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PJ Kurien: Latest addition to India’s list of shameful ministers

15 Feb

Indian women cartoon by Manoj KureelLadies and gentlemen please put your hands together and welcome yet another character of Indian politics who is about to add more shame to our largest democracy of the world, and this time it’s none other than the speaker of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien who is accused of raping a minor Girl in Kerala. The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Indian parliament and has special powers to make laws in respect of any matter in the national interest. PJ Kurien is deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha and takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house. It’s really sad and shocking for the people of India that a person like Kurien who holds such an important position in the Indian parliament is involved in such a horrifying case. So what is this case and how is Kuiren involved in this?

It started way back on January 16, 1996 when a 9th standard girl at Little Flower Convent School in Munnarwa, Kerala was abducted by a bus conductor. After the abduction, the victim was transferred to two others, one of whom a woman and the other a lawyer, victim was presented to the high and mighty in the state’s socio-political spectrum and raped by several persons, the girl was kept in illegal custody in various cities of Kerala and was sexually harassed for one month before she was set free on February 26, 1996. She was given a small amount of money and threatened for dire consequences if she told anyone about what had happened.  The case is known as the Suryanelli rape case, Suryanelli is a village in the backward district of Idukki in Kerala.

On March 28, 1996 the girl’s father submitted a petition to then chief minister AK Antony with a submission by the victim that she had identified from a photo in the Mathrubhumi (Malayalam language newspaper) that one of the assailants was former Union Minister PJ Kurien, who was called Baaji in the testimony. No evidence was found against Kurien and it was opined that Kurien could not have visited the girl at Kumily rest house during the time mentioned by her. Worst part was that Kurien was never interrogated by police in spite of victims’ complaint. However, the victim’s father filed a private complaint in the court of the first class magistrate at Peerumedu, with Kurien as a prime accused. Two witnesses confirmed that they had seen Kurian at the Kumily house during the days as alleged by the victim. In May 1999, the Peerumade first class judicial magistrate court had issued a direction to file a charge sheet against Kurian on the basis of a private complaint filed by the victim, but using influence at the Centre, Kurian managed to get an injunction from the Supreme Court against this indictment. In 1999, under public pressure, the government set up the State’s first-ever Special Court to try a case of sexual assault. A serious inquiry conducted by a team led by Inspector-General of Police Sibi Mathew bringing the culprits to book. On September 6, 2000, the Special Court sentenced 35 persons to rigorous imprisonment for varying terms. Kerala High Court refused to include Kurien as a defendant on April 4, 2007 for the lack of evidence. The worst part was that High Court even declared that the victim was a willing partner. Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition filed by Kerala Government challenging the High Court’s refusal to charge P J Kurien.

PJ KurienOn Jan 31, 2013, the Supreme Court set aside a Kerala High Court verdict acquitting 35 men accused of rape. The Supreme Court also expressed shock over the findings of the high court that the victim was a willing partner. According to the apex court, the high court did not look at the evidence properly and directed that the case be re-judged again within six month.  An interesting turn came to the Suryanelli case on February 11, 2013 when Dharmarajan, the convict who is absconding after obtaining bail, told a television channel that Sibi Mathews, who headed the special investigation team, had pressured him not to mention about Kurien’s alleged involvement in the case. Dharmarjan, who was charged with taking the girl to several places for 40 days between January and February in 1996 and sentenced to five years by the High Court, said that Kurien was spared the identification parade conducted as part of investigations.  He told Mathrubhumi News from an undisclosed place in Karnataka “I took Kurien in my Ambassador car to the Kumily Guest house, Why should I lie on that, I am ready to swear by my deceased father”

Suryanelli case is yet another example of how our Indian politicians exploit the laws of the land to their personal benefits, the funny part is that after such shameful allegations these people still dare to be in politics and become part of the parliamentary system which defines new laws for the country. How can a person like Kurien with such an allegation are even allowed to enter our parliament?

Should PJ Kurien resign immediately?

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MS Dhoni’s perfume 7: Does India need another perfume?

7 Feb

MS Dhoni and his wife Sakshi launching perfume 7 in DubaiMS Dhoni unarguably is the most popular Indian cricketer of the current times and also one of the richest sportsperson around the globe. Cricket is the only reason behind Dhoni’s popularity and bank balance, probably it’s is the best time for him to cash in his popularity and take his bank balances to new heights. The sad part is that Dhoni has launched a perfume line and followed the footsteps of other global sportspersons like Roger Federer and David Beckham, being a different kind of cricket captain who thinks out of the box, one would have expected him to follow his heart and launched something which would have really helped India or Indian sports men in some way. Why a perfume? Why not some high quality sports gear at a reasonable price for the kids of India?

It’s sad to see a sport like Cricket which is physically far less demanding compared to other sports has gained so much popularity in India. The popularity of Cricket has supressed other sports of our country, the money invested in sports is mainly diverted towards Cricket, and as a result we don’t have better facilities to encourage other sports. The big question the Indian leaders and sports policy makers should understand, is cricket really creating name for India around the globe? Sports like Tennis, Athletics and Soccer are the ones which would give India and Indian sports person a better name and respect around the globe. The results of the biasness with Cricket is quite evident, everyone knows how low we are ranked in other sports. An Indian sportsperson winning a Wimbledon will create lot more respect for India than some fat unfit guy hitting a triple century against Pakistan.

