Open letter to Mr. Shahrukh Khan

by Arindam Bandyopadhyay

(http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Open-letter-Mr-Shahrukh-Khan-SRK/blog-348.htm)

 

 Your name is a household phenomenon in Indian and even beyond her borders. Your fame has put you in the Newsweek “most powerful people list” recently. However, as you may recall from your recent experience in New Jersey Airport, real life is a little different – it does not always follow the path predicted by a scriptwriter or director.

Of late, we have been reading about your opinions and statements on matters beyond the celluloid world. Nothing is wrong in it. You live in a free, democratic country and are entirely entitled to your opinion. But as a common man, also from the same soil, I think I have the right too to raise a few points that may not conform to your views of the real world.

I hope you will read it out.

When recently, the Pakistani players were not selected for the IPL, it was almost predictable that NDTV, the award-winning, mouthpiece of our Indian liberal media select you for your views and you certified that “It (Pakistan) is a great neighbour to have. We (India and Pakistan) are great neighbours. They are good neighbours.”

I have a few words to say about those statements.

One may recall your effort to clarify the Pakistani team captain, Shoaib Malik”s apology to the Muslims, living all over the world, for failing to win the final T20 match against India, likely much to the embarrassment of a lot of Indian Muslims, as expressed by Shamin Bano, mother of the man of the match, Irfan Pathan. What was more embarrassing was your effort to try to defend Shoaib in a subsequent interview, “I don”t think he meant to segregate Muslims and Christians and Hindus and say this was a match between Islam and Hinduism. I don”t think that…”

I doubt whether Shoaib talked to you personally about his thought process at that time. You did not really have to respond for somebody else but perhaps you could not resist the temptation to show your brotherhood and solidarity.

This reminds us again of Dr Ambedkar”s observation that, “The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only.

Partition of India was what Pakistan wanted and got. It was painful to millions but many more millions in present India have been spared. Since then Pakistan has offered us only hatred. It has imposed on us three major wars, the Kargil insurgency, the Kashmir conflict, the series of serial blasts, the routine violation of border ceasefires, attacks on the Parliament House and the recent Mumbai 26/11attack.

Did you have these in mind when you talked about them being good neighbours?

In another interview you had tried to explain the concept of Islamic Jihad. “I think one needs to understand the meaning of jihad .. I”ve understood the essence that jihad is not about killing other people; jihad is about killing the badness in you.”

May be you understand jihad better and deeper than the superficial meaning of what we, the rest of the mortal mankind, overburdened and terrorized by the inter-religious, intra-religious and sectarian violence that is plaguing the world in the name of Islam today, do. For we, the less educated, cannot really make a difference between Jihad and Qatl, between Jihad by heart / soul, Jihad by pen and Jihad by sword or between lesser and greater jihad.

We wonder, whatever its meaning may be, does it minimize the significance of the mindless killings that we see today in the name of Islam, across borders, all over the world? Does it change the nature of the killers whether you call them holy warriors, mujahidins, fedayeens or plane suicide bombers?

We agree with you that terrorism has no religion. But hopefully you will also agree with the people who perceive that most terrorist in the world today happen to believe in the scriptures of Islam. They actually believe that they themselves are the true Islamists.

The so called “moderate” Islamist, perhaps does not want to contradict them or may be does not dare to speak out against them. You have probably not forgotten the FIR against you for listing Prophet Mohammed as one of the most unimpressive personalities in history, the threats from which you had to skillfully wriggle out. Others who are not so fortunate, famous or flexible are suffering lifetime, as Tasleema Nasreen or Salman Rushdie would testify. For blasphemy in Islam is punishable with death, even for a believer.

Do I have to spell out the fate if it is a non-believer?

It is due to the inherent intolerance and exclusivity of Islam itself despite your effort to convince us that there is an Islam from Allah and very unfortunately, there is an Islam from the Mullahs

Here is an historical insight from writer Irfan Hussain, “The Muslim heroes who figure larger than life in our history books committed some dreadful crimes..all have blood-stained hands that the passage of years has not cleansed. Indeed, the presence of Muslim historians on their various campaigns has ensured that the memory of their deeds will live long after they were buried…Seen through Hindu eyes, the Muslim invasion of their homeland was an unmitigated disaster.”

