Sunday, August 16, 2009

my name is khan! who cares?

After a long time actor Salman Khan has come up with a real gem. On hearing about Shah Rukh Khan being questioned by US security at Newark, New Jersey, he said it’s good that the country has such a tight set-up. And that ``there has been no attack after 9/11 because of this.’’Salman has a point.

SRK might be an icon to Indians and many in the subcontinent, even to the desi diaspora spread across the globe, but to America he’s just a visitor. We may be convinced he cannot be involved in anything that’s remotely violent, but the guard given the responsibility of stopping something like 9/11 from happening in his country again will want to take no chances. And what is the possibility that he’s a die hard fan of the Khan and Bollywood? Very slim.

SRK says he’s ``upset and angry’’ because it was his Muslim name that caused all this. Thousands of Muslims are made to go through extra security checks everyday in America and a host of Western countries. Is he equally upset at that? He's probably just pissed that it happened to him, India's mega star. We all know how a lot of Muslims have been subjected to prejudice around the world because many countries see terrorism as an Islamic phenomenon. Yes, it is uncalled for, unjust and maybe wrong. But America is a country that takes the killings of its people with the seriousness it deserves, unlike India whose record on this is shameful, to say the least.

Also, because most of the perpetrators of 9/11 were Muslims, America thinks it has to be doubly careful where they are concerned. Had the terrorists been Jews, perhaps it would have looked at Jews with similar suspicion. I was much more aggrieved at President Kalam being frisked.

There are two layers to the SRK incident and we must peel them off with care. One, it is quite ridiculous that Indians feel their icons and superstars are everybody’s icons and superstars. What the heck? If Jet Li came to India tomorrow, the man on the street here would probably call him ‘`Chinky’’ and not give a second look.Moreover, America doesn’t have a culture of fawning the way India has. Mike Tyson was treated like a common rapist and spent most part of his youth in the slammer. Laura bush was sent to jail for violating the rules.Can one expect the same for rahul Gandhi? Oh forgot rahul even any mp’s son or daughter?

More importantly, we are actually aggrieved because we are ``not like them’’. Well, guess what. It isn’t a virtue. We should be like them and take the security of our country and its people with solemn, no-nonsense professionalism. Frisk Brad Pitt when he lands in India next. Give Tom Cruise the same dose. Don’t spare Bill Clinton either. Isn’t he an ex-prez just like Kalam? Who’s stopping you and what’s stopping you? Colonial hangover? Or is it plain lethargy and callousness. Looks like both.

There’s a lesson in this. And it is a positive one. A day after our own 26/11, there was hardly any security at CST in Mumbai. It can’t get worse than that. The bottom line: Stop fawning, shed the colonial hangover and make no compromise where the country’s safety is concerned. Can we do that or is it too much to ask from a country that’s been free for 62 years but was ruled by white sahibs for 200?

The ludicrous fracas by politicians over the "frisking" of APJ Abdul Kalam and shahrukh khan was an example of how we continue to overthrow the principle of equality. Pray, how is a routine security check a violation of anyone's self respect? We live in a democracy yet strangely we continue to regard democratic norms as insulting. Not only do we refuse to stand in queue and patiently wait our turn, but when a wonderfully idealistic citizen and archetypal aam admi like Kalam happily stands in queue and submits to a check by Continental Airlines, we are on our feet screaming about national honour and protocol. Our netas and top babus all send their children to the US for higher studies. Surely, when taking the SAT and GRE exams, these students submit to American rules. In applying for visas they also submit to US legal requirements. But when Kalam submits to US laws when traveling on an American airline, we are suddenly shaken to our foundations.

The VIP culture of India is truly a slur on our Constitution. The "don't-you-know-who-I-am" syndrome violates every principle for which our freedom fathers toiled. As the Delhi High Court held in 2008: VIP security is an obnoxious status symbol. When common men are killed on the street, why should the tax payer pay for so much security for politicians?" That great jurist Fali Nariman has long campaigned against VIP culture, saying it is time to get rid of it. This Independence Day, lets all take a solemn pledge. We will never again utter the phrase: `Don't you know who I am'. Instead we will all emulate the dignified Kalam who, quietly and unobtrusively, took his place in a queue not like the shahrukh khan vip syndrome perhaps has taken into his mind.

And yeah shahrukh is not any national icon like kalam or manmohan singh or even the sportsperson who go to other nation's to represent our country.Like always, Shahrukh went to dance to some patriotic songs, make a million bucks for his own good and make a complete mockery of Indians and himself in some other country. This time it was an Independence day function unlike weddings, Birthdays and inauguration functions where Shahrukh is known to dance for money. It's completely like the old saying ,'Begaani Shaadi mein Shahrukh deewana!!!!!" Oops!!! Its Abdullah deewana.It was a business tour for Shahrukh to earn some moolah for himself ,and in no way was the US government or the US security going to benefit from Shahrukh's visit.They didn't even call him to their country.Why the hell on Earth would they then compromise on their security procedures.Moreover, Indian actors, politicians and page 3 celebs have earned a name for themselves in cases involving illegally helping people immigate to other countries, have been caught with illegal items like drugs during security checks at international airports.
In fact we should learn a lesson from US authorities,who treat a pompous bollywood star and a common man in the same way.No wonder why there has not been even a single terror attack on American soil after 9/11. And in India hundreds die every year in terror attacks. Everytime time a terror attack takes place, the Indian government and security personnels are awestruck.And there are some people who are making the whole thing a communal issue.They dont know that while they are reading this comment, the already richie rich Shahrukh has become richer by a couple of millions with this controversial visit to US.Shahrukh might have thought that he was at Chhatrapati Shivaji terminous where a fat constable with tobacco stained teeth would put up a sugary smile wen he wld see shahrukh, say salam saab and ask for an autograph for his kid at home, all in the name of security check.

SO what was all this? IS this a gimmick - is this a publicity stunt? Who cares, quite frankly, as a non-SRK-fan. Want to frisk Brad Pitt? Go ahead, do it. You know what - when it is done Pitt isn't going to go on record and then claim the Indians were racist. Shah Rukh should have shut his trap and gone through the process. IT is he who wishes to do business with the USA and not exactly the other way around. IF you don't like the rules of the game then you don't play it.

Srk fans can say me to talk the talk only you have walked the talk!then let me tell you,Well I am ready to sacrifice my privacy,I am ready for continuous check-ups of my bag provided our government also give assurance that next 8 years we will be terror free.I think its still better to be in detention for 1 hour than to remain in constant terror for 1 decade.But then that’s what I can think,you can think.Why would srk n our ministers think same? When they know that none of the bombs are made for them.Its our destiny to get such lethargic n shameless death not there and that’s what you pay price to be in INDIA the world’s greatest democracy.