Kal Ho Naa Ho singer Shaan Mukherji’s Eid Mubarak greeting to his Muslim fans drew flak from Indian trolls who questioned his right to extend greetings to a community to which he did not belong. Instead of caving into the pressure and apologising, the singer, who is a Hindu, responded to the criticism and urged his fans to exercise empathy and kindness towards people of different faiths.
Shaan, in an Instagram Live video, highlighted that both Hindus and Muslims were celebrating their religious festivals on the same day this year and that his greeting was meant to be a “sign of respect and tolerance” towards other religions.
“I have come live after a few days. Today is Eid, the Parshuram festival and Akshay Tritya. I shared an Instagram post to wish my fans [on] Eid which is a screenshot from a music video I did three years ago, where I am reading namaaz,” he gave context. “I have come to Mangalore for an event, and I have been seeing the comments on it, that is why, despite being a Hindu, I posted [a picture] where I am dressed as Muslims would.”
Emphasing on how his video is an explanation and not a justification, the singer said, “This is not a justification, but this live is merely being done because I wanted to talk about this a bit more. If you want to give that occasion or moment its due respect in a certain way, why is there such an issue over it? That post or that wish is not going to change the way I feel about my faith or you about yours. So why so much noise over it?” he said.
The singer added that such an extremist mindset is a threat to India’s progress as a nation. “We are a progressive nation, but if we cannot even harbour this much respect and tolerance for other faiths and religions than our own, we won’t make any progress. I want people to think about these things. I am a Hindu and Brahmin, but I am also a person and I am an Indian so I know how to respect everyone’s culture.”
The singer also pointed out his fans’ hypocrisy by adding that he had previously shared pictures of himself at the Golden Temple, where covering one’s head is mandatory, without any backlash. “I have gone to the Golden Temple as well and shared photos where you are required to cover your head. But there, I did not see such reactions,” he said.
Actor Anoushey Ashraf, while thanking the Indian singer for his wishes, commented on how the two nations aren’t very different in this regard. “Hey Shaan! Don’t worry, we can’t wish Christians a Merry Christmas without getting lectures/hate ourselves. It’s how zealots keep fear, power and authority over humanness,” she wrote in an Instagram Story. “It’s how they interpret religion as a divider of people and how we follow like blind sheep. Sorry for the backlash you’re receiving but thank you for the wishes. Eid Mubarak to you too! My understanding of religion only brings us all closer.”
The Instagram Live video came in response to the criticism Shaan’s picture drew, for which he was dressed in a white shalwar kameez and prayer cap to greet his Muslim fans on Eid.
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