Following the recent spate of attacks against Indians in Australia, Amitabh Bachchan wrote to the Queensland University of Technology. Here's some of what was in that letter:
"I have [followed] the most unfortunate and violent attacks on Indian[s] ... [and] the anguish that these incidents have caused to the families of those who have become unfortunate victims.
The Queensland University of Technology has very graciously offered ... to confer an Honorary Doctorate to me for my contribution to the world of entertainment.
Under the prevailing circumstances I find it inappropriate at this juncture, to accept this decoration. My conscience is profoundly unsettled at the moment and there seems to be a moral disjuncture between the suffering of [the Indian victims] and my own approbation."
The VC of QUT replied to this letter, saying: "[Y]our stature has brought focus to a problem that must be addressed urgently."
Very true. I hope this leads to severe punishment for the goons who attacked those Indians, and to measures to ensure the safety of other Indians in Australia.
Here are three more episodes in which Indians were attacked:
1) A student in his first semester at medical college is beaten to death by his seniors. This is only the latest in many such incidents going back years.
2) A railway coach full of Indians is set on fire, burning to death over 50. This is followed by weeks of more killing of more Indians. When it finally ends, about a thousand Indians are dead.
3) Choosing them for what they wear on their heads, mobs slaughter Indians over several days. In some cases, powerful local politicians urge these mobs on. When it finally ends, about three thousand Indians are dead.
As you perhaps realize, none of these happened in Australia. They happened here in India: this year, in 2002, and in 1984 respectively.
In 2004, Jhansi University awarded Amitabh Bachchan a honorary doctorate. In 2006, Delhi University did the same. Both degrees were in recognition of his contribution to the world of entertainment.
To my knowledge, Bachchan did not write to either University saying he found it inappropriate to accept their decoration because he felt a "moral disjuncture" between the suffering of victims of these attacks, and his approbation. I mean, he probably felt that moral disjuncture -- if he felt it about Australia, I'm sure he did about India -- but he didn't write such letters.
But what if he wrote them today, choosing, just for example, episode #3 above? Would his stature bring "focus to a problem that must be addressed urgently": the utter lack of justice 25 years after that slaughter of Indians?
I think it certainly would. How about it, Amitabh Bachchan? #3, #2, #1, or any of many others -- take your pick, but how about it?