An Indian Civilizational Perspective

My Name is Khan and lessons for Pakistan

MNIK.jpg(Ali Chisti is from Karachi and an anti-terrorism expert from Pakistan. He has graciously allowed his article to be posted on Drishtikone)

“Let those who love Pak-lover, SRK watch My Name is Khan”, Thackeray and what happened next day would change India for-ever; heading at almost all newspapers in India were, “MNIK Opens to Full Houses”; “SRK broke all records”. Interesting as I write this pieces millions would have already watched the movie and showed the “Hindu Talibans” like Shiv Sena brigade that, “India loves Pak-lover, SRK and indeed Pakistan and India could be best of friends”.

Flashback some weeks back which caused so much “mirchi” to the orange brigade in India was SRK’s statement just after the IPL controversy that, “I truly believe Pakistan players should have been chosen. They are the champions, they are wonderful but somewhere down the line there is an issue and we can’t deny it. We are known to invite everyone. We should have. If there were any issues, they should have been put on board earlier. Everything can happen respectfully. Pakistan is a great neighbour to have. We are great neighbours, They are good neighbours. Let us love each other. Let me be honest. My family is from Pakistan, my father was born there and his family is also from there” SRK.

And India listened to SRK and for MNIK to go on air and became such a success was a moment to savour, a victory for India. A moment when young India pushed back against old politics and the sowers of division. As a Pakistani I am proud of India and I wonder what would an average Pakistani Muslims reaction if someone like Deepak Pervani (wrong choice?) or Justice Bhagwandas brands, India as good neighbours and defends India? .

And that is why India is so different from Pakistan and vice-versa. India is secular and Pakistan is tolerant or atleast a large part of it is (tolerant). Remember dozens of Hindu temples burnt because of one Babri Mosque in Pakistan?

By refusing to apologize, Shah Rukh triggered a civic protest but this time, Shiv Sena was at the receiving end and its claims to historical analysis made it silly. Media in both Pakistan and India realized that Bollywood had found a real-life hero. Civil society, youth in particular, responded spontaneously. Suddenly the Sena looked mothballed. A friend who is a “born again Muslim” like JJ and Ali Haider and often bashes bollywood from Karachi only yesterday after watching the movie at a local theater mentioned that, “SRK did the biggest tableekh for Islam by making MNIK” which made me smile and my reply was that, “then give credit to the hindu and gay, Karan Johar; a sikh, Kajol and rest of the infidel crew too….” And the guy almost had a heart-attack. That is the typical Pakistani attitude to you for a country whose founding father was a Shia khoja; whose national anthem was written by a hindu and a foreign minister a Ahmedi now officially declared as infidels.

Masood Azher of Jaish-e-Muhammad and Hafiz Saeed of Laskhkar-e-Taiba needs to be shown My Name is Khan too and it’s after effects and how old-style “mai-baap” politics of Udhay Thakray and Hindu Talibans can be defeated without bomb-blasts; hijacking planes and fidai attacks where thousands of innocents are killed.

The whole episode shows how if, we the “commoners” of South Asia are allowed to speak for them ourselves and given some-sort of a political empowerment; we would always give out the right decision but obviously let’s give credit where it’s due: Indians made SRK, India and ofcourse, Pakistanis proud of them now if we the Pakistanis could ever, repay the debt? Stop, Hafiz Saeeds; Masood Azhers and Kasabs for a starter.

In the end I watched the movie and found the message to be more brilliant then the movie itself. And since SRK-Karan wanted to make a film with a message, that message would have been falsified if he abjectly apologize to the Sena which he didn’t. Curiously, the theme of his film bled into real life. The persecution of the film has ended up reinforcing its message. This is no ordinary hero. And My Name Is Khan is no ordinary film. Long after the wary-of-physical-touch Rizwan has finally shaken hands with President Obama, long after the heat and dust of racial and communal hatred has settled down the core of humanism that the film secretes stays with you. Bravo!

Get Drishtikone Updates
in your inbox

Subscribe to Drishtikone updates and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

6 Comments
  1. Richa Rihani says

    Huzoor Ali Chisti jee, if there were more people who wrote like you, my day would begin with effortless breathing. Aisi hawaaon mein kabhi kabhi saans lena mushkil ho jaata hai.

