Shah Rukh Khan Must Apologise to the Nation

via Dr Vijaya Rajiva published on February 13, 2010

Now that the ruckus is over and the Shah can relax over the profits and popularity of
 his new film ‘My Name is Khan’, in the opinion of this writer, it is time for the
 Bollywood actor to take time off and reflect on the shenanigans he has engaged in
 the last few days.
The Shah must apologise not to the Shiv Sena but to the nation which is struggling
with innumerable problems, not the least of which is the troublesome neighbour who
has over the last 60 years plus been threatening (and delivering) a thousand cuts to its
fellow neighbour.

What India did not need at this hour was an icon of the youth distracting and diverting
the country with thoughtless remarks. One assumes that he genuinely loves his
country. There is no reason why he should not. He has been feted and promoted as
few actors have been. The cynical might remark that a great deal of funding from a
variety of sources have made this possible. However, he has also worked hard enough
to deserve the support.

An additional reason for his expected loyalty to the country is that both his father and
grandfather were freedom fighters in the independence struggle against colonial rule.
And with this legacy one also expects a certain maturity and seriousness from the
actor even given that he is a performer and film personality.

Has the Shah risen to the occasion ? In the opinion of this writer he has not. And after
the brouhaha and the liberal self righteousness about cultural terrorism and such typical liberal pronouncements, after the dust has settled, the nation will start looking at this individual and ask : what was he really up to ?

Already there are some doubts about the veracity of his statements about his experiences on arrival at UK. He claimed that the body scanners at the airport were scandalously revealing and that both he and some female workers at the scanners saw his entire body image and that he even autographed these photos for them.

SRK claimed on the BBC prime time show ‘ Friday Night with Jonathan Ross’ that female security staff at the airport had printed his naked imagse from the newly installed body scanner and that he had autographed them.

The British Airports Authority (BAA) has said that the claim was false ‘completely factually incorrect ‘ because the body scanning machines had no capability to print images. Also, the images captured by the equipment could not be stored or distributed in any form (‘UK disputes Shah Rukh’s Claim on body scanners’, Press Trust of India, Thursday Feb.11,2010, London).

SRK made some similar remarks at the NDTV program ‘India Questions Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar: Part 1’ hosted by Prannoy Roy. Here  he talked about frisking and concluded in joking fashion that if given a chance he would like first to frisk Angelina Jolie ! The teenage audience obligingly applauded.

This was vintage SRK at his most articulate best. And it was afterall a television show with a live audience. All par for the course, especially for  a film personality. And yet, underlying the charm and good fun was an individual utterly self absorbed and self admiring and more importantly, irresponsible in his statements. At the conclusion of Part 1 he said  :

Pakistan is a great neighbour, let’s love them !

Is this just an irresponsible statement or did Shah Rukh know what he was doing ?
This writer has already written about all this in two articles in Haindava Keralam:



Even self absorbed SRK must know that since 26/11 the India Government has broken
off talks with Pakistan, unless and until that country did something serious about curbing and eliminating terrorists who train in Pakistani soil. And the talks which are now about to start, are of immense importance and that it is crucial that the nation stay wide awake and vigilant and keep their leaders honest (The latest news is that there is division in the Congress camp about the agenda to be followed).

The ‘great’ neighbour has been threatening for the last 60 plus years to administer a
thousand cuts to its fellow neighbour, and actually carrying them out also. Thousands of
heroic everyday Indians have laid down their lives in defence of their nation. They continue to stand on guard at the border , at the LOC and so on. Hundreds of everyday Indians lost their lives in the terrorist attacks and Indians continue to mourn their near and dear ones.

Is this the time for a film personality to make irresponsible statements ? This writer has clearly stated that the issue is not his statement about the IPL decision not to hire Pakistani cricketers . The issue is his seeming indifference to the actual situation the country is in.

His words, his body language, his facial expressions all seemingly reveal a self  absorbed man of mature age displaying insensitivity to the political situation . The teenage audiences across the country may cheer him on and some liberal acolytes may continue to muddy the waters, but Shah Rukh has an obligation to the Nation and to his two illustrious forbears who fought for the Nation’s freedom.

He should simply come out in public and apologise to the nation for this fiasco.

(The writer taught Political Philosophy at a Canadian university)

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