So why should the “non-believers” care to accept them? Why should the majority of Indians like to welcome back such disasters again?

Since partition, India has come a long way in progress and development to her current status and is projected as an economic superpower in coming decades while Pakistan is perceived as a failed state on the verge of disintegration.

What does India have to gain by offering neighbourly friendship to such a hostile and failed state?

India has never been an invader and is not in conflict of any other Muslim country. None of the wars and conflicts with Pakistan was instigated by India. In the current geopolitical situation, one can argue for the Muslim world”s grudge and anger against Israel or the west and USA but one fail to fathom why India should also be at the receiving end and why Indians should be the second largest group of people to die from terrorists attacks. Indian majorities do not have anything to do with the Danish cartoon or the death of Saddam Hussain; so why should they suffer from Islamic havoc on those occasions.

In almost all occasions of terrorism, questions are raised about possible role of Pakistan, its terror bases and its terrorist organizations, as either directly or indirectly involved. Be it state sponsored (as recently admitted by President Zardari) or by non-state actors, Pakistan or Pakistani born are prime suspect in terrorist activities all over the world. ISI has been accused of playing a role in major terrorist attacks including 9/11 in the USA, terrorism in Kashmir, Mumbai Train Bombings, London Bombings, Indian Parliament Attack, Varanasi bombings, Hyderabad bombings, Mumbai terror attacks or the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

Do you believe these are marks of a good neighbour? Then what is the reason for your preaching of love towards Pakistan?

Perhaps, as you said, because it is your ancestor”s homeland, you have a soft feeling for Pakistan and cannot see the difference. On the eve of accepting an honorary doctorate from a British university, we heard you say, “I really believe we are the same ..when you come away from India or Pakistan you realize there is no Indian or Pakistani – we”re all together. We are – culturally, as human beings, as friends”

Which Pakistanis are you referring to?

The Pakistanis belonging to the land, admonished as the epicenter of global terrorism, not just by India or USA but even by its friendly allies like Iran or China.

Or is it the self-created, Talibanic Pakistan, who still imposes Jijya on the non believers or finds pleasure in blowing up girl”s schools.

Are you talking about its President class like the current Mr. Zardari, vowed to wage a 1,000-year war with India or the late Mrs. Bhutto who started Jihad in Kashmiri that lead to the exodus of Hindu minorities from the Muslim majority state of India, as refugees in their own country?

Are you referring to Pakistanis loyal to the ISI and the military who train their soldiers with only one objective, i.e. to fight Hindu India?

If your mind is concerned about the faceless mass of Pakistanis, does it also include the dwindling minorities?

Or are you just concerned about the celebrities and the social elites?

It is true SRK that we belong to the same human species but it is hard to stretch the similarities much further between “us” and “them”.

We from the same original land of Bharat but we want to keep her intact, they want to break it into thousand pieces.

Our ancestors happen to be the same. We acknowledge and adore the heritage but they abhor and decimate whoever is available in an attempt to wipe out the link.

We are culturally the same. We have created the culture over centuries what they dream to destroy in moments.

Ours is a 10,000 year old civilization, theirs is a 62 years old country undoing whole human civilization.

We extend our hands repeatedly to promote friendship and amity; they give us ISI, Lashkar, Harkat, Kashmir, Kargil and 26/11 in exchange.

Do you think that the Indians nationals who died in all the above wars, the Indian soldiers who lost their lives in cross-border ceasefire violations or the Indian civilians who are killed by the ISI trained Islamic terrorists and their affiliates, in all those serial blasts, all over the country, willfully sacrificed their lives as a friendly neighbourhood gesture?

Can you face the families of the victims of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or the martyrs of the Kargil war and try to explain to them that “They are good neighbours. Let us love each other.”

Can you explain why the two gunmen at Cama hospital, during the Mumbai carnage, asked the man who gave them water, what his religion was, and shot him dead when he said he was a Hindu?

If you cannot, then perhaps you understand why the majority of India does not consider Pakistan as a good neighbour to have.

