Deccan Chronicle

Salman must say sorry immediately

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: June 22, 2016 | Updated on: June 22, 2016

If Mr Khan is man enough, he must not hesitate to say sorry.

Salman Khan

Salman Khan

Salman Khan, the well-known film actor, may realise on reflection that his recent controversial observation was crude in the extreme. Worse, it was insensitive and disparaging of women, who in a male-dominated social set-up are victims of extreme prejudice and routinely suffer indignity and iniquities in the family and in society in general. Popular actors should at least take care to do nothing that endorses or deepens existing prejudices.

Cinema is a part of the wider media. Bollywood films, in particular, are seen by lakhs of people. Bollywood’s most famous actors — male and female — have the power to act as role models, and some have consciously striven to cast a positive influence on society even when they do not subscribe to the notion of art films.

Many films, film directors and film actors the world over have used the medium to advance important causes — sometimes great causes — and raise public sensitivity as well as sensibility. Mr Khan is among the country’s most famous and popular cine artistes. It would be in the fitness of things if he publicly acknowledged that his words, although unintended, were extremely unfortunate and violated female dignity.

The National Commission of Women has given the actor one week in which to tender an apology. This can only mean that he should show that he is contrite and expresses regret. An "apology" in the strict legal sense can be tendered to an individual or an institution. But taking an enlightened view, it can mean in this case that Mr Khan appreciates that his remarks denigrated women and were gender-insensitive.

He will raise his stature among the viewing public if he did not wait for a week, or sought to be evasive or take legal recourse to get out of the social jam he finds himself in. People out for "entertainment" won’t stop seeing his films if he gave no signs of remorse, but they will think poorly of him. He will lose his shine or soft power.

In an interview, the actor said that he used to get extremely tired and couldn’t walk straight after repeated bouts of heavy lifting for a scene, and said he felt like a "raped woman". Mr Khan should be made to understand that a woman who has been physically violated feels degraded and emotionally tortured. In some cases victims even take their own life, unable to face themselves and society.

There is both a personal, psychological and social dimension to rape, which is perpetrated on someone who is weaker in bodily strength and social or economic position. Physical tiredness is the last thing on a victim’s mind. Being tired and sexually violated are entirely different things. If Mr Khan is man enough, he must not hesitate to say sorry.

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