Secular malady : Bollywood biggies and secular peacefuls defend the indefensible with time-tested weapon of victimhood

By Our Correspondent

Agartala, Updated: October 12, 2021, 01:49:50 PM   

India's secular malady seems to have taken a turn for the worse with the drug-addicted Bollywood biggies brazenly defending star Shahrukh Khan's spoilt brat Arian Khan (23), caught red-handed with drugs on a cruise. Their time-tested weapon is religious affiliation and alleged victimhood by a partisan state. Arian Khan is in jail custody, banished from the ostentatious life of pleasure and frolicking , waiting to be bailed out by the battery of legal luminaries deployed by father Shahrukh who has made himself invisible and incommunicado. Shahrukh's predicament as a father can be easily realized but what is beyond comprehension is the fulminations and contrived rage of communalists like Mehbooba Mufti , Atiqur Rahaman and the infamous Bollywood gang that Arian is being targeted because of his religious affiliation. Arian had been caught red-handed by officers of the Narcotics Control Board (NCB) from a well-planned and orchestrated raid on a luxury cruiser and considerable quantities of drugs had been recovered from his possession but the howl of protest in chorus continues.

What defies understanding is the status as a superstar achieved by Shahrukh and his behavioural pattern in Indian filmdom in spite of the subtle subversions he cleverly resorts to in his movies . His identity as a minority community member did not stand in the way of his meteoric rise  but when his son is caught in the act of drug abuse the father-son duo’s religious identity is touted as the reason for incarceration and victimization. One is reminded in this context of the infamous example set by former Indian cricket captain Md Azharuddin who had captained the national cricket team in 47 tests and 174 one-day internationals and had emerged as a national icon . But as soon as he was caught in the betting scam with unimpeachable evidence he attributed , possibly at the legal counsel of his costly lawyer , his plight to his identity as a member of minority community. Such blatant hypocrisy and deceit is difficult to come by in most of the countries. Azhar had been banned for life by BCCI in 2000 for his act of perfidy and he did not repeat his foul utterances.

Arian's father is more artful in searching for victimhood, a clever tactic of faithfuls down the annals of history. Shortly after the BJP government led by Modi had come to power Shahrukh had grieved over growing 'intolerance' in India but it was discovered later on that he had been served with notices by Income Tax department and ED for submission of faulty accounts of his income from his IPL team 'Kolkata Knight Riders'. But even earlier Shahrukh had resorted to subtle subversion through false portrayal of characters and events in his film. In his popular movie 'Chak De India' his hero Kabir Khan, played by himself, had been humiliated beyond endurance by the majority (Hindu) crowd  for missing a penalty stroke against Pakistan and finally squared accounts by guiding Indian womens team to championship in world cup hockey competition. The character of Kabir Khan had been drawn from Indian hockey team captain Zafar Iqbal under whose stewardship India had lost the 10th Asiad Final in Delhi in 1982 by 7-1 goals to Pakistan. But neither Zafar Iqbal nor any other player in the Indian hockey team including the great Md Shahid had anything to do that fateful afternoon as the rival Pakistan team was richly talented and brilliant that India would have lost anywhere. The crowd in the field, frustrated by the colossal and humiliating defeat, had  booed and taunted the entire team and not any individual and the matter had ended there. But Shahruq portrayed a Muslim victimhood plot in his film as part of a deliberate design.

Yet again in his film 'Rais' Shahruq had glorified the notorious and slain Gujrati mafia don Latif Khan who in his lifetime had 147 cases registered against him including as many as 95 murders. But the senior Khan did not think twice about his social responsibility and standing as a media star before glorifying such a monstrous character. No wonder his progeny is squaring the account with himself and neither the Indian state nor the NCB sleuths and executors had targeted his errant son. Senior Khan is now on a venture to glorify Tipu Sultan (1751-1799), one of the most bigoted and fanatical Muslim rulers who had outdone predecessors in Hindu genocide and forced conversion. This vain attempt at refurbishing history on a false narrative to project the unreal as real is all set to trigger another unseemly controversy.   But the country and its SLL intellectuals with jaundiced view have a lot to learn and a lot more to unlearn from this shady episode, specially from the antics of the Maharashtra politicians.