Perhaps you believe that the peaceful religious co-existence that you created in your home (and we appreciate that) can be extended to the large world outside. As you rightly said, we Indians trust and do accept everybody but what you did fail to mention was that it is the Indic tradition, essentially coming out of its pre-Islamic Hindu ethos.

If you think otherwise, show us a single Islamic country where the non-believers enjoy the same equality as the believers. Since partition, the Hindus left over in Pakistan and Bangladesh has suffered terribly. Strictly Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia, do not allow any other religions to exist. Hindus working in the Gulf countries are not allowed to practice their religion in public. Saudi Arabia insists that India sends only a Muslim ambassador. Hindu Muslim unity by and large has generally been a matter of Hindus trying to please or accommodate Muslims. One cannot forget when Vajpayee was extending his hand for peace Musharraf was planning the Kargil insurgency.

Let us remind you, your own statement “I am a Muslim in a country called India .We”ve never been made to feel this is a Hindu country.”

Can you find me a Hindu in Pakistan who can reciprocate that sentiment?

Some years ago, another Mr. Khan, first name Feroze, from your fraternity was banned from entering Pakistan for saying, “India is secular unlike Pakistan”.

That is the basic difference of the land of “Hindu” India from the Islamic “pure land” of Pakistan.

So please do not ask us to love Pakistan.

Please do not lump the people of India and Pakistan together. We Indians are proud to preserve our separate identity.

And please do not insult the land that gave you your life, name and fame, by claiming that her worst enemy, who wants to break her into 1000 pieces, is a great neighbour.

Otherwise it would be sad if somebody accuses you of putting your religion ahead of your country.

Please give it a thought.

Regards,

Arindam Bandyopadhyay.

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It is so predictable!

When the Pakistani players were not slected for the IPL, what do NDTV do?

Predictably they pick up the chief celebrity of the ‘friends of Pakistan brigade’,  Mr Shahrukh Khan and  predictably he bats for his co-religionists across the border.

It was not really unexpected – he has done this before. In fact I was almost expecting that Mr Khan will give us a word of his wisdom on this issue. The Indian islamist, overt or crypto, and the pseudo-secularists cannot really tolerate any perceived wrong-doing to Pakistan or it’s celebrities.

And so it came, thanks to our liberal and elite media. Shahrukh Khan certifies that “It (Pakistan) is a great neighbour to have. We are great neighbours, They are good neighbours.”

Did he keep in mind the three major wars that Pakistan imposed on us, the Kargil  insurgency, the routine violation of border ceasefires, the attack on the Parliament House, or even the recent Mumbai 26/11 attack, the vow of their president Zardari  to wage a 1,000-year war with India and their soldiers, trained and dedicated to the idea of fighting “Hindu India” resentment over the idea of fighting Taliban and killing fellow muslims on their own soil?

If Pakistan is such a great neighbour, are all of these India’s fault?

Off course he has not failed to walk the favorite path of the media as it did after the Mumbai carnage, that is, to blame the ‘ghost politicians’ to divert people’s attention. 

Are the Indians nationals who died in all the above wars, the Indian soldiers who lost their lives in cross-border ceasefire violations or the Indian civilians who are killed by the ISI trained  islamic terrorists, in all those serial blasts, all over the country, mere politician’s imaginations?

Or is it you, Mr Khan who is playing the role of the politician now.

Why not face it? We know it is a strong temptation to place the brotherhood over and above nationhood and we sympathize with you.

Admit it. Don’t fake and don’t misguide the youth.

 

Shah Rukh Khan feels Pak players should have been picked

Sunday, January 24, 2010 23:01 IST  

New Delhi: As a perceived snub to Pakistani players by the Indian Premier League spark a spat between the neighbouring countries, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, an IPL franchisee himself, believes they should have been picked.”I truly believe they (Pakistan players) should have been chosen,” Khan, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR), said.

Khan however said that since “some issues” were involved the matter could have been handled by the IPL “respectfully”.

No Pakistani player was bought by the eight Indian clubs during an auction on Tuesday for the third edition of the glitzy IPL despite the Pakistan team being the reigning world champions in the Twenty20 format of the cricket tournament.

