The “Rang De Basanti” effect on the collective consciousness of the nation was evident once again today as Gen X gadget-activists came out in full force SMS-ing, emailing and online-petitioning in support of Shilpa Shetty, the subject of vile racial abuse on UK’s Big Brother.

Neha Hingorani represents this new-age awakened citizen. A far cry from the khadi-clad Gandhi topiwala from yesteryears, we find her sitting in the lounge of a multiplex, working furiously on her Motorola Razr sending SMS-s to all her friends and to public polls on all the TV channels.

Her voice quivering with righteous passion, she told this correspondent:

We got justice for Jessica. We got it for Priyadarshini. And we will get it for Shilpa. After all, yaar Shilpa is our ambassador. In front of all those gora-shoras. She isn’t doing it for money…after all paisa to sab naheen hain na…she is doing it for the country. Now if only my dad would buy me an iPhone, I could be even more of an activist and send these SMS-s even faster….

The normally apathetic Indian government’s reaction has been swift. Usually unwilling to take stances on most foreign issues, they have reacted decisively probably swayed by the tidal wave of outrage.

[From Times of India]

“We have been apprised of the matter. We are looking into all the aspects and will take appropriate action as required,” Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said in the Capital on Wednesday.

“The world knows that India has throughout firmly rejected all forms of discrimination and racism,” he said.

On further investigation as to the “appropriate action” that the government will take against “Big Brother”, reliable sources tell us that all kinds of options are on the table: from a high-ranked hooter-troubleshooter discreetly visiting Britain and talking to the racist models to a lightning-quick attack on the United Kingdom through the use of high-pitched nasal rays from the Himesh.

Sameer is one of India’s leading Web 2.0 activists. We caught up with him in a cybercafe just as he was minimizing some rather provocative site. One of the almost 20,000 signatories to the “Stop Shilpa Shetty Being the Victim of Racism in Big Brother” , he started by reading out the petition to us.

This petition has been created because of the racial discrimination Indian actress Shilpa Shetty is facing within the Celebrity Big Brother House.

Channel 4 have clearly edited the programme to cut out the many offences committed against Shilpa, one being Jack Tweedy calling Shilpa a ‘Paki’ in bed with Jade and it being bleepedout. Clearly with the footage available on the internet ( you can lip read and hear him close the word with an “ee” sound. Yet Channel 4 bleeped it, failing to expose Jack Tweedy for the racist biggot he is.

On live footage housemate Liverpool girl Danielle and racist Jack Tweedy were telling Jade Goody that “Shilpa wants to be white” repeatedly on the 13th January 2007.

At this point, Sameer became overcome with emotion. His voice choking up, he said:

They did this to Bapu in South Africa. And history is being repeated again. But we are not so powerless now as we were then.

India’s blogosphere has not been silent either–rising as one against this outrage on Shilpa Shetty. Taking particular exception to racist suggestions that Shilpa’s breasts may be fake, Desipundit has made a “sticky” post where agitated male bloggers are for now just wiping their hands.

However there were some ambivalent reactions too.

Akshay Kumar, the world’s foremost expert on Shilpa Shetty (as well as on Ayesha Jhulka, Pooja Batra, Nipunika, Raveena Tandon, Twinkle Khanna and Priyanka Chopra), refused to take our calls.

Dhwajadhari Dutta, one of India’s foremost gossip-analysts, was sceptical. Our correspondent was able to get hold of this elusive 70 year-old man, as he sat on the park bench, leaning on his cane and visually following a female jogger.

Shilpa Shetty is smart. She knows that she is on a show where one’s success depends on public perception. Realizing that she is surrounded by the worst kind of trash, she has very cleverly pushed them into revealing their ugly side (not that it took much effort) , thus not only getting audience sympathy but more importantly by equating a vote against her with a vote for racism. She might very well win this thing.

Of course Mr. Dutta’s rather cynical view found few takers. Neha Hingorani, when told of this assessment, brushed it away.

Daddu is just frustrated that Dadima doesn’t have a bod like Shilpa. What’s Daddu’s number? Let me send him a ringtone of Pussycat Doll’s “Doncha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?”

Sameer was also not-impressed.

It is because of the mindset of people like Mr. Dutta that the world’s greatest movie ever “Rang De Basanti” was not shortlisted in the Oscar’s Best Foreign Film section. These people just do not want to “be the change”. …argh….look at how Mr. Dutta attacks the victim…typical Nehruvism.

And so the debate rages on. While we can only speculate at how history will judge this incident, what we do know is that India’s Gen Next activism is, in the words of a Shilpa Shetty song from Zameer, very much “Taktakatak”.

[Update from our senior political correspondent: Britain’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown on a visit to India and no-doubt reeling under the weight of the national Aakrosh: Cycle of Anger (the name of a Shilpa Shetty starrer) and widespread effigy-burning of Big Brother bosses has unequivocally condemned the attack on Shilpa Shetty. Treasury Minister Ed Balls scratched a condemnation too saying he was “ashamed” and that the image this incident projects of England abroad is appalling.

The reaction to this was immediate.

“They might not have apologized for Jallianwalah Bagh but they sure did for Shilpa Shetty” yelled a jubilant youngster as the tunes of “It happens only in India“, a song from another Shilpa Shetty starrer Pardesi Babu started playing on his cellphone.]

[ Online petition link courtesy Asterix]

83 thoughts on “Shilporama

  1. Who is Neha Hingorani… some journo, is it?

    From that times of india link you provided –

    We have been apprised of the matter. We are looking into all the aspects and will take appropriate action as required,” Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said in the Capital on Wednesday.

    What ?? What will they do? Or what will they be able to do?

  2. You are one of the funniest, smartest, mother f@#$@r, I have come across since my entry into this duniya.
    My salutations, O Great Bong…

  3. @shadows: They’ll form a committee

  4. I am afraid I have been rendered a little bewildered by your trademark subtlety …. I deciphered that you were pointing at the misdirection of modern day activism or rather its overuse …. I appreciated the ironies, but your stance in the issue remains a ghost in all of this!
    But anyways, just proceeding ahead with a little something I have to say ….

    Shilpa Shetty entered into a contractual agreement to be cooped up with a bunch of white strangers – I think she should very well live with the costs of such a move – from what I gather, she is being more than adequately compensated for it!

    But whats strange is that there doesnt seem much word from the lady herself – then why such fervour when the perceived victim doesn’t appear to appeal?

    Having said that, if indeed Shilpa was/is being subjected to racist comments/behaviour & is being mentally persecuted by purposeful social seclusion beyond a certain point, then I am against it …. but then, Shilpa can alwayscome out by forfeiting that handsomely obscene amount she is being paid!

