My Name is Khan

Southasia - - Briefing -

Renowned In­dian film star Shahrukh Khan re­cently came un­der fire from rad­i­cal In­dian fac­tions over an ar­ti­cle he penned for an In­dian mag­a­zine. In the ar­ti­cle, Khan dis­cussed the per­ils of liv­ing as a Mus­lim in In­dia and the con­stant op­po­si­tion and ha­rass­ment he faced from re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties within the coun­try. The ac­tor re­vealed that in a post-9/11 world, many politi­cians had bla­tantly asked him to re­turn to his na­tive home­land: Pak­istan. Fur­ther­more, Khan ex­posed that politi­cians of­ten stamp him as a sym­bol of ev­ery­thing that is wrong and un­pa­tri­otic about Mus­lims in In­dia.

Fol­low­ing the ar­ti­cle’s publi­ca­tion, an­gry pro­tes­tors and ex­trem­ist groups held ral­lies and de­manded that Shahrukh Khan leave In­dia. He en­joys un­prece­dented pop­u­lar­ity in In­dia and around the world and has faced the crit­i­cism of hav­ing loy­alty to Pak­istan rather than his na­tive coun­try. More­over, he is the first In­dian ac­tor of Mus­lim ori­gin to face such crit­i­cism; a devel­op­ment that could se­ri­ously tar­nish his im­age and pop­u­lar­ity in Bol­ly­wood.

The sit­u­a­tion was fur­ther ag­gra­vated when Pak­istan’s In­te­rior Min­is­ter, Rehman Ma­lik, pub­licly sug­gested to of­fi­cials in New Delhi to pro­vide the ac­tor with en­hanced se­cu­rity. In re­sponse, the In­dian Home Sec­re­tary, RK Singh as- sured the Pak­istan side that In­dia was quite ca­pa­ble of tak­ing care of the se­cu­rity of its own peo­ple.

In the wake of this con­tro­versy, Shahrukh Khan held a press con­fer­ence to ad­dress the ac­cu­sa­tion. Claim­ing that he wrote the ar­ti­cle to re­it­er­ate his pa­tri­o­tism, Khan ar­gued that some ex­trem­ist fac­tions within In­dian had dis­torted facts be­cause of his Mus­lim iden­tity. He was of the view that many were re­act­ing to his ar­ti­cle with­out read­ing it and said that he doesn’t un­der­stand the ba­sis of the con­tro­versy.

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