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Naming a Lunar Crater after Shah Rukh Khan: How far is it justified?

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Quite recently the International Lunar Geographic Society (ILUGS), a New York-based organization devoted to the study of the moon, has named a lunar crater after the Bollywood star, Shah Rukh Khan. This crater is supposedly located on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility and is the largest of the four Arago craters, positioned directly south of the main crater. It is noteworthy that ILUGS was working on the christening of this part of crater since November 2nd last year when the present day godfather of Bollywood turned 44th. Shockingly, even the International Astronomical Union, headquartered in Paris has approved it. Few questions which this naming has given rise to and are concerned with the mankind involving billions of people in general are — Should this kind of move be supported in future and whether the involvement of Bollywood in astronomy should be promoted? With the mighty presence and recognition of these superstars already in the entire world is this kind of naming of ethereal bodies justified and required?

I personally feel that it is quite ridiculous on the part of such astronomical bodies which are having huge universal importance to narrow down their celestial naming to such a low. What makes them forget about the great astronomers and scientists who have worked throughout their lives to discover the mysteries in the outer space? Or is it so that they have already named regions after all eminent astronomers and are now falling short of names and have been kind enough to turn to Bollywood for getting the names which are most often typed on Google? I really don’t think that the latter is true. To name a few, the scientists like Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya, Sir Chandrashekhar, Dr. Meghnad Saha and Dr. J. C. Bose would be far better options for such a naming. Only Sir C V Raman, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, and Dr. Homi Bhabha are the ones who have been considered till date for naming the craters.

We never know to what extent a celebrity can go to retain his/her international presence for as long as possible amidst the global fans and supporters. Who knows if SRK has paid a whopping amount to ILUGS for “Cater S R Khan” which can be looked at as a “generous contribution” for this organization and can be very well put forward as a Birthday Gift for our still-a-kid Khan. An American entrepreneur from Nevada, Dennis Hope is already claimed to found a loophole in UN Outer Space Treaty which forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the moon or a planet, since they are the common heritage of mankind. He has sold crater names to millions of people around the globe. His company, the Lunar Geographical Society, was started in 1980 and he is the self-proclaimed head of the Lunar Embassy. In the last twenty years Hope is expected to have made around nine million dollars. Hope’s company has sold more than 2,500,000* 1-acre plots of lunar land and named countless craters. Mostly by offering a very believable looking certificate, craters go for $39.95 (Rs 1,840) and land goes for about $19 (Rs 855). SRK could be one of those customers of ILUGS directly with an extended help of charity in return even though the organization claims that it is just an honorary designation of the crater. Well now you know why Mr. Khan is planning to even name his next movie as My Name is Chand so that in case My Name is Khan fails to deliver, Mr. Khan has a new lollipop to draw attention of cine-goers. While the race amongst the Khans’ continues till date, with Salman Khan lagging a bit and SRK getting a tough competition from Aamir after his blockbuster 3 Idiots, SRK has been under an immense pressure to work on different genres instead of fantasizing his fans just romantically.

The bottom line of the whole story is evidently a requirement for a better check on naming convention of celestial bodies. There are thousands of astronomers and scientists who work day in and day out to discover something new in the outer space which can be of some help for the mankind. We tend to neglect their contribution by naming our heavenly objects after the people who are in first place not even related to their discovery and who are already so famous that there are people who might even forget the name of their parents, the country they are living in but know about these celebrities for sure.

(*Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/No-SRK-crater-on-moon/articleshow/5505209.cms)

The writer is a Goa based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz, pursuing Computer Science Engineering at BITS, Pilani — Goa Campus

You must be to comment.
  1. ashish kumar

    the article is really nice and we need young people like Ankur to raise their voice against such ridiculous things.

  2. Pratul Mathur

    The article is very well written with a lot of justifying facts…keep it up Ankur…

  3. Mohit

    Well thought out and presented article Ankur.

  4. Ankur Kumar

    heyy…thanks ashish, pratul and mohit for all your appreciation…i think its high time when we should raise our voice against such idiotic things prevailing in the world.

  5. Himanshu Rautela

    Good article Ankur, what’s happening is really sad. But partly, we people are to be blamed for that. We attach too much sentiments with movie stars and cricketers and treat them like gods, and these industrialists etc. are just capitalizing on their popularity. What good are these movie stars/cricketers doing to the nation?? It was sad to see movie stars and cricketers – who don’t even represent the nation, rather play (work) for a private organization – BCCI being given Padma Awards in preference to the sceintists who worked on the Chandrayan mission.

