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Features |  08 Dec 2008 14:44 |  By RnMTeam

Soumya Raoh - 'It's time to take a stance'

The Taj was burning, and we were watching helplessly, crying our hearts out. Hundreds of innocent lives were snuffed out. Many brave men died, protecting us. Mumbai came together to share grief, concern and anger. The frenzied, angry, frustrated energy at the Gateway movement was palpable.

Finally, the people at the top are feeling the heat. Fingers that know, are clearly pointing towards Pakistan. Our Government is talking tough, and considering cutting all bilateral ties with Pakistan.

But some creative people, are displaying their pseudo-intellectualism by reiterating that Art and Sport don't have boundaries. Yes, we all believed in that and followed it, till now. I have a few colleagues and friends in Pakistan. And I've received text messages of concern, enquiring about our wellbeing after this heinous act. I truly appreciate it.

Like many musicians and listeners, I too have enjoyed the music of a lot of Pakistani artistes, be it Ghulam Ali saab, Nusrat saab, Raahat saab or Shafqat ji. I respect their musical genius. I always will. India's culture is such. But having said that, it definitely is not the time to sit on the fence or brush things under the carpet. It is impractical to expect any Pakistani artiste to make a statement supporting India, even if he has earned fame and money here. So it is up to us now, to take a stance.

I believe that until Pakistan acts tough with the terrorist elements that are prospering within its fold, and genuinely fulfills its promise to co-operate with India in every way, we, as loyal Indian citizens, must Professionally Disassociate with all artistes from across the border, as a sign of solidarity.

Tolerance is not always a virtue, and I'm saying this as a would-have-been-victim, since I, as a part of our own Star singer Sonu Niigaam's entourage, narrowly escaped the bomb blast meant for him, just before our show in Karachi, in April 2004. I don't know of any Pakistani artiste, greeted like that in India.

We are Indians first, and then musicians, actors, cricketers, or whatever else. And Now is the time to proclaim it.

I rest my case.