MUMBAI: Noted lyricist Javed Akhtar extolled the virtues of Hindu religion at a Diwali programme organised by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in Mumbai. “Hindus have always been tolerant and the democracy in India existed because of them”, he said.
“Some have always been intolerant. Hindus are not like that. They have this great quality of being generous and large-hearted. Do not lose that, or else you will become like others,” Akhtar said, adding that “democracy in India exists because of Hindu culture and tradition”.
Akhtar, a self-proclaimed atheist, also said that he was glad to be have been born on the land of Lord Ram and Sita. Encouraging the audience to maintain a broadminded perspective, Akhtar said, “Ramayan is our cultural heritage.” He also chanted ‘Jai Siya Ram’ at the event.
“Although I am an atheist, but I respect Maryada Purushottam Ram a lot. Lord Ram is a part of our culture and civilisation. Ramayana is also our cultural heritage. That is why I have come to participate in the programme.
Whenever we talk about Maryada Purushottam, only Lord Shri Ram and Sita come to mind,” he reportedly said at the programme, which was also attended by film producer Salim Khan. The legendary Salim-Javed duo scripted some of Bollywood’s most iconic films, including Sholay.
Reflecting on the current scenario, Akhtar said that Sholay would have courted controversy had it been made today. “If our film Sholay had been made in today’s time, there would have been controversy over the temple scene. Perhaps Salim Sahab and I would not have been able to write that scene,” he said.