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When my ancestors were in Kala Pani, yours might have been licking British boots: Javed Akhtar

When my ancestors were in Kala Pani, yours might have been licking British boots: Javed Akhtar

Prominent lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar, who identifies himself as a progressive writer, recently found himself embroiled in a heated exchange on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) after a user branded him a 'son of a traitor.

The controversy began with a light-hearted tweet from Akhtar, where he humorously noted a shared characteristic with US President Joe Biden, quipping that both had an equal chance of becoming the next President of the United States. He also expressed pride in his Indian citizenship, vowing to remain a proud Indian until his last breath.

However, a social media user soon escalated the situation by attacking Akhtar's father, accusing him of contributing to the Partition of India and labelling him a traitor. The user alleged that Akhtar's father, under the guise of being a progressive writer, chose to stay in India despite playing a role in creating Pakistan. This incendiary comment prompted Akhtar to respond forcefully.

Akhtar rebuked the user, emphasizing his family's long-standing commitment to India’s freedom struggle dating back to 1857. He elaborated on his ancestors' sacrifices, including imprisonment and enduring harsh conditions such as Kala Pani (the notorious Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands). Akhtar implied that while his forebears were fighting for India’s freedom, the user's ancestors might have been licking the boots of the British colonial rulers.

It is difficult to decide whether you are totally ignorant or a complete idiot . From 1857 my family has been involved with freedom movement n has gone to jails and Kala paani when most probably your baap dadas were licking the boots of Angrez sarkar

— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) July 6, 2024

Further into the exchange, another user argued that Akhtar’s forefathers fought for the reestablishment of Mughal rule. In response, Akhtar provided detailed information about his great-great-grandfather, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi. Khairabadi was an activist in the Indian independence movement who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Andaman Islands in 1859.

While in captivity, he authored a book titled "Baghi Hindustan," documenting his fight against British rule. Akhtar highlighted that Khairabadi's contributions and sacrifices were significant, with his grave now located in the Andaman Islands, and urged people to learn about his ancestor’s legacy through accessible historical records.

Akhtar's father, Jan Nisar Akhtar, was a noted Bollywood film songwriter and Urdu poet, associated with the Progressive Writers' Movement. This movement sought to inspire socio-political change through literature, advocating for freedom, equality, and social justice.

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TAGS:BollywoodJaved AkhtarIndia-Pak Partition
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