Rooting for the Pakistani players, Khan said they are the best T20 players in the world. “They are the champions, they are wonderful but somewhere down the line there is an issue and we can’t deny it,” he told NDTV.

Khan said it was humiliating to him as a KKR owner that no one bid for the Pakistani players despite them being put up for auction. “We are known to invite everyone. We should have. If there were any issues, they should have been put on board earlier. Everything can happen respectfully,” he said.

“Everyday we blame Pakistan, everyday Pakistan blames us. It is an issue,” Khan, who had five players from Pakistan playing for KKR in IPL’s first edition, said.

Khan felt that the youth should circumvent all that is said about India and Pakistan by the politicians and say, “It (Pakistan) is a great neighbour to have. We are great neighbours, They are good neighbours. Let us love each other.”

“Let me be honest. My family is from Pakistan, my father was born there and his family is from there,” he said.

When recently the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a dubious Christian majority body from USA, put India on a so called “watch list” of countries for “lack of religious freedom and failure to protect the minorites, all that the Government of India officially do was regret”. 

One may recall that the same government in the pre-election days actually, initially, allowed this religious vigilante group   to scrutinize religious freedom in India but then had to retreat and withdraw permission, amidst protest from different circles, including the Sankaracharya

Perhaps by limiting their protest to just a meek regret, they avoided sending any wrong signal to the minority vote banks, both Muslims and Christians.

For once they could have stepped out of their narrow, divisive, political gimmicks and state the truth that India is a secular nation because Indian Hindus want it to be secular. It would have enhanced their natianalistic stand, had they echoed the sentiment of the Christian leaders of Orissa, who  emphasized that the majority community has been extremely cordial and supportive of the minority community”

This time, though it looks like the equation is different.

This time it is a popular star, a huge mass appeal, the ‘Badshah of Bollywood’, the name of Shahrukh Khan, a perceived ‘secular’ Muslim – too many good brownie points to miss. There had been other Khans and other Muslims who have been ill-treated by US authorities, including a former President of the country, but those incidences have been sidelined successfully in due time. Also this is not like when Rahul Baba was detained in Boston – that needed to be hushed up. This incidence is something that has already started to cause public outrage and it is not only politically correct, it actually will boost the Government’s image. It would be surprising if the government would let this opportunity go.

It is possible that our ardent, US loving Prime Minister may even start having sleepless nights again and be ‘instructed’ to take his complain of ‘Insomnia’ to the US administrators, currently overwhelmed by the Obama Health Care Plan.

  

India protests detention of Shahrukh Khan

 

August 16th, 2009 – 12:34 am ICT by John Le Fevre  

The Indian government has reacted angrily to the detention of Shahrukh Khan, one of it’s Bollywood superstars by US immigration officers. Khan, one of the best known faces in India, was detained at Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday as he traveled to Chicago to celebrate India’s Independence day and claims he was only released after the Indian embassy in the United States intervened. The 43-year-old actor, who has just finished filming a new movie, My Name is Khan, in the US, claims he was detained because he has a Muslim name.

“Certain countries have issues with my name. I am very proud of my name,” he said.

India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said India has taken up the issue with the US embassy and the consul general of India in New York is in touch with Shahrukh. Dubbed the “King of Bollywood”, Khan said he was questioned for two hours by immigration officials, and prevented from using his mobile phone to call for assistance.

US Ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer, said: “We are trying to ascertain the facts of the case – to understand what took place. He is a very welcome guest in the United States. Many Americans love his films.”

 

Shah Rukh detention: Soni suggests tit for tat

PTI | New Delhi

After a string of incidents like the one involving Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who was detained at a US airport, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Saturday suggested that India should do a ‘tit-for-tat’ towards Americans.  “I am of the opinion that the way we are frisked, for example I too was frisked, we should also do the same to them,” Soni said. Many examples like this have come from the US where frisking is done and “beyond permissible limits”, she said. “I don’t understand. In the name of religion, frisking can be done for anyone like this,” an angry Soni said.

This was not the first time that a prominent Indian was subjected to security checks in the US or by an American enterprise.

