Should Aamir Khan run with the torch? Or shouldn’t he?
A lot can be said of Aamir Khan’s rather ingeniously hypocritical blog-post where he basically repeats the done-to-death moral equivalence of Kashmir, Palestine, Tibet and all the “human rights abuses” of the world, while not forgetting (and this is where the ingenuity lies) to throw in the plight of Kashmiri Pandits as a counterbalancing afterthought (as if that too is somehow an example of state-sponsored atrocity). Similarly B Raman’s open letter to Aamir Khan, correct though its central theme of how India and China differ in their reaction to dissent, can be criticized as introducing a rather tortuous “Muslim” angle —that being that the reason why Aamir Khan and Saif were asked to run with the torch was that it would be interpreted as an endorsement of China’s policies by “widely-respected Muslim personalities”
The truth, as most of us all know by now, is that Coke and Lenovo (not China or India directly), two corporate partners of the Beijing Olympics, have chosen their brand ambassadors Aamir and Saif Ali Khan respectively to run with the Olympic torch. That’s all that the torch-carrying ceremony is—an advertisement opportunity for the corporations and an obligation-discharging one for the stars on its payroll.
In other words, principles ko maaro goli. It’s all about dollars, cents and thanda matlab Coca Cola.
And for those ready to cast stones at Saif and Aamir as insensate servants of Mammon who have put their consciences on the backburner, here is my question. How many of us are ready to boycott Coke products for sponsoring the Games? How many of us are ready to make a public bonfire of our Lenovos (not a bad idea I understand considering its perceived quality) in solidarity with the people of Tibet? How many of us are ready to stop using our favorite search engines because they have handed over information about dissidents to the Chinese authorities and whole-heartedly collude with the Chinese to filter free speech?
Let me guess. Not many. Perhaps not even one. That’s because we, despite “having a prayer for the Tibetans in our hearts “(as Aamir does), are not prepared to trash our Lenovo laptops, Coke bottles and Yahoo mail.
The reason is so self-evident it’s not even worth saying.
So if we ourselves are not prepared to make a tangible sacrifice that entails loss of financial and other kinds of resources, why do we expect Aamir Khan or Saif Ali Khan to make one?
We too would have our justifications. We would say: “Will China budge if I burn my Lenovo? Will Yahoo not provide data on dissidents if I stopped chatting to 22/f/Mumbai on Yahoo chat?”
No they will not. They won’t care. So why should we bother?
And if we cannot bother, then why should Saif or Aamir?
Again there is a lot to be said about the wider problem—India’s kiss-ass policy towards China, China’s brand ambassadors (the Chinni Prakash Carrots and the Sitaram Khichudis) [far more malignant that the Aamirs and Saifs of the world] in India and their inordinate influence on our foreign policy.
But let’s leave that aside for today. Instead let us pay attention to a most interesting interview-extract, one that sheds light on alternative foreign affairs negotiation strategies engaged in by the Chinese.
Karan Thapar: I believe he also put his personal plane at your disposal.
George Fernandes: Yes the entire plane was at my disposal.
Karan Thapar: For the full one week.
George Fernandes: For one full week and if I wanted to stay more as long as I stay there.
Karan Thapar: I believe they also tried to make you happy. They put women at your disposal.
George Fernandes: Not in that sense. Some people will think that I had some fun. I didn’t have any fun.
Karan Thapar: But the women were made available. You had three or four women with you all the time – pretty women.
George Fernandes: Yes. When I came back they were waiting at the doors.
Karan Thapar: Whenever you came back they were waiting at the door?
George Fernandes: Yes.
The use of honeytraps is standard practice with Communist governments—if we are to accept the veracity of the Mitrokhin Archive there is nothing that is genuine shockingly in George’s confession.
What however is worth mentioning was that Bollywood had already captured on celluloid a (hypothetical of course) scenario where a powerful Indian (played by noted thespian Shakti Kapoor), with supposed links in high places, is seduced by a Chinese girl (played by Gul Panag) with their supremely erotic pillowtalk having definite diplomatic overtones. Not only that, what makes this even more interesting is that the whole sequence (as I am sure all of you will see) is nothing but an allegory of India’s post-independence relationship with China.
[Video link] (not safe for work)
Conversation 1: [ represents India initially hoping to score against China with some Nehruvian dialogs]
Indian man (played by Shakti Kapoor) [in his underwear] : Agar tumhare jaisi ek bhi ladki Cheen se pahele yahaan pe aa jaati tab dono deshon main kabhi jung hi na cheerti ….aaaahhhh…..Hindi-Chini bhai bhai (with cheek kisses to Chinese lady)
Chinese woman (played by Gul Panag): Naughty boy.
Conversation 2: [ represents India being overtly naive and not thinking with its brain]
Chinese woman [as Indian man pulls her to bed]: Yeh kya kar rahe hain sir?
Indian man : Dono deshon ke beech doori meeta raha hoon. Dono deshvasiyon ko hamesha ke liye ek kar raha hoon, darrling.
Chinese woman moans
Indian man [running his finger along Indo-China border] Unki jadon ko mazboot kar raha hoon
Chinese woman [coyly]: Aap ke haath bahoot chalte hain sirrr.
Conversation 3: [represents what actually happened to India]
Chinese woman ties up Indian man’s left hand with rope.
Indian man (laughing in lust): Yeh kya kar rahe ho.
Chinese woman ties up Indian man’s right hand with rope.
Indian man: Dono haath baandh dogi?
Chinese woman: Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ab Hindustani chup rahega, aur jo kuch karna hain Chinese karegi
Indian man (in the throes of passion): Karo karo karo………..
Here is the video link again. [Not safe for work]