The actor said that those who speak against the country can never be our heroes

What have you done for the country or your family Anupam Kher demands of students in JNUPTI
news JNU Row Saturday, March 19, 2016 - 14:09

On Friday, even as the JNU campus witnessed celebrations by students on the release of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya on bail, it also played host to actor Anupam Kher, who took the opportunity to mock what he saw as the “anti-national” politics of some JNU students.

Kher was in JNU for the screening of his film Buddha In a Traffic Jam. The actor had previously alleged that university was “stifling freedom of speech and expression”, since it had told him that his film could not be screened on campus considering the current atmosphere there. This was denied by both university authorities and the student’s union.

Speaking before the screening of his film on Friday, the actor told his audience that the definition of a hero should not change in the current circumstances. People like Bhagat Singh, he said continue to be our heroes. “If someone speaks against this country, how can he become our hero?” he asked.

Making more explicit reference to JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and to Khalid and Bhattacharya, he asked how students at the university could celebrate an individual who was out on bail. “Someone who has come out on bail, he hasn’t come back with an Olympic medal that you should give him such a big welcome.”

Kher further argued that there was nothing useful in the politics of such individuals, since they did not do anything either for the betterment of the country, or that of their own families.

Pointing to the references to Kumar’s humble origins that have emerged in the media, he said, “You keep saying that your parents are poor. You have come all this way to Delhi and stay here, but they are still the same, still as poor. What have you done for them?”

The actor claimed that when he received his first scholarship of Rs. 200, his father’s salary had been only Rs. 90, and he would send Rs. 110 to his family.

Kher was also full of praise for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “After many years, the country has got a great Prime Minister,” he said, and insinuated that students were blaming the current government for long-standing problems. “Two years ago was there no poverty in the country?”

According to reports, while Kher was mostly well-received by an audience comprising mostly of ABVP-affiliated students, some 20-25 students had also gathered to protest his presence, holding placards saying “dissent is not sedition” and “don't need nationalism certificate from you”.

Some moments from the speech can be viewed in the following video.

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