    Whatever it is, I agree that it certainly doesnt deserve as much ‘activism’ as is being done/reported ….

    Awaiting a clarification of your stance on the issue

  5. @Shadows: Neha Hingorani is a creation of my demented mind. As you can see, this post is mostly fiction however with a liberal garnishing of facts.

    @Anuj: 🙂

    @Vipul: Heh

    @Rajiv: Yes I was alluding to the “new age” activism and how ridiculously overboard it goes at times. As you said, Shilpa Shetty is in a game show, surrounded by C-grade celebrities/lowlives/assholes of doubtful provenance, very well aware of the backbiting and bitching that is a natural concomitant of such “reality shows”. If you see “Real World” on MTV you will see house-guests openly abusing gays/overweight and other forms of “different” people…these are considered to be par for the course in the world of reality TV.

    Racism is a problem faced by every Indian outside India. On the streets, in public transport, in clubs…everywhere.  However only this particular incident triggers off a media circus (govt threatening action, online petitions) because it is Shilpa Shetty. As you said, Ms. Shetty can just leave the house. But she will not. Cause it’s all a game.

  6. Agreed totally …. but with a complete lack of any worthwhile content, News channels are bound to inflate small insignificant nothings into issues of race/nation …. and ofcourse our trigger-happy (mouth-shooting rather) Govt goes into battle mode, as our netas try to get some of their sound-bytes out to the media first

    And lo & behold, something totally out of the context & unrelated becomes a matter of national pride ….

    Whats a little surprising is that this phenomenon of boiling egos & super-inflated indignation is happening in UK as well! – we are sentimental as a people & very often we tend to jump to conclusions which invariably portray us as the victim …. a careful objective analysis reveals that such is invariably not the case

    Its a problem here in India & abroad I guess …. its just one of those things with being an Indian!

  7. Happens many times when u leave the country…Its not like its happened for the first time ever..the only reason that this is being publicised so much is that its shilpa shetty,no other reason. and there are always whackjobs to blow hot air into the asses of these trivial issues…

  8. Thats not to say that we arent subjected to the raised eyebrows & the cold, suspicious stares or the ocassional ‘security detention’ …. but its a little bit of a joke the way we go chestbeating about it …. I think GB, GOI must take a page or two from your blog, as far as subtlety is concerned!

  9. What was Shilpa Shetty thinking…. why would anyone participate in one of the most famously trashy reality shows in the world to show case indian culture or whatever it is she claimed she wanted to do?

    Stupid, ignorant, racist and inarticulate as those girls are, isnt the whole point of the show to create messy, unpleasant situations for a voyearistic public.
    Shilpa came of in the beginning as ridiculously pompous and full of herself, though she seems to be dealing with the bullying well enough – at least she’s less holier than thou and saintly now! She’s had more publicity than any Indian actor since Amitabh Bachhan declared himself God- she’s had a huge surge of sympathy, everyone other than the 4 dummies in the house has only nice things to say about her and her countryfolk are coming to her rescue by burning effigies of her tormentors. No way a regular film career would have got her all that!

    Loved the middle-class activism bit. This is also priceless. The indian government is investigating the remarks. Why the hell?? What about all the other people who experience real “race”discrimination, with consequences, at home and abroad?
    . “The world knows that India has throughout firmly rejected all forms of discrimination and racism” Yeah, right!

    And its funny that Indians find this behaviour so surprising and unacceptable! What about the middle class Indian girls who can’t get a airhostess jobs because they aren’t fair enough? Or the “dark girl” in the family who has to tolerate nasty relatives comments about how she’s too dark to ever find a husband for herself? This kind of thing is as much part of our culture as in Britain, only we Indians only see it when its targeted at ourselves.

    I never cease to be shocked by the racist, politically incorrect, intolerant and just plain stupid things I hear from my indian friends and acquaintances here in the US and in India … muslims, pakis, blacks, “kaalus”, chinkies, women, madrasis, punjs, poor people, lower caste people – they have names for all of them, and dont hesitate to express our shallow views ( as long as there are a few others “like us” to express them to – which is sort of what happened in the big brother house.

    Wonder how one black person in a house of dumb, poorly educated desis would have fared if we had an indian version of Big Brother? A muslim with a bunch of veggie Gujju’s? Why even a poor “dark” South Indian stuck with a bunch of punjabis. They’d probably wouldnt be able to pronounce his name either!

  10. The point here is not whether Shilpa is being racially harassed or whether she can quit the show, but more often than not, Reality shows like Big Brother, Real World et al come off as a view on how people *could* be in umm… “Real” life as well. To me this is a bad reflection of general populace is in those parts of the world.

    The shocking part is the disdain and lack of effort on part of both the series makers (endemol) and channel broadcasters to do anything about it. Contrast this with what happened to Michael Richards a few weeks back right here in our backyard, and we can see why international media and everyone’s grandmother seems to be gossiping about Shilpa.

    Racism has no place in this world – On the contrary I am quite happy that this happened to a “celebrity” and a much neglected topic like racism has been bought back into limelight. This happens with almost anyone from South Asia, and perhaps it did require a celebrity to bring the issue into focus.


  11. Awesome post once again GB. Keep it coming… and keep educating me in the subtleties of sarcasm. It is much appreciated.

    @ Ana

    Agree with most of what you have said except the comment about the the govt official’s comment or maybe I am misunderstanding you.

    […The world knows that India has throughout firmly rejected all forms of discrimination and racism” Yeah, right!…]

    How do you think the official should have reacted? If you are saying that they should have resisted from commenting in the first place, I agree. If you are saying that they should not have said the above, but in fact said that “we are discriminatory people ourselves and thus we should not mind this form of discrimination” I disagree.

    Also, what you said in your last 2 paragraphs is quite true. But when you are on TV you are held to higher accountability. Just like many girls can choose not to wear any undergarments but there is a huge fracas when Britney does so and is captured on camera these idiots on TV and their producers also have an obligation to be more judicious. It is the same the world over. Its not just Indians as you seem to so passionately suggest.

  12. Thanks Greatbong for the acknowledgement about the link to the petition.

    I haven’t read the full contents of your blog, but just to re-iterate the 3 housemates in big brother are showing blatant racism & bullying towards Shilpa Shetty. At first I thought oh its petty girls fighting but its going on for days and you can’t just ignore it.

