The Times of India Website headline on the very first page is about how Shah Rukh Khan is deeply offended about being interrogated at New York Airport because his surname matches that of many terrorists – "Khan". Recently there was a similar furore about former president Abdul Kalam being frisked by Continental Airlines staff.
I tend to think that not only are these kind of issues entirely unworthy of front page coverage – they are also non – issues to begin with. Its a reflection of deep disorder in our Indian Society : the fact that "social status" or "high income bracket" or a position of power causes a level of entitlement to those who have it to the extent of removing them from the clutches of law . That is why , in India , if one has enough money – you can get away with anything from murder to hit and run accidents.
The guard who decided to interrogate Shah Rukh Khan or the airline staff member who frisked Abdul Kalam – they were just doing their regular jobs . It’s not as if they jailed the people in question. And yes Shah Rukh Khan does have a surname which matches that of many terrorists . So statistically there’s a better probability of him being someone on the watch – list . Yes he is a hero for us Indians and Indian diaspora , but why would an American security guard know or care about that ? He is just trying to do the best possible of keeping his country secure.
In fact in the US not even their own heroes are beyond the clutch of the law and that is what keeps the country ticking the way it does. Of course some of their foreign policy is flawed or at least somewhat debatable , but by and large they’ve been very successful in building a modern and sophisticated democracy .
And we should definitely not be telling other countries what their security guards should or should not do given the state of security in India – rather its non existance.
I can understand uneducated people making gods or demi-gods out of heroes, leaders , actors or sportsmen but I find it somewhat troubling how even reasonably educated people like those who work in the media start making a fuss about things like this. The whole idea of making everybody function under the same set of rules and laws seems to shock us Indians. Maybe this is a new and morphed form of the age old caste system and the attitude it creates : that some people can get away with lots of things which others can’t .