WEATHER AUTHORITY : Flood Advisory View Alerts

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: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 39°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 37°
Oxford
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather