Shahrukh Khan has recently talked about the problems he faced in India due to his faith. The article, ‘Being a Khan’ has been published in a magazine Outlook, a subsidiary of the New York Times. It has provided a golden opportunity to those who would never do any soul searching, yet are quick to point fingers at others. One of the most wanted terrorists, Hafiz Saeed, was quick to extend a helping hand to Shahrukh Khan by asking him to relocate to Pakistan. I am sure he did not consider what Pakistan could offer him, and what he was getting in India. Our one of the most circulated English daily The News headline reads, ‘Shahrukh Khan exposes Indian secularism’. Then there are social media jihadists who have started posting this kind of images showing Shahrukh Khan in big trouble and Jinnah telling us “that is why he created Pakistan”.
Let us have a closer look at what Khan has said. Then we would be looking at some facts about Khan’s life in India and about life of minorities in Pakistan.
Khan has only one complaint that he has been sometimes asked by political leaders in rallies to leave India and go back to his ‘homeland’ which, of course, means Pakistan. Some people in India suspect that he harbors secret allegiance to Pakistan. The rest of the things are related to the problems he faced in western countries after 9/11 due to his sir name ‘Khan’.
What if a few people – may be a few hundred or a few thousand at the maximum – have doubted his loyalty to India, or asked him to leave India. He, as well as India bashers on this side of the border, need not forget that there are millions and millions of Indians who worship him. He is the most expensive Bollywood star. Do I need to hold some sort of survey to prove my point? No, there is no need to conduct a country-wide survey; just go and see a cinema house where his film is being screened; go and see how tickets are sold if Shahrukh is to appear in any stage program. He is loved; he is respected; and he is envied. Such fame, such popularity does create jealousies.
My friends on Social Media need to remember that Shahrukh Khan has not been declared ‘Kafir’; he has not be declared “Wajib ul Qatal’. He has not been taken off a bus and asked to prove his faith. He is still living , earning an enviable amount of money, and raising his children in the same country – India.
Now let us imagine what Pakistan would have offered him. Hmmm….Okay, I think we should not indulge in imagination – something that cannot be tested or trusted. Let us see what we have done to the great artists Pakistan has produced. Gulzar Alam – one of the most popular folk singers of Pakhtoonkhwa – was beaten by some Islamists. His crime was that he sang songs of love and peace. He cannot walk without crutches now. He had to abandon singing and drive taxi in Karachi for quite some time. Haroon Bacha – another prominent and respected singer of Pakhtoonkhwa – was lucky enough to have moved to another secular country in the west where he continued singing songs for/of his beloved homeland. Mastana – a gem of an artist – was beaten … No, not by some Islamist vigilante, but by a policeman. He died heart broken. Recently I heard Sabiha Khanum – a top notch heroin of Lollywood – is selling samosas in an Indian restaurant in California. She is now 78 years old but has to work to earn her living. I hope Hafiz Saeed would be kind enough to bring Sabiha Khanum – a Muslim filmstar – back to the land of the pure and extend her support, so that she can live the rest of her life without worrying for her livelihood.
Now let us have a look at what we offer our minorities. I would not go into details, but here are a few news reports published in past 5 years. These reports tell us that we need to do a lot more to protect our minorities than India needs to do to protect her minorities:A church was destroyed in Mardan by a Muslim mob in September 2012.
and now here are stories about Shias who are considered Muslims by the constitution of Pakistan.
These stories are just a tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, the problem with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is much deeper and much more alarming. We, as a nation, need to do a lot of soul searching, which must be followed by course correction. We have a gigantic task before us. We need to make Pakistan a prosperous, and safe place where people of all cast, creeds and color enjoy equal rights. Only then Mr. Jinnah would be able to smile as in the picture above.