The Big Picture- India-Pak Tensions: Can Artists Be Kept Out?
The latest round of tensions between India and Pakistan has been going on for a month now following the attack on Uri army base. One of the major casualties of these tensions has been cinema, TV, art and artists in both the countries. TV serials from either side have been banned in both the countries. Film and film artists have come under pressure with demand from them not to work with artists of Pakistan.
Views and Counterviews:
The impact is quite negative as no artist would like that his/her freedom of expression is curtailed in any way. It is often said that fringe elements are involved in these issues and therefore, the State needs to clarify its policy and identify such elements. Cultural or artistic life should not be disrupted in the country given the fact that cross border trade is still going on despite latest round of tensions.
Any creative art is also relevant in social context. What is happening now is actually a sentiment from a group of people who hold a particular view and don’t want foreign artists to work in India although Government has made it clear that there is no change in its policy regarding this issue. It will continue to issue visas etc. for artists.
There is no border for any art form. Artists are the most vulnerable because they operate in public space and any public sentiment affects it first because it is an unorganized kind of a set up especially music and dance whereas the film industry is far more organized. In such a scenario, they cannot perform if they are not invited. There is a commercial angle involved in the recent statement from a film director who has said that he would not be working with Pakistani talents in future along with an element of fear that is being imposed on artists.
However, there is also a case that most of the Indian artists are not allowed to perform in Pakistan most of the times. The fact is Bollywood is a money spinner for Pakistani artists which hurt them in their pockets. These types of actions and reactions are no solution to reduce tensions between both the countries. During the 1965 and 1971 wars, Indian artists collectively helped boost the morale of our army. Bollywood today has not only isolated itself from politics but also from the society to which it caters especially from the common man and his concerns. Therefore, in this moment of national crisis, whereas the first concern should have been safety of the country, its soldiers and the fellow citizens, the first concern for some was Pakistani artists.
Although the views remain divided on this issue whether the Pakistani actors should be allowed to work in India or not, the bigger picture that evolves here says that, hatred is not going to serve any purpose. An artist represents freedom and the universal idea that humanity must be free to live without fear and violence.