Why Do Indians Love the Idea of “Struggle”?

Social Commentary

Why Do Indians Love the Idea of “Struggle”?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


y now, everyone’s formed an opinion about Suhana Khan’s Vogue cover. The magazine, which featured Shah Rukh Khan’s teenage daughter on the cover, predictably added fuel to the fire of nepotism, leaving many outraged that an adolescent with no accomplishments to her name should be a leading lady just because of her famous father. A less-than-discerning chunk of the internet even thought that a clearly labelled fake news piece about Suhana’s “struggles” – that she was forced to bear the indignity of riding in an Audi to the shoot instead of a Jaguar – was real.

And yet, the subject of the fake news story is all too familiar. For some reason, when we Indians talk about merit and accomplishment, the conversation is inevitably framed by struggle: Whether it’s making it through a gruelling IIT entrance exam, or defending Suhana’s right to nepotism, as many did, by pointing at Shah Rukh Khan’s struggle to become a self-made superstar. Apparently, his daughter should reap the benefits of his struggle, just like kids across the country inherit the advantages their parents worked hard to get.