Issue Brief on “The Post-Truth India: Shahrukh Khan at Lata Mangeshkar’s Funeral”

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Introduction

Did Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan spit at Lata Mangeshkar’s funeral? This is the question grabbing headlines in India nowadays. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Arun Yadav from Haryana, and Prashant Umrao from Uttar Pradesh, ignited the whole controversy through their tweets along with Shahrukh Khan’s video of blowing air to pass on the blessings at Lata’s dead body. Yadav posed a question “Has it Spit?” The question was whether Mr. Khan had spit on the mortal remains of Lata (Figure 1).[1] Umrao was a step ahead and tweeted “Shahrukh is Spitting!” (Figure 2). The absurdness of these tweets is understandable and not a surprise, but this is not something that cannot be expected in today’s India. If this thought had been raised by a certain individual it could have easily been avoided; nonetheless, the number of people belonging to the BJP-mindset endorsing the same opinion in India compels one to dig into the psychological reasoning behind this. Generally speaking, blowing air on the deceased (Dua phoonkna) is a way of passing on prayers for the well-being of the dead one in the afterlife. This is a common ritual among the Muslims.

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