Aamir Khan’s meeting with Turkey’s first lady Ermine Erdogan proves that selectivism is elite liberalism’s greatest intellectual folly. By all definitions Aamir Khan is an elite liberal. He’s not overtly religious, he has few friends in the Saffron camp, may even look down upon certain types who vote for an alleged Hindu nationalist. Like other members of his tribe, Khan is most likely to live in a cosmopolitan, gated community and possibly has conflicted feelings about enforced patriotism that expects people to stand up for the national anthem in film halls. In short he’s an integral member of a tribe that is just as insular as those ‘deplorables’ they seek to condemn for their exclusivism.
It came as no surprise to anyone when in 2015 Khan let it be known that he was one among those who felt insecure enough to contemplate moving out of an ‘intolerant India’ after reports of some random attacks on minorities by ‘gau rakshaks’. His statement then was held up by the Indian left as a stinging indictment of the NDA’s ‘’Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas” slogan. Never mind that there was no and still is no evidence to suggest that the killings were the result of a ‘’Hindu supremacist pathology’’ that elite liberals cite when talking about the fiction of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ emerging under Prime Minister Modi.
But after setting the bar on intolerance so high in the country of his birth, it was quite confusing to see Khan taking in the azure waters of the Bosphorus in the home of Turkey’s ‘’Islamo-fascist’’ President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The fittingly grateful visage of Aamir Khan in the company of the wannabe caliph’s wife draws immediate parallels to the snap taken of debonair adventurist Charles Lindberg with Adolf Hitler’s aide Hermann Goering in 1938. History tells us that authoritarian regimes are quick to turn photo-ops with celebrities into evidence of legitimacy to discredit those that question their position and actions. If the Nazis blew up the Lindberg handshake into a grand token of universal acceptability, the Turkish ‘proto-dictator’s’ wife was quick to tweet pictures of the engagement with Khan.
Hosting a moderate Muslim like Aamir – the poster boy of tolerance — will serve to whitewash the horrific crimes allegedly being committed by the Erdogan regime against dissenting intellectuals, Kurdish Muslims, Christians and Yezidis.
While researching the list of odious crimes perpetrated by the Erdogan regime, this writer came across a blood curdling report about a Kurdish woman fleeing the bombardment by alleged Turkish troops and their Islamist cohorts in 2018. An excerpt from the report reads: “The Kurdish woman was running hand-in-hand with her young daughter when a missile obliterated the child. The mother held onto her arm – all that was left of her child.”
It isn’t possible that the irony of his fawning outreach would have been lost on the conscientious Khan. He would have been only too well aware that the meeting with Turkey’s first lady would be used by his critics on the right as an example of his hypocrisy on the subject of intolerance at home. So why did he go ahead and press for a meeting? Has Khan suddenly become a flaming Islamist? Unlikely. The most prosaic explanation on offer is that Khan, like other members of the liberal elite, are basically all opportunists looking to score a few points against Prime Minister Modi and the NDA. In other words Khan’s very public hand wringing on the subject of the odd lynching by Gau Rakshaks was a purely political intervention intended to help elements in the opposition charge the NDA with propagating a muscular Hindutva.
On Twitter of course conspiracy theorists would have us believe that Khan is so prejudiced against the Modi government that he chose to even cozy up to the much reviled Erdogans just to spite the NDA. It’s no secret that the Modi regime has been particularly upset with President Erdogan for his pro-Pakistan tilt on the issue of Kashmir.
While the speculation over his motives is almost certain to continue, there’s no doubt that, beyond India, Khan has betrayed the thousands slaughtered by Turkey’s ”Islamo-fascist” regime.