On Shahrukh Khan's detention by usa Immigration Officials
Shahrukh Bhai, for the them, you will always be a 'Paki'
Sons of Malcolm
14 April 2010
In case anyone reading shares the ignorance of the rather dim immigration officials in the airports of the usa as to who Shahrukh Khan is, he is one of the most famous film stars in the world hailing from the Indian film industry and is seen as a living national treasure to people living in India and beyond.
Somewhat of a diplomatic and political storm followed yesterday when SRK (as he is known) was detained for the third time when flying into the usa to speak to the prestigious Yale University.
After his detention, SRK opened up his speech at Yale University with the following: "I was detained at the airport as always for an hour and a half, which was nice. Whenever I start feeling too arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom".
SRK is a very sweet guy and a charmer, and while he didn't want to project how angry or/and upset he was about what happened to him (for the third time), judging from his above words it's obvious that he wasn't too happy at all. His comments on being humbled by this harassment in terms of knocking him down from his superstar status perhaps shows that SRK understands that the treatment he received was a bit of a sobering experience, bringing him back to a bit of reality from his prestigious life of ridiculous vacuity and fame. And perhaps SRK was pointing a bit of fun at the 'immigration guys' by calling them 'dumb' when he said they take the 'star' our of 'stardom'?
SRK tried to spin his next comments in the most humorous way possible, but it was a direct self-reflection on his part that if he were a white person it would have been unlikely that he would have been stopped and harassed: "They [the immigration officials] always ask me how tall I am, and I always lie and say 5 feet 10 inches. Next time I am going to get more adventurous. [If they ask me] 'What colour are you,' I am going to say "white"."
A commentary on white supremacy and racism probably was not what most of his hysterical fans thought they would be hearing from SRK. Seeing that SRK made a film 'My Name is Khan' which in part and in its own way addresses similar issues about anti-Muslim racism, perhaps his fans should not be that surprised.
Anyone who is or looks like a Muslim knows that western immigration, police, and other arms of western states systematically and institutionally harass people, often a lot worse than SRK's treatment. This is not to mention the much longer and worse treatment of darker skinned or black people by the same institutions. The detention of SRK led Hilary Clinton to make an apology to SRK and the Indian government, but the Indian government has not accepted the apology and is very unhappy with the situation.
The issue of SRK's harassment has raised issues of what is the nature of the relationship between the west, specifically the usa, and India? Is it a relationship of mutual respect, or where one party, the usa, feels they can push around the subservient party no matter if the person in question is the biggest film star in the world, much bigger than top Hollywood stars.
This harassment of SRK is just a microcosm of the fact that the white western world will cannot bring itself to shed its colonial modus operandi which continues to inform its attitude and relationship with the rest of the non-white world. It is discussions around these kinds of issues that have been raging across India since yesterday on the TV and throughout the Indian media, with some very colourful and interesting debates resulting. In one debate an Indian young man living in the usa gets a total dress down from other studio guests with them accusing him of basically being a total sell-out India for not standing up in defence of this insult to the Indian nation and people.
Indians and people from South Asia have always been treated in a strange manner by the west; they are depicted as a harmless and rather funny people on the one hand but then given some pseudo-respect because they are used in complex divide and rule games by the west to put down other people of the Global South. One example of this is that the west will be more than happy to soft peddle a semblance or a false sense of respect for India as long as they feel they can use India in containing and pressuring China. Once India and China resolve their historical issues and set upon a path of strategic unity for the sake of peace and development in Asia, then many respected analysts argue, and I would agree with them, that the usa will ratchet up its regime-change tactics and war plans on India.
The detention of SRK is not unique to just Khan, as many other very senior diplomatic and political Indian figures have been harassed by immigration officials in the recent past, including a former prime minister and defence minister. Indians might want to accept that we will never be fully respected by the west until a time that the west stops acting like an international overlord, the west comprises a very small minority of the world and its high time that we non-western people develop much more confidence in ourselves in reclaiming our world.
The BRICS strategic alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is exactly such an alliance that is gradually burying western exploitation and oppression of the rest of the world. When India diplomatically and vocally opposes the nato war on Libya; when India refuses to be cajoled by unilateral sanctions from the usa on Iran and defies them stating it will trade oil with Iran using gold to pay for it; when the BRICS at their recent summit decide to trade with each other in their own currencies and moving away from the dollar, these are very defiant moves by India and you can be assured that the west are putting into further action their tactics of bribery, bullying with war against India being a constant in all these moves.
While SRK's treatment rightly inspires anger and resentment amongst Indians and decent people the world over, it shouldn't shock us, as this is exactly the nature of the west and the usa, that we at the end of the day little 'Pakis' to be pushed around for the benefit western interests and arrogance. It's the same dynamic for all South Asian people in the west; some in our community are doing extremely well, but many of us know that we aren't really ever going to understood, accepted or respected in the west by many white people, especially those who have power. Many younger people in our community who have been brought up in the west may not feel this way as they are sometimes unaware to the extent of which they are living the relative benefits of their generations of sacrifice and struggle, and due to constant white-wash brainwashing media and western popular culture, they mistakenly think they are in a post-racial era.
It is the strategy of the BRICS that is the path to true dignity and respect for the peoples of India, and for the people from Indian diaspora in the west, as the strength of our community back home or in the diaspora helps the other. Both parties need to help each other more.
BRICS shows that we can stand up for ourselves successfully against western bullying and harassment, ally with others in the world in a similar situation to us and make concrete plans to uplift our peoples which is at the same time a process which means sinking the western empire.
For those poorer Indians and other immigrants who have landed on western shores for generations now, they could show SRK that their treatment is a lot worse, with brothers getting killed for just being brown-skinned as evidenced by tragic developments in Australia in recent years. Perhaps SRK would like to meet our poor young South Asian people who are trying to make a life in the west, and in so doing, these youth of ours are sharing in that wealth that the west, especially Britain, stole from us for over a century without compensation or reparations ever since.