Nawazuddin Siddiqui stands by the comments he made on depression that have been criticized widely. Speaking to NDTV, the actor explained that he was drawing on his own experience. However, he doubled down on what he said in the original problematic interview – he repeated that city dwellers “glorify chhota emotions” and that there is no such thing as depression in his village. Nawazuddin has been accused of insensitivity and ignorance after telling Mashable India that depression is an urban problem and that rural India doesn’t struggle with mental illness of any sort.
“I was relating my experience. Maybe I am wrong,” Nawazuddin Siddiqui told NDTV (translated from Hindi), adding “But if I go to my village, three hours from here, and say that I have depression, I will be slapped. What is depression, I will be asked.”
There is no depression, the actor insisted on being asked if he meant that those back home in his village don’t what depression is. “Kisi ko hota hi nahi, depression naam ki koi cheez hoti nahi waha pe. Fact hain, aap ja ke dekh lijiye, kisi ko nahi hota (nobody has depression, there is no such thing as depression there. It’s a fact, go there and see for yourself),” Nawazuddin said.
“Sheher mein aake hum chhote chhote emotion ko glorify karne lagte hain. Jab humare paas sab kuch hota hai uske bawajood hume beemariyaan hoti hain, iska matlab humne thinking kuch zyaada hi seriously le liya hain (Those in the city glorify their emotions. When we have everything but are still struggling with these illnesses, it’s because we overthink),” Nawazuddin said, adding as an example: “Oh my God, dekho mere saath kya ho raha hain. Arre sab ke saath hota hain (look what’s happening to me – it happens to everyone).” He also repeated his analogy of pavement-dwellers who allegedly dance in the rain instead of becoming depressed.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui told Mashable India some days ago (translated from Hindi): “”I come from a place where, if I were to tell me father that I’m feeling depressed, he would have slapped me and put me to work. Nobody gets depressed in the village, everybody is happy. I learnt about anxiety, depression, bipolar after coming to the city – all this happens in the city. Everyone here glorifies their emotions. When it rains, a labourer or pavement dweller dances – they don’t know anything about depression. As you earn more money, you get these sort of illnesses as well.”
There is no medical evidence to back Nawazuddin’s claim of depression being an urban problem. According to the WHO, an estimated 5% of adults suffer from depression globally and one out of 20 Indians.
On social media, there has been intense criticism of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s comments with some pointing out that his words ignored farmer suicides and highlighted the need for greater education about mental health.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, known for his work in films like Gangs Of Wasseypur and web-series like Sacred Games, will be seen this week in Jogira Sara Ra Ra with Neha Sharma.