A letter to my heartthrob
Dear Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, or SRK as I have begun to call you pyar se,
I watched Karan Thapar interview you on his infamous show Devil’s Advocate. That man has way too much gall, doesn’t he? I have always admired your chutzpah and ability to beguile the masses. So when you bumbled inarticulately through Thapar’s interview, I winced. Please don’t consider me an elitist, foreign-film watching snob, or worse, a non-movie watcher. I am in fact a movie buff. I am also a Bollywood buff. And this year after OSO and Chak De, all my grouses with your acting and star power have disappeared. I shamed my retired and aging father as I hooted at your rockin bod during Dard-e-Disco.
However, a statement you made caught my attention. Thapar asked if you feel a responsibility towards fellow Muslims and felt for them as they were severely repressed in India. Shockingly, you said:
“Muslims are not discriminated against in India.”
“This country has been very very fair to Muslims.”
I am trying very hard to justify you and this statement to those anti-SRK bigots out there, knowing the facts at hand*:
– More than 35% of Muslims live below the poverty line
– Less than 60% of Muslims are literate
– Of those, about 60% of girls go to school.
– 10% of rural Muslims have running water
– Muslims hold 5-10% government jobs
*Govt Report- Sachar Committee 2006, National Census 2001
What frame of reference you ask? Trailing Hindus by 10-70% depending on which stat you are looking at. This doesn’t take into account the Godhra carnage (2000 Muslims killed – thrice the number of Hindus), the Babri Masjid riots, the Meerut riots…we can go on.
Then when Thapar asked you if you felt the need for a Muslim party you said something that brought me back to earth.
“As far as I am concerned, as a normal Indian, we don’t.”
You see, you don’t live in the normal world of Muslims in India. The Sachar report shows police oppression on Muslims, Muslims living in constant fear of alienation and subjugation, Muslims are constantly on the watch for communal politics. You are clearly not one of them.
You don’t have to empathise with them. You certainly don’t have to be “patronizing” as you so clearly said. You find it in yourself to be defensive about terrorism but obviously take no offence to the subjugation of your sect. Sir SRK, if you cannot speak up for India’s largest minority, please don’t do it a disservice by glossing over its ailments.
In fact you are right. I thought – how great it would be for Islam for the man who rests on every Indian’s heart to represent them. But your words show me that under representation is far better than being misrepresented.
Your true fan (of the Star SRK),