A few days ago India celebrated its Independence from Britain’s regime in 1947.
On a transfer flight to Chicago to take part in an India Independence Parade, Bollywood’s biggest star, Shah Rukh Khan is detained.
India is one of the few countries I think maybe equivalent in it’s tolerance towards different aspects of culture and religion like the United States, UK, Australia, etc. A country where people of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhism, and Christianity get a long for the most part. But just like in the U.S. there are ignorances that try as we might, may never be dis-engrained (yes I believe I made that word up), as those thoughts are passed down by generation to generation.
If you are a fan of Indian movies or culture you will know who Shah Rukh Khan is. The King of Bollywood, or in some Indian fans eyes, the “Brad Pitt” of Bollywood. However, I’ll give that title to Abishek Bachchan.
If you are on the East coast you know that quite a few movies have been made by Bollywood stars: Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, New York.
We all know that American uses racial profiling. (Wait, did I let that cat out the bag?). According to Officials at the Department Of Homeland Security it insists that people are not pulled aside for a “secondary inspection” based on their religion.
If you didn’t know, Khan is a Muslim name, so guess whose name popped up on a watch list at our Newark Airport, in New Jersey, Shah Rukh Khan. He was held for two hours, based on his name, and wasn’t let go until the Indian Embassy had to step in. I’m not sure about you, but on several occasion at the airport I have seen Indian and Middle Eastern passengers pulled aside for a secondary inspection, especially if they are dressed in traditional clothing, this goes for men and women. What’s interesting is his wife is Hindu with a Muslim name and I bet that she would have been pulled aside as well based on her married name. So if Khan were to tell me that he was a Bollywood star, I probably would Google him and since he has made many films here before I’m sure that his name is in the system as occupation as actor.
Khan certainly understood the security precaution but like most, when the U.S. “accidently” screws up says this, “Of course I will visit the U.S. if I have to go for my work. But I will go less often. If I have three things to do, I will club them together and go just once,” he said. “And certainly, I wouldn’t like to travel with my family to the U.S.”
Ironically, Khan just finished a movie entitled, “My Name is Khan.” The movie is about “racial profiling of Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks.” The movie was closer to home than he realized. I believe I will get edumacated and see this one. Maybe Homeland Security should add this to their cultural learning syllabus.