How Can You Slap?

A year and a few months ago, the UK and of course India went into a tizzy about racist remarks against our very own Shilpa Shetty on Big Brother. The point that most people forgot to stress upon, amidst all the outrage and the displays of patriotism, was that racism in this context was not so much an expression of a nation’s inherent insensitivity towards minorities but an instrument used by one contestant to mentally harass another contestant on a reality show. If Shilpa Shetty hadn’t been brown, she would have been harassed based on her sexual orientation, her weight, her looks or her intelligence—but since Ms. Goody couldn’t get her on the first three and was too dumb herself to get Shilpa on the last, she had to go on her skin color.

Because reality shows are principally for one thing and one thing only. Humiliation and conflict. Of course there are many people who tune into Sa Re Gama for the beatific voices or Ek Se Badkar Ek for the sensational Sayantani Ghosh. I won’t say that I don’t belong to that set. But when it comes to what really keeps me glued to the TV, it has to be the sight of Himesh shouting at the other judges on Sa Re Gama or of Abhijeet being accused by a contestant of favoring a girl from his state or of Simon Cowell verbally haranguing a bad performer.

Are the conflicts staged? Are they intentionally provoked behind-the-scenes? Is the world real or is it all maaya? Have robots taken over the nation and plugged us into the Matrix? Do I look like I care? As long as I see trembling contestants and frothing judges I am more than happy. And if there is a meltdown once in a while –then well that’s just the icing on the cake.

After all what’s more entertaining than to see people fight among themselves and subject themselves to abject humiliate for the sake of money? It makes us feel thankful that at least when we fight at office meetings or get chewed out by the boss for losing a contract, the whole nation is not witness to that. And perhaps it is that that makes us feel a bit superior.

Tragic things do happen once in a while like the girl on a Bengali reality show who went into severe shock and needed to be hospitalized after a dressing-down on TV but then again if you do not have a high tolerance for criticism, then reality TV is probably not for you.

Nothing gladdened my heart more than when I came to know of a reality show on a TV channel I had never heard off —Bindass TV. The show called Dadagiri (Sourav Ganguly should sue for copyright infringement) has stripped off all the pretense of the “talent promotion” and instead isolated the core of the reality show’s appeal by basing itself on pure and simple humiliation. Three Dadas, one a muscleman who makes the contestants perform physical challenges, one a nerd who mentally challenges them and a dominatrix who makes them do something yucky while shouting expletives [yes Neena Gupta tried something similar in Kamzor Kari Kaun, but that intimidation was positively Hangalian “Itna sannata kyon hain bhai” in comparison to Dadagiri. Plus how can a woman who burst onto the scene by jumping out from behind a table and singing “Hawkins Pressure Cooker” invoke a sense of fear?] stand between the contestants and the loot. Needless to say, the challenges are tame compared to Fear Factor or any decent quiz show but then again this isn’t a talent show.

Now some people may say that this show, way more than its reality cousins, panders to our basest instincts of deriving pleasure at the degradation the fellow man, making us not much different from the guards at Abu Ghraib. Some will say it glorifies ragging. Some will balk at the girlie gay character called Juicy in the show who exists to provide comic relief.

Well so slap me—-“Dadagiri” is not politically correct.

But it has given us, without doubt, the single greatest moment of Indian reality TV. Ever.

Here is the video link.

And here is the sequence of events. Dominatrix Isha tells one of the contestants (who is refusing to get flustered at her verbal jabs, thus defeating the purpose of the show)—“Why don’t you fuck off then”? The contestant, looks cutely at her and says “You go”. And then the dominatrix raises the bar for reality TV for ever by slapping the contestant, in a way seen only in Hindi family dramas (except those are fake). The contestant then, Bubka style, raises the bar even higher by returning the slap with ferocious intensity, in the process deviating from the script . Then the slapped man proceeds to yell in anguished King Lear style “How can you slap?” in the same kind of voice that the villain in “Jimmy” kept asking “Am I a rejected person?”

Then the presenter of the show acts all hero (even though he is wearing red shoes like Cinderella Little Red Riding Hood) and starts slapping and punching the man while screaming obscenities. Then we see the brave camera crew coming to the red-shoed hero’s help by proceeding to gang up to kick the contestant as he lies on the ground crying. And finally it may or may not be an accident that the “hero” shouts that the contestant, whose English accent betrays the fact that he is not a member of a country club, has no “aukaad” to do what he did to the “celebrities” that run the show, so refined are they that the word “fock” comes before “behenchod” in their sequence of abuses.

Now some might argue that the contestant, like the girl who suffered severe psychological trauma, should have known what he was getting into. While some others may argue that while criticism from judges for a performance is par for the course, getting slapped (and then being beaten and kicked by a crowd), even in a show themed exclusively on degrading an individual, is definitely not.

Whatever it be, there is no denying that all this makes for perfect reality TV— the weeping contestant becomes the object of humiliation, the red-shoed hero and the camera crew become the “judges” dispensing justice and the viewers all become “Dadas” deriving guilty pleasure from the whole circus.

[Original link courtesy my batchmate from JU—Shankar Seal]

131 thoughts on “How Can You Slap?

  1. Ha ha ha….goo take on reality shows….btw whats happening on the show….poor chap…how could he get slapped?…would i get an Ipod?

  2. I’ll settle for an FM radio.

  3. GB,

    I just cant believe this shit happening……Are we so much degraded now that we cannot be decent on TV atleast. I know our behavior is not of great degree when in private but atleast on TV it should be some decency. God, I am saved of watching this kinda shit on TV daily. I just puke when I see any kind of reality show no matter who innovative it is…..

    Peace out…!!!

  4. Now some might argue that the contestant, like the girl who suffered severe psychological trauma, should have known what he was getting into. While some others may argue that while criticism from judges for a performance is par for the course, getting slapped (and then being beaten and kicked by a crowd), even in a show themed exclusively on degrading an individual, is definitely not.

    Well, getting beaten and verbally abused by the crowd came much later in the sequence (and is not okay, ever). But, if getting slapped was part of the script, then our “victim” contestant is essentially an idiot for reacting the way he did.