    The excuse that C4 & CBB makers are giving is that Shilpa has not complained !! C’mon now, if you see someone getting bullied / racially abused do you wait for the person to complain or do you ensure this doesn’t go on. Especially since Jade and her mates are talking behind her back.
    1. Jades mother refused to call Shilpa by her name and always addressed her as ‘the Indian’
    2. Calling Shilpa a ‘dog’
    3. Calling Shilpa a ‘paki’
    4. Calling Shilpa a ‘Wanker’
    5. Stating that Indians are thin because they eat half cooked food.
    6. Making fun of Shilpa & Indians eating with their hands saying ‘who knows where those hands have been’

    And as far as bullying goes, its been there from Day one. The 3 have formed a gang and just sit there in the sofas not doing anything and poor Shilpa doesnt even get acknowledged for cooking for them.

    Fortunately for Shilpa she has got the support from Jermaine (Michael Jacksons bro), Ian & Dirk.

  13. “…It is because of the mindset of people like Mr. Dutta that the world’s greatest movie ever “Rang De Basanti” was not shortlisted in the Oscar’s Best Foreign Film section…”
    Dhwajadhari Dutta Murdabad! Oscar Murdabad! Let’s burn their effigies next 🙂

  14. @Rajiv & Greatbong
    The above racism comments were made behind Shilpa’s back. She didn’t / doesn’t even know of these comments.

    Rajiv, your suggestion is outrageous. Do you think if you are bullied at work / school / home you will forfeit & go? What a Joke !!

    @Suyog, well said. Its not only about Shilpa. As I mentioned earlier the abuse has been against Indians. Its good that this has come out. To be honest Shilpa has behaved in a very dignified manner in all this.

  15. I think it was a really awesome post with a great message. Just perfect!!!

    These C-grade celebreties (mostly from Bollywood) would never let go a chance of getting some cheap publicity. And these “activists” cant really look beyond the issues of ‘molestation of Rakhi Sawant’ or ‘harassment of Shilpa Shetty’ . Also I sometimes wonder if signing online petitions, forwarding SMSs for anything and everything really does anything useful.

  16. I might as well add my two bits and make the writers of this reality show rich-er. (Yes, they do have writers for these shows.)

    It’s not like Shilpa’s asking for these idiots to help her. She’s a big girls and she can take care of herself. Not everyone on television or film is a cultural ambassador for the motherland.
    These idiots seriously need to chill the fuck out.
    So you’re calling in mommy (or big brother) because you’re not brave enough to take on the bully? What a bunch of little bitches.

  17. You sir are a genius. What an amazingly irony-laced last paragraph in the “Update”! Sad and yet so true. One of your gems.

  18. Priceless post 😀
    Satisfied till the last drop 🙂

  19. “Ed balls scratched a condemnation too..” can’t stop laughing! ha ha..

  20. Calling Shilpa a “Paki” is racism or what? It’s ignorance. It’s stupid people talking who don’t know anything outside the shit well they are living in.

    Stating “Indians are thin because they eat half cooked food” is racism or what? It’s prejudice.

    Then if someone among us says “Americans are all obese because they eat beef and pork”..then will it amount to racism?

    Asking the producers to stop the show is something extreme. They are just showing the reality that there are many people among them who are like those ignorant fools like Jack Tweedy.

  21. “Sameer is one of India’s leading Web 2.0 activists. We caught up with him in a cybercafe just as he was minimizing some rather provocative site.”
    The intended imagery just made my day 🙂 Too good.

  22. “However only this particular incident triggers off a media circus (govt threatening action, online petitions) because it is Shilpa Shetty. As you said, Ms. Shetty can just leave the house. But she will not. Cause it’s all a game. ”

    Would you say the same thing if in a cricket match an Australian cricketer racially absuses the Ganguly’s, Dravid’s and Tendulkar’s on live television and neither Cricket Australia nor ICC takes any action against the abusers? That they should just leave the ground if they don’t want to be subjected to racist comments? After all, there is not much difference between Shilpa Shetty and the cricketers. Just because they play for a team called “India”, it doesn’t make them any special. Just like Ms Shetty, they too are taking part in a kind of “reality” show to earn money.

    As for comparison with racism faced by non-celebrity Indians, the reason this incident has triggered the media circus is not only because it is a celebrity, but because it happened on live television and hence there is proof available. In most cases of racism that is not the case.

    I agree with you that this “new age” activism does indeed go overboard in most cases, but I haven’t seen that much happening in India in this case (which probably explains why you had to make up quotes yourself 🙂 Even that petition etc I thought was done by Indians in UK rather than the resident Indians.

  23. “a lightning-quick attack on the United Kingdom through the use of high-pitched nasal rays” rotfl. Who needs WMDs? They won’t know what hit them.

  24. Gawd, Arnab … first thing in the morning, and you subject people to this 😉

  25. Wonderful! I would also be interested in hearing Geoff Boycott’s views on this. A few years ago, when Sidhu was still mind f-ing ESPN viewers, Boycs was a regular there and I saw him one night on a show with Shilpa. Bet that old ass was getting turned on by her ample bosom and surely would have loved to check out the proof of the Yorkshire pudding, so to speak.

    Great Photo. 🙂

  26. @Rohit: Indeed.

    @Ana: Showcasing Indian culture my foot. It’s the money…considering her Bollywood career is all but over. Nothing wrong with doing stuff for money but it’s the “representing my country” thing that gets to me. Please. Shilpa Shetty does not represent me.

    And yes Ms. Shetty is pompous and silly and the housemates, not knowing any better, articulate their irritation through racism.

    @Suyog: Michael Richards made a racist rant. He sacrificed his career basically. The Nigerian government did not step in for African-Americans nor was the comedy club hauled over coals.

    @Oi: Thank you.

    @Asterix: Thats what reality TV is. I have seen (and I am ashamed of it) seen a few episodes of MTV’s Real World and all kinds of horrible things are said. And people tune in just for that.

    @Ravi: Yes!

    @Sudheer: Rakhi Sawant should have been there. End of story.

    @Anangbhai: Scripted? Reality shows?Ooh no what next? No Santa Claus?:-)

    @Rohan: Thank you. Flattered.

    @OS: Thanks

    @Giri: 🙂

    @EMC3: Paki is a general racial ephitet used for any South-East Asian.

    @ciph3r: 🙂

    @Mohan: Contrary to your assertion, Indian cricketers *do* represent the country in a sport. They were selected based on a rigorous process. Shilpa Shetty was not. Hence there is a huge difference between the two.

