Aamir Khan and the ‘Scary’ future of his ‘other’ children
Discussing intimate details of the personal lives of celebrities in print is a ‘journalistic activity’ that is mostly restricted to those columns of scurrilous gossip and scandal that have long been associated with numerous film magazines in our country; and of late increasingly even with the entertainment sections of India’s mainstream media publications.
I have been following the OpIndia.com website on the internet for a while now and it does not appear to me to be the sort of media outlet that would consider publishing pieces dedicated solely to discussing the details of the personal life of a celebrity or public figure.
But when a celebrity or a public figure uses such details of his/her personal life as a basis to make a political statement (much in the way that I believe Aamir Khan recently did) then the celebrity in question opens up the floodgates for all serious media outlets to scrutinize and inspect similarly situated aspects of the concerned celebrity’s personal life that could also be used as a basis to make valid observations that may seem unpalatable or perhaps even controversial, with regard to the personal life of the celebrity in question.
Now much ink and angst has already been spilled over the issue of Aamir Khan and his current wife Kiran Rao’s expression of fear about the future of their child, amidst the supposedly ‘growing intolerance in India’; and also if they should consider moving out of India as a result. Arguments over whether there is any merit in their apprehensions have been done to death and the discussion is now a seemingly saturated one.
But I was struck by certain interesting aspects of Aamir Khan’s personal life that couldn’t help but make me wonder if Aamir Khan would not be well advised to consider worrying a little more instead, about the future of his other children; by this I mean the future of his children other than the child he has fathered with his current wife Kiran Rao.
For the sub-text in Aamir Khan’s remarks is quite clear: Aamir Khan and his current wife are worried that the growing ‘Hindu intolerance’ in India will affect the future of their child, as the said child is a Muslim or at any rate the said child happens to bear a name that is Muslim sounding.
We shall therefore discuss the possibly scary future of Aamir Khan’s other children by similarly proceeding on the footing that all of Aamir Khan’s other children are Muslims or at any rate are likely to bear the brunt of the supposedly growing ‘Hindu intolerance’ in India as a result of their Muslim sounding names.
Except I would like to bring to the notice of the readers that these other children Aamir Khan has fathered, are more likely to face intolerance while they currently pursue their respective lives and destinies in foreign countries. (This is possibly true of probably two of his other children)
To begin with, Aamir Khan’s eldest child with his first wife Reena Dutta is a young man in his early 20’s who goes by the name of Junaid Khan. Junaid Khan is an aspiring filmmaker who began his professional journey by working as an Assistant Director to filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani on the Hindi motion picture ‘PK’. According to a fairly recent report in a mainstream newspaper, Junaid Khan is currently pursuing his further studies in Los Angeles, U.S.A.
In my opinion, Aamir Khan should be extremely worried about his son Junaid Khan’s possible future tryst with intolerance, while he currently pursues his higher education in the United States of America. This is not an unfounded statement on my part.
Because even though many political commentators and media personalities in America have scoffed at the recent suggestion of the Republican Presidential Candidate aspirant, Donald Trump to create systems (read: Databases)to keep track of individual Muslims living in America, in the wake of the Paris terror attack; this suggestion has apparently resonated with (according to a poll survey result:)32% of likely U.S. voters who believe that
“Most individual Muslims should be monitored by the government as potential terrorists”.
But this is not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discussing instances of Muslims in America being viewed suspiciously or even bearing the brunt of alleged religious discrimination by average Americans and their various Law enforcement agencies.
Instances of alleged religious profiling and discrimination against Muslims over the last more than one decade (after the 9/11 attacks) by law enforcement agencies in U.S.A are commonplace; with the most recent incident to catch my attention being the alleged unreasonable detention and prevention of two Palestinian Americans from boarding a domestic flight, pursuant to their conversation in the Arabic language which made a fellow passenger uncomfortable.
Perhaps Aamir Khan is ignorant of the existence of intolerance towards Muslims in the U.S.A. For why else would he have allowed his eldest born to study in the U.S.A?
Although I personally find this hard to believe; especially since he must be aware of the troubles faced by his Film Industry colleague, Shahrukh Khan in U.S.A, back in 2009, when Shahrukh Khan was detained for questioning by immigration officials at the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey after his name showed up on a ‘computer alert list’ presumably because Shahrukh Khan’s surname is common enough to be shared by those ‘few’ individuals suspected of engaging in terrorist activities.
This is why I reckon Aamir Khan should be fearful for his son Junaid Khan’s future in U.S.A. Because not only does Junaid Khan share the same common surname as Shahrukh Khan; but it is also quite conceivable that the US Immigration authorities may end up wrongly confusing Junaid Khan with the alleged terrorist ‘Junead Ahmed Khan’ who was thankfully arrested recently in U.K. for being part of an ISIL inspired plot to kill American Servicemen in the United Kingdom.
But perhaps I am allowing my alarmist tendencies and fertile imagination to run wild. Because it is probably unlikely that the son of an influential ‘intellectual’ superstar like Aamir Khan should ever end up at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. I for one certainly hope, for Aamir Khan’s sake, that Junaid Khan comes back to India after successfully completing his further education in Los Angeles and goes on to have a successful career in filmmaking, by making the most of his Daddy’s contacts in Bollywood.
However it is not only Junaid Khan’s possibly scary future in the U.S.A. that Aamir Khan should be worried about. If I were Aamir Khan, I would also be extremely worried about the future of the alleged illegitimate child he has allegedly fathered with a British woman named Jessica Hines.
The ignominy of growing up as the alleged ‘lovechild’ of a famous celebrity, with your name and photographs plastered on various Indian news websites (both mainstream and otherwise) is made worse for the poor child (with an apparently Muslim sounding name) by the currently polarized climate in Britain.
One only has to read the recent newspaper reports that indicate how the Paris attacks have contributed towards a spurt of Hate crimes against Muslims in Britain, to affirm this.
And if this intolerance towards Muslims in U.K. was not sufficient, a recent newspaper report has also claimed that about 1 in 5 British Muslims’ sympathize with the cause of Jihadis; something that should also be reason enough for Aamir Khan to be concerned about the welfare of his alleged illegitimate child’s future in the U.K. (assuming that he’s concerned about the future of a child he has never acknowledged in public as his).
Now I do realize of course that citing isolated instances of intolerance towards Muslims in the U.S.A. and the U.K. should not be used as a basis to make a generalized and alarmist assertion about the existence of intolerance (or its lack thereof) in these two countries. But since Aamir Khan has chosen to be alarmed about the intolerance in India on the basis of certain isolated incidents that have occurred here, I have reason to believe that Aamir Khan should therefore also be losing sleep over the possibly scary future of his other children studying or living abroad.
Aamir Khan would now be well advised to take immediate steps to secure the future of his children by moving them all to a country whose population is completely free of all intolerance and prejudice. He should then let me know which country this is; for I too wish to live in such a Utopia.
Akhil Sarathy is a legal professional. He is based in Mumbai.