What exactly is Akshay Kumar up to? His attempts at making it casual notwithstanding, there seems to be a method to his social media posts of Thursday. A subtle attempt at veering the discourse around Aarey Forest in Mumbai in another direction.
He posted a message from inside the Mumbai Metro travelling from Ghatkopar to Versova along with a film industry colleague. He did not mention Aarey anywhere but focused on how instead of a two hour long car drive, he would now reach his destination in 20 minutes. Given the context of many Mumbaikars agitating over the construction of a Metro car shed at Aarey forest and proposal to cut 2646 trees in the bargain, it did not take much for people to put two and two together. It was seen as an attempt to sell the advantages of the Metro Rail to the Mumbaikar and make him question – what is 2646 trees for a long-term comfort for the citizen.
The fact that Akshay Kumar’s proximity to the BJP leadership is the worst-kept secret in India, only made the Mumbaikar more suspicious.
What confirmed the attempt to craft a new narrative were posts put up by Amitabh Bachchan that spoke of a how a friend in a medical emergency chose to take the Metro instead of a car to reach medical help. Bachchan plumped for planting trees in every garden, ironical in a city that has a major space issue.
Khiladi Kumar too joined in Bachchan’s green campaign by posting the photograph of an autorickshaw driver that had fixed several plants on his vehicle. In the normal course, such a click would have drawn praise but this time, it only made people suspicious of the point Kumar was trying to make.
Mumbaikars are not against the Metro, why would they be? All they are asking for is to construct the Metro without having to indulge in mass killing of green cover. To make it a Metro vs Aarey debate would be doing injustice to the citizen cause.