Bollywood actor-producer Aamir Khan on Wednesday clarified his stance on “intolerance”, saying he and his wife Kiran Rao love India and won’t leave the country.
Aamir said that while he stood by the interview that triggered a huge row, the avalanche of criticism directed at him and his wife only proved what he had said of the situation in the country.
“First, let me state categorically that neither I nor my wife Kiran have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future,” he said in a statement.
“Anyone implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said.
“India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying,” the 50-year-old celebrated actor said.
“Secondly, I stand by everything that I have said in my interview.
“To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission or endorsement for that.
“To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point.
“To all the people who have stood by me, thank you. We have to protect what this beautiful and unique country of ours really stands for. We have to protect its integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, its many languages, its culture, its history, its tolerance, it’s concept of ‘ekantavada’, it’s love, sensitivity and its emotional strength.”
At an awards event in New Delhi on Sunday, Aamir had spoken of “growing despondency” in India for the last six to eight months.
He had said: “When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment to make to me.”
His statement attracted widespread criticism even as many defended him.