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Society needs a change: Urmila Matondkar

Posted April 4th, 2019, 10:48 AM IST

Society needs a change: Urmila Matondkar

A week after she was nominated as the Congress candidate for Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat, Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar is already at the receiving end of the trolls. A few days ago, her Wikipedia profile page was hacked into and her name was changed to Mariyam Akhtar Mir, allegedly the name she had taken after her nikaah to Kashmiri businessman and model Mohsin Akhtar Mir in 2015. But the actress-turned-politician is taking everything in her stride and says, “This particular Government, whether they have done any progress in any particular field or not, have done tremendous progress in the IT machinery. I am facing the brunt and being tried with everything. Social media promotes so much negativity and so much brutality is extreme.”

The trolls went even further citing her parents as Shivinder Singh and Rukshana Sultana, implying she was the second generation in the family to have an inter-religious Hindu-Muslim wedding. “Apart from me, my family and my husband have come under the scanner. For what reason, I don’t understand. My husband being a Muslim from Kashmir had to issue a statement stating that my name has not been changed to a Muslim name,” adds the actress. While many have come forward to lend her support, the actress is unfazed by the whole incident and is battle-ready. “We have to be extremely strong from within - spiritually and emotionally.”





Joining the party, Urmila says, wasn’t a kneejerk decision. She refers to it as her way of “giving it back to the society”. “I come from a background where we have been taught to give back to the society as it is an obligation for all of us,” she says adding that it’s a pity that all the social obligations that every citizen has to give back are seen in such a state. “Since the time this Government has come into being, the colour given to the entire constitution by them is that of intolerance. The entire fabric of the society needs a change. Since the Congress approached me, I gave it a thought because I needed to take my views to the people. Also I needed a platform to bring about awareness and help them make a conscious decision as to which party they need to bring in power.”

Urmila Matondkar with Milind Deora
Urmila Matondkar with Milind Deora

The actress goes on to further validate the reason for choosing Congress and believes that the party has always professed religious tolerance. “It has stood for equality and above all secularism. And this Party believes in progress of every kind. I believe being religiously tolerant is the need of the hour; every member of the society has be self-aware. Most of the intellectual people are asked to shut up. Somebody needs to stand up.”

Urmila has been busy campaigning in the constituency that sprawls through the thickly populated suburbs of Malad to Dahisar, in the northwest part of Mumbai. “I think most of the parties are coming together to vote this Party [BJP] out. I would say kudos to them because this is almost coming to the level of a movement. Yesterday, I attended a group of gathering, they all want to have the right as the citizen to criticize the Government and for that matter put forth their opinion. A democratic country indeed gives them that right. And all of those rights have been taken away. Big intellectuals are killed in the broad daylight but nobody is doing anything about it.”

An issue that is close to the first-time politician’s heart is about the state of housing in the city. “My election agenda is mainly going to be about redevelopment in this particular area. People are living in conditions that are below standard of living. There is a lot of unconditional slums here than in any other areas of Mumbai. Congress is all out to clear the funds, change this re-development policy. And secondly employment issue need to be chalked out soon.

It’s going to be a challenging task. Because this present Government has done the brilliant job of letting unemployment hike up to an unprecedented high and we have to fight that, if I am elected and if the Congress party comes to power.” The 45-year-old is all geared up to reach out to her constituency and is looking forward to a month-long campaigning. “ I will miss spending quality time with my dogs and the lovely air conditioned comfort of my house. I also have to let go of my obsession with food. My husband was just joking and telling me that I am going in for a camping diet now. I have to make do with whatever food I may get. It could be just a potatoes sandwich or a roadside burger and if I am lucky, dal khichadi. That’s how my life has changed,” she says.

As she gets ready to leave for campaigning, she has the last word, “I have come here with positive reasons but I am not going to stoop to their level. I intend to win with my ideology in a very positive and peaceful manner. I will fight this election with honesty, keeping my integrity and principles above all.”

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