We all know the Indian government is doing nothing for sports other than cricket in our country, so it becomes a moral duty of these big cricketers with deep pockets to uplift other sports which are lagging behind. We don’t want any other perfume; there are already tonnes of perfumes out in the market. Our people want some Nike like Indian shoes which are much cheaper and can be helpful for the aspiring athletes or other sportsperson. We want some big guys to pump in big prize money into the sports which are lagging behind so many of us can be encouraged for options other than cricket.

Our Indian celebrities should understand that they are because of the people of India and it’s their duty to return favours to the country by doing sensible things in return. A Country where 80% of people barely earn $1 a day doesn’t require a cosmetic item like perfume. Hope MS Dhoni understands that and launches something which is targeted towards the betterment of India and not just his bank balance.

Will you buy Dhoni's perfume 7?

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Bollywood Marriages: Made in heaven or made in Bollywood?

4 Feb

Do you ever wonder why the FM radios in the country don’t ever wish the Bollywood stars on their marriage anniversaries, while they make a hell lot of noise on their birthdays? Of course the smart Radio stations very well know the volatile nature of the celebrity marriages.  It’s kind of funny how Bollywood portrays the image of the heroes and heroines in the movies, fell in love with someone and stay with him/her happily ever after. In reality these Bollywood actors change their spouses at their will and are ready to commit their life with someone who is married or divorced without any second thoughts. In India the marriages are surely made in heaven and the divorce saga is something which has really not touched the common man of our country, like in some other western countries. Bollywood movies can be given some credit for binding the couples of the country for long, but if we look into the real married life of these Bollywood actors it says a different story. One thing which is sure, be it Bollywood or Hollywood, for people with deep pockets, changing spouses is really not a big deal.

Let’ have a look at some of the Bollywood’s marriages:

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor
After thirteen years of marriage and two children with actress Amrita Singh, Saif Ali Khan married Kareena Kapoor on 16th October 2012.

Saif's first marriage with Amrita Singh

Saif’s first marriage with Amrita Singh

Saif Ali Khan's second marriage with Kareena Kapoor

Saif’s second marriage with Kareena Kapoor

 
Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra
Shilpa Shetty married Raj Kundra on 22nd November 2009, Raj Kundra’s first spouse was Kavita with whom he has a daughter. In 2004 Raj Kundra was ranked by SUCCESS magazine as the 198th richest British Asian.

Shilpa Shetty with Raj Kundra

Shilpa Shetty with Raj Kundra

 
Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathi
Lara Dutta married Mahesh Bhupathi on 16 February 2011. Bhupathi was earlier married to model Shvetha Jaishankar, but they divorced after being married for seven years.

Lara Dutta with Mahesh Bhupathi

Lara Dutta with Mahesh Bhupathi

 
Sanjay Dutt and Manyata
Sanjay Dutt married Manyata in 2008, before that he was married to Rhea Pillai and Richa Sharma with whom he has a daughter.

Sanjay Dutt's first marriage with Richa Sharma

Sanjay Dutt’s first marriage with Richa Sharma

Sanjay Dutt's second marriage with Rhea Pillai

Sanjay Dutt’s second marriage with Rhea Pillai

Sanjay Dutt's third marriage with Manyata

Sanjay Dutt’s third marriage with Manyata

 
Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao
Aamir Khan married Kiran Rao on 28th December 2005. Khan was first married to Reena Dutta with whom he has two children.

Aamir Khan with Reena Dutta

Aamir Khan with Reena Dutta

Aamir Khan with Kiran Rao

Aamir Khan with Kiran Rao

 
Smita Patil and Raj Babbar
Raj Babbar left his wife Nadira to marry film actress Smita Patil. Smita died of post-partum complications two weeks after giving birth to their son Prateik Babbar. After the death of Smita Patil, Raj Babbar patched up with Nadira with whom he has two kids Arya Babbar and Juhi Babbar. Juhi Babbar is married to Anup Soni, the famous anchor of Indian TV series Crime Patrol. Anup Soni has two daughters from his first marriage.

Raj Babbar with Nadira

Raj Babbar with Nadira

Raj Babbar with Smita Patil

Raj Babbar with Smita Patil

 
Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar
Javed Akhtar was married to Honey Irani before he married Shabana. Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar are Javed’s children with Honey Irani.

Shabana Azmi with Javed Akhtar

Shabana Azmi with Javed Akhtar

 
Sarika and Kamal Hassan
Kamal Haasan was married to Vani Ganapathy for ten years before his marriage with Sarika. Haasan divorced Sarika in 2004 and is now living with former Tamil actress Gouthami Tadimalla.

Sarika and Kamal Hassan

Sarika and Kamal Hassan

Kamal Haasan with Gouthami

Kamal Haasan with Gouthami

 
Sridevi and Boney Kapoor
Boney Kapoor divorced his first wife Mona, with whom he had two children, Arjun and Anshula to marry Sridevi.

Sridevi and Boney Kapoor

Sridevi and Boney Kapoor

 
Karisma Kapoor andSanjay Kapur
Karisma Kapoor married a divorcee Sanjay Kapur, an industrialist, CEO of Sixt India in 2003.

Karisma Kapoor and Sanjay Kapur

Karisma Kapoor and Sanjay Kapur

 
Raveena Tandon and Anil Thadani
Raveena Tandon married a film distributor Anil Thadani on 22nd February 2004 , who was married to Natasha Sippy.

