The SRK episode is becoming curiouser and curiouser. K P Nayar, the veteran ‘Washington hand’ of The Telegraph, who is extremely well-informed thanks to a decade-long stint in the US capital and his first-grade professionalism, has unearthed the devil in the fine print of the SRK story. It appears that the matinee idol landed up on American soil on a wrong visa.
KP’s viewpoint is balanced. ‘Islamophobia’ is a fact of life in America. Countries that go through searing experiences like 9/11 (or 26/11 in Mumbai and the Beslan school siege in Russia) may develop phobias, but that has nothing to do with racism. That is the plain truth, because it is human nature. But in this case, SRK can’t complain.
The Americans observed the law — perhaps, a little too literally that a celebrity like SRK is unused to in our society with its feudal culture of fawning over the lords and the nouveau riche. External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna should calm down. This is the second time he barged in without checking up facts. The first one was in interfering with the tragic life of two Indian children in Norway. Unfortunately, in the competitive environment of Indian politics today, EAM is coming under pressure, lest someone accused him of being waffly. Opinions may vary, but facts, Sir, are sacrosanct. Diplomacy is always well-rooted in facts.
Obviously, the Americans have dutifully apologised. Why? For one thing, they know the prickly Indian character well enough. Second, they don’t want to take punga with us on such a trivial matter. Iran nuclear issue? Yes. Nuclear Liability Act? Maybe. SRK? For heaven’s sake, NO.
From KP’s dispatch, available facts seem to suggest SRK has no case to be unhappy except that he was treated like an ordinary mortal by the Americans. Ever read Jane Austen novels in your college days, SRK? Be proud without being vain — that’s what she wrote. SRK should tell the MEA to move on.
Posted in Diplomacy.
– April 14, 2012