    Okay now lets say an Indian cricketer has racial abuse hurled at him.Not that it has not happened. Lets say its in Australia. I would expect BCCI, the official organization that exists precisely for this reason, to take it up with Cricket Australia. I would *not* expect the Indian government to talk to their Australian counterparts. You can argue that Shilpa Shetty has no “BCCI” taking up her case…and my reply is “Precisely. Because she is representing herself and not the country”.

    Similarly with the people who have abused Shilpa. They are representing themselves. Not the British crown. Hence there is no reasonable authority that has the “right” to rebuke them.If this was the English cricket team and it was Flintoff saying this,then yes things would be different.

    Among the links I have, there is a picture of protesters buring an effigy of the Big Brothers producers in Patna. True it was a crowd of 25 crazy loons. But the coverage this non-issue is getting from Indian newspaper shows widespread interest(outrage) at this incident in India itself Incidentally, I already got this petition forwarded twice today from “activist” people in India.

    @SD: Why do you think the British would-be PM is being so pliant? He knows. We know. Him fights for us.

    @Bonatellis06: 🙂

    @Yourfan2: Hmm….

  27. Funny as usual, GB.

    But I think we missed a point here. Is Shilpa being berated because she is a B-grade Bollywood actress? Is this incident being laughed at because of the stereotypical reaction from the media? As far as I understand she is not the making the allegations. They have been picked up by watchdogs and then the penny press and then MSM. I get a hint from the subsequent posts that perhaps the actress in question should be have expecting such behaviour from such a trashy show.

    I am no great fan of SS or CBB. But I think racial abuse is a crime, no matter where and under what circumstances they happen. And the person in question deserves a justice (without sounding like a typical ‘My-SMS-is-my-weapon’ type citizen-activist).

    Perhaps this link is relevant.

  28. “Contrary to your assertion, Indian cricketers *do* represent the country in a sport.”

    They don’t. They represent BCCI, which is a private club. BCCI have themselves claimed this in Supreme court and won a case. Whether BCCI selects the team based on a “rigorous process” or on the whims and fancies of their president is immaterial. Fact is that it is a private clubd and the cricketers are out there only representing this private club.

    I agree with you that if a BCCI cricketer is abused by a CA cricketer, BCCI should take up the case and GoI shouldn’t interfere. But my point was, if such a thing were to happen and the government does interfere, would any of us be surprised? Heck, when Mike Denness suspended a few cricketers for overappealing, the issue went all the way to Parliament.

    How about Sania Mirza being abused by her opponent in a Wimbledon match? She isn’t representing anyone there, she is playing for herself to make money. Yes, there is no need for government to intervene, but do you think they won’t? Maria Sharapova yells, “You f%&!ing bitch, you ugly Indian” etc audible on tv and Wimbledon authorities won’t do anything. Do you think the government will sit idle doing nothing, saying “If Sania doesn’t like it, let her not play”?

    Yes, I saw that effigy burning link , but I haven’t seen the Jessica Lall kind of activism yet. Or maybe I don’t watch enough tv.

  29. @Rahul: This is not to say that racism is not a crime. There are two things here: in a reality show, people are trying (and often encouraged) to hurt each other as much as they can. While shows like “Fear Factor” work on people going to physical extremes, “Big Brother”s attractiveness stems from people’s desire to see how much mental stress can a person take for money. When you walk into such a place, you expect attacks on many fronts —race, body type, sexual orientation being frequently used. Not that it makes racism any less a “crime”.

    The second thing is the media and government overreaction. If I take a video on my cell of a man calling me a Paki and telling me to wear a towel on my head and send it to news channels, noone will care. The only reason people care is because it is Shilpa Shetty and because somehow she is being represented as “India’s ambassador”.Why we need an Indian ambassador on trash like “Big Brother”is not clear to me.

    And if you need proof of how GOI reacts to really serious abuses on Indians in foreign countries (non-celebs that is) as a matter of principle, do read I am not saying the GOI should do anything….but if it washes its hands of these people (who are in way deeper shit than Shilpa Shetty) then I wonder why it wants to take action against those who have wronged Ms.Shetty.

    @Mohan: Aww please. Are you really trying to tell us as to consider it a “fact” that the players play for BCCI based on a legal point the Board made?
    Everyone knows thats hokum…as Kapil said he would never have played cricket if he was representing BCCI.

    As an analogy, Clinton got away by from perjury charges by showing that Lewinsky had sex with him but he did not have sex with her (by an interpretation of the definition of sex: she touched his sexual organ, he did not touch hers). Does that mean he did not have sex with Lewinsky?

    And FYI, Leander Pais once said on the Simi Garewal show a long time ago how the worst time he had in his life was when Boris Becker subjected him to racial abuse…something he could not believe Becker would do considering his supposed political viewpoints..after hearing that on TV would we expect the GOI to go and call the German ambassador and hand him a letter of protest? If you expect them to do so, then there is nothing more I have to say to you.

    In conclusion ,if I take a video of me being called a Paki bastard and show it to the GOI, they will say “Who asked you to be in the US? Why should we do anything?” Exactly. I would understand that it is my responsibility to take action against racist taunts—either by complaining to local law enforcement or making a complaint to the business owner (if the abuse was on the premise of a business).

    This is exactly what Sania should do if such an incident did happen on a tennis court. She is no different from any of us in the eyes of the government and should expect no special treatment.

    Again do remember the degree of offense. If all Indians in US are being sent off to prison camps, then yes the GOI should intervene based on the criticiality of the situation. But if it starts shouting everytime an Indian is called a “Paki” then well…..

  30. is everybody stupid or what? i mean looks like we want to be in the big boys league and wont take a bit of bullying….call those guys something…dont go back and start crying

  31. Yourfan writes:
    @GB: I don’t accept your opinion that the efforts of smswallas and media on this issue are some sort of misguided. I admit that Shilpa herself went there to make a hell lot of money and she is not representing our govt officially. She must be aware of the fact that she has to endure all kinds of rivalry – that is the name of the game. Every point granted. But so what? It is like justifying that a lady who goes out on a motorcycle after midnight on new year’s eve(that is her own decision like Shilpa’s) can very well be molested(like the racist slur) – the way it happened in Cal, Delhi. NOT THAT YOU HAVE SAID ANYTHING REMOTELY CLOSE TO THIS IN ANY OF YOUR POSTS. You have always talked about individual’s freedom irrespective of gender.But here I mention this for the need to bring about a change which might be very slow and sometimes be looked as going over board.

    There should a distinction between rivalry and abuse and in this case racism. We all feel anger and express resentment at our rivals at some point or other in our life. But if we become abusive- mentally or physically then that is not acceptable legally or morally. A decade or so back it was quite acceptable to make fun of stutters, people with physical problems be it in cinema or in social life. But now it is a taboo – why? Slowly people’s perception about this issue has been made to change and these changes don’t come quickly.