Raveena Tandon with Anil Thadani

Raveena Tandon with Anil Thadani

 
Mahima Chaudhary and Bobby Mukherjee
Mahima Chaudhary married Bobby Mukherjee, an architect, in 2006. Bobby was previously married to Aparna Gandhi and has two kids from his first marriage.

Mahima Chaudhary with Bobby Mukherjee

Mahima Chaudhary with Bobby Mukherjee

 
Vinod Khanna and Kavita
In 1990 Vinod Khanna married Kavita, prior to this Khanna was married to Geetanjali with whom he has two sons Akshaye Khanna and Rahul Khanna.

Vinod Khanna  with Kavita

Vinod Khanna with Kavita

 
Hema Malini and Dharmendra
Dharmendra converted to Islam to marry Hema Malini. Dharmendra was earlier married to Prakash Kaur and has four children with her.

Hema Malini and Dharmendra

Hema Malini and Dharmendra

Shah Rukh Khan’s article in Outlook: King Khan’s punches to Pakistan’s reaction

30 Jan

Shah Rukh Khan's article in OutlookThe article ‘Being a Khan’ by Bollywood superstart Shah Rukh Khan appeared in the magazine Outlook Turining Points(The Global Agenda 2013). In the article King Khan wrote his heart out by explainig the controversies and incidents he unessarily get dragged into just because of his last name being ‘Khan’. The article doesne’t seem to have anything to trigger any communal controversy but unfortunately has been picked up by Pakistani leaders for all the wrong reasons. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik reacted to the article by saying “I will request the government of India to please provide him security”. Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed whom India considers as one of its most wanted terrorists, went a step further and asked Shah Rukh Khan to move to Pakistan if he does not feel safe in India. While these replies from across the border were not necessary, Shah Rukh Khan finally came out in public and replied back strongly to the Pakistani leader’s comments and rightly justified his position as a true and patriotic Indian.

Here is the article by Shah Rukh as published in the Outlook Magzine:

Being a Khan

I am an actor. Time does not frame my days with as much conviction as images do. Images rule my life. Moments and memories imprint themselves on my being in the form of the snapshots that I weave into my expression. The essence of my art is the ability to create images that resonate with the emotional imagery of those watching them.

I am a Khan. The name itself conjures multiple images in my mind too: a strapping man riding a horse, his reckless hair flowing from beneath a turban tied firm around his head. His ruggedly handsome face marked by weathered lines and a distinctly large nose.

A stereotyped extremist; no dance, no drink, no cigarette tipping off his lips, no monogamy, no blasphemy; a fair, silent face beguiling a violent fury smoldering within. A streak that could even make him blow himself up in the name of his God. Then there is the image of me being shoved into a back room of a vast American airport named after an American president (another parallel image: of the president being assassinated by a man named lee, not a Muslim thankfully, nor Chinese as some might imagine! I urgently shove the image of the room out of my head).

Some stripping, frisking and many questions later, I am given an explanation (of sorts): “Your name pops up on our system, we are sorry”. “So am I,” I think to myself, “Now can I have my underwear back please?” Then, there is the image I most see, the one of me in my own country: being acclaimed as a megastar, adored and glorified, my fans mobbing me with love and apparent adulation.

I am a Khan.

I could say I fit into each of these images: I could be a strapping six feet something – ok something minus, about three inches at least, though I don’t know much about horse-riding. A horse once galloped off with me flapping helplessly on it and I have had a “no horse-riding” clause embedded in my contracts ever since.

I am extremely muscular between my ears, I am often told by my kids, and I used to be fair too, but now I have a perpetual tan or as I like to call it ‘olive hue’ – though deep In the recesses of my armpits I can still find the remains of a fairer day. I am handsome under the right kind of light and I really do have a “distinctly large” nose. It announces my arrival in fact, peeking through the doorway just before I make my megastar entrance. But my nose notwithstanding, my name means nothing to me unless I contextualize it.

Stereotyping and contextualizing is the way of the world we live in: a world in which definition has become central to security. We take comfort in defining phenomena, objects and people – with a limited amount of knowledge and along known parameters. The predictability that naturally arises from these definitions makes us feel secure within our own limitations.

We create little image boxes of our own. One such box has begun to draw its lid tighter and tighter at present. It is the box that contains an image of my religion in millions of minds.

I encounter this tightening of definition every time moderation is required to be publicly expressed by the Muslim community in my country. Whenever there is an act of violence in the name of Islam, I am called upon to air my views on it and dispel the notion that by virtue of being a Muslim, I condone such senseless brutality. I am one of the voices chosen to represent my community in order to prevent other communities from reacting to all of us as if we were somehow colluding with or responsible for the crimes committed in the name of a religion that we experience entirely differently from the perpetrators of these crimes.

I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in india. There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighboring nation rather than my own country – this even though I am an Indian whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave my home and return to what they refer to as my “original homeland”. Of course, I politely decline each time, citing such pressing reasons as sanitation words at my house preventing me from taking the good shower that’s needed before undertaking such an extensive journey. I don’t know how long this excuse will hold though.

I gave my son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-Indian and pan-religious) ones: Aryan and Suhana. The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can’t really escape it. I pronounce it from my epiglottis when asked by Muslims and throw the Aryan as evidence of their race when non-Muslims enquire.

