Shiv Sena, Shah Rukh Khan, media obsession and real issues. Err, scratch real issues.
Re-runs and re-runs of Shah Rukh Khan versus Shiv Sena on various Indian news channels (which I do not watch any longer), and the severe side-effects of this issue on my family and many others I know, has forced me to return to (personal) blogging and share some of my thoughts, which I do more often now on Twitter than here. (Yes, blame laziness.)
As usual, a big issue has been made out of a small issue and the media (yet again) escapes with misleading the public into believing that such incidents are worth more than maybe the little attention they genuinely deserve. Sure, a well-known actor is being threatened by a bunch of chauvinistic bigots. And that deserves attention.
My question is how much? And more importantly, was there action?
As expected, praise is being showered on Shah Rukh Khan while the Shiv Sena are (rightly) pelted with verbal stones. The media is whipping up hysteria around the issue, as if SRK is a national hero who’s just back from defending our borders.
There is not much doubt that SRK’s ‘great neighbours’ statement is worth condemnation. But obviously, a sane person wouldn’t want the Shiv Sena taking on his/her behalf. Hence, comes a juicy war of words, most opportunistically picked up by a national media obsessed with anything that comes out of SRK’s mouth (majorly aimed at promoting his films).
In this entire milieu, no one seems to realize that a more effective approach to this is for the Government of Maharashtra to step up and curb down the threat of the Sena strongly. But are they even in the picture? No. We, as the people of India, also need to work to take our minds away from the silently and severely damaging mindset of pop heroism, that is associated with the likes of SRK.
The Congress government of Maharashtra is arguably the weakest state government in the country, completely dependant on reaping the ‘fruits’ of identity politics and hence, stay in power.
Serious issues like water problems in Mumbai and excessive load-shedding in all parts of Maharashtra are left untouched. The BJP does what is easy (and opportunistic), and doesn’t care to do what might actually work well for them in the long run.
Action against Shiv Sena, where art thou?
[Related post: Solilo]