India

Shahrukh's Newark Row

Wanted to get certain things out there about the Shahrukh row:

1. Shahrukh appeared on Newsweek as one of the 50 most powerful people in the world – NOT because he is “powerful” in the US.. but of his power in INDIA! 90% of the people in the US won’t even care about India anyways. That doesn’t make us irrelevant, but just that the perspectives and standpoints are different of different people.

2. Detained for 2 hours. Has any one ever been through the paper check etc.? It does take that much time. You can fault the system but you cannot ascribe intentions to the system.

3. Profiling (religious, racial or otherwise) is a NATURAL instinct of Human Beings. We take tests, we hire people of certain institutions, we suggest people of certain political parties will behave in a certain way…people of certain professions “ought” to be so-and-so (Doctors noble, Army men fearless, etc etc.); people of certain geographies will have certain qualities (German precision, French cuisine, Italian art etc)… and people in such categories have even the pressure to “live upto” a certain categorization.

You may not like it.. but its a fact. Human mind is prone to categorization. It cannot live without creating CONTEXT to any event. That’s how mind THINKS! We are human because we DIFFERENTIATE. If we could TRULY.. not verbal.. not semantic.. not just for effects.. BUT TRULY experience EQUALITY.. we would be GODS. 🙂

Religions are BASED ON PROFILING. Someone is a “Believer” and someone is a “Non-Believer”. One gets something.. other doesn’t on a certain “Day”. Atta came to US in a plane just as Shahrukh did. Both professed to identify with a certain “organized ideology”. While Shahrukh and MAJORITY of those who identify with that “organized ideology” are NOT Atta….

Also read:  Hrithik-Aishwarya Kissing Scene Controversy

… but there is no machine, no mantra, no majic pill.. no way as yet invented by the scientists.. to distinguish an Atta from a Shahrukh!

In matters of National Security, PROFILING IS CRITICAL. If you think I am talking nonsense.. try going to the Mecca for a stroll. Non-Muslims are FORBIDDEN BY LAW to enter Mecca. Why? Because of this:

“O you who believe(in Allâh’s Oneness and His Messenger Muhammad صلي الله عليه و سلم)! Verily, the Mushrikun(polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh, and in the Message of Muhammad صلي الله عليه و سلم) are Najasun (impure). So let them not come near Al-Masjiadal-Harâm (at Makkah) after this year; and if you fear poverty, Allâh will enrich you if He wills, out of His Bounty. Surely, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” — Qur’an, 9:28

Of course, Mecca’s forbidden entry is not as much about “security” as it is about discrimination. But that’s another matter.

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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14 thoughts on “Shahrukh's Newark Row”

  1. Some observations on the comments posted by Desh:

    It was not 2 hours in immigration check. It was 2 hours of detention apart from whatever time it takes to clear customs etc.

    90% if the Americans might not care about India but that does not mean that Indians dont care about themselves. Most of the Indians who have been living in US for too long have forgotten to live with pride and have adjusted to live as second standard citizens. For them, this is normal behaviour which actually its not.

    Visiting Mecca might not be allowed for non-muslims but that does not give US any right to insult people.

  2. Ok, Sandeep – have you travelled to US? And been taken out of line for check up of papers? if you were you would know it could only be a regular paper check in a room where there are other folks as well. Detention is when police takes you to jail. That ALSO happens, if papers are not right.

    In this case, it was check on records, while Shahrukh must have sat in a room full of others like him.

    Apparently, you didn’t read my post properly. We do care about our country and its citizens… but we cannot force others to. They go by a procedure.

    Btw, I was reading today that one person while waiting in his line, saw even Bill Clinton a few months back standing in the immigration line along with his stuff. He is the ex-president of their country!

    Visiting Mecca might not be allowed for non-muslims but that does not give US any right to insult people.

    Going through a regular process is “insult”??? No wonder India is where it is today!! We have NO love for rule of law at all! Jiski lathi usiki bhains!!

  3. Some observations on the comments posted by Desh:

    It was not 2 hours in immigration check. It was 2 hours of detention apart from whatever time it takes to clear customs etc.