I imagine this will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders and random fatwas in the future. It will also keep my two children completely confused. Sometimes, they ask me what religion they belong to and, like a good Hindi movie hero, I roll my eyes up to the sky and declare philosophically, “You are an Indian first and your religion is humanity”, or sing them an old Hindi film ditty, “Tu Hindu banega na Musalmaan banega – insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega” set to Gangnam Style.

None of this informs them with any clarity, it just confounds them some more and makes them deeply wary of their father.

In the land of the freed, where I have been invited on several occasions to be honored, I have bumped into ideas that put me in a particular context. I have had my fair share of airport delays for instance.

I became so sick of being mistaken for some crazed terrorist who coincidentally carries the same last name as mine that I made a film, subtly titled My name is Khan (and I am not a terrorist) to prove a point. Ironically, I was interrogated at the airport for hours about my last name when I was going to present the film in America for the first time. I wonder, at times, whether the same treatment is given to everyone whose last name just happens to be McVeigh (as in Timothy)??

I don’t intend to hurt any sentiments, but truth be told, the aggressor and taker of life follows his or her own mind. It has to nothing to do with a name, a place or his/her religion. It is a mind that has its discipline, its own distinction of right from wrong and its own set of ideologies. In fact, one might say, it has its own “religion”. This religions has nothing to do with the ones that have existed for centuries and been taught in mosques or churches. The call of the azaan or the words of the pope have no bearing on this person’s soul. His soul is driven by the devil. I, for one, refuse to be contextualized by the ignorance of his ilk.

I am a Khan.

I am neither six-feet-tall nor handsome (I am modest though) nor am I a Muslim who looks down on other religions. I have been taught my religion by my six-foot-tall, handsome Pathan ‘Papa’ from Peshawar, where his proud family and mine still resides. He was a member of the no-violent Pathan movement called Khudai Khidamatgaar and a follower of both Gandhiji and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, who was also known as the Frontier Gandhi.

My first learning of Islam from him was to respect women and children and to uphold the dignity of every human being. I learnt that the property and decency of others, their points of view, their beliefs, their philosophies and their religions were due as much respect as my own and ought to be accepted with an open mind. I learnt to believe in the power and benevolence of Allah, and to be gentle and kind to my fellow human beings, to give of myself to those less privileged than me and to live a life full of happiness, joy, laughter and fun without impinging on anybody else’s freedom to live in the same way.

So I am a Khan, but no stereotyped image is factored into my idea of who I am. Instead, the living of my life has enabled me to be deeply touched by the love of millions of Indians. I have felt this love for the last 20 years regardless of the fact that my community is a minority within the population of India. I have been showered with love across national and cultural boundaries, from Suriname to Japan and Saudi Arabia to Germany, places where they don’t even understand my language. They appreciate what I do for them as an entertainer – that’s all. My life has led me to understand and imbibe that love is a pure exchange, untempered by definition and unfettered by the narrowness of limiting ideas. If each one of us allowed ourselves the freedom to accept and return love in its purity, we would need no image boxes to hold up the walls of our security.

I believe that I have been blessed with the opportunity to experience the magnitude of such a love, but I also know that its scale is irrelevant. In our own small ways, simply as human beings, we can appreciate each other for how touch our lives and not how our different religions or last names define us.

Beneath the guise of my superstardom, I am an ordinary man. My Islamic stock does not conflict with that of my Hindu wife’s. The only disagreements I have with Gauri concern the color of the walls in our living room and not about the locations of the walls demarcating temples from mosques in India.

We are bringing up a daughter who pirouettes in a leotard and choreographs her own ballets. She sings western songs that confound my sensibilities and aspires to be an actress. She also insists on covering her head when in a Muslim nation that practices this really beautiful and much misunderstood tenet of Islam.

Our son’s linear features proclaim his Pathan pedigree although he carries his own, rather gentle mutations of the warrior gene. He spends all day either pushing people asie at rugby, kicking some butt at Tae Kwon Do or eliminating unknown faces behind anonymous online gaming handles around the world with The Call of Duty video game. And yet, he firmly admonishes me for getting into a minor scuffle at the cricket stadium in Mumbai last year because some bigot make unsavory remarks about me being a Khan.

The four of us make up a motley representation of the extraordinary acceptance and validation that love can foster when exchanged within the exquisiteness of things that are otherwise defined ordinary.

For I believe, our religion is an extremely personal choice, not a public proclamation of who we are. It’s as person as the spectacles of my father who passed away some 20 years ago. Spectacles that I hold onto as my most prized and personal possession of his memories, teachings and of being a proud Pathan. I have never compared those with my friends, who have similar possessions of their parents or grandparents. I have never said my father’s spectacles are better than your mother’s saree. So why should we have this comparison in the matter of religion, which is as personal and prized a belief as the memories of your elders. Why should not the love we share be the last word in defining us instead of the last name? It doesn’t take a superstar to be able to give love, it just takes a heart and as far as I know, there isn’t a force on this earth that can deprive anyone of theirs.

I am a Khan, and that’s what it has meant being one, despite the stereotype images that surround me. To be a Khan has been to be loved and love back – that the promise that virgins wait for me somewhere on the other side.