    Of course in any conflict the cast/religion angle always come up or at least some times they are made to come up to suit the victim. Within our country the question of racism (the kind that is happening to Shilpa) does not occur as we are pretty much all same with our skin color – just few shades apart. But it is relevant in Shilpa’s case. It is a common knowledge that in this world there exist racist feelings for certain race or other and there could very well be so many reasons behind them- some very valid like economic and some plain prejudice. But to feel one thing and to express that verbally is not the same thing. So I honestly feel that there should be protest about this issue in which ever tiny way it is possible. Yes, a celebrity being a victim definitely helps the cause.

    We should protest specially so that in this age of globalization where people from all over the world have to deal with us would think twice before they express their racist comment – just as now people (at least white colored people) think twice before making any sexist comment in a workplace – that change, whatever little it may be came about after slow but steady protests.

    It is understandable to feel the way one feels (including racism) as nobody can or should have any direct control over somebody else’s feelings but it certainly is non negotiable if they are being expressed verbally or physically. Hence the need for protest.

    I was wondering why you haven’t written any thing about this topic. As usual you have treated this topic in your usual style- it is another gem.

  32. Calling someone Indian is racial abuse?
    Oh, or was it because she was called a Paki?


    Anyway, guess she’s truly world famous now which translates to a more contracts waiting for her when she comes back. All is well that ends well.

    I cannot agree less with you on the matter national representation here. Yet another incident which goes to show how strongly National sentiment is controlled by the Media.

  33. GB: “Aww please. Are you really trying to tell us as to consider it a “fact” that the players play for BCCI based on a legal point the Board made?”

    No, not because BCCI made that point, but because *that* is the fact. It is fact that BCCI is a privately registered society, registered with TN registrar for societies. Just like say, your apartment house owners’ society for example. And the players are picked by this private club to go and play against other club teams. They have nothing to do with the country, except the name of the team they have given themselves. Just because people have been deluded into believing that they are somehow representing the country or just because Kapil Dev said he would never have played for BCCI (you mean he didn’t know all those years who he was playing for?) it doesn’t change facts.

    As for Leander Paes incident, don’t you think there is a difference between an incident which has occured recently, watched on television by millions (as in Shilpa case) and something that happened long ago and the victim is only mentioning it now without any evidence? It is alright for you to say that Sania shouldn’t expect any special treatment, but if such an incident were to occur on Wimbledon court or in a ICC Cricket World cup finals, I doubt if any government will sit idle saying it is none of their concern.

  34. @GB

    My point is, just because there is a show like CBB that thrives on racial innuendo among other things, doesn’t mean that one should be immune to it. That would be encouraging the prejudice in the first place. It’s like saying racial discrimination is bad enough, but hell, what else is CBB for? I feel that’s wrong. Once again, SS did not complain of racial discrimination. The behaviour meted out to her was picked by media watch-dogs.

    As for the media and government overreaction, I completely agree with you. As for badge “India’s ambassador”, who’s given her that? Is it the Indian audience? Indian media? British media? C4? I dunno.

    I think we are debating on two counts.

    1. The fact that SS’s racial profiling was picked up by the media because she is a minor celebrity, does not make it a lesser crime.

    2. The role of GOI vis-a-vis the travails of a common man who faces racial discrimination more often every day in the West.

    Call me an optimist or delusional, but I think racial discrminination against an average Asian at least came to the forefront, thanks to the incident. Yes, it is quite sad that it had to happen to some minor celebrity first. But that’s how things work. Case in point: the ‘reaction’ to the Jessica Lal murder case vis-a-vis the Kahirlanji killings.

    GB, I think, you can be scathing about the reaction to the incident. But not the incident.

  35. Here, some journo who managed to clear HSC and write good English (with the help of the MS word thesaurus of course) rants thus…

    >>> Admit it, not much. Even the most enlightened of us would hardly dream of letting our cooks join us at our dining tables. Or allow our sweepers to sit on our sofas. Or, for that matter, provide our maids with a decent bed.


    I wonder which conservative British housewife allows maids to sit on her sofa or allow her to join them at the dining table…

    Ok, we are at fault in many matters, but come on.. dont invent charges. Whats happened to our journos.. I really like that Braking News parody on Channel V. So true.

  36. hey,

    They banned late night shows on AXN as a result of this and forced news channels to apologize as a result of this safai.

    Also heard on DTC bus, arre ba******d, uski …. waisa hai, eise liye sabki khujli ho raha hai… mera dhobi aagar giya tha uss show mei, to koi nahi chikta…

    a point to ponder (actually two)

    how would the gentleman’s dhobi get to london and big brother?
    Two: mayb he just might be right??

    o well…. yahi hai india

  37. Rahulghosh & Mohan has very valid points.
    And ofcourse YOURFAN too.

    The petition is not for the GOI to act but for Channel 4 to intervene just like it did if any of the rules set by the program is broken (e.g. discussing nominations).

    Also to make it clear, Shilpa didn’t say she was representing India / South-East Asia to gain fame or for mileage. What she said was I will not stoop to your level because I represent India / South-East Asia. I think that was very mature of her. If she would have been bitching about she would have had no sympathy. She has held her head high and made India proud. The best part is no one can fault her or pick points against India / Indians from her behaviour.

    I re-iterate again, most if not all the racist slur was made behind Shilpa’s back. I can’t say whether she would have complained about racial abuse if this was said to her directly but she already has a feeling of racism & also told this to Big Brother in the Diary room.

    I personally believe it doesn’t matter whether she complains or not. If the programme organisers see racism / bullying they should intervene just like they do when ‘their’ code is broken.

    Would anyone suggest that when a person on the street is bullied / racially abused the police should wait till the person complains?

  38. hey, great stuff greatbong.
    No need for people to get their b***s in an uproar over something as trivial as Shilpa Shetty.

    She’s in a reality show and surely knew what she’s in for. in the end, evryone is trying to win. Surely she didn’t expect her fellow contestants to fawn over here because she is a filmishtar in India.

    Anyways, she had gone over there for the cash and to get noticed by some Hollywood director, nothing more nothing less.

    Representing India my foot.

  39. I have always wondered how channels managed to dish out one reality show after another each worse than imaginable.
    Now I know, there is a market for them.

