Joined: 04 March 2009
By Ratan Lal Basu
Editor's Note: The author is a prolific writer of books and articles in economics. His articles, published in various journals, cover all conceivable branches of economics. He is one of the few scholars who have done their doctorate degree on the Arthasastra of Kautilya, a treatise on Economics, Statecraft and Espionage Mechanism written in India around 300 B. C. Dr. Basu is an Indologist and an authority on the economic ideas embedded in the Ancient Indian Sanskrit texts and his well-known Book 'Ancient Indian Economic Thought: Relevance for Today' has obtained wide acclaim all over the world. Dr. Basu may be contacted at [email protected]
I could at last find out the mobile stall at Bali island of Indonesia and asked for an international sim-card. The man at the counter said, 'sir you can buy a cheaper one at 20,000 Indonesian Rupiah but I would suggest you the better one at 50,000. I asked him to show the better one and handed over my passport. The boy beside him looked intently at my passport and said in a jubilant mood, 'India, Shahrukh Khan, kuch kuch hota hai'. In front of my bewildered eyes two girls at came forward from behind, looked at me intently and then started singing in perfect Hindi accent (although they had disclosed later on that they don't know Hindi at all)
"Tum paas aaye yoon muskaraye
Tumne na jaane kya sapne dikhaye
Ab to mera dil jaage na sota hai
Kya karoon haye kuchh kuchh hota hai"
The girls started dancing and the young boy joined them while the other man watched them with amazement. I was really flummoxed at the sudden turn of events and felt proud of our great Bollywood megastar.
I had to wait till they finished and then queried how come they know so many things about the Hindi films although they do not know Hindi at all. They disclosed that the Hindi films are very popular in Indonesia and most of them could understand the exotic stories f commercial Hindi films. I was surprised to learn that they were well informed about many other Bollywood film stars like Amitav Bacchan, Madhri Dikshit, Govinda etc. But Shahrukh is the most popular among them. He had visited Indonesia several times. At my query the girls disclosed with utter simplicity that many girls like them are crazy about this handsome jovial comedian from India.
Later on I thought that Shahrukh may reestablish the close relation between India and Indonesia which had its glorious historical past since the early Christian era and since the pre historic age according to the great Indian epic Ramayana.
My conviction was strengthened while I visited other cities of Indonesia and it appeared to me that at present Shahrukh Khan has become almost a synonym with India in Indonesia. At Yogyakarta, the girl at the counter of the Sheraton Hotel also mentioned his name while looking through my passport. Her name is Meghawati (which is a Hindu name although by religion she is Muslim of Mongoloid descent). While I was talking with other young girls (permanent employees and students of management institute gathering work experience) assembled around me and started pouring out their knowledge about India (and unquestionably I felt proud). One of them said that her most favorite film is "Yes Boss" and she also likes Juhi Chawala. She asked me if I knew the song, 'kai aisa geet gau' and unfortunately I had to decline. I was really overwhelmed and asked jokingly 'do you want to marry Shahrukh?' The girl replied, 'certainly, if possible'. I said 'never dream of it, his wife is a tough boxer and Marshall Art expert.'
I admit frankly that I am not much interested in commercial Hindi films and had never been a fan of the commercial film stars. But henceforth I would have to be as they are the representatives of our country in foreign lands. I remember an incident at Colombo, Sri Lanka. While I told some boys (who could communicate in English) that I had come from Kolkata or Calcutta they could not recognize the city. But the moment I said 'it's the city of Saurav Ganguly', the boys could recognize instantly and one of them said 'he is my most favorite'. Another boy said, 'but Sachin is the greatest'. The third boy protested, 'No it's Dravid'.
So we are known abroad not by our political leaders but by our players, our film stars, our singers.
Politicians of India please forgive me and don't be jealous of the true representatives of our nation.
Joined: 14 October 2009
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