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Then why go to the US?

 

RANJIT BHUSHAN | New Delhi, April 27, 2013 12:25
Tags : Azam Khan | Muslims | Boston Marathon bombings | Boston Airport | Akhilesh Yadav |
 

India’s pampered VIPs are confronted with a problem they do not know how to get around to. Going to the US either on work or holiday becomes a talking point in social circles back home, as do accounts of their stay there. Since most of the trip is covered in snazzy detail by a media (often paid) hungering for salacious gossip, much goodwill is generated all round. Add to it some frantic shopping in the Big Apple and catching up with relatives there, and the American visit is a runaway success.
 
Now, it appears there is a slight problem here. The elite Indian – among them politicians, film stars and widely adored sportsmen - are used to certain standards in life; after all he or she has money, star value and fawning camp followers and fans who will happily undertake any mission, however demeaning, with a smile on their lips and a song in their hearts.
 
American-style democracy, it would appear, is a bit different. For Washington, anyone who does not hold a diplomatic passport is open to a little bit of more scrutiny at their immigration counters – and it includes everyone. Indian heroes are not used to such treatment. At India’s domestic airports, there is a no question of any frisking or even checking; a VIP is a VIP and must be waived on, in every likelihood, by the airport staff themselves.
 
The latest victim of this syndrome is UP strongman and SP leader Azam Khan. On a visit to the US along with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, his 'detention' at Boston’s Logan airport is making waves. In protest, Yadav skipped the lecture that he was supposed to have delivered at the famed Harvard University, leaving it the suave UP Chief Secretary to do the honours.
 
Coming as the trip did in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, the UP team obviously ran into a heightened security wall, full details of which are not yet available.

While Azam Khan, known for his fiery temper, told the Americans what he thought about them and cut short his visit there, the point that needs to be asked here is this: are our VIPs getting too touchy? You may be a VIP in a country which actively cultivates and encourages this culture and which indeed, reflects a person’s social standing in society, it may have no meaning in another nation where the rule of law overrides any other consideration.
 
There have been other instances where Indians have been `held’ at American airports - Shah Rukh Khan’sdetention for instance - and much to the merriment of American officials present at the airport, invariably a drama unfolds which would do proud to a movie script back home.
 
TV studios in the country fuel such holdups as `intentional insult to national honour’. Pray, why then go to America at all? Aren't there any other countries to visit? Instead of learning lessons on how to tighten security – in abject contrast to immigration counters at Indian airports – the pampered Indian elite is deeply outraged at this treatment. Its time to pull them off their high horses, if not in India, then at least in the US, which they will continue to visit, no matter how grave the insult or provocation.

 
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian)
 
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017