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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Incredibly stupid India

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I recently came across Karan Thapar's blog, one of the few journalists whom I respect, and found some extremely interesting posts there. I have added this blog to the ever growing list of the blogs that I regularly read, a list which on last count was close to 30. Subsequently, I have stopped counting that number.

I read his latest blog with same title, Incredibly Stupid India. He makes some very interesting points:
  • "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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
I don't have any answers but only questions. Is this the India our forefathers wanted to built?


  1. Yeah, we are a very hypocritical country :( ... I recently read somewhere that Indians are the most racist people in the world. Ain't that a shame?

  2. Hi Crowscious
    Welcome to the blog. I agree with u, ours is an extremely hypocritical society. But a lot of that has to be blamed on our past. We are changing surely, but that is happening too slowly.

  3. Apart from agreeing, its difficult to do anything about it.Wiat for few more days 26/11 will be a history than a matter of concern as it was few days back.
    Thanks to politicians of our country..

  4. Hi Mahesh
    Welcome to the blog. The issue will remain hot atleast till the election. Can't say beyond that.

  5. Some insights into Karan Thapar! An article by Madhu Trehan that appeared in Sunday Hindustan Times March 1, 2009.
    You write a book. You get some good reviews and some bad. It’s part of the game. Then comes Karan Thapar’s ‘column’ (I’m terribly sorry, Madhu, Sunday Sentiments, Feb 15). A piece that was personal, obviously motivated, filled with epithets. So Thapar says that you shouldn’t read my book. Fair enough. But Thapar says he hasn’t read my book.

    Could it then be that a friend of Thapar’s has read my book and told him that nobody should read it? It could be. What could it be that Thapar’s friend does not want anyone to read?
    How did the story about the sex workers find its way into the press? 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? Who gave me the phone number of Beni Chatterji, the Mumbai lawyer who was arguing cases against First Global?
    Why should this person have it in the first place?
    Why should readers trust an unreviewed book review written by a clone of ‘BBC Hard Talk’ who seems to believe that being nasty gives him an USP? But where are his favourites ‘Pertie’ and ‘Mummy’ that he bangs on about? Time to bring them out of the closet.
    Here’s Pertie and KaTy playing ‘Prism Me a Lie: Tell Me a Truth.’ KaTy prisms Pertie a lie, Pertie bounces back with the truth.
    Pertie: Remember that last Diwali party you went to? Didn’t you tell me you asked Madhu Trehan to promise to come on your show after she talked about her book?
    KaTy: Yes and she looked pretty frightened.
    Pertie: But why is the book in your column? You called it a dud. Why not just ignore it if it is so bad?
    KaTy: [screaming] Because it’s been a No. 1 on the bestseller list for the last two weeks. Because Vir Sanghvi wrote, Madhu “…tried to use Tehelka to understand how the Indian media, and perhaps even Indian society, function”. Raja Menon in Outlook called it “blazingly honest and idealistic”. It must not be read, specially those chapters on you-know-who! So I honoured my commitment.
    Pertie: To whom? Wasn’t your comm…
    KaTy: Comb out? Yes, my comb out was done at the beauty salon yesterday.
    Pertie: You keep interr…
    KaTy: Internalise? Of course I have to internalise my motives.
    Pertie: You never let me fin…
    KaTy: Finagled? So what if I finagled Madhu?
    Pertie: But you told her to flag portions for you to read for the interview because you have no time to read.
    KaTy: How do you expect me to put a fix on what a dud the book is in an interview? It had to be done hit-and-run. No chance for her to respond.
    Pertie: What are you going to do when you meet her?
    KaTy: I will make a graceful exit like this…[KaTy exits with a swish and a grand jeté out of the room]
    Mummy: He has left without his baba suit. How will anyone take him seriously if he doesn’t wear his checked suit, yellow 
striped shirt and yellow polka dot tie?
    To be dragged into sleaze has to be a low point in my nearly 40-year journalistic career. Thapar cut large portions of a paragraph and chose only what suited his assignment. He gives himself the opportunity to announce the allegation, that I did “blur criticism and paper-over Tehelka’s faults”. I had also written (which Thapar cut out): “This was a serious breach of fair journalism. Tehelka said they wanted the public to know about the corrupt system. The public was equally entitled to learn that there are honest officers.”
    In Chapter 24 ‘Ethics and Journalism — Not So Fine a Balance’, I analyse in detail the state of journalism and, if anything, Tehelka and other journalists have reason to be upset with me. Those with an agenda find it easy to plant any kind of story. This cannot happen without the cooperation of taxi journalists who damage the credibility of the profession.
    I am privileged that I have been given a chance to respond to Thapar. I got an email from Thapar after the newspaper had gone to print, warning me as he ostensibly claimed, “in all fairness” what was to appear the next day. He also ostentatiously added, “Once again, my most sincere apologies.”
    If you demean the profession by misusing it to carry out someone else’s agenda, I guess he is right to be ashamed. Did Thapar have any idea that my publisher Pramod Kapoor, Kiran Bedi (who conducted a debate at my book launch) and I all received a ranting email, which is strikingly similar to his piece? Since I was out of the country and did not read Thapar’s ‘warning’ email, a friend sent me an sms that morning: “It is better to have a thousand enemies than have a friend like Karan Thapar.”
    Wonderful to be liberated from that burden.
    (Madhu Trehan is the author of Tehelka as Metaphor: Prism Me a Lie; Tell Me a Truth (Roli))

  6. If only our forefather's would have really wanted to build India....other than by multiplying like amoeba's

  7. He is right. India is stupid, ivredibly STUPID. Where else coulf Thapar call for asssasination of an elected and get away it?

  8. He is right. India is stupid, incredibly STUPID. Where else could Thapar call for assassination of an elected CM and get away with it?