I am not exactly a Shahrukh Khan fan even though I find him extremely compassionate each time that I have met him. There is something genuinely nice and simple about him. Being away from Twitter gives me the luxury of rising up to controversial news items a bit late in the day. I am fine with that. Now, when I read this silly write up on the so called Muslim-Victimhood card allegedly played by Shahrukh in an article in a magazine, I was simply appalled. (http://m.firstpost.com/bollywood/kingvictimhood-shah-rukh-khan-biteshand-that-fed-him-603618.html?page=2). The easiest thing to do is to misjudge Shahrukh's thoughts out-of-context. And yes, it is true that being a Muslim, life is most certainly tough in India.
I have stopped travelling in train from Mumbai to New Delhi as we have faced relentless jibes the moment it is disclosed that we are having a Muslim name. If some zealots cause mayhem at Azaad Maidaan, one has to be constantly on guard against insensitive taunts. Narendra Modi's 'efficacy' is hammered in the face now and then. The intention is not to laud Modi's management skills, the intention is to rub it in your face...that's how 'you guys' ought to be disciplined. Urdu is a beautiful language but it has been obfuscated out of the country in a planned manner by labeling it as a 'Muslim' language. Urdu is such an intrinsic part of Punjabi culture but gradually it is dying there too. During my childhood, in a Pakistan-England cricket match for example, I used to support England. During an India-Pakistan match, obviously my loyalties were with India. But as the time went by, during an India-Pakistan match, it is assumed that I must be sympathetic towards Pakistan and hoping for 'them' to win. I have stopped justifying my loyalties. I don't discuss an India-Pakistan match with friends any more. I don't want to appease anyone.
My father's great grandfather was a Rajput Hindu who later converted to Islam. We've been brought up in an extremely secular atmosphere. My mother excitedly watched all the episodes of Mahabharat and Ramayan on television and lauded Krishna's teaching on 'Karma'. I don't support the ghetto mentality of Muslims in India. They need to constantly keep making efforts at becoming part of the mainstream. Many are making that effort but much more reassurance is needed. Muslims should not be expected to prove their loyalty at every small instance. Much more steps are needed to step up the confidence building measures.
Talking about the silly write up by Venky Vembu, the headline in itself is condescending and patronising. When Vembu says, 'King of Victimhood: Shah Rukh Khan bites the hand that fed him', he needs to make a correction. It is not the 'hand that fed him'. The man has 'earned' his place under the sun. Objectively speaking, if you travel to any part of the world today, there are many people who know India because of Shahrukh Khan. I have interacted with his fans from Peru, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Korea, Middle East, US, UK, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and many other countries. Many of them are NOT Asians. They don't understand Hindustani but still they love Shahrukh Khan unconditionally. In turn they end up loving India because that's where Khan is from and that's where he Belongs.
It is time everyone realises that India is a pluralistic society. India is a democracy where everyone has a right to speak out their mind. It is most certainly not fair to constantly put a group of people into corner and relentlessly make them feel guilty. Shahrukh Khan may have messed up in his personal matters last year but he has every right in the world to express his concerns on national issues rather than being a silent spectator.