We don’t live in a right-wing society. India is still liberal & people are still open minded-Saif Ali Khan
Posted by Fenil Seta
New dad Saif Ali Khan may not quite be cleaning up baby poop but he’s certainly dealing with the scatological side of having an infant in his arms. “He scowls a lot, passes wind and yells so Kareena thinks he’s a lot like me—a cranky, farty yeller!” he says about Taimur, arguably the most famous baby in the country at the moment.
The actor, no stranger to controversy—he was accused by the loony fringe of waging Love Jihad when he married Kareena Kapoor in 2012—speaks out for the first time since the controversy over Taimur’s name broke out in late December. And in doing so he strikes a cautiously optimistic note, warning against needless hand-wringing over right-wing fascists taking over the country’s culture
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 17, 2017)
“Social media just makes it clear what everybody is thinking in a sense. There is a lot of anonymity from the side of the people who are doing the talking so they feel free to say whatever they like, and sometimes they get very nasty…And that’s fine. It doesn’t mean that twenty, thirty or forty years ago people weren’t thinking similar things but maybe they did not have an outlet then.’
“As far as I am concerned, stars are privileged and our country is actually still very balanced,” he adds expressing gratitude for the support that he and Kareena have received in recent weeks. “People talk about the country becoming right-wing and fascist, and we have all these fears…but the fact of the matter is that if you view the kind of unnecessary drama over Taimur, there were a lot of voices…I felt I didn’t have to say anything because a lot of people had spoken wisely and liberally. Voices that kind of vindicated my decision and made me feel that it’s absolutely fine (to have the freedom to name his child as he wished to). “Yes, there were some people who raised some objections but obviously just to look at medieval history and to make value judgments is, I think, is ridiculous, and a lot of people have said that on my behalf. I feel quite confident that we don’t live in a right-wing society. As Yet. India is still liberal and people are still open minded,” he said.
If certain people get worked up about the idea of Love Jihad or over a name, that too, the actor felt was their right. “It’s just one of those things where people have a voice, and it’s OK for them to share it… These are the times we live in, but I don’t think it’s reason to get too worried.”
The idea behind naming his son Taimur was obviously never to offend anyone. “My wife and I love the sound of it and we love its meaning. I am aware of the heritage of the Turkish ruler—he was Timur, my son is Taimur, an ancient Persian name that means iron.”
“Perhaps,” he adds, tongue firmly in his cheek, “I should have added a disclaimer, as they do in the movies, that any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”