Muntashir, who has written lyrics for films such as Kesari and Bhuj: The Pride of India, took to Twitter on Tuesday and posted a poem titled Who are your ancestors, which drew flak from the film industry and Twitterati for seeding hatred.
The poem, recited in Hindi by Muntashir, talks about Mughal rulers like Akbar, Humayun, and Jehangir and calls them ‘glorified dacoits’. He further added that the country has been brainwashed and roads are named after these Mughal emperors.
Chadha replied to the director’s tweet and wrote: “Cringe. Bad poetry, unwatchable. Should drop the pen name too. Why profit off of something you so hate.”
Writer Vaibhav Vishal asked the lyricist to remove Mutashir from his name. “The man who made a career out of Ishq, Khalish, Mehfooz, Fariyaad, Humsafar and Rashqe Kamar questions our Indo-Islamic legacy, and our education, values and choices. Good to see the mask coming off, Manoj. Remove the word ‘Muntashir’ from your name now. Choose your legacy!” he said.
Husain Haidry, another lyricist, claimed this was not the first time Muntashir was “spreading hate or lies,” and added that it will not be the last time. “Mask has been off since well over a year. This is not an out-of-the-blue video. Anyway, spewing anti-Muslim venom, instead of being punished, has now been incentivised by the government and the society,” he wrote.
In his video, Muntashir asked, “Ravana was a Brahmin, born into Lord Brahma’s direct bloodline, but have you ever seen a Brahmin worshipping Ravana?”
To this, journalist Saurabh Shukla responded with, “Ravana is worshipped in many places. What you are saying can be your point of view. I understand that you had to choose a side, and you have chosen one. I hope you will explain the present along with history. I hope you will also talk about the present day Ravanas who beat up bangle-sellers and beggars who are Muslim.”
Fellow lyricist and screenwriter Mayur Puri added that writers should not act as enablers of hate. “Why seed hatred, Manoj bhai? No country has a perfectly rosy history. Par writers ko aag lagaane ka nahin, aag bujhane ka kaam karna chahiye (But writers should try to put out the fire, not spread it),” he wrote.
Some also came out in support of Muntashir. Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri tweeted, “Manoj Muntashir has always been expressing his perspective fearlessly in his poetry and public discourse. If you are ignorant doesn’t mean he has changed suddenly.”