    In my opinion though, the first slap wasn’t really scripted. That’s perhaps why the contestant was so shocked (“how can she slap, sir?”). In that case, I am totally on the contestant’s side. Poor guy.

    And the “hero” had no class whatsoever. “Apni behen ko bhej”! WTF!

    PS: The dominatrix herself doesn’t sound like a member of any country club.

  5. These shows glamourize and legitamize ‘Jerry Springer’ behaviour. We’ll see it being played out in homes and work places soon. But what do channels care? As long as they grab eyeballs and fill their coffers. Morality and social responsibity be damned.

  6. Goddamit! Will somebody please take out the reality from reality shows? Havent these participants been told to stick to the script and behave like nice boys?

    How can she slap? How can she slap? Hmm, she’s dressed as a dominatrix and carries a whip.. what do you think?

    Havent seen the show, but saw some (educational) movies where people dress up like this. But the man aint supposed to slap back! It’s all wrong! He should get down on all fours and bark or whatever they did in the movies (I quit after some time).

    To bring more action, I propose hand binding and a gag. Cant have people rearranging the host’s teeth during shooting.

    But anyway, Sure no one should’ve been slapped, or at least, the dude should’ve been told – “See here, take this money, just act docile and be slapped around. And for fuck’s sake, stick to the script”.

    Personally I wouldnt mind such treatment on news channels. But poor girl got hit pretty bad, just for doing her job. Even if her job was being a bitch, which is the whole point of the show.

    A failure from the production’s side no doubt.

    On a side note, “How Can She Slap?” has the potentional of becoming the new “Dont Taze Me, Bro!”

  7. Ha ha ha….HANGALIAN….wonderful…jiyo mere lal…

  8. Well if she’s dressed like a dominatrix and saying fuck is an accepted term of speech among the now generation or whatever the present generation calls itself – how does it matter?
    What matters is the vicarious satisfaction a certain segment gets from watching shows in this genre . It’s pretty difficult to ascertain what’s scripted and what’s not . However, reality shows such as Dadagiri and Splitsvilla etc are pretty pathetic.

  9. And let’s be fair… the channels probably pray for such an event. So they can release the video later on, and get more viewership than their sad show will ever get through the normal channels.

    No wonder this clip is all over youtube and news channels. Free publicity. If in the process the hostess got slapped, well tough for her.

    I’m sure all “reality” shows have their bloopers. Which never see the light of the day. Unless someone dies. I’m sure they pray for such shit to happen.

    – Saad

  10. OH MY GOD!
    Due regards to the camera man who leaked this video with full audio!

  11. I think the presentor is a Delhi guy. I say that not because of the very ‘delhi’ abuses he was hurling at the contestant, but because of his elevated north indian sense of justice. I wonder why he wanted the contestant to get his siter on the show. To punish her for his crime maybe? Sounds like what they would do in parts of india and Pakistan, rape the mother and/or sister of a man who commited a crime. Thou shall do to other’s sister what others did to yours.

  12. Have taken a few halting steps to starting a blog of my own.Could you take a few minutes to visit and tell me how I am doing.

  13. GB … I’m sure you connect on the same wavelength with these truly “demented” reality shows like “Big Boss” and “Dadagiri” :-))

    By the way I’m sure these shows are scripted at least to some degree ( reliable sources in Sony confirms this for Indian Idol … regarding the nok-jhok between judges )

    How else can you explain that Jade Goody learnt that she had cervical cancer within days of coming to Big Boss and had to return ??? If there was a suspicion of cancer and she had taken the cancer tests in London surely she would have waited for the results before landing in India for Big Boss !!! With Shilpa Shetty as the show host Jane Goody’s presence meant additional TRPs and the whole thing was staged.

    Here’s my take on Big(g) Boss ( this was before the exit of Goody ) :

  14. Hey…Great! How can you slap?? Kick…right on the face…!!

  15. @vimsical: Way to go! You correctly identified the Delhi dude! Here in Delhi, we DO have a different sense of justice. The supreme court insists that the accused be accompanied by his sister to court.

    Swift and efficient justice for all! (And their sisters)

  16. Once more you have boggled the mind, extended the limits of perception, and given fresh, new meaning to the phrase ‘richly bizarre’.

    I had no idea you can now say ‘Fuck’ 27 times on national television.
    Exactly when did S&M become part of the Indian mainstream?
    And why are all the contestants dressed like Dennis The Menace?

  17. well i guess this is all a natural progression in TV shows. We have definitely come a long way from ” Hum Log” phase to a reality show with choicest expletives… I wonder when do we get to see talk shows where a 15 year old comes on live TV claiming she has slept with 300 guys because she wants a baby or husband confessing he’s been having affair with wife’s brother for last 5 years or a man who’s discovered after 5 years of marriage that his wife is a man……wouldn’t that be truest and ultimate sign that Indian TV has arrived…..
    I wouldn’t mind watching first show of such a “talk/ reality show” with DPS MMS protagonists…..”tell me dear when did you meet the boys for the first time….!!!!!!!!

  18. Not much of a hero, just look at him after the slap. He’s scared to touch the slapper and only when more people arrive does he start his verbal and physical assault on that guy.

    Well done for fighting back! The producers wanted reality…they got it!

  19. The guy should have never slapped back!it’s wrong! should never raise a hand to any women no matter what.She overreacted all through.he said we don’t want to talk to you,she Say’s f-off then.he Say’s you go.he didn’t use the f-word back ,she slap’s him.He should have done nothing,would have been lot more interesting viewing,than what happened,which was ugly.he should sue.

  20. in dadagiri show ..they ask contestants to eat from toilet commode…
    and also saw one contestant slapping other after being asked to do by the hosts…

    beating the guy is out of spirit of the program….

  21. Hi author,
    you may like to read my entry on this subject here:

  22. in my view, the unsung hero of the entire episode is the guy in a pink t-shirt and brown shorts. he’s one of those heroes who mete out justice silently without too much hoo-haa. watch him as he appears on the scene randomly and practices his free-kicks on he also shows his compassionate side by deviating away from the crowd to go off-camera to probably calm enraged-anchor-guy-with-excessive-chivalry-and-distinguished-vocabulary.

