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Shah Rukh Khan Advocates Women's Right to Assert Choices in His Davos Speech The megastar averred acid-attacks to be one of the basest, crudest acts of subjugation imaginable

By Komal Nathani

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Yet again, the Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan won huge accolades for his powerful speech at the Crystal Awards ceremony organized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Monday evening. Alongside other awardees Cate Blanchett and Sir Elton John, the 52-year old actor, Shah Rukh Khan was the only Indian honoured with the 24th Crystal Award for his 'leadership in championing women's and children's rights in India through his non-profit organization Meer Foundation,' said WEF in its tweet.

Meer Foundation stands to empower and encourage women around the world to feel appreciated and inspired equally with men. The foundation has changed the lives of many female acid attack survivors in India and aims to provide as much support as it can.

The actor wooed the audience with his nonchalant attitude and profound words on 'how the service of others is not a choice, but the duty of all of us that must be fulfilled in the name of humankind'. He also said that he had learnt a lot from beautifully scarred women and one of the greatest learning from them is to know 'how courage can catalyze victimhood into heroism'.

Here are the five highlights of his Davos speech that will awe-struck you:

When He Applauded his Co-Awardees

Davos elite tap included Catherine Elise Blanchett and Sir Elton John. When SRK's name was announced alongside the two other superstars, he applauded them by saying, "She is, of course, a lady who commands the wind and you sir command the song of a billion hearts, including mine. I am really touched that I am chosen between these two. Just a special request, before you go, can I do a selfie? Now, there I have embarrassed my children."

What Inspired Him to Work for Acid Attack Victims?

The actor talked about how actors are renowned narcissists who are obsessed with the external beauty in some or the other way. But his perspective got changed when he came across a lady who had been brutalized by an acid attack. In his speech at Davos, he said, "No matter how much we pretend not to believe in external beauty, we tend to be obsessed with it one way or the other. And perhaps being surrounded by this obsession of beauty, a few years ago I came across a lady who had been brutalized by an acid attack. It kind of changed my life or my perspective of it, at least." In his interview- An Insight to Shah Rukh Khan, he said, "It's the number that motivated me to take up this initiative and work on it. I wish my business becomes so big that I can employ more women in my companies."

Talking Change

Talking at the Forum, the 'Raees' actor said, "We the powerful need to get out of the way. We need to pick the barriers apart - the ones that give us names and colours and races and hierarchies. We need to get out of the way and into the work of breaking open access for each and every one with a true sense of ourselves but not as more powerful or less privileged, but genuinely as equals."

How Women Should be Treated as Equals

Exposing the barbarity and shamelessness of men involved in acid attacks, Shah Rukh said, "To me, throwing acid is one of the basest, crudest acts of subjugation imaginable. At the source of it lies the view that a woman does not have the right to assert her choice, say no to the advances of a man or a group of people. And yet, each of the women I met, I found within them the courage to move on with their lives and reject the idea of victimhood."

His Gratitude for Women around Him

The actor also talked about how he has drained bravery from the women around him. In his interview, he asserted, "I want to thank my sister, my wife and my little daughter for bringing me up well and teaching me the value of requesting, sometimes imploring and begging a yes from a woman, instead of forcing it upon her."

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!


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