Shah Rukh Khan

Here is how some Pakistani leaders reacted to Shah Rukh Khan’s article:

 

 

Here is how Shah Rukh reacted to all the drama created by misinterpretation of his article:

According to me, all our lives we are defined by three identities. Two of which are fortunately acquired by birth  and are a matter of unconditional love and acceptance. The first identity is acquired by where one is born. Our Motherland. That defines us. So foremost all of us here like me are proud Indians. Second the family name and upbringing that our parents give us. Mine is Khan, like some of us here. I am very proud of my parents, like all of us are here. I love them unconditionally. The third is the profession we choose that defines us. By some quirk of fate I am a celebrity… a public figure in the fields of art and media. Like most of us are here today.

As I said being an Indian and my parents’ child is an unconditional accepted truth of my life and I am very proud of both. The third… being a public figure makes me open to any kind of questioning, adjectives good and bad and or  sometimes makes me an object  of controversy  as people  use my name and statements to attach any positive or negative sentiment to it. I accept all the above  because this is the life I chose and will stand by it.  I am what I am, because of the love and admiration that comes with being who I am in my profession…so I thank everyone for making me the star I am.

Now to  address this whole issue, with regards to my Article, that has taken an unwarranted twist . I do not even understand the basis of this controversy.

Ironically the article I wrote (yes it’s written by me) was actually meant to reiterate that on some occasions my being an Indian Muslim film star is misused by bigots and narrow minded people who have  misplaced religious ideologies for small gains….and ironically the same  has happened through  this article…once again.

The reason for this primarily is….I think some of the people have not even read it and are reacting to comments of people, who in turn have also not read it. So I implore you all to first read it. Second if you read it, nowhere does the article state or imply  directly or indirectly that I feel unsafe….troubled or disturbed in India.

It does not even vaguely say that I am ungrateful for the love that I have received in a career spanning 20 years. On the contrary the article only says that in spite of bigoted thoughts of some of the people that surround us….I am untouched by scepticism  because of the love I have received by my countrymen and women.

I will paraphrase the beginning and the end of the article to clarify and substantiate my stand. “Then, there is the image I most see, the one of me in my own country: being acclaimed as a megastar, adored and glorified, my fans mobbing me with love and apparent adulation..So I am a Khan, but no stereotyped image is factored into my idea of who I am. Instead, the living of my life has enabled me to be deeply touched by the love of millions of Indians. I have felt this love for the last 20 years regardless of the fact that my community is a minority within the population of India. I have been showered with love across national and cultural boundaries, they appreciate what I do for them as an entertainer – that’s all. My life has led me to understand and imbibe that love is a pure exchange, untempered by definition and unfettered by the narrowness of limiting ideas. Sometimes, they ask me what religion they belong to and, like a good Hindi movie hero, I roll my eyes up to the sky and declare philosophically, “you are an Indian first and your religion is Humanity”, or sing them an old Hindi film ditty, “tu hindu banega na musalmaan banega – insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega” set to Gangnam style. Why should not the love we share be the last word in defining us instead of the last name? It doesn’t take a superstar to be able to give love, it just takes a heart and as far as i know, there isn’t a force on this earth that can deprive anyone of theirs. I am a Khan, and that’s what it has meant being one, despite the stereotype images that surround me. To be a Khan has been to be loved and love back….”

Please I implore everyone here to read the article and convey through your respective mediums of communications, all the good things that it expresses  to youngsters and my fellow Indians. It is a heartfelt and extremely important aspect of my life, an appreciation of love that all of you have bestowed upon me and also a point of view from my being a father of two young children.

I would like to tell all those who are offering me unsolicited advice that we in India are extremely safe and happy. We have an amazing democratic, free and secular way of life. In the environs that we live here in my country India, we have no safety issues regarding life or material. As a matter of fact it is irksome for me to clarify this non-existent issue. With respect I would like to say to anyone who is interpreting my views and offering advice regarding them, please read what I have written first.

Also some of the views that I have been made to read are just an extension of soft targeting celebs and creating an atmosphere of emotional outbursts and divisiveness based on religion…in the minds of some. I implore everyone to understand, that my article is against exactly this kind of giving in to propaganda and aggressiveness. Lets not be misled by tools which use religion as an anchor for unrest and a policy of divide and rule.

I would also like to add here, that my profession as an actor makes me, liked beyond the borders of my nation and culture. The hugs and love that I am showered upon by Nationalities all around the world, make me safe all over the globe, and my safety has genuinely never been a matter of concern to me…and so it should not be a matter of concern to anyone else either.

We are all educated and patriotic people. We do not have to prove that time and again because of divisive politics of a few. My own family and friends, are like a mini India…where all religions, professions and a few wrongs included, all are treated with tolerance and understanding and regard for each other. I only sell love…love that I have got from millions of Indians and non Indians….and  stand indebted to my audience in my country and around the world. It is sad that I have to say it to prove it, in my country, which my father fought for, during the Independence struggle.

That’s my piece and having said all this…I would like to request all of you present here….that henceforth ask me questions regarding….my next movie. The songs that I have recorded. The release date of my film. The heroines cast in it. The Toiffa awards in Vancouver, because I am an actor and maybe I should just stick to stuff that all of you expect me to have a viewpoint on. The rest of it…maybe I don’t have the right kind of media atmosphere to comment on. So I will refrain from it.

And please if you can…put all I have said on your channels, or mediums of communication, in the exact same light as I have said it and meant it in. 24 hrs of unrequired controversy is more than enough for all of us I assume. So do not sensationalize and hence trivialize matters of national interest and  religion any further and drag a movie actor  in the middle of it all…and let me  get back to doing what I do best….making movies.