    As I was discussing with Desh on chat the other day….I said, Desh, hum yeh kya kar rahe hain…aisa nahin lagta, padosi ki deewar par bandook rakh kar, unhe hi chai pila rahe hain….

    A confusing sentiment really, for most Indians, when they emotionally absorb the Indo-Pak aman ki pukaar on T.V and in movies.

    I grew up a Punjabi in Delhi, regaled with quiet but valiant anecdotes of my father’s and his huddled family’s escape from Pakistan atop of a train and the struggle to eke out and sustain a living and family out of nothing. Well, I also grew up in fascination of the stray broadcasts of Pakistani plays from channels which would innocuously be relayed on Indian cable network. And the kinship, bonhomie and warmth I felt while watching those is unsurpassed. The language ( I hail from the border of Multan and Sind), the garb, the food, the sentiment, the tradition…my God, everything was so overpowering! There was never any feeling of undistinguished life. We were just the same. We ARE all the same.

    I should think, the people of Pakistan and the people of India, largely are a sweet, affectionate, hospitable lot, both giving due respect to their respective religions and no more.

    I do not understand politics, and have not much knowledge on terrorism, the root causes, and the jihadis, apart from what I can skim through in the newspaper every now and then, but I do know that I aspire to visit that region where my ancestors once hailed from, understand my roots and come to terms with my modernization and my life in the present day context.

    I sure hope that all people who plan to kill, or have killed the innocent, at least once a day, think of the tiny speck that we are in this massive universe. The significance of religion, region, power and hatred does not exist beyond the blue skies. That we all came into being by certain nurturing and caring. That it takes a mother nine months and more severity to bear and raise a human life, includes the terrorists themselves. I wish that all mothers should explain to their children how precious life is to get, and what a treasure it is to have life and love around us, and if their isn’t love, there will always be hope.

    I haven’t watched MNIK, but I am sure it will be a piece of work as it is laborious sketch of both KJo and SRK’s intentions as storytellers and entertainers, with a message and with a true hero.

  2. Richa Rihani says

    Huzoor Ali Chisti jee, if there were more people who wrote like you, my day would begin with effortless breathing. Aisi hawaaon mein kabhi kabhi saans lena mushkil ho jaata hai.

    As I was discussing with Desh on chat the other day….I said, Desh, hum yeh kya kar rahe hain…aisa nahin lagta, padosi ki deewar par bandook rakh kar, unhe hi chai pila rahe hain….

    A confusing sentiment really, for most Indians, when they emotionally absorb the Indo-Pak aman ki pukaar on T.V and in movies.

    I grew up a Punjabi in Delhi, regaled with quiet but valiant anecdotes of my father’s and his huddled family’s escape from Pakistan atop of a train and the struggle to eke out and sustain a living and family out of nothing. Well, I also grew up in fascination of the stray broadcasts of Pakistani plays from channels which would innocuously be relayed on Indian cable network. And the kinship, bonhomie and warmth I felt while watching those is unsurpassed. The language ( I hail from the border of Multan and Sind), the garb, the food, the sentiment, the tradition…my God, everything was so overpowering! There was never any feeling of undistinguished life. We were just the same. We ARE all the same.

    I should think, the people of Pakistan and the people of India, largely are a sweet, affectionate, hospitable lot, both giving due respect to their respective religions and no more.

    I do not understand politics, and have not much knowledge on terrorism, the root causes, and the jihadis, apart from what I can skim through in the newspaper every now and then, but I do know that I aspire to visit that region where my ancestors once hailed from, understand my roots and come to terms with my modernization and my life in the present day context.

    I sure hope that all people who plan to kill, or have killed the innocent, at least once a day, think of the tiny speck that we are in this massive universe. The significance of religion, region, power and hatred does not exist beyond the blue skies. That we all came into being by certain nurturing and caring. That it takes a mother nine months and more severity to bear and raise a human life, includes the terrorists themselves. I wish that all mothers should explain to their children how precious life is to get, and what a treasure it is to have life and love around us, and if their isn’t love, there will always be hope.

    I haven’t watched MNIK, but I am sure it will be a piece of work as it is laborious sketch of both KJo and SRK’s intentions as storytellers and entertainers, with a message and with a true hero.

