Friday, 6 February 2009

Incredibly stupid India

Incredibly stupid India ‘What on earth is going on?’ Pertie sounded intrigued but I could tell he was also exasperated. It was past midnight and there was an edge to his voice. “Have we all gone mad?”
As you know, this is how Pertie’s rhetorical conversations usually begin. So though I was tempted to reply flippantly, I bit my lip and kept silent.
“They’re attacking women for drinking in pubs near Bangalore. In Bombay they’re closing down shops called Karachi Sweets and banning the sale of Pakistani books. Elsewhere, courts are issuing notices to the producer of Slumdog Millionaire on the grounds the name is offensive. Doesn’t it seem as if, suddenly, everyone’s lost all sense of balance and perspective?”
“Oh come, Pertie,” I replied soothingly, trying hard not to tut-tut. “These are separate and isolated incidents. You can’t add them all up!”
“And why can’t you?” he shot back. “Have you thought of the damage they’ve done? They’re undermining the most important elements of India’s image. First, Bangalore is supposed to be India’s window to the world. It’s thought of as modern, liberal and welcoming. Well, your Sri Ram Sene has effectively put paid to that. Now it’s being compared to Jeddah, Khartoum and Teheran.”
Pertie, of course, has a point but I felt he was over-egging it. I tried to gently demur but I doubt if he heard me.
“Now turn to Bombay. First they resort to censorship and then, in the name of Indian nationalism, the twits from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have ripped apart India’s claim to be the original country of the subcontinent. The truth is it was all India before Pakistan was created. Pakistan, of course, doesn’t always accept that and now the MNS has corroborated their view that the land west of the Indus is different and separate. What a fabulous self-goal.”
This time I found it harder to disagree. But much like my earlier feeble interruption Pertie didn’t notice my silence. He was in full flow and, like a steam-roller, carried on.
“And then there’s Slumdog Millionaire. After Gandhi in 1982, no film has done more to make the world aware of India. It’s a runaway success. Yet what’s the response in India? Some foolish politicians think the name is offensive and at least one court has taken them seriously enough to issue formal notices to the producer. Talk about getting the wrong end of the stick.” Suddenly the penny dropped. Each of these was bad enough on its own. But together they made the outcome a lot worse. “What’s the world saying of us?”
“For many we’ve become a joke. People don’t know how to respond to girls getting beaten up for having a drink or shops forced to change their names because a handful of goons don’t like them. They’re laughing at us. But, sadly, the damage is deeper. It won’t be long before people start asking awkward questions.”
“Oh,” I replied, mystified. “Such as?”
“Such as: India is supposed to be a tolerant, liberal democracy. So how come we can’t accept a name like ‘Karachi Sweets’ and buy Pakistani books? Or: Hinduism is supposed to venerate women, we supposedly elevate them as goddesses. So how come we thrash them if they walk into a pub? And then: India is supposed to be an aspiring and dynamic society. So how come a rather clever name like Slumdog Millionaire can’t be appreciated but is, instead, considered offensive? These are disturbing questions.”
“And how will they be answered?” If Pertie had further insights I wanted to hear them.
“I don’t know,” he replied honestly. “But what I can tell you is that they underline the glaring difference between India and mature, self-confident countries. They’re tolerant and accepting. We’ve just exhibited fatuous levels of intolerance and a perverse inability to accept recognition. It could make people realise that the real India is not in the smart-talking drawing-rooms of Delhi and Bombay, but in its insecure, quarrelsome back-streets and in the nit-picking litigations of its carping politicians. And if that happens, it could take the shine off the India story.”

59 comments:

Sandy said...

Awesomee, Karan, u r bang on target.

Chikki said...

Really awesome..So professional.
I have decided to read up your other posts too.

gspatel said...

This really doesn't go here, but there's nowhere else I can put it. It's a copy of my letter to the HT, Mumbai, about Karan T's review of Madhu Trehan's book. Here goes:

To the Editor
Hindustan Times, Mumbai

Your readers must thank Karan Thapar and Madhu Trehan for their entertaining little contretemps over Mr Thapar's 'review' (HT, 15 February 2009) of Ms Trehan's latest book. Much as I hate saying this, Senor Thapar is the clear winner. His review, while sharp, is always measured and very lucid. In contrast, Ms Trehan's response (HT, 1 March 2009) is shrill and vitriolic. Large chunks of it are also incomprehensible.

She accuses Mr Thapar of admitting that he hasn't read her book. He said nothing of the kind. He only said it was eminently put-downable, and put it down he did, something almost anyone with an ounce of brain would surely be tempted to do after reading her riposte. Besides, you don't have to suffer through an entire meal to know it's bad.

