Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Who needs an election manifesto?

If you've been following the news in India's financial capital Mumbai, the big story is that of the principal Opposition Political Party(I almost shudder to call it that), the Shiv Sena, is busy opposing the release of a movie starring Shah Rukh Khan who is India's biggest film star.
So what is so objectionable about a movie to raise the ire of the good people at Shiv Sena?
Nothing at all, frankly I would'nt be suprsied to see Shiv Sainiks lining up to watch the movie when the dust settles.
The provocation, if it can be called that , is a rather silly if painful narrative.
Sporting ties between India and Pakistan had been snapped by the barbaric incidents of 26/11.
In India where cricket and politics intersect more than one would like, we have the IPL (Indian Premier League) which is essentially the NFL with no salary caps.
Now recently the IPL held an 'auction' to select players. The Pakistani's who are world champs at this format of cricket, were up for auction, but did not attract a single bid.
There was much heartburn about this on both sides of the border.
Shah Rukh Khan, who is a owner of one of the teams, did'nt put in a bid himself, but did express sentiments along the lines of the Pakistani players would be welcomed and so on.
All perfectly legit. This has raised the hackles of the Shiv Sena, who have gone to the extent of calling Shah Rukh a desh drohi(traitor) not to mention engaging in violence to stall the release of his movie.
So far Shah Rukh has stood his ground and refused to 'apologise'.
Now that the background is done I cna move onto my take on this.
The Shive Sena has been in the opposition for the last 3 election cycles.
Its not like they have been kept out by great governance(The ruling congress has been disastorous ).
"How shit do you have to be for me to beat you?" , seems to be the Congress theme to the Sena.
Is it a political party's job to enforce what people say in a free society?
It sounds an awful lot like Hitler's SA.
Are people supposed to vote for you, because you tear down movie posters?
How does that help anyone? Call the electorate what you want, but in the end they seem to have made the best of 2 bad options.
The second aspect of all this that I hate is the standards Sena is applying to Shah Rukh.
Why does he have to prove his loyalty to the Nation by denouncing Pakistanis?
Does Bal Thakeray have to prove his loyalty to the nation?
The partition happened. India has a 120million+ muslims(those numbers might be off).
I am sure there are a few bad apples, but do all of them have to keep jumpoing through your hoops to prove how Indian they are?
Its not just unfair , its plain stupid.
Alienating such a big chunk of the Indian population will probably do a lot more harm to India, than Shah Rukh Khan saying something nice about Pakistani's.
Disclosure: I don't really like Shah Rukh Khan, and I have never watched a complete movie featuring him.

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