    90% if the Americans might not care about India but that does not mean that Indians dont care about themselves. Most of the Indians who have been living in US for too long have forgotten to live with pride and have adjusted to live as second standard citizens. For them, this is normal behaviour which actually its not.

    Visiting Mecca might not be allowed for non-muslims but that does not give US any right to insult people.

  4. Ok, Sandeep – have you travelled to US? And been taken out of line for check up of papers? if you were you would know it could only be a regular paper check in a room where there are other folks as well. Detention is when police takes you to jail. That ALSO happens, if papers are not right.

    In this case, it was check on records, while Shahrukh must have sat in a room full of others like him.

    Apparently, you didn’t read my post properly. We do care about our country and its citizens… but we cannot force others to. They go by a procedure.

    Btw, I was reading today that one person while waiting in his line, saw even Bill Clinton a few months back standing in the immigration line along with his stuff. He is the ex-president of their country!

    Visiting Mecca might not be allowed for non-muslims but that does not give US any right to insult people.

    Going through a regular process is “insult”??? No wonder India is where it is today!! We have NO love for rule of law at all! Jiski lathi usiki bhains!!

  5. I agree with Sandeep. Just because something is a “natural” instinct doesn’t mean it’s morally justifiable. By nature, we are also violent, but we have to curb that instinct in order to live in civil society (if not, you will get a repeat of Weimar Germany, or the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002). Many people in the 19th century believed that blacks were “naturally” inferior and therefore destined to a life of slavery and menial, degrading work. If we continued with that rationale years later, you wouldn’t have Barack Obama as president of the U.S. The Belgians believed that the Tutsi population in Rwanda were “naturally” superior to the Hutu, thus cleaving the society and creating artificial divisions in the name of “science” (for example, they believed that the Tutsis were “naturally” more refined because of their longer, sharper noses). We know how that ended.

    I’ve lived in the U.S. my entire life and have traveled abroad extensively. Although I’ve been checked and profiled since 9/11 many times (I am Indian), I’ve never been detained and questioned for two hours. Most people I know haven’t been kept that long. It’s not about SRK’s celebrity and that he deserves special treatment. Rather, it’s b/c the profiling was done stupidly – they should have checked his country of origin (India – not Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan), or known that he is a public figure in India who is coming to the U.S. for specific reasons. Rather, he was reduced to two things – his physical appearance and his last name.

    SRK’s and Indians’ reactions were justifiable. It wasn’t “whining” – if you continue to take crap from people, they’ll keep feeding it to you. It’s not as if SRK and his people are staging a violent uprising. He said it was insulting and reacted “naturally” and people will move on in a few days. Why does it bother people so much that he reacted that way? Another reason why this whole tamasha is a legitimate story – it reflects the realities of millions of other people who look like SRK, whether they be Indian, Pakistani, Arab, Persian, etc. You can quote the exceptional story about Bill Clinton or whoever being stopped, but that’s the exception, not the rule. It is more common for people who look like us to be stopped. SRK was only detained, but other completely innocent people have been harassed, thrown off airplanes for speaking Tamil, deported for no reason, etc. Those actions are not justifiable in the name of national security.

  6. I agree with Sandeep. Just because something is a “natural” instinct doesn’t mean it’s morally justifiable. By nature, we are also violent, but we have to curb that instinct in order to live in civil society (if not, you will get a repeat of Weimar Germany, or the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002). Many people in the 19th century believed that blacks were “naturally” inferior and therefore destined to a life of slavery and menial, degrading work. If we continued with that rationale years later, you wouldn’t have Barack Obama as president of the U.S. The Belgians believed that the Tutsi population in Rwanda were “naturally” superior to the Hutu, thus cleaving the society and creating artificial divisions in the name of “science” (for example, they believed that the Tutsis were “naturally” more refined because of their longer, sharper noses). We know how that ended.