  40. Excellent illustration through the photograph as usual GB special.

  41. This uproar is quite out-of-line from my current experience in the UK as a student. Most people I come across have been quite curious of my culture, have been friendly and to be honest…most of my friends here are British. What they say behind my back is something I’m oblivious of but it has to be said that most rascism in UK arises from the ignorant and their stupidity is something I don’t even bother protesting against. However, “celebrities” like Jade, Jack and JAckie are dime a dozen here and anything they say only makes them a pardody of themselves. So India, don’t take offence in something as trivial like this or pole-dancing idiots because the rate of development and passiveness we practice is something that will undoubtedly find a lot of envy and wrath.

  42. Parody…damn, my typing is getting as bad as Chav.

  43. Grow a spine for once

  44. The Indian press has been quite mature about this:

  45. Carphone Warehouse has withdrwan its sponsorship.You read it here first 🙂

  46. who is Dhwajadhari Dutta? funny name. never herad of him. boss is it your creation

  47. @Rudresh: Well Shilpa Shetty isnt crying…its others who are.

    @Yourfan: The reason I lampoon SMS-protests is that they concentrate on high-profile “causes” (usually involving celebrities or beautiful people) and let the even-bigger problems pass underneath the scanner.

    @Lalbadhshah: I suppose “Paki’ is the generic racial abuse for South-East Asians.

    @Mohan: With respect to your BCCI argument, I have nothing to say except smile. I suppose then you also believe that Clinton did not have sex. And as for the Leander Paes incident, no there is no difference. Theoretically. Now I also doubt if the government would stay idle if a celeb is abused but thats because we in India are especially concerned about VIPs and not about the ordinary person. We sincerely believe that there should be two laws: one for me and one for Dhoni.

    @Rahul: Again my point is that it comes with the territory of reality shows. Not that it makes it less bad.

    @Shadows: Amazing article. It takes talent to take the Shilpa Shetty issue and use it as a stick to beat the ‘usual suspects”. I am of course referring to this:

    And lastly because our bigots are rarely, if ever, brought to book. That’s why Narendra Modi can put an entire genocide into a forgotten file and continue to “work tirelessly” for the “Glory of Gujarat.” That’s why not a single arrest has been made fifteen years after the Bombay riots. And that’s why only one politician has been convicted for inciting the 1984 Sikh pogrom.

    @Neeladri: I know. The World’s Sexiest Commercials being shown late at night.

    @KillerBee_qa: Hollywood? Heavens no. Big Brother is for has-beens and trainwrecks.

    @Gaurav: Of course. Reality TV is fun.

    @Partha: 🙂

    @SirPyscho: That’s because you interact with “educated” people. I have also never encountered any racism professionally or in grad school. It’s when you walk out onto the streets that these things start happening.

    @Aslam: Thank you. Why dont you show me by growing one yourself? And add a brain while you are at it. When you link to an article where the picture is of all Indian newspapers with big photos of Shilpa Shetty on the frontpage, you kind of shoot your own assertion in the foot. Yes I know according to the BBC, these articles had a line or two criticizing the over-reaction. But hey ! It’s still FRONT page news. If the newspapers really felt this was an over-reaction, they should have put in the inside pages. This is like porno movies whose theme is that porno destroys society.[Incidentally as of now, the first bullet on TOI homepage is “No question of calling Shilpa back, says family”]
    And why do I have Shilpa Shetty on my frontpage? Cause blogs dont have inside-pages.

    @Asterix: Good for them.

    @Samir: Unless linked to, the “reactions” are all fictitious. It is supposed to read like the usual CNN-IBN/NDTV news nugget.

  48. @GB: I don’t know the details of Clinton-Lewinsky affair, but as far as BCCI is concerned it seems plain to me that those cola-sellers are picked by a private club and hence can only be representing the said club. Morever, this is not something I started “believing” after BCCI made that argument in SC, but something I had been arguing on another forum (>, search for “representing the country”) years before BCCI made that claim.

    As for “we in India being especially concerned about VIPs”, I read somewhere that Keith Vaz, a British MP, has brought up this issue in the house of commons. So either he brings up every single instance of racism that occurs anywhere in UK or being especially concerned about VIPs is not something unique to Indian politicians.

  49. Arnab: Firstly, this was one of your best humor posts in recent times. Enjoyed it.

    Now, to comment on some of the ongoing debate: Did Clinton commit perjury? Did Clinton have sex with Lewinsky? If he did not penetrate Lewinsky, then is it not subjective to use the term “had sex” to describe what took place? I remember reading a news report about a survey conducted at that time, which found that a clear majority of college students did not consider having oral sex as “having had sex” at all. Now you may have your own opinion as to what can constitute “having sex”, but I tend to agree with the majority in that survey. This is not to deny that Clinton that did try to mislead the public, and the court. But if he in fact did not have penetrative intercourse with her, then he did not so obviously have sex with Lewinsky (as you seem to consider), neither legally nor even by common understanding of that term “had sex”. Sexual activity does not necessarily equate to having sex.

  50. Greatbong I think you misinterpreted my comment. Of course i’m aware that it’s mainly “educated” people, as you put it, that i interact with. What I stressed on was the fact that it’s sheer ignorance that triggers such spastic behaviour in people. I remember this one evening that i was walking on the road alone, minding my own business, when this drunk old Welsh man saw me and started speaking to his dog…saying “that is what a Paki looks like”. When I look back at the incident I have to laugh in pity and realize that nothing in the world can change the perception of a “Paki” that this man held true in his embarrasingly small mind.

    So when it comes to rascists, we can never really win the war because it is a pointless war and there will always be pointless assholes who’ll point fingers and say something like “all of you look alike”. And I’m not patting myself on the back for acting rationally as well because if the laws permitted and I had a gun, I would have shot him with a wide smile on my face. But we live in a world entangled with complexity and it is humoring this very complexity that makes us human and civilized.

  51. As for the SMS campaigns and effigy burnings, people do their thing either for publicity or for a cause. For example, the Patna thing is pure publicity hunting, while the SMS and complaints calls to Endemol might be for a cause. What’s to not like? If people can spend millions in SMSs to elect a new Indian Idol, or Fame Jodi, or Super Singer, sure it is warranted to spend some money on raising awareness for racism in the UK.

    We should not play down the racism angle just because Shilpa went into it “with her eyes open” or because she is rich, or because we don’t like her acting, or because she “does not represent India”. It’s there. For some reason it has caught the imagination of the people, and for some reason, we are all discussing it. That means it is relevant, isn’t it?

    Yes we do not have SMS campaigns for Dalit killings. Agreed. So what? Does that mean that we have no right to have an SMS campaign against racism against Shilpa? Are we all going to become moral relativists and feel guilty for taking up a cause just because there are still greater injustices and greater causes in the world? Should we stop campaigning for the whales just because there are starving children in Darfur?

