January 29, 2009
The shameful attacks on men and women in a Mangalore pub confirm my belief that we Indians are, as an aggregate, a very intolerant bunch. If you thought that this intolerance is most frequently exhibited & practiced by various special-interest groups, think again. The government, by hiding behind the excuse of 'potential to cause a law & order problem', does its bit for intolerance & censorship as well. Sample these:
- We get incensed if the "Father of the Nation" is not included in any list of most influential folks of all time.
- There is collective outrage if India's favourite cricketing son is excluded from an all-time greats list
- A Danish cartoonist draws the Prophet, communities see red, and a minister announces a bounty for anyone who beheaded the cartoonist
- Problem: Movies made in $vernacular suffers from lack of audiences, mainly because of poor storylines. Solution: Blanket ban on other language movies for 2 months after their release
- A Booker Prize finalist book was banned following the accusation that a section in the book involving a dream sequence in the mind of one of the characters was derogatory to the Prophet
- Part-time painter & part-time Madhuri Dixit fan makes a movie but is forced to withdraw his movie because some folks reckoned lyrics describing the heroine's beauty were actually describing the Prophet's persona
- The above painter is attacked after paintings of nude Hindu deities he created 25 years earlier were printed in a magazine
- Books on a much-revered Maharashtrian king are banned when people object to Shivaji being called an 'oedipal rebel' and when there're questions raised about his mother potentially having an affair
- An English movie based on a suspense thriller novel which ends with a discovery about Jesus Christ having potentially not been a bachelor boy/virgin himself was banned in several states
- A play on MK Gandhi's assassin was banned
- A Bangladeshi author who was given exile in India is attacked at a function, a bounty announced for her head, asked to move out of a metro in east India and then subsequently denied permission to stay in India
- A Hindi movie which shows the protagonist & his group murdering a minister in broad daylight in protest against the minister's attempts at downplaying the reason for their friend's death in an aircraft accident was in trouble with the establishment despite the censors having passed it
- An award-winning post-graduate student in Vadodara (Baroda) is arrested and his work destroyed for creating paintings of Jesus Christ, Ganesha, Durga, etc. that hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus & Christians.
Political parties Goons and hooligans launching campaigns against various folks - South Indians, North Indians, bhaiyyas, etc.
- Upholders of our culture thrashing up young couples celebrating Valentine's Day or just hanging around in various public places
- Our outrage at the fact that Slumdog Millionaire portrays life in Bombay's slums. Who's this white chap who has the temerity to tell us about our own poverty and make millions out of the venture?! Of course, the only difference between various Indian movies made earlier (including Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar, Do Bigha Zameen and numerous others that I've seen on Doordarshan on Sunday afternoons) is that the movies made by Indian film makers either made no or little money
That the list is obviously nowhere near being an exhaustive one is perhaps a good indication of how intolerant we are!
Coming to the attack on the pub in Mangalore
- What the f@ck were the media doing about the attack? They had been given advance notice, else there's no way they'd have been there. Yes, filming it did provide a public interest angle to the story, for there's perhaps no other way we'd have seen the actual attacks. But how come no-one bothered to report to the police about the fact that something was about to happen?
- The "cultural terrorism" by the Sri Rama Sena oddly enough meant that women of their religion were being molested on TV. As a result, images of their helplessness, such as torn clothes and exposed body parts, were seen by millions of viewers, including those from other religions!
- When various ministers wanted to see 'Rang De Basanti' and 'The Da Vinci Code' before passing it for public viewing, I wrote - "The only explanation I have is that all these folks who protest against the release of these movies are so poor that they cannot afford the money to purchase their own tickets. So they opt for protests to get a free screening.". In much the same manner, could it be that the barbarous mob at Mangalore hadn't seen well-dressed women in a while and their testosterone levels hit the roof? Maybe they just wanted to have a good time and everyone just misunderstood the real intentions! Weren't the women "asking for it" by dressing in t-shirts & jeans and drinking at a pub? Shouldn't they have been sitting at home cooking wearing two pieces of cloth - a breast band and a larger piece to cover the lower part of the body? Hey, seems like that used to be the dress code of women in ancient times!
- Surely, if women in pubs and mixing with older men is against Hindu traditions and culture, men urinating and defecating in public is also against the same traditions and culture. After all, there was an elaborate sanitary & toilet system developed at Lothal as is evident from excavations there. So clearly anyone who pisses or shits on the road deserves to have their ding dong lopped off and a stone shoved up their arse.
It is but natural that the Bajrang Dal, VHP, BJP, etc. and other members of the Sangh Parivar will claim no linkage to the Sri Rama Sena. That shouldn't be the point here. Intolerance, regardless of who the backers are, deserves to rooted out. It is time to be intolerant about intolerance!
: Forgot a couple of other classic examples of intolerance and I've updated the list, the additions are at the bottom after the Chandra Mohan example.
: After the attack on the pub was on TV, captions like "India's Taliban" etc. started appearing. If I was one of the Taliban-types, I'd actually take umbrage at the usage. The Taliban was doing this (and much much worse!) in a lawless country which had no judicial system (except "Off with his head" and "Cut off the hands" types). That isn't the case here. If anything, this is worse than 'Talibanism', given that this is a democracy where the rule of law is supposed to prevail!
Labels: india, intolerance