  23. Is it only me, who found the video extremely disturbing.

  24. The best part is that they continued to film the rest of the episode quite normally. The clip is also there on youtube.

  25. These reality shows, which look totally fake, are spoiling kids more than they get spoiled WWE.
    I like WWE by the way, at least they do what they say, even if fake or whatever.

  26. I can’t believe the hypocrisy of these so-called reality shows. If they want to keep it real, then why bleep out the obscenity? let the viewers know what its all about. Most of these shows do not have a viewer’s discretion notice.

  27. Here’s a real Catch-22: Having to choose between Ekta Kapoor’s diabetes-inducing “phemily” (to use a GB-ism) drama, and wannabe shows like this that are rip-offs of bad Western reality TV (Not that there is “good” Western reality TV). Man the future of Indian TV looks bleak.

  28. After this.. whats expected next? live rape – and show how the victim fights to get back in terms ?

  29. But Arnab, have you not been watching Ekkkkta Kapoor’s quality reality show product “Kaun Jeetega Bollywood ka Ticket”? There’s a bitchfight and fistfight in nearly every episode.

    In the last episode one contestant called another a “chhakka” and the other responded with “ma….”. And then they punched and kicked each other and there was a free for all.

    Scripted or not, seems like this genre is here to stay. And seriously, without these smackdowns, these contests would be absolutely insufferable.

  30. You are correct about reality shows, but as you pointed out the guy who got slapped was an ‘outsider’ and his language made that obvious. This humiliation is something I have seen all my life. In my school there was a term called “Vernac’ for kids who read ‘stupid Hindi stuff’ and much of so called ‘fun’ was based on their humiliation.

  31. Vasabjit Banerjee September 6, 2008 — 5:17 pm

    Did anyone notice the whole ‘class’ issue, as the presenter screams ‘aukaad’ and other stuff? So, they basically hire lower middle class people with some iota of ambition to quash them! Also, I actually sympathized with the guy who slapped back….normal human reaction (especially, if the fellow was from North India where women allegedly suffer from mistreatment). The interesting part was how the participant went on addressing the producer as “Sir”, while he was being beaten senseless! Another acceptance of the class barriers!

  32. @Saad: Thanks for your sarcasm. Must say i am not too proud of my hasty comment and and my stupid generalisation. I too love this city i live in. Its given me so much. But maybe you would agree that men here ARE genrally callous towards women, and it gets on to one’s nerves. So there…

  33. @Saad: Thanks to your reaction, i got to check your comic strip. I am hooked. Will keep coming back.

  34. Methinks, the presenter (Hero) has a crush on the the dominatrix.


    This “sir” thing is very common in India.We even used to call our college seniors “Sir” or “Boss”.

  35. The video is terrific – the characters get to use 4 letter words and obscenities on national TV? I mean, is this for real ? I wonder whther kids watch these shows ?

  36. Please note, there is nothing like ‘national television’ in India..stop aping US of A where it not appropriate. The channel this show comes on has an abysmal penetration even among the satellite and cable viewers.

  37. Yeah, what’s all this “national television” business? It sounds exactly like how some people use “grade” when they mean “standard” as in 12th greade. WTF, the Indian education system is not the same as the American one, and “grade” and “standard” are not the same thing. Wannabes all!

  38. Arijit Chatterjee September 6, 2008 — 8:06 pm

    Vasabjit, I agree with you completely. There is a class angle to it. The sissy with red shoes thinks he is above the law.

    Is it there in the script that the participants can be hit by the female vermin? And can the guy shout our profanities and keep hitting the participant? All this is on camera and the proof is right there. Can the law put these organizers behind bars?

  39. Ok, so I just saw the clip. It seems that this “aukaat” business has been a bit misunderstood.

    The presenter didn’t use “aukaat” to mean class or social standing. In this context, it means “balls”, plain and simple. Basically he says that the contestant doesn’t have the balls to fight back.

    Given the choicest abuses the presenter used (very impressive repertoire of gali galoch), I doubt there’s a class standoff between the contestant and the presenter.

    And seriously, what is all this patronising business of “what a jackass the contestant is for hitting a woman”. She hit him smack in the middle of the face. He merely retaliated and had every right to do so. Would we be saying the same thing if the dominatrix was a man instead of a woman?

  40. That was an awesome bitchslap! My new hero.

  41. Arijit Chatterjee September 6, 2008 — 10:57 pm

    here’s a website:

    selling t-shirts:

    looks like lot of people have good reflex!

  42. Vasabjit Banerjee September 6, 2008 — 11:57 pm

    @Rishi: point taken about the cultural thing. But, this ‘red shoe diary’ presenter is beating up the poor fellow, who has been made-up to look like a gay farm boy from Tijuana. Sorry, but using ‘Sir’ at this time does not come from just individual respect. It is similar to the situation when an old farmer uses ‘Huzoor, maaf kar di-jiye’ when the zamindar whips him for not paying taxes to finance a hunting trip. The reaction of the other crew members was basically a crowd mentality reaction, but they willingly accepted the presenter’s bizarre logic.

    Why blame the poor woman who was doing a job (possibly a bit too well); she’s also earning a living. I think, the whole show is built around belittling people. In the US, people are very conscious about being considered equal, but in India it’s the ‘masses’ who participate to get some camera exposure and perhaps extra money. So, this humiliation thing takes on a whole new angle.

  43. Can’t believe that this is happening!! No Censors, Moral Police? May be the VHP can’t beat these guys when it comes to obscenities.

  44. @ Vasabjit

    “gay farm boy from Tijuana”…..hehehehe.
    Yeah..he was dressed like one too.

    I just couldnt help but feel that the Presenter guy has a crush on the Domme and was doing all this to impress her.

  45. Watch Wednesday. highly recommended.

  46. You should watch intollerable show ‘Kaun Jeetega Bollywood Ka Ticket’ on 9X (8:00PM IST). Survive if you can with gaali, thappad ki goonj etc by contestents.

    @GB I am waiting for your take on ‘Kahani Hamarey Mahabharat Ki’

    btw both these shows are from KEkta Kapoor.

