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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is SRK's Detention A Big Deal ?

Posted by: danish Ahmed 2:44 AM

Shahrukh Khan detained by authorities in Newark and all hell has broken loose since then! From man in the street to the Minister of External Affairs of State @shasitharoor, most Indians are outraged but some people around me, online as well as offline seem outraged by the outrage!

Of course, holding an opinion that contradicts general percepts is an essential trait of neo-conservative intellectualism. One cannot claim to be an intellectual that if s/he is found to harbour the same opinion that the more common segments of the society do. I myself have been guilty of that often so this is not aimed at anyone specific. Coming back to SRK issue, those apathetic towards it have a couple of very valid points:

  • Thousands of people are facing the same problem everyday, why call foul now that SRK has been subjected to the same treatment?
  • The second point is that SRK is taking advantage of the incident to publicize his forthcoming movie.

I have little doubt that the second allegation has some substance. SRK's initial statement that he was targetted because of his surname "Khan" sounds too conspicous to be a coincidence with the fact that the title of his latest movie is,"My name is Khan." In the age of social media, an incident that helps you your brand name go viral is nothing less than a dream come true. A shrewd buisnessman like SRK would undoubtedly exploit the issue for making loads of money and perhaps that is what he is doing.

However, this does not change the fact that US immigration policy is utterly discriminatory and unjust. Time and again Indian citizens and even Ministers have been subjected to discriminatory treatment. Post-9/11, the US has been following a number of security policies which have been termed as prejudiced, unethical and in some case (like Guantanamo Bay prison) inhumane. There are people who believe that these rules have helped US thwart more terror attacks on its soil but that is not quite true (I have discussed this in one of my previous posts)

All that it has given is a sense of estrangement and humilation among a large section of global population. Forget the common man, the list of Indian celebrities detained/stripped frisked include former President APJ Abul Kalam,the then Cabinet Minister George Fernandez, Wipro Chief Azim Premji, actors Aamir Khan, Kamal Hassan, Mamooty, Irrfan Khan and scores of less popular Indian celebrities. Background information on any of these individuals shouldnt be difficult to access. After all, these people virtually live under the gaze of the public! Let me reiterate the fact that i am not justifying VIP culture, all i am saying is that since all of these people are well-known, collecting background information about them shouldn't be difficult at all. Moreover, it is not just frisking and question-answer sessions, from what earlier victims have described, it is an interrogation which can leave any one distressed

These incidents merely reflect the arrogance that the US officials display when dealing with Asian visitors. Arrogance which has resulted in traumatic experience for people whose only fault consist in carrying a Muslim name. No sovereign nation with even an iota of national pride can afford to allow its citizen being mistreated on regular basis. Brazil in 2004 gave an apt response to US racial profiling policy by implementing a policy of finger-printing US nationals only!
I would conclude with the question which has been it the back of the mind ever since Kalam was frisked. Is Musharraf subject to the same treatment that India's former President and one of its most respected citizen.

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