An Open Letter to Chetan Bhagat

Pseudo-intellectual is the appropriate word to describe people like Chetan Bhagat. The lusty writer pretends to be a great liberal thinker but his actions prove him to be quite the opposite. In India, celebrities have a knack of doing cheap stuff just to remain relevant and attract attention.“Hate us or like us, but you definitely can’t ignore us” is the mantra Indian celebrities live by. Even though Mr Bhagat claims to be a ‘youth icon’, his writing are the most clichéd pieces of work I have ever come across. In a country of billions, why do people like Bhagat get so much attention? Why can’t we mind our business and stop giving unnecessary attention to people like him? Essentially, he is the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the nation- love for masala, disdain for debates. He takes advantage of that, even propagates it to a great extent. An unread person is better than one who has grown up on his books. A book has no obligation to appeal to the intellect but what it shouldn’t do is dumb down the masses further. 

Recently, he targeted the most vulnerable and disillusioned people in the sub-continent – Kashmiris, by posting a letter suggesting few things to the youth of Kashmir. In this letter, he wrote “If the Kashmir Valley integrates and assimilates with India”. First of all, Kashmir valley integrated with India 70 years back and assimilation is a natural process after integration. Is CB really unaware of this? Basically he, like millions of Indians, have guilt and doubts regarding integration of Kashmir with India. The process of integration didn’t go down very well. Things like UN resolution for plebiscite and internal autonomy have created doubts in their minds. The words Pakistan and Azadi knock the stuffing out of them. In their heart of hearts, they are well aware of the fact that Kashmir has not integrated with India either politically or emotionally.

So in the subsequent lines, he puts blame on experts by saying, “Experts who have made the Kashmir problem their fiefdom”. In these lines, he expresses his dissatisfaction with political babus who, for him, are responsible for this apathy. Mr Bhagat should be reminded of the fact that any political babu, either from Pakistan or from Kashmir, would not be able to solve the problem of Kashmir without the will of the Kashmiri people. The solution of Kashmir problem lies with its people and not with any political institution. 

Mr Bhagat advised us, “Don’t burst crackers when India loses”. This is the telling fact regarding the relationship between Kashmiri society and Pakistani cricket team. Let me tell you, cricket for Kashmiris means Pakistan. Every Kashmiri is an ardent supporter of the team and anyone who dares to support a different team has to face the wrath of the frantic Pakistani supporters. In Kashmir, every left handed batsman, irrespective of his batting talent, is a Saeed Anwer and every left arm bowler becomes a Wasim Akram. Every sturdy guy is an Inzaman just like every fast bowler unhesitatingly takes the title of Shoaib Akhter. Spinners by default became Saqlain Mushtaqs and every fair and handsome guy with shiny long hair is known as Afridi.  

At last you said, “Don’t feel good when India fails. Because if India fails, you will fail too”. To that I would say, “Don’t feel bad when Kashmir rises. Because if Kashmir is rising, you are not falling”.


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