  6. Ankur Kumar

    its true that we do give too much of importance to the film stars and cricketers, but we do that in appreciation of them and expect them to keep up the good work…but is in’t it morally wrong to associate a film star’s name with something like a lunar crater which is more linked with the profession of astronomy….which might not be a glamorous career but much more difficult and slow in its..progress…requires a different kind of skill set altogether….and when someone amongst the common mass adds to the mysteries of the cosmos…he expects to get some recognition which can motivate him/her to work further in that direction….so why this biasing on the basis of profession and the glamor associated with it ?

  7. Arun Sharma

    I don’t know what’s happening in this world? Have the scientists gone nuts or what? And our Karturirangan ji has also appreciated this move by saying that SRK is an ambassador of India? Mr Rangan, what about you and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam? Don’t they deserve to be there on the moon? If you did not want to use the Scientists this time, try economists like Manmohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahluvalia. Or maybe industrialists like Jamshedji Tata or Dhirubhai Ambani would work. If ILUGC is still adamant on Bollywood, why not choose eminent artists like Naseer-ud-din Shah who atleast try to make some meaningful contribution to the cinema. SRK gives a shit to India. He has contributed only melodrama to the cinema and nothing else. He says in your face that movies are not supposed to convey a moral message. I don’t know what to make out of this statement, but there’s a request to the agency. We have some other similar ICONS in our country if you want to use them for naming any more craters:
    Bandit Queen, Sir Veerappan, Ms Rakhi Sawant, Dr Shibu Soren and the likes…

    1. Ansuman

      hey hang on, people came into bollywood movies from over the world through the name of srk, even in 2013 ppl equate bollywood wid srk…..n srk hs given a shit ? that din’t sound like a person of “morale so high ” who wrote up an entire article on what wrong is going on in this world…..sir, first acheive what he has, no body becomes the world’s richest and most popular movie star ( google it ! ) by giving a shit…n as far as moral message is concerned, he says movies themselves are factors that increase the unity in a community…….don’t say half the things…….

  8. rosy

    It’s same as if the name of any decent restaurant on …. says.. . ” mahesh bhatt ”…… I want to say both personalities are totally different …We are not able to understand why the name of crator is SR KHAN ….. WHO MAY NOT KNOW THE ABC of lunar geography,,,,,,,,

  9. Ankur Kumar

    Thanks for your comments Arun and Rosy….
    This incident has once again highlighted the disparity of professions
    on the basis of glamor, money and fame associated with it…
    It is really sad on the part of such eminent people who are leading
    organizations which have universal importance to come up with such a bizarre naming.

  10. Youth Ki Awaaz

    As the writer has himself expressed, we are glad that our readers found the write-up interesting. Thank you for sharing your views with us – Ashish, Pratul, Mohit, Rosy, Himanshu and Arun.

    Arun, your sarcasm at the end scores a point! This superficial concept has made a mockery of the substantial discoveries of our scientists and researchers. Your point is very right that if we want to give credit to our cinema personalities, it should go to those who take the pains to use it as a medium of change and not merely a money minting machine!

    It is heartening for us to see the proceedings of this discussion. Keep it up dear readers! Those of you who are still thinking, share your thoughts with us!

  11. Ms.R.

    Hi! Your article is very interesting, however, I found it a bit ridiculous. As in, there are a thousand and one such things going on in the entire world, and you’re ridiculing a crater that’s named after SRK. Doesn’t the fact that it’s named after an India, strike home? Or that he’s someone who is well loved in not just India, but all over the world. He’s a good actor and a very prominent figure, so it shouldn’t be so surprising that they named a crater after him. I’m sure there are many more craters on the moon that in future will be named after other huge icons and personalities. You can hope it’s Aryabhatta or whoever it is. I’ll just hope it’s an Indian.

  12. Ankur Kumar

    Thanks a lot Ms. R. for your comments.

    The whole objective of writing this article was to give due importance and respect to the people who best deserve it in the field of astronomy and space research.

    “He’s a good actor and a very prominent figure, so it shouldn’t be so surprising that they named a crater after him”

    Mr. Khan does not need a special attention and recognition by naming a crater after him. We have got Time, NewsWeek, Filmfare, Madame Tussad’s Wax Museum and his die-hard fans to do that.

    What about those people who are deprived of the attention they deserve? Are they not Indians, adding to the glory of India?

  13. Swagato Mondal

    not to sound disheartening to this post,but craters have been named after prof.J.C. Bose,Dr. H. Bhaba,and Dr. S. Mitra!

  14. Asad Khan Nasar

    What a crap article. you are such a loser.. by this article you proved that you’re the most jealous guy in the Earth.. SRK was truly deserving as he represents India at this stage from last 25 years and he is the biggest Legend not just in India but in the world, he is the most famous star in the world even BBC said and admitted it many times. he is way bigger than all hollywood stars interms of Stardom, Acting, Brands, everything.. if some one was desrerving that was/is Shah Rukh Khan.. Try to respects Indians Legend instead of trying to show down them… get a life..

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