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Culture/Religion India Movies Politics

Conflicting conscience of Khan

Casting aspersion on the loyalty of Indian Muslim is a conspiracy initiated by RSS which has now reached Shah Rukh Khan through Shiv Sena. But Mumbaikars have a genuine reason to protest when 26/11 is sidelined and 9/11 is highlighted.

Shah Rukh Khan is an Indian actor to the rest of the world. He is a Hindi actor to a south Indian. But he was not viewed as a Muslim actor by anyone until the release of his film ‘My Name is Khan”.

Most of the Hindi films are made in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, a province in the west central India populated mostly by Marathi speakers. This city is the Financial capital of India and is comparable with Shangai of China. A regional political party Shiv Sena representing Marathi Hindus has gained popularity here.

A worst communal riot broke out in Mumbai in 1992, following the demolition of Babri Masjid by Hindu terrorists led by Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sang ( RSS), its offshoots such as BJP and allies such as Shiv sena, Hundreds of people were killed in bomb blasts in 1993. A Muslim group of terrorists led by Dawood Ibrahim, master mind of Mumbai blasts is alleged to be protected by Pakistan even now. The Hindu terrorists who demolished the Babri Masjid and instigated large scale violence and death are not yet punished by Indian Government.The culprits of the recent 26/11 terrorist attack on Taj Hotel at Mumbai are also protected by Pakistan. Indian Government is impotent physically or diplomatically in extraditing the real culprits from Pakistan.

When the terrorists who hit Mumbai are not punished or when there is no sign that they will ever be punished what could be the reaction of the local population who were severely affected by those incidents? Is there any guarantee that Mumbai will not be subjected to any such dastardly crimes? What a difference if the Mumbaikars notice the war on terror declared by USA as a follow up of 9/11 twin tower terrorist attack and the punishment handed over to the instigators in Afghanistan and Pakistan!

This is where the Mumbai centric Shiv Sena comes in to play against the Actor Shah Rukh Khan for the release of his latest film “ My Name is Khan” . In this film the actor espouses a problem of a Muslim in USA aftermath of 9/11. Shiv Sena which projects the 26/11 of Mumbai has decided to take on Shah Rukh Khan by resorting to personal attacks,

Rizwan Khan, a Muslim from Mumbai, suffers from Aspergers syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that complicates socialization. Rizwan marries a Hindu single mother, Mandira, in San Francisco. After 9/11, Rizwan is detained by authorities at LAX who mistake his disability for suspicious behavior. Following his arrest, he meets Radha, a therapist who helps him deal with his situation and his affliction. Rizwan then begins a journey to meet US President Obama to clear his name.

Rizwan Khan, a Muslim from Mumbai, suffers from Aspergers syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that complicates socialization. Rizwan marries a Hindu single mother, Mandira, in San Francisco. After 9/11, Rizwan is detained by authorities at LAX who mistake his disability for suspicious behavior. Following his arrest, he meets Radha, a therapist who helps him deal with his situation and his affliction. Rizwan then begins a journey to meet US President Obama to clear his name.

Rizwan Khan, a Muslim from Mumbai, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism that complicates socialization. Rizwan marries a Hindu single mother, Mandira, in San Francisco. After 9/11, Rizwan is detained by authorities at LAX who mistake his disability for suspicious behavior. Following his arrest, he meets Radha, a therapist who helps him deal with his situation and his affliction. Rizwan then begins a journey to meet US President Obama to clear his name.

If Shah Rukh khan had ever acted as a person affected by Mumbai blast or Taj Attack he would not have been suspected by the Mumbai based Shiv Sena. Or if the role played by Shah Rukh Khan had been played by a Hindu actor the matter would have been seen differently by the Hindu based Shiv Sena. But Shiv sena got enough reason to protest against the screening of this film.

The trouble started much earlier when Shah Rukh Khan who owns the Indian Premier league cricket team Calcutta Knight riders commented favouring the inclusion of Pakistani players in the third season of the IPL. Shiv sena pinpointed the actor as a lover of Pakistan, a Muslim state and sought a public apology from SRK and threatened to ban his films in Mumbai. The language of Shiv sena in its tirade against SRK was very sharp to suspect his patriotism.