  47. Interesting conversation from the video (Time: 1:50)

    Female voice 1: I just thought he would be briefed about it
    Female voice 2: He *was* briefed about it … (not clearly audible)

  48. @Arijit Chatterjee: Holy Sh-*bleep*- there’s a website already! I hope this meme doesnt die too soon. Hope to see people wearing “How can she slap, sir” T Shirts 😀

    @vimsical: 🙂

  49. Oooh! A Dominatrix! Who got slapped!

    My my, this chap has the potential to be a Rosa Parks for the BDSM community. 😛


  50. @ Vasabjit Banerjee
    Interesting observation. Even I felt that the contestants are from “lower middle class” or whatever going by their English.

    The only dada that I found tolerable was the muscle guy. He meant what he said and he said what he meant.

    The brain dada is laughable. Total loser.

  51. Quote “Then the presenter of the show acts all hero (“even thought he is wearing red shoes like Cinderella)”

    Don’t you mean Dorothy of wizard of oz? Cinderella wore glass slippers 🙂

  52. The one reason I don’t like Dadagiri is that everything looks fake! Maybe it is because it is because the core is abuse.

  53. I have predicted much worse situations in reality TV. It is gonna get bigger and uglier. Not only reality TV, but entire entertainment industry. Mark my words guys.

  54. thanks gb ….

    i don watch much tv .. but missing out on stuff like these would be criminal ….

    i really hope you will write something on splitsvilla .. and soon

  55. I’m just puzzled by some of the comments made here.

    “Even I felt that the contestants are from “lower middle class” or whatever going by their English.”

    Huh??? Is it so hard to wrap our minds around the fact that there are plenty of stinking rich Indians who speak English with a decidedly non-public school accent?

    Have none of you visited any small towns in India lately? A lot of small town families are very, very wealthy. Heck a lot of villagers are very, very wealthy. Most of them do not speak English at home or send their kids to schools where educations in English is merely perfunctory.

    On my last visit to India I met a man who spoke virtually no English at all, who lived a village and was running a business with an annual turnover of Rs. 2 crores. Try to fit that into your pat generalizations about “English spoken with a certain accent” = lower middle class.

    The way someone speaks English absolutely no indication of their family wealth. I repeat, this is by no means a class issue. The anchor did not mean “aukaat” in the class sense.

  56. Agree with Thalassa.
    I thought irrespective of “class”, everyone spoke English the same way in urban India, with slight variations in accents based on an individual’s mother tongues.

  57. “Ladki pe haath uthatha hai?!!”. This is one of the most popular phrases in India, a sign of male valour in our society. But IMHO, this phrase is born out of the fact that females, *in general*, by the laws of nature have lesser physical strength than males and do not exhibit as much violent behavior as males are more prone to. So hitting them is normally perceived as taking undue advantage of them and hence, the valorous phrase.

    But in this case, the “female” in question does not really show any of those qualities which should make her eligible for that protection. Of course, who’s supposedly trying to be the protector of all “behens”, sees her in different light.

    All in all, a very disturbing incident and a classic example of the degradation of Indian television and viewership.

  58. This isnt a class issue at all. Or may be this video is a sign of “class” conflicts but one thats of a totally different nature. Its mediocrity v/s class. A struggle in which mediocrity is brutally winning !!!!!!

    Am I the only one who have this feeling that anything thats related to “hindi”, be it mainstream hindi films, hindi news channels, hindi serials etc, wallows in an abysmal pool of mediocrity ? The saddest fact is that there is no hope in sight. They seem to be getting worse by the day !!!!!!

    Also searched for a couple of videos related to “Kaun jeetega bollywood ka ticket”.. Gawd, its so effing awful to see tht they peddle this stuff on the tv channels. And Shabana Azmi (forget the activist, remember the actress) sitting there as a judge for tht “show” – I dunno whether to laugh or cry !!!

    This is a very disturbing video. After watching it 5-6 times, I really doubt whether its funny at all !!!!
    To quote a friend of mine – “Medicority is like communalism. The more you talk about it, the more it would start making sense to you!”

  59. (even thought he is wearing red shoes like Cinderella)

    Did you mean “though”?

  60. Just when you think things can’t be worse these guys always manage to find new frontiers. But in one way its the natural progression from Roadies to Splitsvilla to Dadagiri.

  61. Vasabjit Banerjee September 8, 2008 — 3:03 pm

    The whole class issue has been manifestly misunderstood. Class is involved at two levels: the presenter and the participant; the viewers and the viewed.

    I would argue that the presenter and the participant are definitely from two different segments of society. The words “aukaat” (which ‘red shoe diarist’ uses), “tameez”, “tehzeeb”, “sharif” (which he implied) are notions of the ‘proper’ (upper caste and class) relations between men and women (that of protector and protected) in India (especially Northern India).

    Money in India does not necessarily grant class: I know this from personal experience and from the historical fact that our society is embedded in both status and economic based hierarchies (Max Weber first noticed this), though there is a significant overlap between the lower segments of the two systems. In lay terms: you can earn millions in India, but you can still be on the outs when it comes to the elites

    The viewership of such shows can be of two kinds: those who belong to the older urbane middle and upper middle class segment (the post-colonial elites), and those who perhaps aspire to be in this segment (the earthy middle). Why do the latter watch such programs at all? They watch because the standards of success, of differentiation from the masses, etc., are learned from the practices of the post colonial elites. Therefore, watching the persecution of the participants allows the ‘earthy middle’ to actually separate and elevate themselves from the masses, while, sadly, it only reproduces the divisions imposed by the post-colonials.

    The question is whether this system is breaking down? The debate continues. I think, class issues are indeed breaking down because people from small towns are the basic engine of economic growth and urbanization in India. The rapid economic and social mobility of individuals in a fast paced capitalist economy reduces the pivotal role of caste and class markers as immobile entities that restrict opportunities and rewards to some. However, much more work needs to be done.

  62. Blame it on IPL (and Harbajhan, Sreesanth, et al.). Happily/Sadly … there were no tape leakages there.

    By the way, this slapped boy reminds me of Irfan Pathan.

  63. Some people seem to think that it was shown on TV. No, it was leaked, probably by the channel itself to get some publicity / notoriety for the show.