  3. Ali K.Chishti says

    Thanks for appreciating piece. My motivation comes from people like you, Desh and other commoners. It’s interesting you mention migration because that has been something which has intrigued me since I was young as my family migrated from Fatehpur Sikri, UP, Meerut, UP and Noorpur, Bihar, India to Pakistan and that I have many relatives who stayed behind (Naseer Uddin Shah, actor and his elder brother Gen.Zameer Uddin Shah ex-deputy chief of Indian Staff are close family). I had personally been to India twice and I found Indians to be more closer to us then anyone else and probably that’s the biggest problem between our countries that we are too similar.
    I for one have a nag of actually not blaming others for the sins and actually finding problems with-in and introspect and that’s what I think most of the people do. India, might have made problems for Pakistan but to me it’s an imaginary enemy created by right-wingers ; Jinnah Sahib left a house in Bombay for a reason; speaking of Jinnah – the greatest bluff was played on him by Congress or certain elements within Congress to create Pakistan – a country Jinnah never wanted (refer to the Cabinet Mission Plan in 1946). Anyhow, that’s history; debatable ; as someone who had an eye; I think both countries need to come closer and shed this filth – we jointly need to coup folks like Zaid Hamid and Udhay Thakray and in this effort is our success.

  4. Ali K.Chishti says

    Thanks for appreciating piece. My motivation comes from people like you, Desh and other commoners. It’s interesting you mention migration because that has been something which has intrigued me since I was young as my family migrated from Fatehpur Sikri, UP, Meerut, UP and Noorpur, Bihar, India to Pakistan and that I have many relatives who stayed behind (Naseer Uddin Shah, actor and his elder brother Gen.Zameer Uddin Shah ex-deputy chief of Indian Staff are close family). I had personally been to India twice and I found Indians to be more closer to us then anyone else and probably that’s the biggest problem between our countries that we are too similar.
    I for one have a nag of actually not blaming others for the sins and actually finding problems with-in and introspect and that’s what I think most of the people do. India, might have made problems for Pakistan but to me it’s an imaginary enemy created by right-wingers ; Jinnah Sahib left a house in Bombay for a reason; speaking of Jinnah – the greatest bluff was played on him by Congress or certain elements within Congress to create Pakistan – a country Jinnah never wanted (refer to the Cabinet Mission Plan in 1946). Anyhow, that’s history; debatable ; as someone who had an eye; I think both countries need to come closer and shed this filth – we jointly need to coup folks like Zaid Hamid and Udhay Thakray and in this effort is our success.

  5. morris says

    Ali Christi
    I wonder whether what you are saying represent thinking of majority of Pakistnis. I doubt it. But it is nice know that there are people with your kind of thinking.

    Yes indeed Indians and Pakistanis are very similar. But that is only on on the surface. Deep down inside they are very much different. And that is because of their religions. I wonder what would happen when one of the states in India reaches majority muslim population? And that is bound to happen. We can say nothing will change. But can we say with certainty that politically nothing will chage? I am not that sure. And the reason is simple. Muslim people are bound by that nation of Islam concept which has no geographicla boundary. Their desire to bring their religion into politics. That is not very complicated. Kuran is both a religious book as well as political manifesto.

    Hopefully a person like you will find a way out of this dilema. Perhaps some one from within Islam will provide a leadership and separate religion from politics. If not, it will be a problem through out the world. And seems like that is the direction we are heading. Don’t you think so?

  6. morris says

    Ali Christi
    I wonder whether what you are saying represent thinking of majority of Pakistnis. I doubt it. But it is nice know that there are people with your kind of thinking.

    Yes indeed Indians and Pakistanis are very similar. But that is only on on the surface. Deep down inside they are very much different. And that is because of their religions. I wonder what would happen when one of the states in India reaches majority muslim population? And that is bound to happen. We can say nothing will change. But can we say with certainty that politically nothing will chage? I am not that sure. And the reason is simple. Muslim people are bound by that nation of Islam concept which has no geographicla boundary. Their desire to bring their religion into politics. That is not very complicated. Kuran is both a religious book as well as political manifesto.

    Hopefully a person like you will find a way out of this dilema. Perhaps some one from within Islam will provide a leadership and separate religion from politics. If not, it will be a problem through out the world. And seems like that is the direction we are heading. Don’t you think so?

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get Drishtikone Updates
in your inbox

Subscribe to Drishtikone updates and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.