critical

    Well,then start the change…

    In 1950s,a movie called Parasakthi was released in Tamil cinema which had a huge protest because it showed a temple priest molesting a woman…Well,in those times,it was sin to even think that a priest would do that…But look now,we have several movies and TV shows lampooning these swamijis….

    Same is the case of Pope in Middle Europe,you know what they call those times now..Dark Ages…Recommend

  • Zee

    Though I haven’t seen the movie but read enough about it from praising to vendalising the theatres in different parts of India. A laughable statement from BJP leader Subramanina Swamy is that PK has been financed by ISI. The ISI phobia is at its peak and one can understand the fear of ISI in indian minds.

    Further, i don’t know from where the ET bloggers gather their information as writer omitted the fact that Geo TV / News has in the past aired the show where the questions regarding the Islam or Ismaic values (though I don’t submit to such questions / discussions as most of them were against the very idea of Islam) such as Akhrat, Veil, hudud (Zina / Rape) to name a few were asked by different participants / callers and discussed / responded by Gamidi and there was no hue and cry in general.

    Again the author conveniently criticised the blasphemy law in the disguise of Indian movie. Why don’t you ask the withdrawal of other laws as most of them are being misused in Pakistan?

    ET, pl get this through.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Babri structure was built after demolishing temple, it was not in use for more than 4 decades, Gujarat riots were started after Godhra train burning, Sikh riots were not religious riots those were congress-sikh riots. Samjhota express and other blasts people are behind bars, Those people tried to associate themselves with Hindutva organizations, but they left hindu organization because those organization were not ‘upto their expectations’, in supporting violence. You can quote one demolition of mosque destruction (which was not in use and was illegally made, yet it was not bombed.) in 6 decades in India. While I can quote 45-50 incidents when live mosques were bombed in Pakistan in just one decade.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    What do you know about Godhra train burning ?Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    after so much radicalization, does Pakistan have 5 decades?Recommend

  • Anoop

    Followers are the ones who are making the movie a hit.
    Religion cannot be seperate from its followers. If believers don’t believe, the belief is meaningless, not vice versa.Recommend

  • Muslim

    Most muslims of today have lost the meaning of this religion. If u want to say something, say it to the people…. Don’t insult this beautiful religion which teaches us not to harm even a single plant during war.Recommend

  • Yo2Da2

    Even wily moviemakers in dictatorships in USSR, China, and Iran were able to make movies that addressed taboos. Pakistan is not a dictatorship so someday we will see some brave moviemakers and actors take on taboo subjects.Recommend

  • Yo2Da2

    If what you say is true, then congratulations! Where did things go so wrong? Can you talk about religion in a candid and honest way today, especially Islam and its history of conquests? All I have read on ET and Dawn blogs are people protesting “they’ve [i.e. the terrorists] hijacked our peaceful religion.”Recommend

  • Ram

    Pakistan is a religion, it is created based on religionRecommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    (India prides itself on being a secular country, despite the Narendra Modi-led regime riling the Hindu nationalism to gain votes)

    This sort of a nonsense needs to stop.

    Modi has been elected by a mass vote for his economic agenda. Please be clear on this count. Last election was a Presidential type of election in which Modi was projected as the only leader. Nobody, not even the BJP mattered.

    Pakistanis need critical thinking. Modi was elected by a mass vote. Do
    you think people were stupid? He showed he can deliver economically in
    Gujarat. People were impressed by his credentials and gave him a chance. Now, Nitish Kumar of Bihar could have been in Modi’s place but he could not deliver in Bihar. There was a lot of expectations but he is just not good enough.

    Let me give you an example. During Gujarat assembly elections (2007), Congress during electioneering promised people there free TV sets! Modi told them he won’t give them anything free but if they reelect him, he will ensure there is 24 hour uninterrupted power supply in Gujarat that is vital for industrial growth.
    Guess what. People voted for Modi, not for the corrupt congress which promised them free TV. So, people are not stupid.
    Once a year, Modi as CM of Gujarat used to go to one District, with his entourage that included district collerctor. He went to each house to ensure girl child went to school, and address any grievances.

    Contrast this to what The CM of Bihar Nitish Kumar did. He and his successor holds a “public durbar” where poor people from far off places come. Just like the days of kings. What arrogance!

    If Modi goes back on his promise, he along with BJP, will be flushed down the toilet. That is how merciless the Indian voters are!

