The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs is trying to rope in actor Shah Rukh Khan and Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader Dalai Lama as brand ambassadors to promote the efforts being made by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for the five notified minority groups in the country.
As per a proposal drafted by the Ministry, Shah Rukh Khan has been identified to represent the Muslim community though he is yet to be contacted for his consent. If he says no, the others being considered are fellow actor Irfan Khan and tennis player Sania Mirza.
Of the five prominent figures identified by the Ministry from five religions to serve as brand ambassadors, only one – former sprinter Milkha Singh – has agreed to the brief as of now. Officials maintained that Olympic bronze medallist boxer Mary Kom has also indicated her willingness to serve as brand ambassador for the Ministry as a representative of the Christian community.
The Dalai Lama – who has been residing in India for over five decades – has been selected to represent the Buddhists while actor Boman Irani the numerically declining Parsi community. In fact, to address the issue of the dwindling number of Parsis in the country, the Ministry is set to launch ‘Jiyo Parsi’ on Monday to contain their population decline.
This is the first time the Ministry is scouting for brand ambassadors. Several icons in their respective fields – cricketer Rahul Dravid and actors Aamir Khan, Vidya Balan and Chiranjeevi – have been brand ambassadors for various Central ministries as part of the Government’s efforts to draw attention to its slew of development programmes and right-based legislations.
The Minority Affairs Ministry is also planning a logo to draw some of the spotlight to itself as much of its work goes unnoticed owing to working through other ministries via the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) that provides for special allocations to minority concentration districts.