George Fernandes, who was then Defence Minister, was forced by US security officials to remove his shirt and shoes and made to undergo check at an airport in Washington when he was there on an official visit a few years ago.

The most recent case was that of former president A P J Abdul Kalam, who was frisked by officials of Contintental Airlines at the international airport here before boarding a Newark-bound flight. This had led to a furore in India.

Actor Kamal Hasan had to undergo security checking at a US airport in 2002, soon after 9/11, with some officials becoming suspicious about him while Malayalam superstar Mammootty too was detained at the JFK airport recently because of his middle name ‘Ismail Mohammed’.

Actor Irrfan Khan also faced a similar problem last year in US despite his global fame following the success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

Kabir Khan, Director of recent hit ‘New York’ which portrays victimisation of Muslims in post 9/11, was detained thrice while actor Neil Nitin Mukesh had to undergo similar drills.

Just a few months back,  Newsweek magazine named him one of the 50 most powerful people in the world. This time though, the claim, “My name is Khan” did not turn out to be so powerful.  Most likely the actor’s accusation that he was hassled because of his name is true and thus, he and his fans are  furious for a right reason.

It proves, once again, that, despite its tall claims to a just and equal society, without discrimination of age, gender, religion, nationality, etc, religious profiling has been and is still routinely used in the USA. One wonders what credibility they have to pass jugements on other people or countries, like the recent placement of India on watch list for “lack of religious freedom”.

Post 9/11 Muslims are undoubtedly the major sufferer of such profiling.  While it can be argued that some subtle selection processes are necessary for safety and security, such practice can be  counterproductive, since it increases further hatred. On the other hand, Muslims around the world, even if they are mild or moderate, cannot absolve themselves from their roles and responsibilities of creating such a vicious  atmosphere of suspicion and malice about their religion.

 

Bollywood star held in U.S. airport, fans outraged

 

Sat Aug 15, 9:09 am ET

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan said he felt angry and humiliated after he was detained and questioned at a U.S. airport, sparking an uproar in India among his fans.Khan, 43, one of India’s best known actors, was enroute to Chicago for a parade to mark the Indian independence day on Saturday when he was pulled aside at Newark airport Friday, he said.

“I was really hassled perhaps because of my name being Khan. These guys just wouldn’t let me through,” he said in a text message to reporters in India. After a couple of hours’ interrogation, he was allowed to make a call, he said, and he got in touch with the Indian consulate who vouched for him and secured his release. “Absolutely uncalled for, I think. I felt angry and humiliated,” said Khan, who had just finished a month-long shoot in the United States for his upcoming film “My Name is Khan,” which is about a Muslim man’s experience with racial profiling.

A U.S. consul official in India told a television channel they were inquiring into the matter. As news of Khan’s detention broke on Indian television channels, which have played up attacks in Australia on Indian students, fans and actors began posting angry comments on the Internet. “Shocking, disturbing n downright disgraceful. It’s such behavior that fuels hatred and racism. SRK’s a world figure for God’s sake. Get real!!,” tweeted actor Priyanka Chopra.

Indian Information Minister Ambika Soni told a television station that while she could not say if Khan had been detained “on religious grounds, there have been too many instances like these in the U.S. concerning Indians.” Last month U.S-based carrier Continental Airlines apologized to former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for frisking him at New Delhi airport.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Rina Chandran)

Thank you, ‘Dr’ Shahrukh Khan for enlightening us with a word of immense wisdom. We have had glimpses of your wisdom in past such as “jihad is not about killing other people, jihad is about killing the badness in you“.

Yes, Dr Khan, we understand. To your filmy tunnel vision, we, the people of India and they, the people of Pakistan, are indeed the same. Or should we believe that there is a different kind of brotherhood influencing your thought process.

It is true that we come from the same original land of Bharat – we want to keep her intact, they want to break it into thousand pieces.

Our ancestors happen to be the same – we acknowledge and adore the fact, they abhor and decimate whoever is available in an attempt to wipe out the link.

We are culturally the same – we have created it over centuries what they are eager to destroy in moments.

Ours is a 10,000 year old civilization, theirs is a 62 yearrs old country undoing whole human civilization.

