WEATHER AUTHORITY : Heat 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: 338079

Reported Deaths: 7523
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23409440
DeSoto23069280
Harrison20064328
Rankin15119290
Jackson14743251
Madison10806227
Lee10568179
Jones8864169
Forrest8408159
Lauderdale7684243
Lowndes6917151
Lamar683789
Lafayette6502124
Washington5551139
Pearl River5060150
Bolivar4923134
Oktibbeha484798
Panola4739112
Warren4690127
Marshall4670106
Pontotoc442873
Monroe4293137
Union429179
Neshoba4232181
Hancock417788
Lincoln4148116
Pike3605113
Leflore3587125
Tate351488
Alcorn346474
Sunflower344994
Adams338488
Scott336676
Yazoo335673
Simpson319290
Copiah319068
Itawamba312480
Coahoma311585
Tippah300568
Prentiss295063
Covington287183
Marion281780
Leake281575
Wayne274643
Grenada267588
George266251
Newton258964
Tishomingo238070
Winston236284
Jasper227548
Attala223373
Stone219437
Chickasaw217560
Holmes197674
Clay194654
Clarke184480
Tallahatchie182742
Calhoun179432
Smith177535
Yalobusha170240
Walthall144448
Lawrence140026
Greene137634
Amite135643
Noxubee134235
Perry132438
Montgomery131544
Carroll125431
Webster119132
Jefferson Davis114234
Tunica113227
Benton105925
Claiborne104831
Kemper101429
Humphreys99833
Franklin86723
Quitman84319
Choctaw81819
Wilkinson76532
Jefferson70428
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 574737

Reported Deaths: 11492
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson839571589
Mobile46611857
Madison36938532
Tuscaloosa26841465
Shelby26769255
Montgomery25853624
Baldwin24213326
Lee16897181
Calhoun15210332
Morgan14990289
Etowah14721369
Marshall12855235
Houston11661292
Elmore10727217
St. Clair10587250
Limestone10535158
Cullman10323204
Lauderdale10044253
DeKalb9335191
Talladega8797187
Walker7659286
Autauga7456114
Jackson7295117
Blount7233139
Colbert6614142
Coffee6117131
Dale5393117
Russell467742
Chilton4666117
Covington4623125
Franklin447281
Tallapoosa4420157
Escambia425282
Chambers3880125
Dallas3707163
Clarke366462
Marion3413106
Pike326979
Lawrence3211101
Winston293972
Bibb282965
Geneva274283
Marengo259067
Barbour245161
Pickens239662
Butler237672
Hale232378
Fayette225064
Henry206645
Randolph196144
Monroe195041
Cherokee194548
Washington179339
Macon168352
Crenshaw165058
Clay163659
Cleburne159945
Lamar149738
Lowndes144854
Wilcox129831
Bullock126042
Conecuh119530
Coosa116729
Perry109928
Sumter108732
Greene98336
Choctaw63925
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 77°
Feels Like: 83°
Columbus
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 84°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 84°
Thursday will be another very hot and very humid day across Mississippi and Alabama. Many areas will be well above 100 degrees with the heat index, some even as high as 120 degrees in the Delta of Mississippi.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather