A few days ago, I came across an article on the issue surrounding Hindi actor Shah Rukh Khan's comments against the non-selection of Pakistani cricketers in the mini-auction held in February of this year. This was written by Mr. Tanvir Jafri, and was titled "Hindu Fundamentalists in India at Muslim Bashing again." I should say the article was very well-written, but I genuinely felt that there was a vast disconnect between what Mr. Jafri perceived had happened (and wanted his readers to know) and what actually happened.
I have always felt only pity towards those who fight in the name of religion and god. Almost all "secular" religious leaders claim that the true object of every religion is to bring people together, but sadly history has a very different story to tell, and so does our present. The great actor Kamal Hassan had once said in an interview, "I am an atheist, but I wouldn't destroy a temple or a church or a mosque; only believers would do that."
What happened in this case was a pretty nasty ploy by Mr. Khan for the promotion of his soon-to-be-released movie. Whilst he gained considerably from creating such a controversy and by sowing seeds of hatred in the minds of two already confused communities, the losers in this game, as always, turned out to be the common man; the ones who made him superstar. Somehow, I felt it was ethically imperative that I write a comment on Mr. Jafri's article (which he was very kind to post on his blog) and help the readers see through, what I can only call, Shah Rukh Khan's dirty designs. My comment on Mr. Jafri's article is posted below:
Shah Rukh is as much to blame for this nonsense as Bal Thackeray. What Mr. Khan did was a pretty mean and nasty thing to say the least, to create a controversy and throw a bait at an idiot like Mr. Thackeray who was sure to bite it. All he wanted was (NOT showing his genuine concern at any Pakistani player being not hired by any team in the mini-auction) ONLY the promotion of his movie, My Name Is Khan, which was to be released pretty soon.
In fact, his hypocrisy is only too evident from the fact that he too owns an IPL team, which did not hire any Pakistani player either. That (non-inclusion of Pakistani players) was an absolute no-issue because it was actually a mini-auction to fill in a few specific slots in the teams and it, at that point, made sense to each franchise not to hire Pakistani players because of the uncertainty regarding their visa restrictions for touring India post 26/11.
What should have ended there was blown up into a full-fledged controversy by Shah Rukh and he alone can be blamed for that. Bal Thackeray and other Hindu fundamentalist leaders like him in India are seen as jokers by most Indians (read Hindus if you prefer). It does not take rocket science to figure out that a moron like him would absolutely relish such an opportunity thrown at him, and would immediately press into action his motley crew of goons and unleash them on the common man. What Shah Rukh Khan did was most certainly tantamount to a shameless betrayal of his own country and its people; the country he was born in and the people who made him superstar.
This does not mean that I am writing in support of Mr. Thackeray, but only that it was a dirty game played by Mr. Khan for the promotion of his movie, and it did work too. He was able to generate considerable interest towards the movie overseas. In fact MNIK was a bigger hit overseas than in India. It was a controversy created by Mr. Khan (with or without Mr. Thackeray's knowledge - you'll never know, that could be a distinct possibility too when you analyze the situation rationally) and he is as much to blame as any other conspirator who betrays his/her honor by betraying his/her own country.
The ultimate losers in games like these are people like you and me, the folks nicknamed "Aam Aadmi," the only people who lose money, property, and their peaceful state of existence. The likes of Mr. Khan and Mr. Thackeray might have had secret behind-the-scenes deals worked out and we blindly let ourselves be willingly cheated and used as mere pawns in their dirty games... when will we ever learn?