We extend our hands repeatedly to promote friendship and amity, they give us ISI, Lashkar, Harkat, Kargil and 26/11 in exchange.

Let us remind you, your own statement..I am a Muslim in a country called India …We’ve never been made to feel this is a Hindu country“. 

Can you find me a Hindu in Pakistan who can reciprocate that sentiment?

Let us also remind you that there was another Mr Khan, first name Feroze, from your fraternity who, some years ago, earned a lot of acclaim and was banned from entering Pakistan for saying,  “India is secular unlike Pakistan“.

Indeed, Mr SRK, that is the basic difference of the land of “Hindu” India from the official Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

So please do not lump the people of India and Pakistan together as South Asians – we, Indians, love to preserve our separate identity.

And plaese do not insult the land that gave you your life, name and fame, by equating it with her worst enemy country.

 

There’s no India, nor Pak, says SRK

 

12 July 2009, 12:00am IST

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan pitched for greater harmony among South Asian people as he accepted an honorary doctorate from a British university, saying governments were best left to their own “agendas”.

“We belong to – I know it’s a bit of a cliche but – one world. Specifically I think, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka – all of us, we’re the same. I really believe we are the same,” Khan told journalists after being made honorary Doctor of Arts by Bedfordshire University Friday.

The doctorate in recognition of his “exceptional achievement as a film actor and producer”, was proposed by an Indian NGO called Routes 2 Roots, which works to bring South Asians together.

“My mother is from Hyderabad in India and father is from Peshawar (in Pakistan). So I do believe in this (cultural unity).

“Especially when you come away from India or Pakistan you realise there is no Indian or Pakistani – we’re all together. We are – culturally, as human beings, as friends. These are the aspects that keep us together.

“As far as the (government) agendas are concerned, let them go on.”

Invited by a Pakistani journalist to visit Pakistan, said: “I also do wish to go there – my family’s there.”

Earlier, in his acceptance speech, Khan said he was inspired by the doctorate to work for the education of poor children in India.

“While this honour is bestowed on me, I wonder if the deserving but poor and underprivileged children from India can also pursue their higher education in such universities and maybe earn a doctorate as well.

“This thought has been weighing heavily on my mind and I am hopeful that I would be able to contribute to this cause in the future,” he added.

 

Also read:

Shahrukh Khan in ‘Islamic’ trouble

Shahrukh Khan in ‘Islamic’ trouble: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

 

The BADSHAH of Bollywood is in trouble for blasphemy. He has been accused to have listed Prophet Mohammed as one of the most unimpressive personalities in history. Moreover he has bracketed the Prophet along with Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill. If the case is proved, Khan could go to jail for three years, according to police source.

Just the other day Newsweek magazine named him one of the 50 most powerful people in the world.

The celluloid BAAZIGAAR, indulged by his success in SWADES and PARDES, became so DEEWANA, that CHALTE CHALTE, without any DARR, he made some comments on Islam and the Prophet. 

RAM JANE, why he did so! It may remain a PAHELI forever. 

Perhaps he overestimated his filmy JOSH and SHAKTI: THE POWER and thus got carried away. “MAIN HOON NA”, he must have thought. The poor guy did not even think of the ANJAAM – forgot the likes of Rushdie and Tasleema. 

Now some people have got offended. 

He istrying hard to clarify to his religious SAATHIYA that HUM TUMHARE HAIN SANAM. He claimed that his comments to a magazine were misinterpreted due to a “writing error” and that he had named the Prophet among the most impressive personalities in history.

“YES BOSS, main IDIOT hoon! Mera DIL TO PAGAL HAIN! Mere batein DIL SE maat lena!” 

What else can he do? Better to behave like a PAGLA, when ZAMANA DEEWANA hai. 

Who wants to be a DUSHMAN DUNIYA KA, specially of the Islamic duniya? 

When you cross Islam even the DON has to worry whether KAL HO NA HO. 

No more CHAMATKAR. 

No more ONE TWO KA FOUR. 

From now onwards, RAJU BAN GAYA GENTLEMAN. 

OM SHANTI OM!!!!!!!!!!