    Another thing that bothers me is the fact that many Indians are taking this occasion to snark about Shilpa – what has she done to deserve the snarkiness in this particular context? I don’t like her acting or her nose, and neither do many of us, but that’s no reason to overlook racism against her. What if it were Kajol there instead of Shilpa? Yeah yeah I know. Kajol would have more class than join CBB. Another example of our own prejudices.

  52. I think this is overhyped, first of all in daily life people do call each others names especially those whom they do not like or are jealous with

    like telgu guys being called gulti , marathi guys being called ghatis , tamilians being called madrasis etc even abroad people do refer to others based on their ethinicities like caucasians being referred to as red necks , africans being referred to as n@ggas or kallus . So based on plain name calling I think if racism is to be determined then I guess each and everyone of us has been a racist at one point of time or the other.

    Now coming to the being mean to shilpa and all that could because of jealousy , insecurity amongst the other contestants or for that matter shilpa playing the game to the T to make sure she gets the worst behavior out of the other contestant.

    Now consider its a game show where people are trying to outwit and compete aganst each others , I think we should let go of the banter rather than getting sucked into it.

    Theres even worst banter that gets thrown out in contact sports eg:- Zidanes head butt, lleyton hewitt vs james blake but even then the game goes on and the players accept it as a part of the game. So in this case let the game go on and audiences better not get sucked into it and if they feel offended just freakin change the channel.

    Dont term anything you dont like to hear as racism and ask youself this simple question , have I not called anyone by his/her ethinicity than his/her name before?

  53. @shan – completely agree with you

    @guru – Although what you say is so very true – we are far from an ideal world. Its like Christ or Gandhi or Mother Teresa said the first person who is allowed to throw a stone is one who is guilt/sin free. Never works that way though, does it?

    Although I think the govt should have resisted from commenting on this topic, the interest in the public and the media, though not justified, is understandable. I’ve seen too many comments here which say that “Indians” should not do this or that and all that stuff. The fact is, we are the same as any other country. The same thing happens in US all the time. Public figures always get more attention. Although not right, that has become a fact of life now. Britney is castigated for appearing without underwear and her morals are questioned. Michael Richards – aka Kramer is also castigated, why? Only because he is a public figure in spite of the fact that there are worse racial slurs that are uttered all the time by normal people. So if I find someone uttering a racial slur, should I go to the media and should the media take it up or should they give more coverage when Kramer says it? Obviously the answer is when Kramer does.

    There are also people who have said that Shilpa doesn’t represent India and stuff like that. Well, whether you like it or not, she does in a way. You and me can act like a buffoon and we do in public places but when a public figure like Shilpa does it, she has a reach to many people who’ve never known anything about India/Indians and these people might build a perception of Indians from seeing her on the tube. So in that sense, she does represent India and Indians.

    All said and done, I think GreatBong was just trying to highlight the excessive interest in the case and thats where I do agree with it. It has been over the top and its hard to blame just the MSM for it. Why are we blaming the MSM more than the bloggers who are just as guilty of it? Yes, they are public entities and reach much farther than your avg blogger.

  54. Vasabjit Banerjee January 18, 2007 — 11:23 pm


    First, it is quite an even keeled and insightful article. In this vein, I was most amazed at a real incident that happened to me in Calcutta itself a few years ago.

    I was in Calcutta over the winter break of 2000; thus, had decided to head to the Tollygunge Club’s 31st celebrations. Instead of wearing the normal suit and tie outfit, I decided to wear a dhoti-kurta and shawl. It was obnoxious, but, hell, I thought it’d be fun.

    No, unlike the normal stories, the club authorities did allow me in. I was indeed having a good time when a bunch of Marwari kids, who were barely acquainted with me, decided to start up a conversation about my outfit. There, they demeaned Bengalis, called us parasitical, and then proceeded to physically assault me on the club grounds.

    Why is this different from Big Brother? Why is there no introspection about the latent provincialism in all of us in India? I had always taken the whole ‘Marwari’ Oppression thing with a fist of salt, but today, I completely realize the subaltern social identity of Bengalis, Assamese, Biharis, Tamils, etc., within the body politic of India itself.

    Why complain about the chavs on Big Brother when we do it ourselves? Are we making a failed actress a symbol for our hypocrisy?


  55. GB, it’s Aakrosh : Cyclone of Anger and not cycle 🙂

  56. Debashish: I agree with your explanation re Clinton. I don’t think oral sex is described as “having sex” either – that’s why they usually say “she gave him a blowjob” or “she performed oral sex on him” etc.

    In the meanwhile, media coverage of the Big Brother row continues in the UK papers. I see that it is the second news item on both Guardian and Telegraph websites. Atleast in the Indian newspaper I subscribe to (Deccan Herald) it has already gone to page 9. Even in terms of politicians’ reactions, already the Prime Minister Tony Blair, his deputy Gordon Brown, leader of the house Jack Straw, Culture Minister, few MPs and various regulatory authorities have commented on the issue. The main sponsor has pulled out and some other products have dumped couple of models involved in the fracas. Now, I have never seen any of these reality shows, but if this kind of behaviour is only to be expected on such shows and “Shilpa walked into it with her eyes open” etc. then why are all these people in UK reacting in this manner to the incident? Surely, it can’t be because of the alleged overreaction of the new age SMS activists in *India*? Considering the kind of reaction in UK, the brief “we have been appraised of the matter, we will take whatever action is necessary” comment from the I&B minister doesn’t at all seem out of place to me.


    Contrary to your assertion, Indian cricketers *do* represent the country in a sport. They were selected based on a rigorous process. Shilpa Shetty was not. Hence there is a huge difference between the two.

    Okay now lets say an Indian cricketer has racial abuse hurled at him.Not that it has not happened. Lets say its in Australia. I would expect BCCI, the official organization that exists precisely for this reason, to take it up with Cricket Australia. I would *not* expect the Indian government to talk to their Australian counterparts. You can argue that Shilpa Shetty has no “BCCI” taking up her case…and my reply is “Precisely. Because she is representing herself and not the country”.

    Similarly with the people who have abused Shilpa. They are representing themselves. Not the British crown. Hence there is no reasonable authority that has the “right” to rebuke them.If this was the English cricket team and it was Flintoff saying this,then yes things would be different.

    Among the links I have, there is a picture of protesters buring an effigy of the Big Brothers producers in Patna. True it was a crowd of 25 crazy loons. But the coverage this non-issue is getting from Indian newspaper shows widespread interest(outrage) at this incident in India itself Incidentally, I already got this petition forwarded twice today from “activist” people in India.

