I'm tired of hearing people getting worked up about the "demeaning and
humiliating" treatment that some celebrity or the other occasionally
suffers at the hands of airport (or other) security personnel, because
they usually demand more respect for important people, or fewer
complaints from them.
Two recent examples: former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam being
frisked before boarding a Continental Airlines flight bound for Newark
despite his VVIP status exempting him from security checks, which
provoked outrage and demands to ban the airlines in Parliament; and
actor Shah Rukh Khan being detained for a couple of hours on arrival at
Newark airport, which at first made him not want to "set foot on US soil
again", but which he later said was "nothing" compared to what Kalam had
Some people have written in to newspapers saying that celebrities should
be treated like everyone else and that they shouldn't object to security
procedures. I agree with the first part, but I vehemently disagree that
security procedures should be accepted by all as a fait accompli.
Nobody should be subjected to the humiliating and farcical
that international travel has devolved into these days.
Until then, however, perhaps it would be best if celebrities were
treated especially poorly at airports, considering how much more media
attention their complaints attract.
As an aside, I liked this letter to the Editor of
from J. Victor Rajasekaran of Chennai.
The Newark incident was undoubtedly a matter of humiliation for SRK and
a rude shock for lakhs of Indians. The Americans and other westerners
are clearly racial [sic].
How prejudiced the westerners are! They should learn a lesson or two
from us. Look at the way we treat our fellow citizens. Look, for
instance, at the case of the Dalit youth who was beaten up on Thursday
in Tamil Nadu by caste Hindus for riding a bicycle. Let us feel proud to