Is Shah Rukh Khan's article controversial?

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Azam Khan’s embarrassment to India: Would’ve led the mob to demolish Taj Mahal

29 Jan

Azam khan the UP minister on demolishing taj MahalSamajwadi Party leader and Urban Development minister of Uttar Pradesh Azam Khan once again created shame, this time for the country by voicing his opinion about the government funds being misused by ministers for personal reasons. He referred Taj Mahal as the misuse of public money and said he would have happily led the mob to demolish the world famous monument. Azam Khan who was in Muzaffarnagar compared Mughal emperor Shah Jahan with opposition party(BSP) leader Mayawati, saying that the Mayawati had built statues for herself with public funds just as the Mughal emperor did in the 17th century.

Here are the exact words of the minister:

“Agar log masjid ke bajaye Taj Mahal girane chahein to main unse aage chaloonga. Isliye ki kisee bhi hukmaran ko aam awam ke khazane se apni mehbooba ke liye taj mahal banana ka haq naheen diya ja sakta.” (If people were to demolish the Taj Mahal instead of any mosque, I would be the first one to march ahead of them; and that is because I firmly believe that no ruler has the right to use the people’s money to build a monument for his lover).

We understand that probably Azam Khan was trying to show off his honesty by making such statement, but this kind of childish comparison, only tells us more about his ignorance of general knowledge about the historical monument such as Taj Mahal which has given India a recognition on the world map. Azam Khan was one of the prime candidates for the Chief Minister position when Samajwadi party won the elections by majority in the state. Thankfully he was not selected for the chief minister role, but we Indians do wonder about his capabilities as the Urban Development minister of UP state which has the maximum number of districts and has the most poor infrastructure, rural poverty and trapped in ugly caste wars. May god save the state from ministers such as Azam Khan who display such a narrow thinking in public?

Is Azam Khan fit to be the Urban Development minister of Uttar Pradesh?

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Vishwaroopam: Anti-Muslim or Muslim’s Pride

29 Jan

Vishwaroopam movie wallpaperIn yet another religious controversy over a film, the Tamil Nadu government has banned the screen of Vishwaroopam in the state by fifteen days from the original scheduled date. Allegations have been made by various Islamic organizations which include the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK) stating that the movie is trying to project Indian Muslims as terrorists. TMMK says that it “targets Muslims and their beliefs”. The protesters even burned the posters of the movie and shoe-slapped Kamal Haasan’s images in front of his office in Chennai. TMMK leader Jawahirullah said “There is a danger that the public may view any Muslim with a beard as a terrorist waiting for an opportunity to plant a bomb.” Apart from Tamil Nadu, the movie also suffered protest in Andhra Pradhesh, Karnataka and Kerala. In Malaysia and Sri Lanka the film was removed out of theatres, citing the ban in Tamil Nadu.

Protest against Vishwaroopam in Chennai, India

Protest against Vishwaroopam in Chennai, India

 

The question we Indians have on our mind, is this movie really portraying bad image of Indian Muslim brothers? From the trailers of the movie it looks like the movie is focused around Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The terrorists in the movies are the Taliban and the Jihadis, not the Indian Muslims. Are those protesters on the streets agreeing with the agenda of Taliban and Al-Qaeda who kill innocent people in the name of religion? Kamal Haasan has touched upon a subject which is already much highlighted and talked about by various media across the globe, nothing new has been added to the movie to create fire or cheap publicity as it seems to be now. The fact that the Central Board of Film Certification has approved the movie and Kamal Haasan held a special screening of the movie to Muslim community proves that there is nothing wrong in the movie and it does not hurt the sentiments of any religion or community.

 

So who are the people on street protesting against the screening of Vishwaroopam? India is a diverse country with too many people having many different beliefs; this fact has been milked by various organizations and parties to their advantage. Apart from Muslims even the dalit community has been exploited by their community leaders to their advantage. Saffron terrorism, Islamic terrorism are the words been used loosely by the so called leaders who fail to understand that terrorist do not have any religion or colour.

In Kerala, the protest against the movie was facilitated by an organization called Popular Front of India (PFI) which according to the Kerala government had connections with SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India), an organisation banned by the Centre. On July 4, 2010, two PFI activists were arrested in conjunction with an incident in which they allegedly chopped the hand off of a Kerala professor who had allegedly offended the religious sentiments of his students. It is alleged that the attack resulted from the ruling from one of the “Taliban-model” courts operating in the state of Kerala. Two boys were kidnapped in June 2011 from Mahajan College premises in Mysore and murdered by members of Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), who sought ransom of 5 crore rupees to raise funds for their organisation. Karnataka Forum for Dignity was merged with PFI in 2008. Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK) which is protesting against the movie is alleged to have links with SIMI and is believed to be controlled by SIMI cadres. In 2005 TMMK even urged the Government of India to lift ban on SIMI. The president of TMMK was arrested in the communal violence that triggered after the 1998 Coimbatore bombings.

It’s quite evident that the group of people agitating against the movie are nowhere related with the innocent Muslim brothers of our country, their intents are questionable and unnecessarily they are trying to use the movie to gain emotional grounds of Muslims who are deeply related with the Islam religion. The movie revolves around the terrorists who unfortunately happen to be Muslim. We Indians sincerely hope that Government of India finds a way to crack down the organizations who manipulate the innocence of Indian muslins in the name of religion.

