Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SRK Incident - A national malice of VIP Culture ?

The demigod status accorded to Bollywood stars, Cricketers and popular politicians seems to reflect a mindset shaped by centuries of colonization of India. We firmly believe in 'Hero Worship' and 'VIP Status'. Many value their own status and standing by their perceived closeness to these so called VIPs and Stars.

No wonder then that these VIPs expect to be treated like Gods and see no reason to follow the rules or abide by the laws of this nation. Unfortunately, to their dismay, most other countries follow the simple philosophy of - "laws are same for all".

So when SRK got the treatment of a commoner in the hands of US Immigration officials, all his friends and followers were up in arms.
One of our overenthusiastic minister even proposed a tit-for-tat strategy for visiting Americans. Our national dailies and TRP hungry News Channels ran it as the headline story for days altogether.

Lets look at the facts -
Thousands of Indians visit US every day and millions live in the US. Given the US paranoia post 9/11, many would have had similar experiences, but neither the Indian government nor the media bothered to make it an issue. But all the hell broke loose when the "Global Icon" (we may have redefine Global)was queried at Newark Airport for over an hour.

May be it is the US paranoia and strict vigil, with no VIP exceptions, which has spared US any terror attacks post 9/11.

In our VIP infested nation, which provides no-security-frisking privileges not only to the VIPs but to even their relatives, terrorists strike at will. We only pray and hope, as we can not rely on the abilities of our government and security agencies to tackle the terror.

I completely sympathize with SRK when he says that he was irritated and angry for being made to wait but the accusation of racial & religious profiling and resulting media hoopla was completely unwarranted, given the fact that even senior US lawmakers like Edward Kennedy and former Vice President Al Gore have had the similar experiences. It goes to prove that US does not believe in VIP culture, when it comes to national security. So why such hue & cry?

This shows our immaturity as a nation which can not get over our fixation with VIPs and STARs.

SRK would have done a great service to himself and the nation by reporting this incident to the media and also telling them as to how gracefully he cooperated with the US authorities who were doing their job of securing their nation. This could have sent a positive message and might have done some good to change the attitudes of our VIPs and Stars. However, by crying foul, he not only has made himself look small but also has lost an opportunity to become a Real Hero ....

I hope that our VIPs learn some lessons from our beloved former President Dr. Kalam, who despite being frisked in his own country by an US Airline staff, as per US Aviation Authority rules which are certainly against Indian Laws, just laughed away and let the matter be handled by concerned authorities.

Well SRK is no APJ...