    Modi, right now seems focussed on his job. A lot of exciting things are happening. He has opened opportunities for more investments. GST will be passed before April this year and will boost GDP growth by 1 to 2%. This alone is the biggest thing that Modi govt did. Archaic labor laws are being amended. Insurance sector is seeing changes. Modi has gotten rid of dysfunctional “Planning Commission” putting into place another body that is expected to work better. I hope you get the drift.Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    (None of that means that Pakistan should be a secular country or religion should
    not play a part of our lives in Pakistan but people who may hold
    differing opinions should not have to live their lives under the
    constant threat of violence.)
    There is a lot of contradiction in the above statement.
    The movement you say you are not secular but Islamic, then you give power to the mullahs to interpret as to “what Islam is the best? Barelvi, Deobandi etc”, “how Islamic one should be?” etc etc.

    Out of 40 plus muslim nations, Pakistan is the only nation that calls itself “Islamic”. It seems to have taken upon itself the burden of the muslim world. Anything good or bad in the muslim world is reflected in the public sentiment in Pakistan.
    When you become an “Islamic” state and not just a “muslim” state, then you define what is right or wrong in Islam and a natural progression is those who are not falling in line with your view, you either say they are not muslims (eg Ahmediyas) or you show violence (eg Shias of Hazara, other minorities).
    Tolerance is inherent in being secular. Religion should be a personal thing and state should never interfere. Unfortunately, this is not possible in Pakistan they way it is structured.
    For Pakistan to be at peace with itself and with its neighbours, as M.J.Akbar says, what it needs is not new laws but a new constitution that is secular, liberal. That is a far cry from reality.Recommend

  • Rana Eddy

    Ya yes , I read the storyline & it only talks of good interpretation vs bad interpretation but doe not even get even close enough to Question Religion. So periodRecommend

  • SSM

    Most of the protests against PK in India (at least the ones on social media) were to encourage people to boycott it, not to Ban it. Boycott is a perfectly legitimate form of protest, though it seems not to have worked in this case!Recommend

  • Gul Zaman Ghorgasht

    Spoken like a true Hindu. But dead wrong about Buddha.
    He created an Eight Fold Pathway, about how to lead your life.
    His disciples, the followers of the pathways were called Buddhists.
    And if you lead your life according to these ways, principles, pathways,
    you reach Nirvana. Buddha died from eating spoiled food. Which was
    offered to him by his host. He knew it was spoiled, but ate it not wanting
    to embarass his host. A man like that would bad mouth another religion?
    Buddha did not revile or criticize ANY religion. Including hinduism.
    That is only your misinformed wrong knowledge, from websites..Recommend

  • Gul Zaman Ghorgasht

    Spoken like a true Hindu. But dead wrong about Buddha.
    He created an Eight Fold Pathway, about how to lead your life.
    His disciples, the followers of the pathways were called Buddhists.
    And if you lead your life according to these ways, principles, pathways,
    you reach Nirvana. Buddha died from eating spoiled food. Which was
    offered to him by his host. He knew it was spoiled, but ate it not wanting
    to embarass his host. A man like that would bad mouth another religion?
    Buddha did not revile or criticize ANY religion. Including hinduism.
    That is only your misinformed wrong knowledge, from websites..Recommend

  • Gul Zaman Ghorgasht

    Spoken like a true Hindu. But dead wrong about Buddha.
    He created an Eight Fold Pathway, about how to lead your life.
    His disciples, the followers of the pathways were called Buddhists.
    And if you lead your life according to these ways, principles, pathways,
    you reach Nirvana. Buddha died from eating spoiled food. Which was
    offered to him by his host. He knew it was spoiled, but ate it not wanting
    to embarass his host. A man like that would bad mouth another religion?
    Buddha did not revile or criticize ANY religion. Including hinduism.
    That is only your misinformed wrong knowledge, from websites..Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    that is really lovely.Recommend

  • Hala Syed

    that is really lovely.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    MF Husain did not return to India , Prashant. He received death threats because of his nude paintings of Hindu gods. So , does this imply hindus are easily offended and are blood thirsty ?You tell me.
    There were hindus vying for his blood as well, right? Such fringe elements will always be present. These individuals do not necessarily reflect the sentiments of a larger group of people.
    There is no denying the fact that Hindus are, by far, the most tolerant of all Indians. And India is secular because Hindus are in majority. I concur with you on this. But I do think that centuries of co-existence with Hindus has had a good impact on the Indian muslim community. There’s a reason Indian Muslims are more tolerant than muslims in muslim majority countries. There’s a reason muslim terror groups do not enjoy widespread support among the Indian muslim community. (When compared to muslims elsewhere)