Do you support the protest against Vishwaroopam?

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Justice Verma Committee Report: Recommending action or giving Gyan

24 Jan

Verma Committee report after Delhi Gang Rape

Justice J. S. Verma (centre) with Justice Leila Seth (left) and Gopal Subramaniam

Justice Verma committee, a three member committee headed by Justice JS Verma(former chief justice of India) was formed after the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old women in Delhi to suggest the amendments to laws relating to crime against women. The committee after its formation had issued a notice seeking suggestions from the public by email or fax, the deadline of submitting such suggestions was set to 5th January 2013.The committee was given a deadline of 30 days to submit their report, a 631-page report was finalized in 29 days and was submitted on January 23, 2013 to the home ministry of India.

According to Mr. Verma, the committee received 80,000 suggestions from Indians, women activists and students from all over the world. Now coming to the point of how effective the Verma committee report is, first of all does it sound real that it took only 29 days to review 80,000 suggestions and come up with a final 631-page report. Surely Mr Verma a 79 year old and the other two members in the committee, Leila Seth-82 years and Gopal Subramaniam-54 years must have worked like super computers to have come up with 631-page report in just 29 days to challenge the current weak laws pertaining to crime against women in India. The Verma Committee, which was constituted by the Indian government, a move to calm down the Indian police and rape victims in India cartoonprotesters on the streets, has again failed to address one basic problem which is amending the current laws on crime against women to an extent that no Tom, Dick or Harry on the streets of India even dare to think about committing any type of crime against women. The Verma committee suggestions are more like gyan or best practices or a roadmap which in some form are already part of the current judicial system. The Verma committee in their report have only suggested and preached the obvious things which we all agree to and no major steps have been taken to create a state of fear in the mind of criminals or future criminals.

Here are key highlights of the report:

No alteration of the legally defined age of juvenile from 18 to 16 years.
- A key demand by Indians after one of the accused involved in the Delhi gang-rape was found to be below 18 years.

Whoever commits the offence of rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than seven years but may extend to imprisonment for life.
- Why not death sentence?

Gang-rape will entail a punishment of not less than 20 years, which also may extend to life.
- Why not death sentence?

Gang-rape followed by death shall be punished with life imprisonment.
- Why not death sentence?

MPs facing criminal charges should vacate their seats to honor the Parliament.
- Why not they be barred from politics completely?

Acid attacks would be punished by up to seven years.
- Just seven years for spoiling someone’s life?

A separate Bill of Rights for women that entitles a woman a life of dignity and security.
- Verma Committee’s gyan.

Punishment for causing death or a persistent vegetative state shall be given rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years but may be for life also.
- Why not death sentence?

Establish a new constitutional authority similar to CAG for education and non-discrimination of women and children for proper audit of laws.
- Creating another category of police, will it help?

Increase the strength of judges without affecting the quality.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

Implement police reforms for better autonomy and functioning of the police force.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

Government must tackle trafficking of children and maintain data on the same.
- Shame on Indian Government/Police if it’s currently not happening.

Make sure that law enforcement agencies do not become tools at the hands of political masters.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

Bring transparency and accountability to the functioning of all institutions of governance.
- Whole India knows this since long, nothing new.

The ambiguity on who is responsible for the law and order issues in Delhi should be removed with an immediate effect.
- Delhi state government vs. central government issue, a long known fact to fool Delhi people.

All marriages should be registered. Magistrate should ensure that no dowry is taken.
- Verma Committee’s gyan.

Any officer who fails to report a case of rape or delays the same should be punished.
- Shame on Indian Government/Police if it’s currently not happening.

The committee has framed a protocol for medical examination of rape victim. The same should be followed.
- Addresses how to handle a rape case rather than preventing rape.

Sexual violence against women perpetrated by armed forces should be brought under the purview of ordinary law.
- Shame on Indian Government/Police if it’s currently not happening.

Will Verma Committee suggestions help prevent crime against women in India?

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Sushilkumar Shinde: Indian Home Minister gone crazy

23 Jan

Sushilkumar Shinde Home Minister of India - CartoonBefore we start blasting Mr. Shinde for his shameful remark, let’s try and understand what office he is holding in the current ministry of India. Mr. Shinde is a politician from the state of Maharashtra and is currently the Minister of Home Affairs in the Sonia-Manmohan government. The Minister of Home Affairs commonly referred to as the Home Minister is regarded as number two in seniority, next to the Prime Minister of India. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who actually could have been the first prime minister of India after the independence, was the first home minister of India. The importance of Home Minister in India is proven by the fact that the portfolio in past have been held by many former prime ministers and presidents of India. India’s police force comes under the office of the Home Minister.

On January 20, 2013 during an All India Congress Committee(AICC) meeting in Jaipur, Shinde went a little too far while trying to impress the Congress leaders and gave a shameful statement which in a way humiliated the office of Home Ministry and raised question marks on his capabilities of being the Home Minister of India. He said “Reports have come during investigation that BJP and RSS conduct terror training camps to spread terrorism. Bombs were planted in Samjhauta express, Mecca Masjid and also a blast was carried out in Malegaon. We will have to think about it seriously and will have to remain alert.” BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is another Indian political party and is also the biggest opposition party against the ruling Congress party. While Mr. Shinde was trying to impress his party men by speaking against the opposition party, he had no idea about the magnitude of impact his statement would have on the people of India. Naturally BJP and RSS were quite upset by his remarks; most importantly the remarks had the potential to disrupt the peace and harmony of the country. Clearly Mr. Shinde with his statement wanted to win the hearts of minority Muslims of India who according to him have been at times mistakenly dragged into terrorism acts which were actually executed by the people trained by BJP and RSS.

