Monday, March 8, 2010

SRK vs Shiv Sena: Who is the Racist?

Shah Rukh Khan can be described as the most successful Bollywood actor of all time. He achieved lots of appreciation not only in his country, but also from other countries. In 2008, Khan was conferred the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka which carries the honorific ‘Datuk’ by the Malacca state government.

Khan was born in 1965 to a Muslim parent in New Delhi. His father was an Indian independence activist. His wife, Gauri is a Hindu and their marriage was held in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. According to Khan, while he strongly believes in Allah, he also values his wife’s religion.

However, his new film, My Name Is Khan has caused controversy in Mumbai, India. The controversy is not the film, but his statement. On January 2010, few weeks before the launch of his film, Khan has voiced his opinion that Pakistani cricket players should not be prevented from playing in India’s Premier Cricket League (IPL).

His generous statement has caused a big row of protest from Shiv Sena, India’s militant Hindu party, who criticized Khan and tore the posters of his new film. Besides that, Shiv Sena is also spearheading a violent campaign, “Mumbai for Maharashtrians”, to which they claimed that all parts of India belong to all the Indian citizens. Shiv Sena also claimed that Khan is a racist for making the statement as he is a Muslim and Pakistan is a Muslim country.

The question is who is the real racist? While claiming that Khan is a racist, the party itself (Shiv Sena) are fighting only for the rights of Hindu people, this can be considered as an act of racism.

We all know that India and Pakistan relations have been quite strained for a long time. There have been three wars between these two neighbors. Many issues have been a bone of contention between the two neighboring countries and this cricket players issue is just adding the list.

My opinion is easy. For Khan statement, I don’t know what his real intention is. But personally, for me Shiv Sena should not become so emotional in handling the issue. Their action for me is an act of a populist that only tried to win the support of the Hindu people. Besides that, their action also has caused people outside India to have bad perception about Mumbai.

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