Modern patriotism means opening ourselves to change: SRK
On the occasion of Independence Day, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan pens his views on what it means to be Indian in today's day and age, in a special column for mid-day
These days, the outlook towards patriotism is far more modern. It is more about taking pride in being Indian; in accepting and celebrating what it is to be Indian.
We keep wondering why our films don’t get Oscar awards. It is not because we make films that are better or worse, but because we have not adapted ourselves to their system. We don’t know which films to send. We don’t have enough committees, or the right people to understand that. We don’t respect others’ viewpoints. We need to do that and be more open about what really works where, instead of getting egotistic about our choices.
The country is going through a transition. The small towns and the middle classes are taking giant strides. There is a lot more confidence and acceptance in the next generation. Pic/Shadab Khan
We did so well at the Commonwealth Games, which means that someone, somewhere, understood what works there. Modern patriotism would mean opening ourselves to change and new challenges. It is not enough to know that we are good. We also need to understand the language of other countries and beat them on their own turf.
The country is going through a transition. The small towns and the middle classes are taking giant strides. It’s time for us to move beyond the narrow constraints of our personal benefit and convenience.
The truly modern way is to understand it emotionally and in an inclusive manner, rather than being closed and exclusive. I am truly proud of being Indian, and I know we are capable of doing a lot more than we already have.
Cultural nationalism is alright, as long as it benefits everybody. We all have our individual cultures, but if you are not open to change, then you are like a frog in the well.
We inherited a lot of things culturally and we should show that to the world with pride, but dress it up in a way that they understand it. I have a friend who teaches Yoga to thousands in the US, but he has clothed it in a garb that appeals to their culture and sensibilities.
Don’t think that your culture will be protected if you bottle it up. Instead, if you adapt, your culture can spread far and wide.
We are on the cusp of achieving wonderful things in a lot of fields. We should take away this idea of singularship. That progessive outlook needs to be incorporated into the system.
Our mindset is something like this: ‘Let the world do anything it wants, we should protect ourselves’. But the time has come for the middle class, which is educated and most instrumental in shifting gears, to stop worrying about self-preservation and start taking chances and risks.
I hope that my generation will be the last one to have worried about self-preservation.
My son Aryan’s generation is more global, more open about these things. He studies in London. If his classmates tease him for his accent, he doesn’t take it badly. In fact, they have now formed a group where they joke about each other’s accent, culture etc. They all take it more sportingly; there is a lot more confidence and acceptance in the next generation, and that’s really nice. No one’s belittling anyone.
The writer is a leading actor and producer