STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Priyanka Chopra's blind patriotism

Article Image

A woman confronted Priyanka Chopra at a beauty event in Los Angeles, criticizing the Indian actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for a tweet she posted in February during a serious escalation of the conflict between India and Pakistan.

Posted: Aug 14, 2019 11:00 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2019 11:00 AM

"Whenever you're done venting ... got it, done? Okay, cool," is the dismissive way Bollywood starlet and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra began her response to a question posed by Ayesha Malik, a Pakistani woman, who confronted the actress over why (despite her role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador) she had "encourage[ed] nuclear war against Pakistan"

Malik's accusation referenced an incident from late February, when India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, teetered on the brink of war following the Indian bombing of a Pakistani village. "Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces" (Hail India and its Armed Forces), Chopra had tweeted then.

The confrontation happened in the most unlikely place: the BeautyCon summit held in Los Angeles.

But, significantly, the exchange between an Indian actress and a Pakistani questioner also happened at a time when India and Pakistan seem to be once again at the brink of war.

On August 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, which has long wanted to make India a Hindu nation, announced the sudden abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution. These provisions (put in place when India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947) had long granted autonomy to the disputed regions of Jammu and Kashmir, which straddle the border between the two countries. With their repeal, the restive region is now directly under the thumb of the BJP, which has also recently grabbed for itself the unilateral power to declare any individual a "terrorist" without any sort of due process.

"War is not something I am really fond of, but I am patriotic," Chopra went on to say to Malik.

But there should be a line drawn between being patriotic and showing sympathy for the Kashmir predicament. Chopra, between her tweet, the condescending way she began her response to Malik, and the fact that she even welcomed Modi to her wedding to Nick Jonas, shows that she has no sympathy for suffering Kashmiris.

This emerging interpretation of "patriotism" as a justified turning away from the plight of suffering Kashmiris, or Muslims or anyone whom Modi doesn't like is emblematic of what political scientist Kapil Komireddi calls the "cult of Modi."

In Bollywood, this "cult of Modi," with its fervent Hindu zealotry, has set itself to the task of producing films that support the BJP agenda, serving almost as an unofficial propaganda arm of the ruling party. Unsurprisingly, then, even as thousands of troops were marching into Jammu and Kashmir and eight million Kashmiris were aghast at being isolated and silenced, Bollywood film producers had already registered Kashmir-related film titles that they wanted to get under production. These include: "Kashmir is Ours", "The Tricolor (Indian flag) in Kashmir" and "Article 370." In the words of the producer of the Modi biopic who has also registered some of them, "I wanted to explore why one state was granted such privileges. But after the historic redrawing of our map by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I have just found the perfect ending for my film. From a film based on history, it is now going to be a historic film."

Since the constitutional abrogation on August 5, the eight million residents of Kashmir have been isolated from the world, with, according to the New York Times, nearly all communications to the outside world, from internet to cell phones and land lines, completely cut off. Curfews keep one and all indoors most of the day. Reports from the few journalists that have been permitted access "found a population that felt besieged, confused, frightened and furious at the seismic events of the week," according to the New York Times. Inhabitants have to beg one or another of the nearly 40,000 soldiers deployed to the region for permission to purchase necessities like milk; baby food is said to be running out in the Valley, and at every break in the curfew hundreds line up for a chance to use one of the landlines that the soldiers have permitted to remain connected.

There is one man who could halt the drumbeat of war in South Asia and he is neither Indian nor Pakistani but American. On July 22, 2019, American President Donald J. Trump played host to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. At the press conference that followed the meeting, the Pakistani Prime Minister noted that "only the most powerful state in the world, headed by President Donald Trump" could bring the countries together. For his part, Trump agreed, adding that Prime Minister Modi had also made a similar request. "I think they'd like to see it resolved and I think you'd like to see it resolved," Trump said in July. "If I could help, I would love to be a mediator." According to the Indian Government, Modi did not make the request, a fact they emphasized precisely because Trump's intervention would bring India's power-grab more squarely in the international spotlight.

It is precisely for this last reason that President Trump should act on his offer to mediate.

As the Indian reaction to his offer, and even Priyanka Chopra's dismissive condescension toward the questioning of her own and India's position, demonstrates a callous lack of empathy by a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Ironically it also seems to imply that this goodwill ambassador (like the Indian Government) would prefer that the international community continues to ignore the situation. Too deeply immersed in the cult of Modi, many Indians are not interested in saving Kashmiris, and so others must keep their commitments and step up to the plate.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 57°
Columbus
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 56°
Oxford
Mostly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Starkville
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 54°
A few showers linger early in the morning. But these should gradually push away from our area, leaving us mostly cloudy and cool through the midday and afternoon hours. Some clearing may occur later in the afternoon, leaving us mostly clear by Thursday morning.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather