Saif Ali Khan recently found himself in the fire, when a small clip from his recent interview went viral. Saif sat down with Film Companion, to talk about his last release, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. The clip shows only a minute of the conversation, and it ends at Saif saying, 'I don't think there was a concept of India till the British gave it one.' However, to actually understand what the actor meant, one will have to watch the entire interview.
Saif during the interview with film critic Anupama Chopra, can be seen talking about the current social climate in the country and the polarising politics of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. The actor went on to share that the film made some changes to the true story, and he thinks it is unfair that people will go on to believe this is our true history.
When asked, why he didn't choose to walk out of the film, Saif said, "For some reason, I didn't take a stand. Maybe next time I would. I was very excited to play the role because it's a delicious role. But when people say this is history, I don't think this is history. I am quite aware of what the history was. I don't think there was a concept of India till the British gave it one."
That's where the clip end, but later in the interview, Saif begins to talk about what he meant. He adds, "One shouldn't quote what you have read in school today, on an international platform, because you will be told you are wrong (based on what they have seen in the film). I would love to be part of a film industry that would take a stand and tell what history truly is and not try to mould it towards a certain kind of belief currently spreading."
"But makers think, this is what runs and it is more than just an action movie. A lot of people are involved." He also added, he struggles with the idea of where society is going now, what it has to look forward to, take a look:
During another interview with Rajeev Masand prior to the release of the film, Saif also agreed to Ajay's comment, that said, 'We have forgotten our history. It was changed and suppressed by our rulers, the British government. They didn't want us to learn from our historic fighters and fight back. So we now know only part of the history'. Saif said something similar in his recent interview, (mentioned above).
Coming back to Saif's 'No Concept Of India Before British' comment and relating it to the reference of his last film Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. Bharat aka Hindostan, back in the day, was made of several big, small empires and King's territories. The land of seven rivers as referred by the world, Hindu, didn't truly strike the idea of one nation under one rule. The entire land which is now India, was divided into smaller lands ruled and governed by several different kings and emperors, who fought among themselves and made treaties to benefits themselves.
Kangana also recently commented on the matter and told Zee News, "This is not true. If there was no Bharat then what was Mahabharat? That 5,000-year-old text that was written, what was it? What did Ved Vyas write? Some people have just created these narratives that suit them. Sri Krishna was in Mahabharat. So there was a Bharat, that's why it was mahaan (great). All the kings of India came together to fight that war. So it's natural...,"
Yes, Bharat did exist, but we all came together and understood each other's suffering when we were put under one ruler, and common enemy, 'The East India Company', which later took on the governing rule and handed it to the Queen of England. Every corner of the nation became one as India only after the British's reign of terror. It didn't just last for decades but also was at large throughout the land of our country. And before that, we were all part of different territories, that didn't know what happened in the neighbouring land, even though part of the same-titled land Hindostan.
So maybe Saif didn't mean any harm to our patriotism by the comment, 'I don't think there was a concept of India till the British gave it one', he meant we all came together in spite of our differences to stand against a formidable force and that is part of our history, that made us one, as Indians.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are that of the writer.