Indian film star Shah Rukh Khan talks about what it means to be a Muslim in the world after September 11

Indian film star Shah Rukh Khan talks about what it means to be a Muslim in the world after September 11


Islam came to India in 7-8 centuries, Islam in India is as old as Islam in the world. About 19% of the population profess Islam in India, and these are people whose ancestors converted to Islam. However, time and again, the Muslims of India have to prove that they are the members of the Hindu society too. It is as if our only role is to convince the country that we did not get here by accident, we have always been here, as well as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and followers of other religions.

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan says that it means to be a Muslim in the world after 9/11 and how he became a “random object of interest of political leaders” in the magazine Outlook Turning Points, published by the support of New York Times.

In an article titled “Being Khan”, published by U.S. magazine Outlook Turning Point magazine, in conjunction with the New York Times, Shah Rukh Khan, 47-year-old actor, one the few Indian actors with international recognition, says: “I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India. There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighboring nation rather than my own country - this even though I am an Indian whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave my home and return to what they refer to as my “original homeland”.

Shah Rukh Khan is married to a Hindu - Gauri Khan and has two children - Aryan and Suhana. “He gave his son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-Indian and pan-religious) ones: Aryan and Suhana. The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can't really escape it”.

He became so sick of being mistaken for some crazed terrorist who coincidentally carries the same last name as his that he made a film, subtly titled “My name is Khan” (and I am not a terrorist) to prove a point.

Filmed on a wave lifted the events of September 11, the film “My Name is Khan” focuses on the religious and national issues through the protagonist Rizwan (Shah Rukh Khan), a patient of Asperger’s syndrome, and how a man by the name of Khan causes a wave of suspicion in America.

“Ironically, I was interrogated at the airport for hours about my last name when I was going to present the film in America for the first time”, said Shah Rukh Khan.

Khan told how difficult to have a Muslim name and live India, where the majority of the population are Hindus. And despite the fact that he is the superstar of Bollywood, he is surrounded by crowds of people of different religions, it makes him a stranger in his own country, along with millions of others like him – outcasts.

One of the first articles to the attacks on him were published in the First Post and had a disturbing title “King of sacrifice: Shah Rukh Khan is biting the hand that fed him”. Disturbing, because it somehow corresponds to the notion that Muslims are the pariahs (outcasts) in this country and inadvertently suggests that Muslims should never reveal the soul, regardless of the reality in which we live.

“So, as an adult, Shah Rukh Khan learned not to lose heart as a man. Don't bite the hand that fed you and did what you are now - go complain to foreign magazines”.

Social media erupted insults actor, and many leaders of the right wing, too, have expressed similar.

Shah Rukh Khan may not be a victim in fact he is one of the few privileged people in this country, but there are many other Muslims, who are stigmatized because they are Muslims, thousands of ordinary men and women who have to prove their reliability. Every discussion, every article, every question related to the Muslims in this country, always comes down to this subject. How long it will continue before everyone in this country will realize that the Muslims in India such as its full members?

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