Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Salman Khan meets Narendra Modi, sets social media ablaze: Of rights, wrongs and expectations...

The moment reports about Bollywood star Salman Khan's meeting with Narendra Modi, started appearing on Tuesday afternoon, social networking sites were flooded with comments.

It was inferred that he had endorsed the latter for the post of PM. 
Khan didn't say directly about who should be the Prime Minister. 

But said that God would decide the best man and then also pointed at Modi, saying that "there is a good man standing amongst us". 

The middle-aged star also had lunch with Modi. The Gujarat chief minister also tweeted about his meeting with Salman. 

Many Muslims seemed upset with Khan, who had recently gone to Saifai despite criticism that while riot victims were denied relief, the Chief Minister was having fun with Bollywood actors. 

While Alia Bhatt, had apologised and her father Mahesh Bhatt said that it was the failure of his upbringing that she went to participate in the event. Khan had defended the decision then also. There were sarcastic comments from different sides and that how film stars can go anywhere to dance, if they are offered money. 

Now many of his fans are hurt. There are angry posts and even cartoons mocking Khan. Even in the post-partition era, the most idealistic stars who were staunch communists, didn't lead the kind of life which they propagated. 

Among stars, Salman Khan has a very strong appeal among Muslim youths. He is the person whose posters with skullcap on his head, are seen in Muslim localities. In coming days, there could be protests on the streets in different cities. 

The effigies may also be burnt. Perhaps, the fans, have a right, to be upset. But isn't it irrational to expect that you star will always be politically correct and always behave in accordance with your affiliations and expectations.

There were posts on Facebook that how could Salman Khan meet Modi? After 1992-93 Mumbai riots, who had stopped meeting Congress leaders or the then Chief Minister Sudhakar Rao Naik, though more people were killed in those riots than Gujarat 2002.

The billionaire stars act in politically correct manner just because they tend to avoid controversies. It is not about taking stand or not taking stand. Salman Khan's act may anger his Muslim fans, but it can also boost his image among his hardliner right-wing fans. 

The criticism is that if celebrities, especially, the Muslims, keep meeting Modi, then it will give credibility to the latter. May be, such things slowly and steadily have an impact. The fear among certain sections is that the anti-Modi stance will get diluted. 

Many 'secular Hindus' were also upset with his 'endorsement of Modi'. But why? If he is a Muslim he is supposed to be anti-Modi? There is no logic in it. Then, all Hindus should be pro-Modi. But the biggest opponents of Modi are Hindus, aren't they? 

Either we talk in terms of activism, legal fraternity, political class or police officers, majority of those opposing him are not Muslims. Similarly, to expect that Muslims are monolithic to such an extent that everybody is expected to act in the same manner is absurd.

Why should we expect that Salman Khan or any other celebrity will take a stand. There is no surprise. With general elections a few months from now, we will see such occurrences and 'controversies' on a regular basis.

1. Report on IBN about Salman Khan-Narendra Modi meet
2. Sudhakarrao Naik and Congress' role in Mumbai riots