Open Letter to Shah Rukh Khan

Your name is a household phenomenon in Indian and even beyond her borders.
Your fame has put you in the Newsweek “most powerful people list”recently. However, as you may
recall from your recent experience in New Jersey Airport, real life is a little different – it does not always follow the path predicted by a scriptwriter or director.

Of late, we have been reading about your opinions and statements on matters
beyond the celluloid world. Nothing is wrong in it. You live in a free,
democratic country and are entirely entitled to your opinion. But as a
common man, also from the same soil, I think I have the right too to raise a
few points that may not conform to your views of the real world.

I hope you will read it out.

When recently, the Pakistani players were not selected for the IPL, it was
almost predictable that NDTV, the award-winning, mouthpiece of our Indian
liberal media select you for your views and you
certified that “It (Pakistan) is a great neighbour to have. We (India and Pakistan)
are great neighbours. They are good neighbours.”

I have a few words to say about those statements.

One may recall your effort to clarify the Pakistani team captain, Shoaib
Malik”s apology to the Muslims, living all over the world, for failing to
win the final T20 match against India, likely much to the embarrassment of a
lot of Indian Muslims, as expressed by Shamin Bano, mother of the man of the
match, Irfan Pathan. What was more embarrassing was your effort to try to
defend Shoaib in a subsequent
interview,
“I don”t think he meant to segregate Muslims and Christians and Hindus and
say this was a match between Islam and Hinduism. I don”t think that…”

I doubt whether Shoaib talked to you personally about his thought process at
that time. You did not really have to respond for somebody else but perhaps
you could not resist the temptation to show your brotherhood and solidarity.

This reminds us again of Dr Ambedkar”s observation that, “The brotherhood of
Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims
for Muslims only.

Partition of India was what Pakistan wanted and got. It was painful to
millions but many more millions in present India have been spared. Since
then Pakistan has offered us only hatred. It has imposed on us three major
wars, the Kargil insurgency, the Kashmir conflict, the series of serial
blasts, the routine violation of border ceasefires, attacks on the
Parliament House and the recent Mumbai 26/11attack.

*Did you have these in mind when you talked about them being good
neighbours?*

In another interview you had tried to explain the concept of Islamic Jihad.
“I think one needs to understand the meaning of jihad .. I’ve understood the
essence that jihad is not about killing other people; jihad is about killing
the badness in you.”

May be you understand jihad better and deeper than the superficial meaning
of what we, the rest of the mortal mankind, overburdened and terrorized by
the inter-religious, intra-religious and sectarian violence that is plaguing
the world in the name of Islam today, do. For we, the less educated, cannot
really make a difference between Jihad and Qatl, between Jihad by heart /
soul, Jihad by pen and Jihad by sword or between lesser and greater
jihad.

We wonder, whatever its meaning may be, does it minimize the significance of
the mindless killings that we see today in the name of Islam, across
borders, all over the world? Does it change the nature of the killers
whether you call them holy warriors, mujahidins, fedayeens or plane suicide
bombers?

We agree with you that terrorism has no religion.
But hopefully you will also agree with the people who perceive that most
terrorist in the world today happen to believe in the scriptures of Islam.
They actually believe that they themselves are the true Islamists.

The so called “moderate” Islamist, perhaps does not want to contradict them
or may be does not dare to speak out against them. You have probably not
forgotten the FIR against you for listing Prophet Mohammed as one of the
most unimpressive personalities in history, the threats from which you had to skillfully
wriggle out.

Others who are not so fortunate, famous or flexible are suffering lifetime,
as Tasleema Nasreen or Salman Rushdie would testify. For blasphemy in Islam
is punishable with death, even for a believer.

Do I have to spell out the fate if it is a non-believer?

It is due to the inherent intolerance and exclusivity of Islam itself
despite your effort to convince us that there is an Islam from Allah and
very unfortunately, there is an Islam from the Mullahs

Here is an historical insight from writer Irfan Hussain, *”The Muslim heroes
who figure larger than life in our history books committed some dreadful
crimes..all have blood-stained hands that the passage of years has not
cleansed. Indeed, the presence of Muslim historians on their various
campaigns has ensured that the memory of their deeds will live long after
they were buried…Seen through Hindu eyes, the Muslim invasion of their
homeland was an unmitigated disaster.”*

*So why should the “non-believers” care to accept them? Why should the
majority of Indians like to welcome back such disasters again?*

Since partition, India has come a long way in progress and development to
her current status and is projected as an economic superpower in coming
decades while Pakistan is perceived as a failed state on the verge of
disintegration.
*What does India have to gain by offering neighbourly friendship to such a
hostile and failed state?
*
India has never been an invader and is not in conflict of any other Muslim
country. None of the wars and conflicts with Pakistan was instigated by
India. In the current geopolitical situation, one can argue for the Muslim
world’s grudge and anger against Israel or the west and USA but one fail to
fathom why India should also be at the receiving end and why Indians should
be the second largest group of people to die from terrorists attacks
. Indian
majorities do not have anything to do with the Danish cartoon or the death
of Saddam Hussain; so why should they suffer from Islamic havoc on those
occasions.