    The guy who got slapped said they were expected to follow a script 70 %, and the rest, improvise. The girl improvised a bit too much.

    The girl slapped him. That is physical assault, I am sure the agreement between the production house and the contestant does not cover that. He slapped her back. Then the entire crew pounced on him, That is serious assault, a crime and a few people should go to jail for that. There is no visible from effort from the producers to stop the assault. The situation turned out of control, but then there is no one there trying to control it. Serious dereliction of duty if you ask me.

    As far as I know, there has been no apology from the channel or production house though the contestant demanded one. He should not have asked for one, he should have filed an FIR.

    Now remember all the activism against ragging in colleges. Sensitising people, campaigns, laws. A show like this is a big slap on the faces of everyone who has been trying to stop the bullying in colleges that has claimed enough victims.

    It is extremely irresponsible for UTV to allow a program like this on Bindaas channel. It is unpardonable that no one holds them accountable. There is enough scope for a suo moto case by the police too. If we can file cases because something offends someone, how come a crime committed, and now with proof, is not even an issue?

  64. Has everyone forgotten that in the Land of Prabhuji, sisters ARE fair game. Its right there in the scriptures!

  65. EMC3@: “Can’t believe that this is happening!! No Censors, Moral Police? May be the VHP can’t beat these guys when it comes to obscenities.”


    Since you are so concerned about the VHP, perhaps you can get the Shahi Imam Bukhari and the Deobandi Mullahs to issue a fatwa?

    Thank you.


  66. maan the crew are a bunch of bastards.. they ought to be beaten up by the public for ganging up on the poor guy

  67. Vasabjit – how do you create such a convoluted argument out of a 2 minute video clip? By the way, as far as I know you are not a native Hindi speaker and you didn’t grow up in Northern India.

    I grew up in Delhi and studied Hindi through school and college. Trust me when I say I know the exact way in which the word “aukaat” has been used here because I’ve heard it used in the same way a gazillion different times in petty fights between school friends of identical social status.

    The anchor Akash Beri is from Panchkula near Chandigarh and went to college in Delhi. When he used “aukaat” I immediately knew what he meant. Trust me when I say that if someone in Delhi uses it in a verbal argument 9 times out of 10 they mean “balls” or “guts”.

    And I’ve been flummoxed by this bizarre class dimension that has been imputed to the video.

  68. Just felt very disturbed after seeing this.. Though appearing on a reality show does usually mean you have to deal with a lot of crap, the sheer violence exhibited in this was very shocking… Needs further investigation and hopefully some action on part of the channel and/or the police.

  69. Vasabjit Banerjee September 9, 2008 — 6:57 pm

    I did not create this argument based on the event; I applied existing arguments to reveal larger causes explaining an event such as this. The existing arguments were about class issues, as well as caste issues, also perhaps involving patriarchal notions of gendered roles. Your status as being in the culture does not grant you a privileged status, as your evidence and arguments derived from them could be biased based on a variety of sampling errors and weighing of different events. This is a problem with inductive reasoning in general. I have said that certain general (deductive) theories apply to the event, whether it is a valid statement or not can be argued; see Rishi’s earlier statement and my remarks. However, privileging your argument as ‘real’ or ‘true’ based on your ‘experience’ is false. It is used by relativists all the time: ‘you don’t know anything about India/Bharat/Kashmir/Hindustan/US/Russia because you don’t live/work/politic here’. This logic should pretty much deprive you of blogging about anything in which you are not directly involved. 🙂

  70. Since the advent of the monstrosity known as “reality” shows,in the slap exchange, we may have witnessed the first real moment.

    As for the guys ganging up on the “how can she slap” fellow, I would bet my life that not a single one of those production goons would give a rat’s posterior, if they were alone and witnessed a girl being beaten to death on an Indian street, let alone slapped.

    One of these days, I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up to the news of a death on the sets of a “reality” show.

  71. I never watch these shows. It was good scene though. And why does the person who was slapped look gay?

  72. Vasabjit – it seems to me that you are going down a relativist spiral all your own as well.

    The reductio ad absurdum conclusion of your argument is that no one can ever speak with authority about anything because everything is affected by sampling error and biases.

    However, knowledge still gets created because there is such a thing as intellectual consensus. Read Habermas, it helps.

    So what I’m trying to tell you is that the social consensus in Northern India is that the word “aukaat” can be used to mean two distinct things, and is often used in both ways. In this particular case, “aukaat” was used in a class neutral way.

    You’ve obviously been called out on the error of your argument and are now trying to run circles around it and tying yourself in knots in the process.

    Relax, it’s ok to be wrong once in a while. I’d be more than happy to be corrected by someone if I’m factually incorrect, and I often am.

  73. Vasabjit Banerjee September 10, 2008 — 3:35 am


    “So what I’m trying to tell you is that the social consensus in Northern India is that the word “aukaat” can be used to mean two distinct things, and is often used in both ways. In this particular case, “aukaat” was used in a class neutral way.”

    Just get me some proof for this statement! Survey data or something. This is an opinion being passed for fact.

    “You’ve obviously been called out on the error of your argument and are now trying to run circles around it and tying yourself in knots in the process…Relax, it’s ok to be wrong once in a while. I’d be more than happy to be corrected by someone if I’m factually incorrect, and I often am.”

    No! I have not been called on the error, I have already said that my argument is open to debate. What my argument is not open to is people denying my argument based on some privileged perspective. Truth claims as you are making, as is rather common among Indian intellectuals, need factual backing. Otherwise it is an opinion. No problems with opinions, I have presented mine as well through my argument, but your opinions are your thoughts not the ‘truth’. You have indicated they are factual truths, therefore, the onus is on you to prove them.



    Next time, read a basic book on positivist methodology before citing Habermas.

  74. Arijit Chatterjee September 10, 2008 — 5:21 am

    ‘trust me’ is now passing off as (combative) argument.

    that said, i think having an ‘emic‘ perspective helps (trust me, i am a native). but words once spoken are beyond the speaker. meaning will be made by the audience. social science is not physics. i will infer and proceed.

  75. bhai!!
    i don’t have a life…do u have any thing on the hindi news channels??!

