Actor Shah Rukh Khan was recently at the receiving end of immense hatred and bigotry for offering dua at the funeral of Lata Mangeshkar. The Bharat Ratna awardee passed away on February 5, after contracting COVID-19 last month.
Mangeshkar’s demise at the age of 92 closed the curtains on a glorious career, the legacy of which shall remain with us for centuries to come. Her contribution to the field of music, to our understanding of patriotism, love, pain and devotion among other things will continue to live through her songs. Which is why it wasn’t a surprise to see stalwarts of cinema and formidable politicians and sportspersons all gathered to pay their respects to the nightingale of India.
Why was Shah Rukh Khan trolled?
At Mangeshkar’s funeral, Khan, who was accompanied by his manager Pooja Dadlani, offered a dua for the deceased, blowing air over her mortal remains for her protection and easy passing in the afterlife. He did so as per Muslim customs and the act wasn’t as extraordinary as it was made out to be. It was just a devout man who admired a legend, paying his last respects to her, bidding her a final farewell. You don’t have to be religious to understand that the act stemmed from love and admiration.
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And yet, a Bharatiya Janata Party dignitary posted an image of Khan praying and wondered if he had spat on Mangeshkar’s remains. How didn’t the question sound ridiculous to the politician while he was typing out his tweet? Would any person, his or her celebrity or religious status not in consideration, try to pull off such a stunt in the public eye, surrounded by cameras, security and top celebrities of the country? But the ridiculousness of his tweet wasn’t even the worst part of this incident, it was how so many actually bought into the politician’s dubious narrative, which he later alleged was a mere question posed out of curiosity.
Hate goes viral- fast and easy
As soon as the tweet was out, hate against Khan began to spread like wildfire on social media. As expected, the admirers of the actor retaliated, also sharing how Khan and his manager offering prayers for Mangeshkar as per their different faiths made for a beautiful picture. For those who did not buy into the actor’s fandom, the entire incident was yet another reminder of how easy it has become to spar outrage in our country. All it took was bigotry posed as a question.
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Why are we so desperate to spread hatred? How could we let an unnecessary controversy overshadow a legend on the very day of her passing? Are the biases running so deep now that we refuse to be united even in grief?
The alarm bells have been ringing for the last few years, yet all we can do is watch helplessly or try to defend those who are targetted by the hate brigade. Clearly, this strategy isn’t working. The disrespect and hatred peddled out on social media to a person, be it for their gender, caste, religion, opinions or a simple act of prayer is enough to rile everyone. Is this a distraction? Does anyone care?
Image Credit: DNA
Views expressed are the author’s own.