In almost all occasions of terrorism, questions are raised about possible
role of Pakistan, its terror bases and its terrorist organizations, as
either directly or indirectly involved. Be it state sponsored (as recently
admitted by President Zardari) or by non-state actors, Pakistan or Pakistani born are prime suspect in
terrorist activities all over the world. ISI has been accused of playing a
role in major terrorist attacks including 9/11 in the USA, terrorism in
Kashmir, Mumbai Train Bombings, London Bombings, Indian Parliament Attack,
Varanasi bombings, Hyderabad bombings, Mumbai terror attacks or the attack
on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

*Do you believe these are marks of a good neighbour? Then what is the reason
for your preaching of love towards Pakistan?
*
Perhaps, as you said, because it is your ancestor”s homeland, you have a
soft feeling for Pakistan and cannot see the difference. On the eve of
accepting an honorary doctorate from a British university, we heard
you say, “I really believe we are the same ..when you come away from India or
Pakistan you realize there is no Indian or Pakistani – we’re all together.
We are – culturally, as human beings, as friends”

Which Pakistanis are you referring to?

The Pakistanis belonging to the land, admonished as the epicenter of global
terrorism, not just by India or USA but even by its friendly allies like Iran or China.

Or is it the self-created, Talibanic Pakistan, who still imposes Jijya on
the non believers or finds pleasure in blowing up girl”s schools..

Are you talking about its President class like the current Mr. Zardari,
vowed to wage a 1,000-year war with India or the late Mrs. Bhutto who
started Jihad in Kashmiri that lead to the
exodus of Hindu minorities from the Muslim majority state
of India, as refugees in their own country?

Are you referring to Pakistanis loyal to the ISI and the military who train
their soldiers with only one objective, i.e. to fight Hindu India?

If your mind is concerned about the faceless mass of Pakistanis, does it
also include the dwindling minorities?

Or are you just concerned about the celebrities and the social elites?

It is true SRK that we belong to the same human species but it is hard to
stretch the similarities much further between “us” and “them”.

We from the same original land of Bharat but we want to keep her intact,
they want to break it into thousand pieces.

Our ancestors happen to be the same. We acknowledge and adore the heritage
but they abhor and decimate whoever is available in an attempt to wipe out
the link.

We are culturally the same. We have created the culture over centuries what
they dream to destroy in moments.

Ours is a 10,000 year old civilization, theirs is a 62 years old country
undoing whole human civilization.

We extend our hands repeatedly to promote friendship and amity; they give us
ISI, Lashkar, Harkat, Kashmir, Kargil and 26/11 in exchange.

Do you think that the Indians nationals who died in all the above wars, the
Indian soldiers who lost their lives in cross-border ceasefire violations or
the Indian civilians who are killed by the ISI trained Islamic terrorists
and their affiliates, in all those serial blasts, all over the country,
willfully sacrificed their lives as a friendly neighbourhood gesture?

*Can you face the families of the victims of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or
the martyrs of the Kargil war and try to explain to them that “They are good
neighbours. Let us love each other.”

Can you explain why the two gunmen at Cama hospital, during the Mumbai
carnage, asked the man who gave them water, what his religion was, and shot
him dead when he said he was a Hindu?*

*If you cannot, then perhaps you understand why the majority of India does
not consider Pakistan as a good neighbour to have.
*
Perhaps you believe that the peaceful religious co-existence that you
created in your home (and we appreciate that) can be extended to the large
world outside. As you rightly said, we Indians trust and do accept everybody
but what you did fail to mention was that it is the Indic tradition,
essentially coming out of its pre-Islamic Hindu ethos.

If you think otherwise, show us a single Islamic country where the
non-believers enjoy the same equality as the believers. Since partition, the
Hindus left over in Pakistan and Bangladesh has suffered terribly. Strictly
Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia, do not allow any other religions to
exist. Hindus working in the Gulf countries are not allowed to practice
their religion in public. Saudi Arabia insists that India sends only a
Muslim ambassador. Hindu Muslim unity by and large has generally been a
matter of Hindus trying to please or accommodate Muslims. One cannot forget
when Vajpayee was extending his hand for peace Musharraf was planning the
Kargil insurgency.

Let us remind you, your own statement “I am a Muslim in a country called
India .We’ve never been made to feel this is a Hindu country.”

*Can you find me a Hindu in Pakistan who can reciprocate that
sentiment?
*

Some years ago, another Mr. Khan, first name Feroze, from your fraternity
was banned from entering Pakistan for saying, “India is secular unlike
Pakistan”.

That is the basic difference of the land of “Hindu” India from the Islamic
“pure land” of Pakistan.

*
*Please do not lump the people of India and Pakistan together. We Indians
are proud to preserve our separate identity..

