History now and again offers moments of hope that seem small and fleeting but, placed in larger contexts and taken at the tide, promise reconstructions of far-reaching magnitude.
What happened in the city of Mumbai today was one such moment.
The fascist Shiv Sena had threatened not to allow the screening of the film My Name is Khan till such time as Shah Rukh Khan, the main actor in the movie and a Bollywood icon, had apologized for having expressed the view that Pakistani cricketers should have been participants in the forthcoming Indian Premier League. Shah Rukh, to his great credit, refused to do so—indeed the first Bollywood personality to have thus defied the Sena. With the exception, as I recall, of Mahesh Bhatt.
It needs to be remembered that Shah Rukh Khan’s father had not only been a freedom fighter during India’s anti-colonial movement, but uniquely a Muslim who chose after the partition of the country to leave the new nation of Pakistan and relocate his family in India.