  58. Debashish Roy: Yes, apart from the minor detail that the cricketers do not represent the country, it was an incisive comment. btw, was he suggesting that Flintoff represents the British crown?

  59. “They might not have apologized for Jallianwalah Bagh but they sure did for Shilpa Shetty”

    This has to be the ultimate comment on the whole episode !

    Btw, heard you on the BBC – you put your point across nicely – but sounded like the Beeb was more interested in a different angle !

  60. @Debashish Roy

    Only the first line (in caps) is yours, right? Nice way to save some time writing comments. Why not just copy and aste the entire post? 🙂

  61. @Arnab

    I know that excessive interest and media attention on celebrity causes (Shilpa racism, or Salman Blackbuck) or “sexy upper class” causes (Jessica Lal killing) irks you, but this will happen, as it happens all over the world. This is the reality of today’s world. Child safety, for example, comes into sharp focus when Michael Jackson dangles his baby from a window, or when Britney has her kid on her lap while driving.

    Celebrities, or celebrity causes will always get more attention, more newsprint, more fotage then what heppens to you and I. (Although assuming the Beeb gig is only the beginning, who knows if we are watching and contributing to the birth of a new celebrity right here!)

    And don’t forget something. It also gives us wonderful oppportunities to carp about the media and their twisted priorities. Personally I love doing that and would be very disappointed if the media suddenly decided to go straight and narrow.

  62. Greatbong:

    I think you jumped the gun a little bit with this post. Just checked google news during my daily ritual and there are all sorts of people commenting on it:

    Mahesh Bhatt: “….it reflects the UK society…”

    PETA : Is also supporting her and took out a rally in London

    Nana Patekar: “Shilpa should’ve slapped those people…main hota to chanta maar deta…”

    Livingstone (recently re-instated mayor of London) : “The racism towards Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother is completely uncacceptable.”
    More- on this page:

    And you are due another post in your unimitable style on all of the above and more…c’mon…:)

  63. Dhwajadhari Dutta

    Nice one. In the great tradition of Parashuram’s Dodul Dey, Akinchit Kar and Siharan Sen.

  64. Sriram Venkitachalam January 21, 2007 — 11:03 pm

    too much only funny this is. u remember all of akshay kumar’s flares! heard u on the BBC radio show. nice question to gautham.

    I’m positively thinking of starting a business of selling effigies of all kinds.

  65. Right GB. This was a case of new age activism going overboard. This was another of those now-common made-by-media, for-the-media episodes. And the fact that the stunt worked was another reminder that staged gossip mongering has come of age.

    Blatantly ‘racist’ inside our own country (from thin lines of “Padosan” to explicit chants of ‘outsider’, madrasi, Santa, mallu, Bihari and all, and dont even go to caste and dalit stuff), we Indians prefer needlessly worldly matters over the concerns at home. For me, this episode was “desi” hypocrisy at its best.

  66. Nice article here:

    That’s my view of the Indian media coverage too. Yes, they did cover the issue endlessly, but there was no aggressive nationalism like “how dare this white woman insult an Indian”. It was covered more as bollywood gossip than as a national outrage. As for new age SMS-activism, apart from that one effigy burning incident in Bihar (who can hardly be classified as new-age activists), I didn’t notice any. This is certainly a welcome change. I agree with the author that if the incident had happened a few years ago, we would have seen lot of anger.

    I think Greatbong got this one wrong.

  67. very very angry Rajesh & friends January 29, 2007 — 9:01 pm

    Shakespeare cockroach
    Humpty Dumpty

    Shakespeare cockroach is a new insult against the english people because we all know that they are dirty and they hate bathing. Those english who are stupid and brainless, are insulted as, Humpty Dumpty.

    Shilpa should have abused back her english tormentors by calling them, Shakespeare cockroach and Humpty Dumpty, but unfortunately she did not know these remarks and many indians dont know them either. So we are now spreading these two insults all over the world. Each time somebody abuses you in fascist england, call him back, Shakespeare cockroach and Humpty Dumpty. That would teach him a lesson. Remember, retaliation is the key. If somebody abuses you and you remain silent, then he will abuse you more. If you respond, he will become quiet.

    We hate fascist england. It is a very very fascist country and more than 99% Shakespeare cockroaches are fascists by birth.

    For more information, contact us :

    We love Shilpa beauty.
    We hate Shakespeare cockroaches
    We hate Humpty Dumptys.
    We hate fascist england.

    Very very very angry Rajesh & friends,
    france and fascist england.

  68. How very true.

    If only Mrs. Damodar Rao of Jhansi had known how to insult the British thoroughly, she would have said–
    “Meri Jhansi nehi doonga ye sab bilayti unwashed cockroach ko!”
    Dalhousie felled by stroke.
    We are still nominally ruled by the decaying Mughals. In Bengal, the house of Alibardi, ruling from Alimuddin Street, invites the house of Tatas to take some land in Singur ……Mamta Begum protests…

    OR (alternate history)

    Oh! If only Octavius Hume had been called that in the very first meeting of the Congress, or W.C. Bonerjee had known of it, or S.N. Banerjee had thundered it out in one of his public meetings…………Indian history would have been rewritten.
    No J.L. Nehru with rose in third buttonhole, no Jinnah raising a flag on 14th August.

    But I am sure that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would have defended the lowly cockroach and proved it beyond doubt that it may carry germs but has a very respectable liniage (Ordovician? Definitely pre-Jurassic).
    He would have banned harijans from the Sabarmati ashram, but cockroaches would have been allowed the run of the place.

  69. “At this point, Sameer became overcome with emotion. His voice choking up, he said:

    “They did this to Bapu in South Africa. And history is being repeated again. But we are not so powerless now as we were then.””


    Bapu, sitting in heaven, would be full of pity for Sameer, Ms. Hingorani and the likes.

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  73. I have just seen a couple of clips of that show. It looked like Shilpa Shetty played the race-bait game to a T. In the end, everyone had to fork over their votes to look tolerant. Its kinda like when the American idol contestant that sang “man in the mirror” said “If I get into the bottom 3, it means that Americans have not looked in the mirror yet”. Shilpa didn’t say it but acted it perfectly. Real racism is bad and it hurts like hell, especially, when it is the institutionalized kind. This, on the other hand, was just a huge media circus. The show must have gotten more ratings, Shilpa got her “global star” mantle by playing the second- coming of Bapu. The Indian media and the government officials who intervened looked like clowns. I just pity the fools who wasted their time picketing and signing the petition.

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