  76. Vasabjit Banerjee September 10, 2008 — 3:11 pm

    Okay, I am much more of an etic (-ist?); so, point taken on my methodological bias on the issue. I guess it comes from my professional values as a comparative social scientist. However, I take issue with those who make ’emic’, “trust me”, arguments then make ‘etic’ claims: “social consensus in Northern India …is class neutral”. Here, they generalize their individual experiences to the whole population, without using the methods demanded by ‘etic’ reasoning.


  77. @Vasabjit: What makes you think I haven’t read any books on positivist methodology? You assume too much – and incorrectly.

    You want facts – well, here are the facts:

    You were merrily passing off all sorts of unfounded opinions as facts till I called you out on it. I don’t see any surveys quoted or any disclaimers that these were merely your opinions.

    You were quite obviously out of your depth because you are thoroughly unfamiliar with the social context which you were so glibly analyzing.

    Yes, I do speak from a privileged position, a privileged position of having studied Hindi for nearly 15 years at school and university level, also having grown up in Delhi and being bilingual in Hindi and Bengali all my life.

    My truth claims at least have a fairly rigorous basis of lifelong knowledge. What do you have to back your contra-claims? What surveys can you cite?

  78. Vasabjit Banerjee September 10, 2008 — 4:33 pm

    @ Thalassa:
    Read my previous comments. Actually, bilinguals fall into bridge communities because they translate their experiences via present and historical ‘migrant’ contexts; their interaction effects with members of local cultures are also different. There are many works done on emigre and cosmopolitan cultures; read some Appadurai.

    You wrote: “Yes, I do speak from a privileged position, a privileged position of having studied Hindi for nearly 15 years at school and university level, also having grown up in Delhi and being bilingual in Hindi and Bengali all my life.”

    –Same old general truth claims backed by only personal experience without any empirical evidence whatsoever. You can say that “according to me, those around me did this….”, or “I think…” but when you generalize to a larger population, then, well, you need proof. You are passing fact for opinion. If you say, for once, this is my opinion, then I have no ground to argue.

    I, however, can claim to generalize because structural theory assumes that all human action is based on macro socio-economic structures…some to a larger and others to a lesser extent. Furthermore, I used a Weberian class structure argument, which considers these structures to be either status or mode of production based, as opposed to a Marxisant mode of production basis. Something, you did not pick up on. However, as I have stated before, I have posited or stated an applicable theory, which is akin to an opinion. You are arguing that you, only you, are telling the truth based upon experience that only you have, and which we have to take at your word. Now, imagine what would happen to science if folks did research like that.

    “You were quite obviously out of your depth because you are thoroughly unfamiliar with the social context which you were so glibly analyzing.”

    –Typical ad homonym attack, which again shows inability to distinguish general argument from the identity of the scholar. This is justifiable if you are a relativist, of course. But, then, your own generalizations are suspect based on this logic, so be careful.

    I am off to write my dissertation.


  79. Its a very disturbing video. Even Michael Heneke would be disturbed. But it is reality. Even though it was not meant to be a resemblance of it.

    BTW I am quite enjoying the above debate b/w Thallasa and VB. :)) So is it class or balls folks? I think its both. In India, class breeds artificial balls. But that was a ball busting bitch and she got exactly what she deserved.

  80. Vasabjit – Quit trying to explain to me what my “migrant” experience was all about. I consider myself comfortably bi-cultural and have experienced absolutely no dissonance on account of this.

    There is no specific “migrant”context through which I translate my experiences, there’s no reason for me to feel alienated from a society I grew up in.

    I find all these post-colonial types a total bore and not at all applicable to a lot of what I see – they certainly don’t explain my experiences negotiating different countries and cultures. I’d rather read “Apologia” a hundred times before I waste my time on Appadurai.

    What kind of empirical evidence can you possibly expect on this matter? When someone who is well-versed with Hindi grammar and it’s structure tells you that “aukaat” has two meanings and given the context of the usage, the most probable meaning is one over the other – you come up with a bunch of inane theoretical constructs that mean zilch in this debate.

    This is not merely a matter of empirical proof. It is a matter of axiom, of the grammar and usage of a language that you perversely argue about without providing any evidence that you know what you are talking about. So yeah – ever heard of field axioms in Mathematics? Try asking a mathematician for empirical evidence or even proofs for field axioms.

    Analysis of cultural expressions is a lot more complex than pat Weberian generalizations (it’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone use a Weberian argument without a disclaimer – you must be an old school sociologist).

    I’m not a relativist – never been, never will be.

    Good luck with your dissertation. Was that a not so subtle way of establishing some kind of academic superiority. Just because some people don’t mention their dissertations doesn’t mean they don’t have UMI accounts :).

  81. @ Thalassa

    Usually don’t like to butt in, but to call your conclusions about the precise meaning of ‘Aukaat’ self-evident is a bit ridiculous. To be fair to Vasbjit, all he did was to point out the correct (scientific) way of evaluating a conclusion. It’s not as though one would have to dig up empirical evidence to conclude anything; Just that when you think the conclusions you have reached –based on your experiences (which technically is a biased sample)- can be generalized , evidence of some kind is required.

    I don’t think he was being snobbish either, he was just asking you to define the limits on your knowledge precisely…

  82. Vasabjit Banerjee September 11, 2008 — 2:51 pm

    @ Ravi: thanks a bunch. It really is a simple point, that too not of mine own that I protect. I do it simply because this problem is so prevalent among public intellectuals in India. Just watch some news analaysis on India’s cable TV.

    @Thalass: Name calling does not substitute for an argument. Dropping irrelevant names of books and shedding general opinions about classics and mathematical operations (without explaining them, as one should do in a general/non-academic debate) does not also make an argument. I am not talking about whether I am more correct than you, I am asking that you provide proof to back up your theory other than your own experience. Or, just say, it is a possible alternative explanation.

    You could have simply and cogently argued, if you said:

    1. The Hindi language has two meanings of Aukaat. (You should use a source to support your claims: a basic dictionary suffices just fine.)
    2. The Hindi language is spoken by a majority of people in Northern India. (This is general knowledge, so no proof required)
    3. Therefore, in my opinion, the word could be used in a class/caste oriented and non-oriented way.

