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We reprint the essay that led to an unwelcome invitation from Hafiz Saeed...


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Feb 25, 2013
The Stars are Aligned

This letter comes from an Egyptian. We were introduced to India through Shah­rukh’s movies (Inside My Khanate, Feb 11). We learned about your society, culture, civilisation, festivals, morals etc all through his movies. Many of us first thought of visiting India, learning your language etc just because we loved the image that he gave us about India. We loved India through his heart and eyes. Believe it or not, my daughter changed her plans and deci­ded to do her masters in India instead of Germany because of SRK. He couldn’t have planted all that love for India in our hearts if he hadn’t had a true, deep, sincere and roo­ted love for it himself. So cherish him. Of course, he is not a perfect god. He has his mistakes and defects. After all, he is human. PS: A person’s religion is between him and his God only. Only God can judge us. So please hold on to each other and never allow anything or anyone to separate you Indians.

Aliaa Ahmed, via FB

Shahrukh seems to suffer from a persecution complex, forgetting that he owes his success to the masses who loved him without heed to his religion. By not responding to Hafiz Saeed, he did a great disservice to the country.

Sudhir Das, Assam

Funny and articulate! And conclusive proof that Hafiz saab does not ‘get’ subtlety or have a sense of humour.

C. Ramesh, Bangalore

I missed Shahrukh’s piece when it was first published in the Turning Points issue. Many thanks for repeating it.

M. Ratan, New Delhi

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1/D-47
Feb 02, 2013
02:55 PM

“SRK’s interview, uproar on it, and subsequent clarification thereon squarely defines the reason of THICK LINE between HIM and the OTHER KHANs.”

Rajneesh Batra
New Delhi, India
2/D-50
Feb 02, 2013
03:05 PM

The SRK example: Why Indian Muslims can’t criticise India

In India, the Muslim lives on sufferance. It is the Hindu who has the freedom to attack India and its culture, its vulgarity. The Muslim who objects to something, no matter how obvious and visible, must qualify his argument. Usually the qualification demanded is that he show himself as patriotic. In India, this is a term born out of negative sentiment. To be a patriotic Indian, one is not required to be tax-paying, law-abiding, well-meaning or philanthropic. Patriotism is demonstrated through hating a particular country. The reason the Indian Muslim lives on sufferance is also rooted in this.

www.firstpost.com/blogs/the-srk-example-why-indian-muslims-cant-criticise-india-608931.html

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
3/D-129
Feb 03, 2013
06:27 PM

SRK - well written - you are indeed a tongue-and-cheek type intelligent and thinking Khan shattering the other stereotypical Khan image. Of course then there is Aamir the other Khan who made us think with him with Satyamev Jayate.

And Aliaa Ahmed thanks for sharing from Egypt. BTW, have you read Amitav Ghosh's "In an Antique Land" about our old India-Egypt connection as two ancient civilizations.

Mark Sharma ... "So stop talking nonsense!" .... why this rudeness there was nothing in Aliaa Ahmed post for this ending sentence from you. Or is this the infamous Australian "we are direct and say it like it is mate" - personally for their self-proclaimed directness as a tourist I found lot more rudeness in Australia than I care to experience - left feeling I could have spend that same money somewhere else.

Arun Maheshwari
Bangalore, India
4/D-141
Feb 03, 2013
10:05 PM

 There is no doubt that SRK  is adulated by his fans. So he should express himself in such a way  that evil-minded Pakistanis do not distort his statement and use it as a stick to beat  Indians (Hindus) with, as is their wont. 

Way back in 1970 when I visited Nice on the Riviera I was accosted by three Afghans who sang Awara Hoom and asked me if I knew Raj Kapoor! Later in 1981 when I was in Iraq, Kurdis used to watch Sholay often and talked to me about Dharm, Bachhan and ' Hima Milani' 

R. NARASIMHAN
CHENNAI, INDIA
5/D-15
Feb 04, 2013
07:26 AM

"So he should express himself in such a way that evil-minded Pakistanis do not distort his statement and use it as a stick to beat Indians (Hindus) with, as is their wont."

And how would one know what these so called "evil minded Paksitanis will distort" - best way then to just say nothing but one has to worry even silence can be distorted. Personally, I don't think this risk of distortion should be even a consideration. Just ignore Pakistan - at least that much confidence we ought to have built up in ourselves by now.

Arun Maheshwari
Bangalore, India
6/D-35
Feb 04, 2013
10:44 AM

"It is the Hindu who has the freedom to attack India and its culture, its vulgarity"

Who cried for you people to stay back in India??If Muslims feel that they are discriminated then they have every rights to go to which ever country they like...Why in the name of Minority spoiling countries atmosphere..

Do Sikh, Parsee, Jain do like you people..

Simply making mockery of this country....

Jaykumar
Ahmedabad, India
7/D-76
Feb 04, 2013
01:46 PM

Jaykumar,

>>>> It is the Hindu who has the freedom to attack India and its culture, its vulgarity"
>> Who cried for you people to stay back in India?

Totally inappropriate and stupid comment!

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
8/D-109
Feb 05, 2013
09:16 PM

Next time perhaps Shah Rukh should write articles in plain English hoping that people can at least read and comprehend what he wrote before reacting.

I read the article again but couldn't find anything in its content that could attract undue attention from Pakistani politicians followed by strong objection from a section of India.

