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A message for Shahrukh Khan bashers: His name is Khan, and he is not a "Pakistani"
Insanity continues to prevail in our nation and hype has become the order of the day and expressing an honest opinion has become a crime of such magnitude that just as you utter a word, anybody can question your "nationality" and "patriotism."

The latest victim of this insanity is the talented Bollywood superstar actor Shahrukh Khan, whom we all lovingly call King Khan. What he said in the interview with Barkha Dutt has been overblown out of proportions and a few BJP leaders even went on to question the actors nationality and patriotism. I don't know how Shahrukh might be feeling about it, but I as a common Indian am disturbed.

On being questioned by Barkha Dutt about his opinion on whether intolerance had increased in the country than before, the actor replied that intolerance was always there, but since now there are more platforms for people to express their opinions and raise their voices, people are heard more. He said that the phenomenon of "intolerance" was neither "modern" nor "recent." He further said that religious intolerance was the worst kind of intolerance and not good for the country.

Thinking logically and scanning Khan's comments even minutely, I didn't find even a hint of provocation in them. It was a sane opinion coming from an actor who could sense that something wasn't right in the country.

So why this back lash against him from these self proclaimed guardians of morals and nationalism? As if a thorough analysis is done, Shahrukh deserves to be called a patriot Indian more than many of us. His is a thorough gentleman who speaks sensibly and knows his limits. He is a family man who is tolerant to all religions (his wife Gauri hails from a Hindu-punjabi family) and his father was one of India's youngest freedom fighters. So it is absolutely bizarre to call such a person "anti-national" and a "Pakistani."

But a few BJP hotheads don't seem to think so. Kailash Vijayvargiya, a BJP hardliner from Madhya Pradesh was the first to vent his ire at the actor by tweeting and describing Khan as "anti-national" and that his soul was in Pakistan. Sadhvi Prachi, a VHP leader soon followed by calling Shahrukh a "Pakistani agent." Later on, Vijayvargiya had to retract his tweets and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, M Venkaiah Naidu appeared for damage control and distanced himself from the statement of Vijayvargiya and called Khan a great actor.

The actor coincidently a couple of days back on November 2, on the occasion of his 50th birthday in an interview to Rajdeep Sardesai had responded to these allegations even before they were made against him by saying, "People will throw stones if I take a stand." What he meant then is clearly evident now. This is the primary reason why Bollywood actors avoid voicing their opinions that concern the country, just to avoid any kind of controversy and backlash. It has historically been the case even if you go back to the era of the emergency of 1975, when Bollywood remained aloof from the prevailing political turmoil.

The ultimate truth is that film actors being role models and popular with the masses are the easiest targets for such self proclaimed nationalists. If nothing else, throwing muck at a popular actor like Shahrukh brings them instant recognition and makes them an integral part of every newspaper and tabloid, and Shahrukh being a Muslim, makes the whole proposition even more lucrative for them as it satisfies their fanatic ego.

Many fellow actors like Anupam Kher have come out in support of Shahrukh and rightly so, as it is the time to show solidarity with not only a fellow actor but a fellow Indian who has always made the nation proud.

As for what Hafiz Saeed says should hardly bother us, as he is a terrorist and a Pakistani. A few BJP leaders gave him an opportunity to malign our country and as expected he made the most efficient use of it by tweeting and asking Shahrukh to come and settle in Pakistan, if he was unhappy in India. The reality is that whether it is returning awards or making controversial and irresponsible statements, we are enemies of our own. We ourselves are to blame if our country's image gets tarnished. The enemies of our nation are lucky that our own countrymen are capable of self-destruction.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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