Shah Rukh Khan…the boy-next-door from the national capital who moved to Mumbai a couple of decades ago is now a world renowned superstar. He is a brand in himself and worth crores of rupees. Lovingly addressed as ‘King Khan’, the man has made a million hearts skip a beat and has risen to the stature of an icon. People from far and wide, irrespective of clan, class and religion would swear by his name; such is his aura. Alas… Our very own ‘Fauji’ no longer belongs to us as our neighbours have, in a way, claimed him!
The spate of controversial comments from across the border came soon after Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s own out of the blue remarks on being a Muslim post the 9/11 terror attacks.
In an article on Outlook Turning Points magazine published in association with The New York Times newspaper, Shah Rukh had written about how he became the "inadvertent object of political leaders” who chose to make him “a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India.”
I wonder, when Shah Rukh could speak about unfair treatment being meted out to him, then how are his contemporaries - Aamir and Salman sustaining in the industry. They too are Khans aren’t they…or are they any different?
“There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country - this even though I am an Indian, whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where lead
ers have exhorted me to leave and return what they refer to my original homeland,” SRK had added.
And not just that, Shah Rukh has asserted that he was cautious enough to choose names for his children that “could pass for generic (pan-India and pan-religious) ones - Aryan and Suhana”.
“The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can`t really escape it,” the actor said. Does that mean all the Khans in the country are being unduly troubled for a simple fact that they are not Hindu citizens?
Shah Rukh’s comments were certainly baseless and uncalled for. I am sure his children would have been loved and cared for even if they had typically Muslim names. It seems as if most people in power have been bitten by a bug that constantly works towards creating a communal divide in an otherwise secular nation where people of varied faith co-exist.
"I pronounce it with my epiglottis when asked by Muslims and throw the Aryan as evidence of their race when non-Muslims enquire. I imagine this will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders or random fatwas in the future," Shah Rukh had added.
The actor’s irrational comments have only embarrassed the nation as Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik has “requested” India to give security to Shah Rukh Khan!
We certainly don’t need an outsider to tell us what we need to do Mr Malik. It would be nice if you could take care of your job, for that would fetch you more accolades than interfering in our matters!
And with JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s desperate attempts to make headlines by extending support to Shah Rukh Khan and asking him to relocate to Pakistan, it’s apparent that some people across the border are awfully smitten by the actor. They are running Shah Rukh Khan fever and need to get their temperature checked!
In India, where cricketers and actors are literally worshipped, such an irresponsible and misleading statement by Shah Rukh Khan does rattle a sane mind. If the likes of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Syed Kirmani, Mohammed Azharuddin and Zaheer Khan have represented India in cricket, Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan), Feroz Khan, Sanjay Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and many, including Shah Rukh Khan, have dazzled on the silver screen.
A fan doesn’t go beyond a person’s last name to choose him as his idol. Had India been that religiously insensitive, I am sure there would not have been so many iconic Khans.
I used to admire Shah Rukh for I believed he is a great orator. But little did I know that he is far from being one!
Because one of the prime qualities in a great speaker is his ability to focus on all that is positive and inspirational.
Being a superstar in India and one who is looked up to by millions of youth, SRK needs to learn the art of discernment and understand the word responsibility.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)