    I would have argued:

    1. There are many dialects of Hindi spoken in Northern India: Maithili, Bhojpuri, (Magadhi?), etc..
    2. Meaning from language texts, such as dictionaries, differ from actual, possibly localized, usage of language. As anyone who comes from India and uses the word ‘smart’ in America, knows. In India (possibly from the UK english we learn), ‘smart’ stresses on appearance, such as ‘looking smart’, or as a slur, such as ‘acting over-smart or smart’. In the US, ‘smart’ means intelligent.
    3. Therefore, you still need material to show which section of Northern India this poor participant is from.

    You could have WON, by arguing:

    1. That data is unavailable because: hey, I have better things to do in life; the guy is hiding in the mountains, in untraceable; may have a dual identity that cannot be quantified easily.

    2. This was my explanation of the matter, you are entitled to your opinion, I think, both explanations are possible. More cases such as this will only add evidence to support my arguments.

    See, as someone writing peer reviewed articles, I have a thick skin. However, I fail to understand why you take this personally, by attacking me and dropping random names.


    Not doing dissertation by arguing boy, VB.

  83. Vasabjit Banerjee September 11, 2008 — 2:52 pm

    @ Thalassa
    My bad about the misspelt name, sorry.

  84. Ravi – He’s being perverse, not snobbish. I know all about the correct ways of evaluating a hypothesis. But there are methods and methods and in social science you have to be necessarily creative with your methodology because experiments are ruled out (except in social psychology to an extent).

    So here’s a qualitative method I learnt a while ago. Use of the native informant. Has been wildly popular in anthropology. I establish my credentials as a reliable native informant (I explained in detail what my background was) and you can have the benefit of my knowledge in this case. Unless some other native informant appears to challenge my assertions, and none have appeared so far, my assertions stand.

    Vasabjit: Field axioms – know what they are and why they are germane to this discussion.
    Apologia – Fantastic work, I highly recommend. Must better than wasting time with the likes of Appadurai.

    It is Magahi, not Magadhi. Maithili is not a dialect of Hindi. It is recognized as an independent language in the schedule of languages. In this case, the only dialect of Hindi you need to be concerned with is Khari Boli, which is spoken in and around Delhi (the cultural context of language performance within which the anchor is situated).

    Oh, and the next time you waive peer reviewed articles in front of me, consider this – I completed a PhD based on a very empirical dissertation from a top 5 program in my field in the US. I hate thrusting my degree in anyone’s face, but academic snobbery grates on me a lot more.

  85. I saw the video, the anchor who was trying to be the hero is such a sissy, did not even speak a word until his whole crew was behind him. Such a coward!!!

    The mother f*** anchor should thank his stars that he is born in india, had he been any other goddamn country, he would hav been probably shot/sued/butt raped………

    Where the fuck are the moral policing VHP/SS ?? Oh yea i forgot its not yet Valentine’s day for them to come out.

    p.s: SS is siva sena not the Nazi SS, not that i say they are different…..

  86. @Thalassa:
    “Oh, and the next time you waive peer reviewed articles in front of me, consider this – I completed a PhD based on a very empirical dissertation from a top 5 program in my field in the US. I hate thrusting my degree in anyone’s face, but academic snobbery grates on me a lot more.”

    You made an original statement, which is perfectly okay, but you claimed that your statement was true and mine was false. Based on what? You personal evidence based on personal experience, which you are now pitching as a bonafide anthropological method. You are considering native informant data: great. However, you are the interviewer as well as the informant, in this case. Do you notice the slightest problem with that: complete overlap of investigator and investigated. Sample bias to say the least, interaction effect issues, biased conclusions?

    Look, I have seen many PhDs on Wall Street and many Wall Street folks who are excellent professors. I just wanted to say that your ad homonym attacks to hide a basic problem of presenting opinion as fact under the guise of unique insight is unexpected. I really am not interested in whether you have an FRCS or an MBA, I just want methodological rigor. This sort of slieght of hand is common among public intellectuals, and also among academics. The latter get caught more often and brought to book. Their work does not get published in respectable journals. I am still doing my PhD, but since you have completed yours, you can tell us about the rigors for submitting work in A level journals. Of course, I’ll accept your experiences publishing material in any A journal as proof positive, despite the same issues as above.

    You still have not explained the jargon you threw in about axioms and Apologia: you just gave me your opinion on them. And, yes, what are all the ways to evaluate a hypothesis? I did not know there was a list of them hiding somewhere. If there is, I would love to have one (in all seriousness, outside the context of this debate).

    I am not being perverse, I am holding you up to a higher methodological standard. A degree does not lead to integrity, sometimes it provides us an excuse or the intellectual arrogance to subvert the basic system to check the external and internal validity of our arguments.



  87. @hmmm
    VHP was busy trying to bring out the voice of the hundreds of thousands of vanavasi Hindus in Orissa, who fear, that the same people who butchered Swami Laxamanand can strike anytime again….with AK47s

    Well, thats leaves you and the SS to do the moral policing. Right?

  88. Rishi: can you send me an email at ? I have a few questions to ask on a completely unrelated topic…professional stuff.

  89. @ Vasabjit
    but professional stuff? What do u want to know about fashion design?

  90. Ad hominem – you misspelled that twice.

    For someone who claims that I’m making this personal, you sure throw out a lot of personal barbs. I’m not answerable to you regarding the rigor of my dissertation, my academic accomplishments, my publications and my intellectual abilities.

    Suffice to say that any top notch university will not allow you to obtain a PhD without stellar research, conference presentations and publications. Perhaps they do things differently in whatever university you’re doing your PhD at.

    Anyway, I’m bored of this “baal ki khaal nikalna” and it reminds me yet again of what happens when I violate my golden rule – “never argue with somone over a messageboard or comment space”.

    What puzzles me is why a word that means time or hours in Arabic and Farsi (plural of waqt according to the rules of Arabic grammar) changed meaning to such an extent when used in Hindi. Fascinating!

  91. Arnab – By the way, so sorry to mess around with your comment space like this again. I swear I’m the most non-combative person ever, and then I get embroiled in all these pointless arguments.

