Article By Shah Rukh Sparks Controversy
Shah Rukh Khan, affectionately dubbed “King Khan” by fans has been at the center of an irksome exchange between Pakistan and India since he wrote a magazine article about how it felt to be a Muslim living in India.
“Being a Khan” published in Outlook Turning Points examines what it means to be Muslim post 9/11. “Stereotyping and contextualizing is the way of the world … a world in which definition has become central to security,” writes the actor.
Throughout the article, Khan notes and dispels the prejudices attached to his name and heritage, a topic also tackled in his 2010 film My Name is Khan. He concludes “religion is an extremely personal choice, not a public proclamation of who we are.“
Of course, the article sparked the hype and hysteria only an A-lister can inspire. Social media channels lit up. Some praised Khan’s forthright manner while others belittled his attitude as anti-Indian, citing the star was biting the proverbial hand.
Matters came to a head when Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik suggested the actor’s security should be enhanced to protect him from fallout. The remark prompted Indian officials to retort that Malik should focus on the safety of Pakistani minorities.
“Malik would be better served bothering about the internal situation in Pakistan and introspecting about the minorities there,” said Manish Tewari, India’s information and broadcasting minister.
According to the Times of India, Khan was finally forced to step in.
“The article I wrote was actually meant to reiterate that on some occasions my being an Indian Muslim film star is misused by bigots and narrow-minded people who have misplaced religious ideologies for small gains,” Khan read in a prepared statement on Tuesday.
Sadly, it seems Khan’s intended message about how intolerance impedes peace and acceptance got lost in a lot of political tomfoolery.
But for those of us who yearn for something better, who switch channels when those vitriol-spewing pundits appear, Khan’s message rings true: when we condemn and hate—we only end up limiting our only happiness.