As fans across the globe unite in mourning for one of India’s most beloved singers Lata Mangeshkar, social media trolls attacked Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan accusing him of spitting on Lata’s body.
Mangeshkar, whose voice was the soundtrack to hundreds of Bollywood films, died aged 92 on Sunday.
At her Feb. 6 state-sponsored funeral in Mumbai, Shah Rukh Khan offered a prayer while paying his respects. As is custom, he blew into the wind when he was done, momentarily lowering his mask
However, the Twitter-verse was filled with hate for Khan in particular and Muslims in general with propaganda channels attacking Muslims saying they disrespect Indian icons. A BJP functionary from a northern state also joined in.
Despite this being a common, well-documented Islamic ritual, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and supporters decided to make it appear on social media as if Khan was “spitting” on Mangeshkar’s remains. The state in-charge of BJP Haryana, Arun Yadav, was one of the first to make this allegation, tweeting “Kya isne thuka hai (Did he spit)?” along with a video clip.
क्या इसने थूका है ❓ pic.twitter.com/RZOa2NVM5I
— Arun Yadav (@beingarun28) February 6, 2022
No other BJP leader has come forward in Khan’s defence or to censure Yadav for his false, provocative comment thus far. Another BJP leader, the party’s Uttar Pradesh spokesperson Prashant Umrao, too made this allegation.
Shahrukh is Spitting! https://t.co/mhX8i7lnNk
— Prashant Umrao (@ippatel) February 6, 2022
Several netizens followed the trend.
“Spitting or no spitting, blowing or no blowing is immaterial! 2 relevant Q: 1.Did he take her family approval? 2.If no, this attempt to normalise Islamic culture with non-believers must be resisted! If Hindu celeb sprinkling GangaJal on a devout deceased Muslim be acceptable?,” stated Alok Bhatt a Chartered Accountant.
Spitting or no spitting,blowing or no blowing is immaterial!
2 relevant Q:
1.Did he take her family approval?
2.If no,this attempt to normalise Islamic culture with non believers must be resisted!
If Hindu celeb sprinkling GangaJal on a devout deceased Muslim be acceptable? https://t.co/5fRHXpz1ww
— Alok Bhatt (@alok_bhatt) February 7, 2022
Several celebrities came to SRK’s defense. “Not spitting, it is called blowing prayers. This civilization, culture is called India,” stated Actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar.
थूकना नही दुआओं को फुँकना कहते हैं।इस सभ्यता,संस्कृति को #भारत कहते हैं।
प्रधानमंत्री जी की फ़ोटो तो लगा रखी हैं, उनसे कुछ सीखा होता।
भारत माँ कीं अनमोल बेटी का गाना सुनें
“ईश्वर अल्लाह तेरे नाम, सबको सन्मति दे भगवान,
सारा जग तेरी सन्तान”
(आज का दिन तो छोड़ देतें🙏🏻) https://t.co/fjmUWor9Fh pic.twitter.com/c6tkhiEK1d
— Urmila Matondkar (@UrmilaMatondkar) February 6, 2022
— Priya Gupta (@priyagupta999) February 6, 2022
“This despicable leader @beingarun28 spreading lies and hatred belongs to the party of the prime minister @narendramodi . Modi nurtures such disgusting people,” tweeted Vinod Kapri an award-winning filmmaker.
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) February 6, 2022
Many people responded to Yadav and others by clarifying what Khan’s action denoted, and also slammed them for having such little knowledge of Islamic customs. Other fans of Khan’s also appreciated his tribute at Mangeshkar’s funeral.
— Mehran मेहरान 🇮🇳 (@mehranzaidi) February 6, 2022
In November 2015—a year after prime minister Narendra Modi came to power for the first time—Indian movie superstar SRK stood up publicly for a Muslim man, Mohammed Akhlaq, who was beaten to death by a Hindu mob.
SRK, arguably one of Bollywood’s most self-reflective voices, has sold an audacious brand of romance to generations of fans in India with his trademark cheek for over three decades.
But a month after his son Aryan walked out of jail on bail, having spent 26 days in custody in a drugs case, those who follow the inner workings of Bollywood believe that India’s right-wing Hindu nationalist government is flexing its muscles to control the multi-billion dollar industry that runs on brand power.
For nearly six years, Khan has refused to speak up again, journalist Barkha Dutt points out. The king of Bollywood has become a shadow of himself in the public eye. Usually outspoken, he stayed quiet even after receiving flak for staying silent on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act that discriminates against Muslims last year. In 2015, he warned the world that “religious intolerance will take [India] to the dark ages.”