Shah Rukh Khan or ‘Shekhar Radha Krishna’? An Epitome of Secularism
India is a secular country and Shah Rukh Khan is the ‘epitome of secularism’! When Hindu-Muslim hatred came to dominate the country, Shah Rukh Khan, who is riding high on the success of Jawan and Pathaan, became a symbol of everything that is positive and possible about India and its pluralism. His modest middle-class background, his marriage to a Hindu woman (Gauri), his total embrace of diversity, and his sense of humor helped him become a symbol of all that India represents, especially in its rich cultural diversity.
To support my above arguments, I would share an anecdote from SRK’s old interaction with media people where he referred to himself as ‘Shekhar Radha Krishna’. When asked if he believes he would have achieved a comparable level of fame and recognition if his name had been ‘Shekhar Radha Krishna’ instead of ‘Shah Rukh Khan’, the actor humbly replied, “I don’t think so that there would be any difference. … I think that artists have this tendency to cross divisions because you don’t consider who is from which community, which sect, you like them or not. I would still smell so sweet no matter what name you call me.”
Shah Rukh Khan or ‘Shekhar Radha Krishna’ ?
SRK and his family often come under the radar because unlike many of the actors in the Hindi film industry, he has made his position clear. In 2015, he went so far as to express concern about the growing intolerance in the country during a departure, which led to criticism and accusations that he was disloyal to India and in favor of Pakistan.
In the piece in Outlook Turning Point, SRK had written, “There have been occasions when I have been accused of giving allegiance to our neighboring nation instead of my own country – this though I am an Indian, whose father was a freedom fighter . India. Rallies were held where the leaders encouraged me to leave and return what they refer to as my original homeland.”
Reacting to this terror attack from Mumbai, the great director Hafiz Saeed asked the superstar to move to Pakistan. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said yesterday, “He (Shah Rukh) was born Indian and wants to remain an Indian, but I will ask the Indian government (to) provide him security.”
Giving a befitting reply, SRK then said, “I want to tell everyone who is offering me unsolicited advice that we in India are very safe and happy. We have a very democratic, free and peaceful life. .”
SRK— Symbol of unity
In a nation with a diverse tapestry of religions, cultures and languages, Shah Rukh Khan’s life and values come together as a testament to unity in diversity.
Earlier last year, before the release of his upcoming film Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan visited Vaishno Devi Temple Before that, Shah Rukh also visited Mecca to perform Umrah. Various photos and videos from Saudi Arabia surfaced of Shah Rukh performing the religious ritual.
The superstar also offered prayers at the Swamy Sri Venkateswara temple in the hill town of Tirumala before the release of ‘Jawan’ and during Ganesh Chaturthi, sought blessings at Mumbai’s Lalbaughcha Raja.
With all this, Shah Rukh Khan embodies the belief that India’s diversity is its true strength. It keeps the generations inspired with its inclusive values.
‘I am Muslim, my wife is Hindu and my children are Hindustani’
Time and again he emphasized that religion is not discussed in his home and for his children, when it is necessary to specify their religion on forms, wrote ‘Indian.’ While participating in a reality TV show, SRK said in 2020, “Humne koi Hindu-Musalman ki baat hi nahi ki. Meri biwi Hindu hai, mai Musalman hoon. Aur mere jo bacche hain, wo Hindustan hain. Job wo school gae on school me wo bharna padta hai ki faith kya hai. To do that, we have to say that you want to say, ‘papa hum kaun se religion ke hain?’ Maine usme ye likha ki hum Indian hi hain yaar, koi faith nahi hai. Aur hona bhi nahi chahiye. (We have never discussed Hindu-Muslim. My wife is Hindu, I am Muslim and our children are Hindustani. When they went to school, they had to write their religion. My daughter came to me once and asked ‘ what is our religion?’I wrote in her form simply that we are Indian, we have no religion.)
‘One of the stars’
SRK is a hero – on screen and off. Many people often mention that he has raised the bar so high that women eagerly wait to find their own ‘Raj’ or ‘Rahul’ (characters played by SRK) but, I would say that the standards have been set by the actor so high. a country should have its own Shah Rukh— a man who deeply loves his country, his family, his children and probably stands as a sign of hope and a symbol of unity in a diverse and complex nation.
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