Describing the Honorary Doctorate conferred on him by a leading British University as a “very very special honour”,Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has pledged to utilise the recognition to further the cause of under-privileged children in India.
“I promise to dedicate a large proportion of my time to do whatever within my capacity to further the cause of education among kids as a way of my thankfulness and gratitude for this honour,” Khan said after receiving the Doctorate in London in Friday evening.
“Of course,starting with my kids who are highly uneducated right now,” he said.
Khan was conferred the Doctorate by Professor Les Ebdon,Vice Chancellor of the Bedfordshire University,in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the arts,media and culture at a special ceremony held at Washington Mayfare,a hotel owned by NRI entrepreneur Joginder Singh Sangar.
The Bollywood heartthrob,who has won several international recognitions including the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of the Arts and Literature) from the French Government,the Malaysian title of Datuk – equivalent to a British Knighthood,said: “I could not believe that I may be addressed as Doctor from henceforth. My kids have,lifelong been asking me if I will be getting a stethoscope as an award. In my job as an actor,getting an honorary Doctorate is right up there,as an achievement.”
Thanking the Bedfordshire University,one of the top UK universities,and the ‘Routes 2 Roots’,an Indian NGO which nominated him for the honour,Khan said,”It is a very very special honour. And it makes me to take seriously about what I do and what I have done in the past 20 years of my career. The feeling I get is that I should utilise this recognition to further the cause of those under-privileged children who do not get the opportunity to educate themselves.
“Once again I want to thank everyone present here for making me realise there is a lot more important thing I can do to improve my life and the life of others.”
Asked to describe about his feeling after receiving the Doctorate,Khan said,”This is one of the finest things that has happened in my career.”
Answering a question why he did not go to the Bedfordshire University to receive the honour,he said,”I wish I should have gone earlier. But I have been suffering a couple of injuries,one after the other. As a matter of fact,these people (the Vice chancellor and others) relented and listened to confer the doctorate in London as I can not travel much.”
Khan,who still has his left hand in a sling,said: “I would love to visit the University. I have seen some very nice things about the University in the video. Insha Allah,I would like to visit it soon.”
Professor Les Ebdon said,”We will be delighted to have you. You can also meet the students.”
Asked whether he would be instituting any scholarship in the University,Khan said: “I don’t think I am such a big person to institute scholarship. But I would like to help people without lending my name.”
When a Pakistani journalist pointed out that the ‘Routes 2 Roots’ was rendering an yeoman service by bringing people of India and Pakistan together,Khan said,”We people from India,Pakistan and Sri Lanka have a lot of cultural similarities. My family firmly believe in it. My father was from Peshawar in Pakistan and my mother from Hyderabad in India.”
Asked whether he would visit Pakistan,the actor said “Insha Allah. May be sometime.”
Khan said his son is interested in soccer and a fan of Manchester United. I might consider sending him for some training in football,he said.
Answering a question on how he felt about the death of pop star Michael Jackson,Khan said,”I felt I lost my youth when I heard Michael Jackson passed away.”
Describing himself an ardent fan of Jackson,Khan said “The only music I knew or heard during the last three four years is that of Michael Jackson. I don’t have any understanding of other western music. I felt very sad. I cried – it was since long I cried. My wife and kids also cried. I had met him. He was a wonderful creation of the God.”