Monday, August 17, 2009

Should we take the Shahrukh incident lying down?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

First it was former President APJ Abdul Kalam begin asked to remove his shoes at the IGI Airport by Continental Airlines and now it is Shahrukh Khan being detained at the Newark International Airport. A lot seems to be happening is United States in the name of security. The question is not concerning a Shahrukh or a Kalam but housands of Indians who fly to US everyday. We only hear about such ordeals when a SRK or a Kalam is involved.

American fans sitting in India will drub this incident as a mere security procedure of the US government but the fact remains there is difference between security and harassment. The Government has said that it will take up the issue with the US Authorities. But didn't it do that same after the Kalam incident had come to light just about three weeks back. What was the result of the Indian government's so called 'taking up the issue'? Had we not brushed that incident under the carpet the Shahrukh incident might not have happened.

All of us are aware of the pseudo threat scenario that S has created around itself to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We surely do not have any reasons to be bothered about its internal security but we should deny being victims of it. The argument is not to call for a boycott America or take up any unrealistic measure. What the Indian government should do is communicate that we would not tolerate such incidents any longer.

The problem with the American psychology is they have always unofficially respected powers who have threatened them. Be it the erstwhile USSR or China, they have always had a milder tone while dealing with such countries and its citizens. US only noticed us after we went about with our Nuclear Tests and when India emerged as a huge market and world's back office. There is a saying 'Power respects power' and when it comes to countries like US they never hear pleas.

The Indian government should not just raise the issue with the US but take a firm stand no the matter. The Brazilians follow a tit-for-tat policy whereby all the international travellers are meted out the same treatment as Brazilian gets in their respective countries. When was the last time a former US President asked to remove is shoes by Air India staff in New York or a Hollywood actress was detained and questioned in New Delhi because her name sounded similar to that of a terrorists.

The West has tagged us as a Third World Nation because we are a would-be-superpower which doesn't stand us for its citizens. The English team doesn't feel safe to play in India but our teams played during the worst of IRA bombings in England. We cannot detain US citizens even though we face a bigger threat from terrorism. Well its now up to us if we want to take this issue seriously or brush it under the carpet and wait for another celebrity to face this. Any ways who cares for the thousands of people who are harassed in between.


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