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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014
Peace formula: Keep calm and ban everything
Ashish shakya, Hindustan Times
February 03, 2013
First Published: 01:34 IST(3/2/2013)
Last Updated: 01:35 IST(3/2/2013)

Once again, India was witness to a colossal whirlwind of stupidity when it had to stop sparring with Pakistan over Kashmir for a while and divert its attention to something far more important — the well-being of Shah Rukh Khan.

The farce began after an essay written by Khan gained circulation, and left people shocked by the fact that Bollywood actors can actually string together sentences that weren’t typd lyk dis gng 2 gym lolgodbleess mwah.

In the essay, Khan talked about how he often became the target of political machinations because of factors such as status and religion. You know which religion I’m talking about. Yes, the one that people tip-toe around a lot. Scientology.

Khan’s essay caught the attention of Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, who took time off from his busy schedule of denying 26/11 to ask the Indian government to provide SRK with security.

It’s wonderful when two of the world’s most-watched nuclear rivals set aside piddling matters like poverty, corruption and domestic strife to talk about a guy who peddles fairness creams. And because that wasn’t enough, Hafiz Saeed, 26/11 mastermind and Ugly-In-Chief of the JuD, said that Shah Rukh was free to come to Pakistan if he felt unsafe in India. Now that’s just daft. The only Indian who can be safe in Pakistan is Dawood.

Then, of course, every idiot with an internet connection had to weigh in, and this is what the comments section under every article looked like:

ProudIndian: (8 minutes ago) SRGAYYYYY! Dey r all tarorist! Go bck 2 homeland u asterisk-loving asterisk-asteriscker!

SweetAnjaliTinaSimran4u: (3 minutes ago) SRK da bessttt! <3 u alwayz! leave gori, marry me!

JessicaMcBusty138179: (1 min-ute ago) I was very moved by your article. I have shared a few thoughts on the same on my blog. Do have a look. I’m waiting for you.

If that doesn’t make you break down at the state of the gene pool, just consider the week Kamal Haasan has had. His six-trillion-dollar magnum opus, Vishwaroopam, was banned for hurting the sentiments of people who hadn’t seen it. (The film, set in New York, is classic Kamal fare. It’s about Vishwanath aka Wiz, played by Kamal Haasan, who battles a jehadi, played by Rahul Bose, also played by Kamal Haasan. Haasan also plays his wife, the cops, the FBI, the bomb and the Empire State Building. In fact, this isn’t a newspaper — this is Kamal Haasan playing a newspaper. If you don’t believe me, rub the bottom of the page gently. Go on. I dare you.)

The contention was that Vishwaroopam showed members from a certain religion (Shintoism) in bad light. I’m always intrigued by the logic that goes into these protests:

Leader: This film/book/TV show/comic/web clip/text or shampoo bottle portrays our community as a bunch of violent fanatics. What should we do to counter this?

Follower: We could just ignore it and work on real issues...

Leader: WHAT ARE YOU, SOME SORT OF NAMBY-PAMBY!?! LET’S SHOW THEM WE’RE NOT NUTS BY ACTING NUTS!

Last night, the protest was withdrawn after the government and protestors sat down with Haasan and forced him to sweetly asked him to delete certain ‘offensive’ scenes. It’s nice to see our secular government ensuring that, no matter what group you belong to, you will be personally met and mollycoddled by our leaders as long as your cause is crazy enough.

But fickle causes like justice for a gangrape victim — remember her? — or anti-sexual-harassment reforms are matters that merit the attention of only inanimate objects, like water cannons, or Sushilkumar Shinde.

Even though my name suggests otherwise, I am part of a minority. I am part of a group that bases its opinions on something other than the honour of Magic People In The Sky, and then broadcasts those opinions into a world filled with petty agendas. I’m part of a group that will one day share jail space with robbers and rapists, because someone somewhere didn’t like the sound of our thoughts.

So if this column offends you, I urge you to try and understand us, and join hands in espousing the one cause that we all believe in, regardless of faith, ie, Hafiz Saeed should really take a bath.

Ashish Shakya is a writer and a stand-up comic. He co-writes the TV satire, The Week That Wasn’t. Sometimes he’s even sober while doing so


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