Shah Rukh has articulated his own frustrations as a Muslim who practises faith with a liberal interpretation but is victimized for the wrong doing of a section of the Muslims who practise bigotry. Many other liberal Muslims may find his view resonating with their own. Yet the reaction from Pakistan should explain to Shah Rukh  and others that a large section of Muslims cares for fellow Muslims alone and therefore is increasingly disliked by non-Muslims. Showing  affection only to the people of the same faith around the globe while expressing indifference, hatred or discriminations toward people from other religions will continue to make a large section of Muslims unpopular to non-Muslims.

Anwaaar should recognize that there is a large fan following of Muslim exceptionalism within the Muslim community. Even the bigots can cite objectionable passages from the religious texts to justfy mistreating the infidels, Politics of hatred and militancy that led to a bloody partition of India on religious line or murderous attacks of AlQaeda on innocent non-Muslims can get endorsement from the religion. This in turn creates intense dislike and stereotyping of all Muslims as potential militants. This is unfortunate but unavoidable unless all Muslims agree how they will accommodate non-Muslims in an amicable manner.

DC
NEW YORK, United States
9/D-2
Feb 07, 2013
12:10 AM

Who cried for you people to stay back in India??

They stayed back because they had the right to, it was their motherland as much as it was of the Hindus'. If Hindus like you have such a big issue with Muslims around you, why don't you get up and leave. You won't even toy with the idea due to an inherent sense of ownership. Muslims are squatters. This is our land, they should go back to your country. This defies the very basis of democracy. You will use it for your advantage when it comes to promoting Modi with phrases like thumping majority, People's representative, and some similar shit.

Amar Prem
Boston, United States
10/D-79
Feb 07, 2013
11:00 AM

 Shahrukh, is a self praising individual, he broods a lot and imagines that he is the holiest of all and can do no harm to anyone. He is a khan and not a terrorist, but some khan's are terrorist, so he has to complete the security formalities.

SRK Boasts a lot, superstar, tall, handsome, saccha insaan etc. let these characters come from the people and not himself. He always plays hindu characters( Mostly ) , he has never been adjudged as an actor, he has been mentioned as romantic, popular, famous hero. He should speak what is relevant to him and his domain rather than stirring up controversy.  

Keshav Kumar
pune, India
11/D-105
Feb 07, 2013
01:05 PM

 Shri Shah Rukh Khan is absolutely right in his assessment of his predicament as an Indian Muslim and as an Indian citizen. But, unfortunately, today’s scenario is far more complicated and is something like this: (a) Terrorist organizations like LeT and Taliban are openly supporting violence in the name of Islam. Saner elements in Muslim nations over the world are not actively contradicting this view of terrorists. (b) The extremists in Muslim communities all over the world are not ready to accommodate a view that is different from theirs and they (extremists) are often proclaiming that non-Muslims have no right to live in this world. (c) More worrying is the fact that saner elements in Muslim communities in our country and elsewhere are being weakened day by day.
What is the scenario on the political front? Muslim leaders all over India are simply not able to separate politics from religion and as a result they are unable to convince the majority of Hindus that they (Muslims) accept limits imposed by our Constitution on their freedom regarding Muslim Personal Law. They have also been wasting their time and energy on agitations of little relevance and hence are not able to achieve much for socio-economic progress of the poor Muslims.
Concerned citizens’ feeling is that actors like Shah Rukh Khan must use their influence over Muslim masses for the right cause.

Narendra M Apte
Pune, India
12/D-131
Feb 08, 2013
05:11 PM

 Funny and articulate! And conclusive proof that Hafiz Sahib from across the border does not understand subtleties, and has no sense of humour. 

"I learnt that the property and decency of others, their points of view, their beliefs, their philosophies and their religions were due as much respect as my own and ought to be accepted with an open mind." - Where is this spirit in India today? All are included, in my rant, including the Modis and the Senas.

Chira
Bangalore, India
13/D-162
Feb 08, 2013
09:51 PM

 SRK seems to be contradicting himself in this article. On one hand he says that religion must be a private affair of an individual  and on the other he repeats again and again the he is a Khan (5 times in all in his one and half page article). Why this emphasis on his religion? He seems to have been suffering from a persecution complex like most of the Indian Muslims who very often look forward to Pakistan as if that counntry is their saviour in chief. He should not have forgotten that he owes his success to the Indian masses who loved him irrespective of his religion. His religion never is an issue with the vast majority of of his fans. If he is complaning about fringe elements of Indian politics opposing some of his actions there are such Muslim leaders like Akbaruddin Owaisi too who never let go an opportunity of passing derogatory comments on the Hindus and what is wonderufl is there was no widespread violent retaliation. India is basically a secular country and all the minorities enjoy  freedom of expression like anyother citizens of India. SRK by not responding in a befitting manner to the invitation of Hafiz Sayeed has done a great disservice to the country. 

Sudhir Das
Dibrugarh, Assam, India
14/D-80
Feb 09, 2013
12:15 PM

 Being a fan of Khan from his 'Fauji' days I had
immense pleasure in finding you so articulate in venting up
your true feelings. God is Great and blessed you utmost.
Do think as a 'Victor' Than a 'Victim'.  

The real Hero need be like that. Cheers to you and Outlook

V.N.K.Murti
pattambi, India
15/D-60
Feb 11, 2013
02:38 PM

The core of the article is

"For I believe, our religion is an extremely personal choice, not a public proclamation of who we are. It’s as personal as the spectacles of my father who passed away some 20 years ago that I hold onto as my most prized and personal possession of his memories, teachings and of being a proud Pathan. I have never said my father’s spectacles are better than your mother’s saree. So why should we have this comparison in the matter of religion, which is as personal and prized a belief as the memories of your elders?"

Attaboy! This article should be made required reading for all Indians!!

Prashanth
Bangalore, India
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