The exchange might have remained merely amusing (it certainly has no literary merit whatsoever) had Ms Trehan not decided that her best defense is to skirt the issues and attack the personality. She accuses Mr Thapar of being motivated, of having written his review at the behest of a friend who wants to keep people from reading her book so as to hide something vital. In Mr Thapar's place, I'd see this as a compliment. As currently advised, nobody decides whether or not to read a book on the basis of anything Karan Thapar says.

But then Ms Trehan gives us this (parenthetical comments are mine)

How did the story about the sex workers find its way into the press? (How indeed? Perhaps -- just guessing -- via a journalist?) Who does it serve to bury the statement of the then advocate general of Maharashtra Goolam Vahanvati's that he refused to appear for the SEBI because it was against his conscience? (Do tell. Who? And why is Mr Vahanvati apostrophed?) Who gave me the phone number of Beni Chatterji, the Mumbai lawyer who was arguing cases against First Global? (The telephone directory maybe?)

Are these the earth-shattering truths that Ms Trehan says Mr Thapar and his un-named friend are trying to cover up? Really, who cares? Is this really the best Ms Trehan, with all her 40-something years of journalistic acumen, can do?

After this, Ms Trehan treats us to a totally inane send-up of Mr Thapar's blogging. It doesn't prove her point, but it decidedly proves his. If that's the quality of her 'analysis' (to say nothing of the writing), then everyone _is_ probably better off not reading her book. Certainly, she should lay off tomtomming her tome.

If anyone comes across as mean-spirited and mealy-mouthed, it's Ms Trehan. Her attack, not Mr Thapar's review, is vicious, unacceptably personal (particularly her remarks on his attire and the way he conducts his television interviews) and spiteful. She mistakes Mr Thapar's apology for weakness. I don't believe Mr Thapar was 'ashamed' of what we wrote. She was a friend, and he was just being nice. Big mistake.

Gautam Patel

Sandy said...

Karan
I am big fan of urs. I am a little disturbed by some of the articles that have come about criticizing ur recent article in HT.

http://www.deeshaa.org/2009/03/16/is-karan-thapar-an-idiot

http://acorn.nationalinterest.in/2009/03/15/brains-and-thapar/

Nishit said...

Wonderful articulation of facts and excellent pace of blog...i enjoyed reading ur post

Neeraj said...

Hi,

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Dadri said...

hi karan,

i really feel thrilled when i see you speak and read you articles. But right now I have a something more than eulogizing you :D.

I want to invite you for delivering a talk @IIT Madras (what type of lecture what topic and why a talk @IIT M...I can communicate in detail if you have time.)

Actually I am a part of a team called Extra Mural Lecture Team of IIT M. We invite excellent personality like you to interact with student and to provide them chances to explore things beyond their technical fields. We have an impeccable record of more than thirty years and have invited MR Boman Irani, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Narayan Karthikeyan, Addoor Gopalkrishnan, M S Swaminathan, Vijay Amritraj in last one year alone.

This time we are looking forward for an media icon like you.

Please communicate if you have a few hours to spare in the coming days anytime post December and before April end.

please leave a reply @
eml@iitm.ac.in

0r
mail.nitinsangwan@gmail.com

or best of all drop just an sms or call (since it has become a cheaper option now a days)
09281392712

Nitin
Coordinator, EML Team- 09

愛鋒頭 said...

給你一個鼓勵.................................................

sam said...

Hi karan this is rather a suggestion than a comment why don't you do some thing on stuff going in andhrapradesh.(Telangana issue)
Innocent students are getting killed.
I belive you can do something........
............ please consider.........sandeep chitti

dog said...

舊書不厭百回讀,熟讀深思子自知。..................................................

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Better say nothing than nothing to the purpose. ........................................

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Raphae9845 said...

從人生中拿走友誼,猶如從生活中移走陽光........................................

LonnyAa1105podac said...

easier said than done. 一起努力吧! ....................................................

士弘YajairaC_Tai0731 said...

謝謝您的分享~感恩唷!!..................................................

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韋于倫成 said...

知足常樂~~有這麼好的文章,人生足矣~~哈哈........................................

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建霖 said...

嘿,你的部落格不錯哦!........................................

旺劭旺劭 said...

路過~很有趣吶............................

惠萍惠萍 said...

與人相處多微笑,個人獨處多沈思。 ............................................................

EleanoreBla昭彥 said...

Knowledge is power.............................................................

暴枝盈 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。..................................................

雅惠 said...

感謝你的分享 要繼續發表好文章喔

佳燕 said...

Pay somebody back in his own coin..................................................................                           

茹希茹希 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。.................................................................

戴昀德 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

雅莊王edgd春2蕙婷余惠其 said...

安一估~你也安一估哦~............................................................

Water Engineer said...

India is stupid, rather STUPID. You advocated assasination of Narendera Modi and got away with it. Because India is STUPID.

懿綺懿綺 said...