And please do not insult the land that gave you your life, name and fame, by
claiming that her worst enemy, who wants to break her into 1000 pieces, is a
great neighbour.*

Otherwise it would be sad if somebody accuses you of putting your religion
ahead of your country.

Please give it a thought.

Regards,

Arindam Bandyopadhyay.

9 Comments

  1. shankara said,

    February 14, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I could not have said it better. Very very good. Alas the dumb arse will not read this and even if he did he would still be the same. Its a shame all Hindus dont think like you.

    I am reproducing this on my blog.

  2. Amol said,

    February 15, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Great explanation and great use of words. I agree to every letter of this blog.

  3. jitendra said,

    February 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    friend hats off.

  4. ravinderbhan said,

    February 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Dear Mr. Khan : My name is Bhan (not Khan) and I am not a terrorist either;nor have I harmed (let alone kill) anyone for 5000 years of my existance. Why then was I hounded out of my home along with 200,000 of my kind 20 years back while the nation stood silent including Barkha Dutt, NDTV, Secular Muslims of India? And why is nation silent even today?

    @the author .. The above is the feeling of Kashmiri Pandits living as refugees in their own country for last 20years, in the secular India.

    But let me hasten to add – your statement “Hindus working in the Gulf countries are not allowed to practice their religion in public” is factually incorrect. I am one of them. In countries like UAE & Oman we have hindu temples where people of every Indian faith Hindus, Sihks, Sindhis worship their own Gods. In my humble opinion, Islam is not what Indian Muslims and Pakistan army, think it is; It is what the Arabs know it is. There is no Arab country which supports mindless killing and all the countries here are so peaceful (including Saudi Arabia) despite the fact that over 30 nationalities live here.

    Our argument is with the so called secular Hindus and Muslims of India, not with Islam as a religion.

    Regards

    Ravinder Bhan

    • pseudosecularism said,

      February 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      Dear Mr.Bhan,
      Our bone of contention is with the so-called secularists of India, whom we term as pseudo secularists. Cuz if they were indeed secular, they wouldn’t have put our country at such a vulnerable position, just for the votes from a section of the society.
      We want to bring to the awareness of common man, what these pseudo secularists(with full support from the mainstream media) have been doing in the name of secularism. Our country men (and women) are too innocent to see through their facade. We wish to educate them and urge them to stand against this and also bring to light, the injustice that is being meted out to a large faction of the people. Pls help us in spreading the message.
      thanks !

      • Ravinder said,

        February 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm

        Dear Friend

        First thing – I am Ravinder, not Bhan, to you:)

        I totally agree with your comments and opinion on the pseudo secularists. I , along with 200,000 of my kind, am also a victim of their hypocrisy.

        The only point I am making is that we have no need (or case) to drag the Islamic World into this. You may be aware that the Islamic world has never supported the pseudo secularists in India. They don’t give a damn when Indian pseudo secularists make a Muslim a president or some big position – nor have they even once expressed solidarity with the so called freedom struggle of Kashmir.

        Is it not strange that Barkha Dutt, Sharmila Tagore, Shah Rukh Khan express that solidarity and talk of cultural, sports, trade and other bull shit as a reason for India to talk with Pakistan while as the Arabs do not do so? So, why do we have to be on their wrong side – when they are at least neutral, if not on same side as ours? Strategically it would help us to praise them, but the least we can do is keep them out of it.

        Hope you agree!

        Regards

        Ravinder

  5. TheKashmir said,

    February 16, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Good reading !!!

  6. Vidyasagar said,

    February 17, 2010 at 8:32 am

    The thing am asking is why is that the the UNBIASED media all after SRK to know what he think about the various incidents, my arguments lead me to the possible reasons,
    1. Only because he is the most popular Muslim in India.
    2. They think he might be able to analyse the scenario better.
    If 1 were true then we get a good picture of who thinks about he being a Muslim more than any body else and directly contradict their claim of being secular and not give importance to ones religious affiliation, if 2 were true then I pity them.

  7. Kamal said,

    February 17, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Excellent work Mr Bandyopadhyay,

    The ancient Chinese sage Sun Zi said, “Know your enemy and you won”t be defeated”. Do we know our enemy? If we don”t, then we are doomed.
    Terrorism is not an ideology, it is a tool; but the terrorists kill for an ideology. They call that ideology Islam.
    The entire world, both Muslims and non-Muslims claim that the terrorists have hijacked “the religion of peace” and Islam does not condone violence.
    Who is right? Do the terrorists understand Islam better, or do those who decry them? The answer to this question is the key to our victory, and failure to find that key will result in our loss and death will be upon us. The key is in the Quran and the history of Islam.
    Those of us, who know Islam, know that the understanding of the terrorists of Islam is correct. They are doing nothing that their prophet did not do and did not encourage his followers to do. Murder, rape, assassination, beheading, massacre and sacrilege of the dead “to delight the hearts of the believers” were all practiced by Muhammad, were taught by him and were observed by Muslims throughout their history.


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