Call him Dr. Shah Rukh Khan. The actor received an honorary doctorate, bestowing him with the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa, from Edinburgh University yesterday. The actor was given the honor for his work and global reach as an actor and his outstanding record of philanthropy, altruism and humanitarianism.
The actor said, “It is a pleasure to be honoured by the University of Edinburgh and tread in the footsteps of so many of the world’s illustrious thinkers, leaders and personalities. To have the opportunity to address one of the most esteemed educational institutions in the world is a special moment.”
Upon receiving the doctorate, Dr. Shah Rukh Khan gave a heartfelt public lecture on life, love and films.
He began, “So here’s my first life lesson, inspired by the movie title Deewana: Madness (of the particularly nice/romantic kind) is an absolute prerequisite to a happy and successful life. Don’t ever treat your little insanities as if they are aberrations that ought to be hidden from the rest of the world. Acknowledge them and use them to define your own way of living the only life you have. All the most beautiful people in the world, the most creative, the ones who led revolutions, who discovered and invented things, did so because they embraced their own idiosyncrasies. There’s no such thing as “normal”. That’s just another word for lifeless.”
The actor then went on to say “no matter how bad it gets, life IS the miracle you are searching for.” Going on to say, “Use every resource you have been given, your mental faculties, the ability of your heart to love and feel for those around you, your health and good fortune: all of the thousands of gifts life has given you to their maximum potential. Honour your life. Honour each gift and each moment by not laying it to waste. There is no real measure of success in this world except the ability to make good of life’s endowments to you.”
Continuing with his lessons he spoke of fear, bravery and courage, kindness and giving of yourself to others, which is even more important, and no matter what, what defines you is your heart.
His closing remarks were, “Live from the heart. Dil Se. Love. Love people, love the world around you, love animals and birds, and big cities and mountains, love dreams, love life, love your work, your friends and your enemies even if you feel least like it. Most importantly, my friends; love yourselves. Embrace all that this life has in store for you, let your heart be as deep as the deepest ocean and as wide as the farthest horizon. Know that it is limitless. Love is not an excuse to grab or to hold or to own or to barter. It is the only excuse you will ever have to call yourself special. And if someone you love lets you down, don’t fault yourself for not trusting him, fault yourself for not trusting your love enough to forgive his/her trespasses.”
Adding as only Shah Rukh Khan can with seriousness and humor, “Live now. Live today. You may not see it with your youthful eyes, but NOW is as much time as you will ever get. Because tomorrow we will all be dead. And just in case there is no cycle of rebirth etc…why take a chance. I don’t want to end this on a cynical note by reminding you about the reality of death. I want to let you all know that how important your today…your now is. Study hard. Work hard. Play harder. Don’t be bound by rules…don’t hurt anybody and never ever live somebody else’s dream. Remember however many times you go wrong, no matter how many times you fail, despair, feel like this world is against you….in the words of Bob Marley…at the end everything’s gonna be alright. And in my words. “Hindi filmon ki tarah life mein bhi, anth mein sab kuch theek ho jaata hai. Aur agar na ho, toh woh anth nahi hai…picture abhi baaki hai mere doston.” Take it as the only truth you need to know. Take it and believe it because the most unlikely to make it Bollywoood is telling you this…the most romantic hero who doesn’t look anything like chocolate or taste like it.”