    I’ve lived in the U.S. my entire life and have traveled abroad extensively. Although I’ve been checked and profiled since 9/11 many times (I am Indian), I’ve never been detained and questioned for two hours. Most people I know haven’t been kept that long. It’s not about SRK’s celebrity and that he deserves special treatment. Rather, it’s b/c the profiling was done stupidly – they should have checked his country of origin (India – not Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan), or known that he is a public figure in India who is coming to the U.S. for specific reasons. Rather, he was reduced to two things – his physical appearance and his last name.

    SRK’s and Indians’ reactions were justifiable. It wasn’t “whining” – if you continue to take crap from people, they’ll keep feeding it to you. It’s not as if SRK and his people are staging a violent uprising. He said it was insulting and reacted “naturally” and people will move on in a few days. Why does it bother people so much that he reacted that way? Another reason why this whole tamasha is a legitimate story – it reflects the realities of millions of other people who look like SRK, whether they be Indian, Pakistani, Arab, Persian, etc. You can quote the exceptional story about Bill Clinton or whoever being stopped, but that’s the exception, not the rule. It is more common for people who look like us to be stopped. SRK was only detained, but other completely innocent people have been harassed, thrown off airplanes for speaking Tamil, deported for no reason, etc. Those actions are not justifiable in the name of national security.

  7. Immigration officials in all Western countries on-average maltreat people from ‘developing’ countries as a routine practice. This is my personal experience in 20 or so years of traveling. So what happened to Mr Khan is not a surprise. Many Indians and Pakistanis have been known to stay back in countries they visit (esp in Europe) so the honest folk from these countries have to live with the reputation that their law-unabiding compatriots have created. Likewise honest muslims will have to live with the reputation that some of their mal-intentioned fellow-muslims have created.

    As for celebrities like Mr Khan, these filmi folks are often seen wearing fashion clothing emblazoned with western icons like the Union Jack, the American Flag, I love-NY etc. Sometimes I wonder if they want to act like ambassadors of the first world in the 3rd world :-). So this experience will probably give these elitist folks some pause and cause for reflection. A knock from their pedestal is not such a bad thing.

  8. Immigration officials in all Western countries on-average maltreat people from ‘developing’ countries as a routine practice. This is my personal experience in 20 or so years of traveling. So what happened to Mr Khan is not a surprise. Many Indians and Pakistanis have been known to stay back in countries they visit (esp in Europe) so the honest folk from these countries have to live with the reputation that their law-unabiding compatriots have created. Likewise honest muslims will have to live with the reputation that some of their mal-intentioned fellow-muslims have created.

    As for celebrities like Mr Khan, these filmi folks are often seen wearing fashion clothing emblazoned with western icons like the Union Jack, the American Flag, I love-NY etc. Sometimes I wonder if they want to act like ambassadors of the first world in the 3rd world :-). So this experience will probably give these elitist folks some pause and cause for reflection. A knock from their pedestal is not such a bad thing.

  9. Agree the media and SRK have been playing up the incident but that does not justify the words in this post. And all this bullshit about India being where it is because we have no love for the rule of law is total crap. India is where it is because of Indians like the author of this blog… always indulging in self pity and suffering from inferiority complex.

    Going by the extremely biased views repeatedly expressed on this blog, I am sure the author’s views would have completely reversed if it was a Modi or Advani or any member of that stupid Sangh Parivar that was detained. When the US denied VISA to Modi, where was your love for the rule of law?

  10. Agree the media and SRK have been playing up the incident but that does not justify the words in this post. And all this bullshit about India being where it is because we have no love for the rule of law is total crap. India is where it is because of Indians like the author of this blog… always indulging in self pity and suffering from inferiority complex.

    Going by the extremely biased views repeatedly expressed on this blog, I am sure the author’s views would have completely reversed if it was a Modi or Advani or any member of that stupid Sangh Parivar that was detained. When the US denied VISA to Modi, where was your love for the rule of law?

  11. Modi was denied visa because of what the campaigning of left winger Indians. It was not because of a law taking its own course. It was a success of a lobby using its might.

    Self pitying? You indeed have fertile imagination.