“Shah Rukh wants to give a red carpet treatment to Pakistani cricketers on the blood of innocent Indians slain by Pakistani terrorists from Kashmir to Mumbai”

“since SRK has so much love for the Pakistanis the Bollywood actor could appoint 26/11 terror accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab as the captain of his Kolkata Knight Riders team and Mohammed Afzal Guru (facing death penalty for the 2001 attack on parliament) as the vice captain in the forthcoming IPL matches”.

Shiv sena planned to disrupt Mumbai screenings of “ My Name is Khan?”on Feb. 12, and continued its offensive language against him.

“The only thing that remains is to erect a marble memorial for Kasab and his nine dead accomplices and ask policemen to salute it,”

“Let Shah Rukh release the film with the blessings of the Italian woman (Sonia Gandhi) and Yuvraj (Rahul Gandhi) without any protection and let it run in any theatre anywhere in the country. Sena will not oppose it,”

“We banned Pakistani cricketers despite the fact that we are cricket lovers. The ban is because of Pakistan’s support to terror acts in India, including 26/11 Mumbai attacks,” Thackeray said.

Shah Rukh Khan reacted and naturally has buried himself under Identity shielded by Indian Nationalism and Patriotism.

“I’m very proud to be an Indian”

“Bal Thackeray asked why we didn’t buy a Pakistani player. I wanted to; the gentleman was hurt. I’m talking about Pakistani players as players, on merit. My captain and coach wanted a player. He hurt himself. We went ahead and took the next best choice.”

MNIK has been screened in Mumbai with police protection and the media is discussing who won this battle by praising SRK and continuing a vicious campaign against Shiv Sena without looking at the root cause of such incidences.

One cannot deny that there is an element of sympathy toward Muslims in MNIK. Shah Rukh Khan should have categorically stated that there is nothing wrong in showing such sympathy instead of going in a roundabout way of answering about his national identity. After all Shah Rukh Khan is not a Mahatma and he can admit that he longs for affected Muslims to whom he is identified by birth.

The plot of MNIK is a love story but it is woven around a problem faced by person holding a Muslim name in USA. The target viewers of MNIK include the Muslims all over the world including those who predominantly live in Gulf countries. If it is for the sake of business and Money and if it is for the sake of art, the production of the film “ My name is Khan” cannot be faulted by anyone.

But being a Mumbaikar and being a Muslim are shown as two states of conflicting existence by both Muslim terrorists and Hindutwa terrorists and therefore the ire against Khan is actually the outcome of a historical development of letting loose the terrorists. The common man from Mumbai has a case to expect justice for all the terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Until then they will suspect every Khan including SRK.

There are many problems ailing India apart from terrorism. Obviously the Bollywood superstars like Amitabh or SRK cannot make a film on illiteracy and poverty and handle a role in poor and dirty costumes. In order to evoke sympathy among viewers by acting in a soul stirring touching scenes, these actors take characters affected by Alzemiers syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome etc. This helps these actors not to take out their coat, suit and boot and to get some awards from the Government or Film festivals. In reality millions of people in India are suffering due to poverty and various other common health problems when compared to the few people affected by rare diseases.

If Shah Rukh khan shows sympathy to 9/11 rather than 26/11 and if he can highlight the problems of only rich Muslims, Mumbai is not the best place for him to carry out such activities anymore. He can very well come to settle in Chennai where the people tolerate the inaction of Indian Government towards genocide of Tamils in Srilanka or killing of Indian fisher men by Srilankan army in Bay of Bengal. If Malayalam actor Jayaram can live in Chennai after commenting Tamils as black and buffalo like, SRK who admires Tamil filmdom is most welcome here. Anywhere else in this world the life is not identified and valued by the scale of being a human alone but only by cash, cast, religion, language and region. You cannot do business in a conflict of conscience and hostile environment.

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