Award-winning lyricist Javed Akhtar waded into the Gurmehar Kaur row on Tuesday evening with his support to Delhi University student Gurmeher Kaur. The 20-year-old was until recently at the helm of an online campaign against Akhil Vidya Bharatiya Parishad before she withdrew from it.
Akhtar posted this tweet:
If a hardly literate player or a wrestler troll a pacifist daughter of a martyr its understandable but whats wrong with some educated folks— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) February 28, 2017
As many pointed out, it was a barb on cricketer Virender Singh Sehwag and wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and the Phogat sisters who have trolled and criticised Kaur for a video promoting peace between India and Pakistan uploaded last year.
The tweet, of course drew sharp reactions, especially from those it was directed against.
This is how Yogeshwar Dutt reacted:
कबीरदास जी कभी university नहीं गए किन्तु उनके व्यवहारिक ज्ञान🙏"पढ़त गुनत रोगी भया, बढ़ा बहुत अभिमानभीतर ताप जू जगत का, घड़ी न पड़ती सान"— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) February 28, 2017
लो भाई इन्होंने तो हमारी क़ीमत भी लगा दी. कल तक "Hardly literate" तो थे ही आज "दो कौड़ी" के हो गए । कितना होता है दो कौड़ी? मैंने देखा नहीं pic.twitter.com/mYDmYh6JrD— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) March 1, 2017
The Phogat sisters have also repsonded to the bard's barbs:
पढ़ लिख कर गद्दारी करने से अच्छा है अनपढ़ रहकर देशभक्त बने और देश के लिए खेलकर देश का नाम रोशन करे... ek bar bolo #hindustanjindabad# https://t.co/Ztc6Mhww52— Babita Phogat (@BabitaPhogat) March 1, 2017
they are better than educated kannaya type who want to break INDEducation is Not qualification of Being RightEven Terrorist today are Engg https://t.co/Cx3VRJ9Kef— Ritu Phogat (@PhogatRitu) February 28, 2017
In fact, father Mahavir Phogat said this in response to the 'uneducated jibe':
यहाँ उम्र बीत गयी देश को मेडल दिलाने में,और वो एक पल नहीं लगाते अनपढ़ बताने में।@Javedakhtarjadu https://t.co/J4D7TuhBeZ— Mahavir Phogat (@MahabirPhogat) February 28, 2017
अपने आप को देश के प्रति समर्पण करने वाला व्यक्ति से ज्यादा ज्ञानी अपनी मातृभूमि पर कोई नहीं होता ।जय हिंद।@Javedakhtarjadu https://t.co/J4D7TuhBeZ— Mahavir Phogat (@MahabirPhogat) February 28, 2017
Akhtar's statements also drew him flak from the film fraternity itself, with filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar taking to Twitter to post his opposition:
Sir Lack of education has nothing to do with freedom of expression.I am a 6th fail student,still nobody can stop me from expressing my views https://t.co/7rD9qfKu5f— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) February 28, 2017
Javed Akhtar, however, did not just engage with sportspersons in Gurmehar's defense on social media. He also tweeted the following against Union minister Kiren Rijiju's tweet about foreign elements 'polluting' Gurmehar's mind and leading her to act the way she is:
I don't about her but Mr Minister I know who is polluting your mind .— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) February 28, 2017
Mr minister , you have condemned the left by falsely accusing them for celebrating soldiers killing n not a word about AVBP. Grossly biased— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) February 28, 2017