The past week saw Shah Rukh Khan being dragged into the eye of a storm as he has been many times before in recent years. It started off as Shah Rukh’s personal opinion on intolerance in the country but fire-balled into a controversy with the the usual coterie of politicians shamelessly questioning his loyalty towards India.

Although there was support pouring in for the most loved Khan of Bollywood, the issue spiraled out of control with the Shiv Sena ironically criticising the statements made by BJP MLAs against SRK.

As the controversy led to security being beefed up outside Khan’s residence, Barkha Dutt decided to express her concern about the entire episode by writing a heartfelt open letter to King Khan.

Barkha Dutt | Source: Wikipedia

In the letter published in Hindustan Times , Dutt starts off by mentioning how this wasn’t the first time Shah Rukh got into trouble for honestly responding to her questions. She also described how some “right-wing ideologues pulled her up for asking questions that revealed ‘ signs of my own twisted and communal mind.’

Dutt remembered previous occasions when Khan had opened up to her and had spoken with candour while pointing out that he handles questions from media with self- depreciating wit.

Dutt also mentioned the turmoil that erupted when SRK got into a scuffle at Wankhede Stadium, which he later regretted. Khan had later told her that the official in the stadium had whispered a communal slur to him and that was just one of many instances when he was targeted for his religious identity.

Coming to the present controversy Dutt went on to say, “Now, here we are again, in 2015, where you prophetically said in my interview, ‘ To all those, telling me to go to Pakistan, this is my country, I am not going anywhere. So shut up, just shut up. But they didn’t, did they? When you said, “Our religion cannot be defined or showed respect to by our meat-eating habits. How banal and silly is that,’ I wanted to jump up and applaud. In your matter-of-fact way you had sealed the mindless, yet dangerous debate over beef politics that has ravaged India in these past few months. You spoke on everything from the fight at the film institute (you back the students) to those returning awards (not your preferred way of protest, but you find them brave). And despite what the Sena threatened you with in 2010, you reiterated your support for creative people from Pakistan to be given space in our films.”

Dutt wrote that she was disgusted with the way Shah Rukh Khan was being told that his popularity despite being a ‘Khan’ is proof of India’s secularism.

Finally, Dutt signed off with a heart rending line which read, “You, Shah Rukh — the real life man — not Raj or Rahul, your screen avatars — are my hero. But shamefully, I must admit — We don’t deserve you.”

Read the full article on Hindustan Times here.