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We Need to Outrage About This India, Not Priyanka’s ‘Quantico’

Priyanka Chopra’s apology for an episode in her American show raises some pertinent questions. 

Updated
Opinion
3 min read
We Need to Outrage About This India, Not Priyanka’s ‘Quantico’
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It took over five years for Priyanka Chopra to build a stunning international brand for herself, and by herself, through working harder than most actors everywhere, and it took less than five days for her to apologise for it.

Technically, she has apologised for hurting real sentiments portrayed on a fictional American TV show she is the first ever Indian actress to lead. But really, what she’s apologising for is believing that who she is can be decided entirely by her; that she does not have to be reduced to one label or one thing or one title anymore, that she has foraged a path where she can be many things, and many people, and many identities, and can really and truly be loved for it all.

Priyanka Chopra in <i>Quantico.</i>
Priyanka Chopra in Quantico.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
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Because today, if you are at any level of fame and public scrutiny, you don’t get to choose who you are. It is decided by us. We are the ones who put you on a pedestal (no matter all the work and time and effort you put into getting there), and so we have the right to hold you hostage when you’re on it.

Before you can be a Priyanka Chopra, you are Indian, you are Hindu, you are a woman… you are ours. You don’t so much as get to choose to be anything you want, it’s that we allow you to do so.

This is not the India I was born into. The India I belong to is one where a girl from Bareilly can go on to one day be Miss World, and then be one with the world, inspiring hundreds of other girls and boys from all over to dream of finding their own place beyond the borders that were our strength. But the India I live in now cares more for these borders than for the people living in it, and are using them to show strength to weaken, rather than to empower.

This is the India where we are incensed by Padmaavat but not by the riots that happen in its wake; where we are angered by masturbation but not by children getting raped; where we are pissed off by Fawad Khan but not by lynchings, where we troll actors who speak up but not politicians who don’t; and where an ‘apology’ can fix everything, because winning is more important than being humane.

 Priyanka Chopra with team <i>Quantico. </i>
Priyanka Chopra with team Quantico.
(Photo Courtesy: ABC)

We are now an India that’s quick to outrage, quick to get offended, quick to get insulted, and quick to retaliate with the full force of our rage - when the people that make this India grew up in the time of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Flop Show, of Office Office and Movers and Shakers, of Khushwant Singh and ‘We are like that only’ and ‘Aman ki Asha’, an India that could make a joke and take a joke, where fiction would always be more ridiculous than life.

That was an India that was far more courageous than the India of today, because it was able to see all that was wrong, and still find the will to fight for what was right and just and beautiful.

That laughed with others and not at others. That disagreed with each other but still defended each other’s right to have an opinion in the first place. The India that was kind.

Priyanka Chopra’s apology isn’t about a storyline in a TV show, it is about what that kind India has become... the India we live in. And this India we live in is the only thing we should be really outraging about.

(Nikhil Taneja is a Writer-Producer-Storyteller-Teacher. Former GM & Head-Development @Y_Films (@yrf), ex-MTV, ex-HT)

(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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