On Taimur Ali Khan

The amount of time Indians waste on cricket and Bollywood must be enormous. While at least one of the two tries to bring glory to the country the other has always been insensitive to the very communities they owe their success to and make their living in.

We are talking about super stars like Saif Ali Khan and Kareena who, between them have millions of twitter followers and millions more willing to spend their hard earned rupee to watch. Money, in a poor country like India, that is scarce and could have been spent on various other necessities of life. After all our Bollywood “progressives” like Amir Khan advise us not to waste milk on idols but give it to poor, don’t they? Naturally, these bleeding hearts don’t mind if you waste it on a movie ticket though.

Coming back to the main topic of the day, the superstar couple naming their new born son “Taimur”. There was a huge outcry on twitter and social media because Taimur or Timur or Tamurlane happens to be a mass murderer, who, according to Wikipedia killed up to 17 million people, most of them unarmed non-combatants. Even by the standards of those times, he was seen as a vicious cruel man. Of course he did it in the name of religion which adds to the complexity.

Let us look at the various arguments advanced by our “liberal” brigade in defense of this name.

It’s the right of the couple to name their child, no one can protest.

Let us first make it clear that we do believe the couple have 100% liberty in naming their son. No one can take it away.

But is it too much to demand a little bit more sensitivity, courtesy, respect and decency? Would anyone protest a name like Amaan or Ayaan chosen by Amjad Ali Khan for his sons? Even Akbar would have been seen as benign.

The child was named Taimur not after the mass murderer king but in Turkish the word means “Iron”

Come on, give others a bit of credit for intelligence! If this is not a cheap lie, one can say it is a laughable justification.  We simply quote this response and rest our case.

Perhaps, this baby Taimur would “redeem” the bad name earned by the real Taimur

So Sagarika does not even want to bother defending Taimur’s record as that is a lost case, but simply tell us this boy will be “different”

I wonder what she would say if a “sanghi” celebrity had named his son Adolf or Naturam. Perhaps she would have taken a similar liberal view? Of course not! There would have been a lot of moral outraging, breast beating and wailing on Twitter by the very folks who are giving us lectures on individual liberty now.

History is full of such Kings who waged war and committed atrocities in the process.  No one protests when kids are named after them.

Alexander is cited as an example.

This argument, at least, has some amount of common sense and logic. But then there is a question of cause as well as proportion. In other words, war for a good cause (such as defeating Nazis) or after sufficient pleadings and warnings to reverse course (Mahabharata, Ramayana etc) is always seen as morally distinct from war waged simply to conquer territory. Even if expansion of territory was the sole motivating factor, other factors come into play. The overall track record of the person in question is also significant. Was he just a warlord? Or was he more than that?

More importantly, there is always US and THEM. In other words, every culture worships its heroes and hates its invaders. We are NOT talking religion here. If we hate the colonial warriors of Britain, they are national heroes there. Even a butcher of innocents like Gen. Dyer is not hated. No Christian Indian names their son Dyer just because of shared religion. Cecil Rhodes (whose scholarship our liberal journo Sagarika quoted above enjoyed) is a hero too despite his horrible record in Africa. But you don’t expect an African to name his son Cecil Rhodes in honor just as you don’t expect a Jew to be named Goebbels.

Similarly for the West, Alexander is a hero. For the Turks, their Ottoman Sultans are, though many of them are despicable tyrants and cruel butchers. For Pakistanis, sadly, Ghazni, Ghori and Babur are, though the area that constitutes Pakistan was as much as a victim as any and Arabs, Persians or Turks don’t see Pakistanis as one of them.

That brings us to the crucial question.

Who do Saif and Kareena see themselves as? US – which means us Indian, and that includes Hindus, Muslims and Indians of various colors, faiths and creeds that were massacred? Or THEM who were the butchers, rapists and murderers? Are they Turks or Mongols? Is shared religion the only criteria?

If they had a little bit more sensitivity and empathy towards the poor Hindus (and Muslims, who were killed in sufficient numbers by Timur too) that spend their hard earned rupee on their movies, the answer to these questions would have been obvious. Their moral compass would have pointed elsewhere.

That is the tragedy of this entire saga.

Let us wish the poor boy, who had no choice in this matter, all the best in his life and hope that when he grows up he will see the gross insensitivity and idiocy of his parents and change it himself.