Shinde’s remark went international when Mumbai attacks mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed for whom the US has announced a $10 million bounty, told a press conference in Lahore that India always resorted to propaganda against Pakistani organizations but it now stood “exposed”. Congress party, who initially supported Shinde’s statement, after the uproar in media, is now trying to distance itself from the Home Minister. Home Secretary RK Singh who reports to Shinde, in an effort to rescue his boss said “We have names of at least 10 persons involved in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Dargah Sharif blasts who were associated with the RSS.”

It’s a shame that a minister whose prime job is to maintain law and order in the country comes up with a statement which can disturb the peace of our country. Thankfully we Indians are now mature enough to understand that such kinds of statements by ministers don’t have any ethical value. Gone are the days when the ministers’ values and actions were given the prime importance by the Indian citizens. Common man on the street knows the kind of games these minister play to stay in office for few more years. We Indians very well know the dual standards of these ministers and their provocative words; it makes us even more sad to see the kind of people running our country.

Is Sushilkumar Shinde fit to be the Home Minister of India?

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Rahul Gandhi elevated to number two position in Congress: An Indian affair or a family affair?

22 Jan

Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi cartoon pictureFinally Rahul Gandhi has been appointed as the vice president of the congress party and formally elevated to number two position in the party. Since the independence India has been mostly ruled by the Nehru dynasty or the so called Gandhi family and with the congress party’s vice president announcement it’s quite evident that India has to still go through dynasty domination for many more years to come. Family power politics is nothing new to India; Indian parliament which is full of relatives is by far the strongest proof that the family name plays much more important role in politics than individual qualities or merits.

While the Congress party men are gung-ho about their new leader and trying to project this as breaking news, it hasn’t mattered much to the people of India as everyone was pretty much aware of this to happen at some point or the other. They say that Rahul Gandhi is now numbers two, we already believe he is number one and for good or bad reasons we also know that someday India will surely see Rahul Gandhi being crowned as the Prime Minister. Despite the all time low popularity of Congress party it’s a much known fact that no other political party than congress has the power or the money to form the ruling party in our country. It’s a very well-known fact that elections in India are won by only one thing and that is money, for a simple corporation or MLA election the candidates spend crores of money to win votes, just because the return profits are limitless, the candidates end up spending money like water for their election campaigns. Imagine the kind of money heap the congress party especially the Nehru family must be sitting on as they have ruled the country for maximum tenure. So without a doubt congress will be the leading party in India for many more years to come.

The Congress party is trying to project their vice president’s decision as the party decision, we Indians very well know that it’s the family affair of probably the richest political family in India to whom no one can dare to point back any fingers. It’s unfortunate that India will still have to go through the same ideologies which have leaded us to our downfall. They say we are developed and on the right track, but we Indians on the streets very well know where we are and wonder if ever we can come out of this mess gifted to us by the dynasties of rich and powerful politicians.

Watch Rahul Gandhi’s emotional speech as Congress party’s Vice president:

 

Do you accept Rahul Gandhi as India’s future Prime Minister?

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Crime Patrol postpones Delhi gang-rape episode: Good for government or country?

18 Jan

Crime patrol, a popular TV show on Sony channel which reconstructs the Indian crime cases with actors was scheduled to telecast the shameful Delhi gang-rape episode on January 11, 2013. Unfortunately due to the pressures from Information and Broadcasting ministry in India for the time being the episode has been postponed. The I&B ministry has asked Sony to be sensitive to ground realities.

Considering the outrage that could have been triggered post-airing of the gang-rape episode, many would believe that government has probably taken the right decision by forcing Sony, not to telecast the Delhi gang-rape incident. The big question, does the government really think about Indian people more than losing their reputation? The TV show could have easily tarnished the image of the current Indian government which is currently all time low and would have highlighted the security lapses in providing safety to women. Our smart I&B minister Manish Tiwari who once referred Anna Hazare corrupt said “This is a very sensitive matter. A big question is raised about Section 19 of the Constitution..and what kind of restriction can be put on freedom to speak and write”. Where was Mr. Tiwari’s Section 19 when last year in a press conference he openly alleged Anna Hazare to be a corrupt person?

Indian government with this kind of dictatorship has clearly demonstrated that they are no different from government of country like Pakistan, a couple of days back the Pakistani government had cut the cable TV connections in an attempt to stop the live speech of Tahir-ul-Qadri’s who was in open confrontation with the Pakistani government. Those days are not far when the Indian government will be secretly reading the personal emails of the citizens.

With the protest against Delhi gang-rape gone into a silent zone, the Crime patrol’s episode would have done wonders to the outcry of people for framing strong laws to protect the women of our country. It would have certainly brought new life to the fight of common man against the government. The Indian Government as usual have played their waiting game by forcing the postponement of the show, they know protests have gone into a dormant phase and there will be no much fuss if they come with the same old or slightly modified remedies for protecting women of India.

Do you agree with the Indian Government's decision of not to telecast Delhi gang rape incident on Crime Patrol?

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