睇完之後覺得有d頓悟..感謝分享...................................................................

吳婷婷 said...

這麼優的部落格,不踩一下不開心..................................................

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家榮家榮 said...

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琬安琬安 said...

很精彩的部落格 期待你的繼續加油............................................................

王筱彥王筱彥 said...

Man proposes, God disposes..................................................................

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李亦陳宏堯茵 said...

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黃信梅 said...

當最困難的時候,也就是離成功不遠的時候。..................................................

雅王任 said...

Learning makes life sweet.......................................................................

偉曹琬 said...

Say not all that you know, believe not all that you hear.......................................................................

468ds said...

Man proposes, God disposes..................................................................

孫邦柔 said...

期待你的下次更新喔^____^..................................................

冠陳儒 said...

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孫邦柔 said...

寂寞又無聊 看到你的BLOG 加油喔!!............................................................

于庭吳 said...

睇完之後覺得有d頓悟..感謝大大分享..˙ 3˙............................................................

Common Indian.........who has started thinking said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8jm3y6xy3g&feature=related
your interview.........concocted!!

冰微 said...

快樂,是享受工作過程的結果......................................................................

panchuli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
panchuli said...

Hope my letter finds you really in the best of your health there.What to say about you man? You are realy an icon in the field of articulation.I am a die hard fan of yours Mr.Thapar.I can forget about my examinations but I can never forget paying heed to your programmes.I being a quiz master have interracted with many people wheather it be a Britisher or it be any Yankee but the fluency with which you speak is I think is simply a benchmark and obviously at the zenith,apogee,etc,etc,bla,bla bla.From the day I saw you for the first time I just framed a dream in my mind to be some what like you and i regarded you as my guide.So plz sir can yuo realy advice me how to be fluent like you(Thoug many people say me that you are gifted with a great speaking or so to say oratory power but I dont cosider it as a genuine observation as far as fluency like you is concerned).Please sir do me a favour by advising me on that very account.(My email i.d is pmohanty.mohanty7@gmail.com)I would really be gratefull to you on that.At last but not the least May you be bestowed with all the blessings of the almighty and the love and affections of your fans.Hats off to you.....-----A rel asset to India...........

What does your business need the most? said...

Karan JI I like your arguments and staright away questions. I learn many things from you and take the inspiration from those. But I want to see you taking interview of Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Shiela Dixit for their activities which they are doing and serious damage done to India.

Also there is a thing that Media is also getting corrupt or they are hiding big news or to hide the big news they start talking about small things so that every one forget big news.

There was a time that every one was having fear of Media but today there is no fear. Its a biggest concern as a whole.

Every News channel looks like SAS-BAHU SERIALS most of the time. Like Salman ko chink aa gai to Anuska Sharma ka Break-up ho gaya ya something like that even for the politicians.

Being a marketing person I know that media have to earn some thing to be stable but now a days its getting extensive and differing from the main work.

So I want to request you and want to ask a question that when it will be on the right path.

What does your business need the most? said...

Karan JI I like your arguments and staright away questions. I learn many things from you and take the inspiration from those. But I want to see you taking interview of Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Shiela Dixit for their activities which they are doing and serious damage done to India.

Also there is a thing that Media is also getting corrupt or they are hiding big news or to hide the big news they start talking about small things so that every one forget big news.

There was a time that every one was having fear of Media but today there is no fear. Its a biggest concern as a whole.

Every News channel looks like SAS-BAHU SERIALS most of the time. Like Salman ko chink aa gai to Anuska Sharma ka Break-up ho gaya ya something like that even for the politicians.

Being a marketing person I know that media have to earn some thing to be stable but now a days its getting extensive and differing from the main work.

So I want to request you and want to ask a question that when it will be on the right path.

Waiting for your reply if possible.

Thanks and regards
Vineet Kumar Singh
vineet.ku.singh@gmail.com

Soumen Roy said...

http://rsoumen.blogspot.com/2011/08/karan-thapar-on-devils-advocate-with.html

Education said...

wow...really good one sir. i like your article. thank you for sharing.


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Shaik Abdulla said...

Awesome, Janaab Karan Thapar Saheb, Great effort..

NITESH KUMAR said...

Dear thappar...........

ha ha ha ...... good name....

Whenever i saw ur devil's interview,
I felt that you are the best congressi agent projected by khangressi to stop modi.

Lagta hai modi ji se teri koi purani dushmani hai ..... jiska khunnas nikaal rahe ho .

Its challenge to u ..... dekhta hun teri maa ne tujhe kitna dudh pilaya hai ......

Ek baar rahul gandhi aur sonia gandhi ko interview me bula ka dekho .......... tujhe teri aukaat pata chal jayega ...... aur india me jitne bhi dange hue hain ........ sabka report apne blog me post karo ............
shame on u cong. agent ..

Oh shit

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