    There is a system here. Sometimes it does seem to be inefficient and not very good. But its still the one which takes out the biases as much as possible. There is always room for improvement. A lot of commenters have commented here – but I can say no one has travelled within US as much as I would have. I have flown within US almost every week for last 10 years. I was flying weekly during the 9-11 and after it. NOT ONCE was I ever taken out of line for special inspection… NOT ONCE! So, personal experience can vary.

  12. Yes, but denying Modi the VISA without having to justify it to his hysterical Indian followers was well within the US Laws. If the Modi supporters had the right to protest against a decision of the US government over which they have no legitimate say, if they went over board to suggest that US delegates should be disallowed in India or their VISA applications rejected just to take “revenge” for what they did to Modi, I don’t see why SRK and his fans cannot and should not protest.

    SRK probably has a bigger fan following than Modi (both in India as well as in the US) so if it was okay for his right wing fundamentalist supporters to protest and demonstrate against that incident, why is it wrong for SRK’s fans to condemn the actions of the US officials?

    As for your experience, I’m glad you were never stopped BUT this is NOT about YOUR personal experience. You do not have a Khan or Ali or Mohd. in your name, so that is not so surprising anyway. I don’t have that either, so its not about MY personal experiences either. This is about a specific incident which involved SRK – whom YOU might hate just becoz he’s Muslim – but who has lots of fans and supporters in India and around the world. If they feel that the US “system” is flawed and want to criticize it and protest against what happened, what is wrong with that?

    For that matter, if ANYONE is suspected of being a terrorist simply because of their name or religion, it is unjust and unfair and MUST be protested against, irrespective of the “law of the land” or the “system”. Laws and rules are not perfect; neither are they fixed forever. If they are flawed, they MUST be changed and protest is one way of bringing about the desired change.

    “Profiling (religious, racial or otherwise) is a NATURAL instinct of Human Beings”

    Yes, it is a natural instinct but many natural instincts MUST be curbed when a person is acting in an official capacity. You cannot justify racial or religious discrimination and abuse in the name of “natural instinct”.

  13. Modi was denied visa because of what the campaigning of left winger Indians. It was not because of a law taking its own course. It was a success of a lobby using its might.

    Self pitying? You indeed have fertile imagination.

    There is a system here. Sometimes it does seem to be inefficient and not very good. But its still the one which takes out the biases as much as possible. There is always room for improvement. A lot of commenters have commented here – but I can say no one has travelled within US as much as I would have. I have flown within US almost every week for last 10 years. I was flying weekly during the 9-11 and after it. NOT ONCE was I ever taken out of line for special inspection… NOT ONCE! So, personal experience can vary.

  14. Yes, but denying Modi the VISA without having to justify it to his hysterical Indian followers was well within the US Laws. If the Modi supporters had the right to protest against a decision of the US government over which they have no legitimate say, if they went over board to suggest that US delegates should be disallowed in India or their VISA applications rejected just to take “revenge” for what they did to Modi, I don’t see why SRK and his fans cannot and should not protest.

    SRK probably has a bigger fan following than Modi (both in India as well as in the US) so if it was okay for his right wing fundamentalist supporters to protest and demonstrate against that incident, why is it wrong for SRK’s fans to condemn the actions of the US officials?

    As for your experience, I’m glad you were never stopped BUT this is NOT about YOUR personal experience. You do not have a Khan or Ali or Mohd. in your name, so that is not so surprising anyway. I don’t have that either, so its not about MY personal experiences either. This is about a specific incident which involved SRK – whom YOU might hate just becoz he’s Muslim – but who has lots of fans and supporters in India and around the world. If they feel that the US “system” is flawed and want to criticize it and protest against what happened, what is wrong with that?

    For that matter, if ANYONE is suspected of being a terrorist simply because of their name or religion, it is unjust and unfair and MUST be protested against, irrespective of the “law of the land” or the “system”. Laws and rules are not perfect; neither are they fixed forever. If they are flawed, they MUST be changed and protest is one way of bringing about the desired change.

    “Profiling (religious, racial or otherwise) is a NATURAL instinct of Human Beings”

    Yes, it is a natural instinct but many natural instincts MUST be curbed when a person is acting in an official capacity. You cannot justify racial or religious discrimination and abuse in the name of “natural instinct”.

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