By the time you read this, I am sure you already know that Shahrukh Khan, India's superstar and iconic actor, was detained at the Liberty International Airport of Newark in the USA. The star was in the US for being part of a function celebrating India's 63rd Independence Day.
As billions of fans and supporters of SRK all over the world are condemning this event, I too, join all of them in doing so, but only partly. There is no doubt that there wasn't a need for the US officials to do a secondary check, and detain him for 2 hours of questioning, after the primary check was done to know the identity of a person of South Asian origin, more so of Muslims.
After 9/11, US has made their homeland security top priority, and have full reasons to do so. If SRK was stopped during the primary check which is done for every foreigner entering US, it is totally justified. As I said before, it is the secondary check, which was totally uncalled for. Having said so, the US and any other country for that matter, has full right to check and do preliminary screening of every foreigner entering into their territory. Security can't and should not be compromised in any way, whatsoever. Therefore, I am totally against the people who say that just because he was SRK, he should have not been stopped at all.
For the Americans, he is just another visitor to their country, just as Anjelina Jolie might be for the comman man in India. Though, with the pathetic state of security and without the real will to improve that, Anjeline Jolie surely, would have been given a go ahead without any checking in India, because she is Anjelina, and because she is American. And if the US is checking each passengers like it has been doing, we surely know why there has not been any terrorist attack in the US after 9/11. Atleast they take their job seriously, without any compromise on the life of Americans. A lesson surely, which India should learn from.
Now coming to the main issues, because of which I am writing this.
- Media Reaction to SRK Detention
- Government Reaction to SRK Detention; and
- SRK Detention Episode Vs. Dr. Abdul Kalam Frisking Episode
The Media Reaction to SRK Detention -On a day when India is celebrating its 63rd Independence Day (15th August 2009), the Indian media, rather than giving the due importance to Dr. Manmohan Singh's speech, and other news related to Independence Day, showed the SRK Detention episode all day long. Is SRK more important than our Independence Day? Is he more important than our PM? He surely is a powerful and one of the most important personalities in India at present, but not more than our PM or the Independence Day Celebrations. Atleast the news of him being questioned at a US airport for he being a Muslim, surely is not something as important as our Independence Day.
My blood boiled when I swithced on the television sets in the morning to hear what our PM had to say on the eve of our 63rd Independence Day, but the only thing which was shown was the SRK episode, with 'BREAKING NEWS' all over, and unwanted repetition of the same thing again and again by all the news channels.
It was not just the TV news channels, but also the print media (online version), which gave more importance and undue coverage to the SRK detention episode. Have a look at the screen shot which I have attached to this post of the Times Of India website, which has SRK all over, and a small link towards the end, about what our PM had to say regarding the Kashmir issue in his ID speech. Nonsensical coverage for a no-issue.
A major reason of why a large number of our educated 'unaware' youth in India would know the name of SRK's wife but not the name of our President, is thanks to our so-called empowered media, and the way they define & portray importance. And then, the same media say the young generation of India is least interested in the way the country is governed. All this for the sake of TRP's.
The Government's Reaction to SRK Detention - This amazes me the most!!!..more than the way the media reacted. Within an hour of the SRK detention episode started on the news channels, we had the government and its officials already taking some actions, and making their voices heard. It started from the external affairs ministry putting a case for SRK to the US regarding the detention. Good they did that. Now read this.. Information & Broadcasting Minister, AMBIKA SONI, taking full advantage of the Media which is under her ministry to make a statement as rogue and as shitty like this.....
"I am of the opinion that the way we are frisked, for example I too was frisked, we should also do the same to them".
First of all, she should get her facts correct. In the US, all politicians except for the President, Ex-Presidents & members of the cabinet principals in the US government are not exempt from a security check. Even their ex-vice presidents are checked and screened at their own airports. Point in case, as even the Times of India reports,
"Former vice-president Al Gore has experienced more than once. In one recent incident, an airline employee who helped Gore circumvent security screening at the Nashville airport was pulled up and the former Veep was brought back to go through security, which he did willingly and without making a fuss"
Someone should tell her, that no one is stopping India from checking & screening ex-presidents or ex-vice presidents from the US when they are travelling here. It is only India, who just does not do that. And how could India do such a thing, when there are self-centric and egoistic shameful politicians like AMBIKA SONI in the cabinet saying ' the way we are frisked,for example even I was, we should also do the same'. If you read between the lines and analyse her statement a bit, you would know her statement is not in support of SRK, but is made only to up her own ego & importance. Using SRK's episode was just the medium to come out with her own example.
Finally, the most important bit.
SRK Detention Episode Vs. Dr. Abdul Kalam Frisking Episode - Yes, the media did come out strongly against the frisking of our much loved ex-president Dr. Abdul Kalam which was done by Continental Airlines at our own New Delhi International Airport. And Thank God they did that!
But, what did our governement do then ? - They just ordered a 'probe' into it, that too after 2 months of the unfortunate episode taking place, even though our airport officials knew about it much before it came into public eye. Ordering just a probe into the frisking of your own former president, who under protocol is exempted from any checking at any Indian Airport, and taking up a strong case for SRK to the US government. Is it not totally insane? You take up a case for a filmstar for his questionning at a foreign airport with that country's government, but you only order a probe and give statements such as 'we will ask the concerned people to apologize' for a person who was the SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES when in position, is simply unapologetic, and a serious and stupid mistake by the Indian government. Only shows disrespect for the most loved and most important president of India.
Continental Airlines apologized but also justified what they did by saying it was 'normal security procedure, and that the airline has no special rule for VIP's or VVIP's". So they mean, that they have no respect for the law of the land as well? Atleast, by their statement that is what we can conclude. Therefore, in such a case, the license to operate in and from India for Continental Airlines should be cancelled without much discussion. But the government did nothing. (Dr. Kalam, was made to remove his shoes, and went through a full body check!!)
I wonder, what would have the Americans did, or the Russians, or the Chinese would have done, if such special treatment was given to their own ex-presidents in their own country by a foreign airline.
I end this with a lot of anger and emotions hurt, and a lot of sadness in the way, our country is governed & ruled. In hope for enlightenment of minds. Inshaalah.
As always,comments welcome. (This was originally posted on my blog FULL START. )