  92. @ Thalassa
    Dont swear….I believe you.

  93. Vasabjit Banerjee September 12, 2008 — 2:15 am

    Thalassa: I don’t put a spell check on my words and, well, my Latin is non-existent. My sincerest apologies. I was not attacking you, I was attacking your method; your whole basic argument hangs on how ‘you alone’ have knowledge, and my opinion or any outside observer’s opinion or explanation is forever denied because we did not live and experience the same things. Your knowledge cannot be independently evaluated, so, we have to take your word, though you refuse to take us by ours. Your experiences cannot be replicated (unless cloning is mainstreamed). And, your process of gathering information suffers from massive interaction issues. Have you ever heard of an African anthropologist arguing, well, I did not need to do field work because I am an African, so, I can answer the questions I will be asking my subjects? How is this scientific. Moreover, by saying that a serious debate on the philosophy of science and its effects on explaining social phenomena, you have derided not just me, but all academics who spend years doing research. That is a slur on the whole process and goal of science, with spelling errors and without it.

  94. Vasabjit Banerjee September 12, 2008 — 2:22 am

    Moreover, by saying that a serious debate on the philosophy of science and its effects on explaining social phenomena [“is trivial” or “baal ki khaal nikalna”], you have derided not just me, but all academics who spend years doing research.

    I rest my case.

  95. You know… guys were going great…..till you took umbrage over each other’s remarks over the rigor of dissertation and stuff…..but its this kinda discussion that makes this a great comment space. :)) Time someone started a Hindi urban dictionary.

    VB- “As anyone who comes from India and uses the word ’smart’ in America, knows. In India (possibly from the UK english we learn), ’smart’ stresses on appearance, such as ‘looking smart’, or as a slur, such as ‘acting over-smart or smart’. In the US, ’smart’ means intelligent.”

    LOL that was a great one. Remembered my first week in US. Had gone to a gas station to buy coffee. 1:07. Gave the sexy girl behind the counter 7 cents and 5 bucks. She was perplexed. I explained that she can give me back 4 bucks and stared hard at her cleavage and heavy heavy boobs. Then followed a classic banter of unintended double entendre which I could not take advantage of as I was ‘smart’ enough about local lingo.

    “Nooo…..I am not stupid”(Checks machine and says) “See your change is 3:93…not 4. Im not stupid” (teenage he he he he he he he he he)

    (me: fresh off the boat and still in Indian railways mode) “Did I say you were stupid…bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla “, when I should have just kept quiet and said “Really”, raising my eyebrows.

    She kinda looks at me oddly and starts to count change. She had returned by 7 cents by then. And after diligently counting to 3:90, she fell short of change. Gave me a dime to make it 4 bucks. So now I am wondering about her sudden generosity when she says : “Its weird..I have exact change all the time.”

    Me (didnt know that weird could mean anything under the sun): “Whats weird? I made it easy for you to avoid change. But if you take the 7 cents, its still even”

    So she thinks long and hard while I look long and hard at her heavy heavy boobies and then she gives me the Lolita look and exclaims, “Oh you are so right. You are smart.”

    Me (taken aback as Im wearing shorts and a shirt): “Trust me I can be a lot smarter than this. This aint a club.”

    She “Aww so you do a lot of clubbin. You a playa?”

    Me: Silent for a long time “hah….never even saw a full match”
    And then she looks at me as if I am a total ‘weird’.

    Looking back, I feel sad as she had really heavy Boobs. You know those small girls weighing 120 lbs but having stuff which looks as if they’re stuffed with lead and weigh a ton each. I never saw a pair like hers again. Maybe I have….but my “aukaat” has went up by a few notches since that incident and they aint so heavy no more. Or maybe I became more familiar with the lingo and grew the balls (oops.. aukat) to start a conversation without the fear of slipups. But the memory remains.

  96. u been running ur business by humiliating ppl,esha how sad plz learn some manners and human value, and that male anchor, who has given u this job, r u civilized? if that contestant is on the way to your to you home with his gang, can you react like this?,poor contestants plz dont let your dignity down for some bugs. and that fag on pink T “bastard” u r a moron u want to hero then go fight 1-1 someone equivalent to u………. and its realy crazy ppl were enjoying this and eager to participate.

  97. thalassa,

    i would suggest you read your comments on this forum again. you have been extremely combative in pushing your thoughts because you were ‘flummoxed’.

    So here’s a qualitative method I learnt a while ago. Use of the native informant. Has been wildly popular in anthropology. I establish my credentials as a reliable native informant (I explained in detail what my background was) and you can have the benefit of my knowledge in this case. Unless some other native informant appears to challenge my assertions, and none have appeared so far, my assertions stand.

    any good qualitative researcher knows that you need to get into thick description, whether you use grounded theory or ethnography or case studies. the basic rules of evidence in qualitaitve study are:
    1) Authenticity- The text has the ability to convey the vitality of everyday life encountered by the researchers in the field setting. Authenticity denotes being genuine to that experience.
    2) Plausibility – the text has the ability to connect two worlds that are out in play in the reading of the written account.
    3) Criticality – The text should actively probe researchers to reconsider their taken-for-granted ideas and beliefs.

    You did none of these. and this space is not enough to get into the details. you only thumped the table and declared ‘trust me’. that’s not done. assertions are not arguments. and before you started offering any arguments — other than you are a native — you started calling names and declaring ‘victory,’ as if you have a special privilege of announcing truth claims.

    ambivalence is also a good quality in a researcher.

  98. Authenticity, plausibility, criticality – good heavens! Very nice sounding concepts indeed – try applying them to even a mini-research project.

    Naiverealist – I’ve been a researcher practically throughout my professional and academic career. Mostly empirical stuff, but I’m quite familiar with qualitative methods. I’ve never heard this bunkum in my life. Authenticity indeed :)!

    I hardly called anyone any names – I pride myself on keeping discussion on a civil, even keen, and I take offence to anyone implying otherwise.

    Here’s a question though – how many of you savants are fluent in Hindi? Instead of debating the matter on hand, and offering counter examples to prove that my assertion regarding “aukaat” is wrong, the lot of you have made all this into a messy debate on research methodology, theoretical constructs and of course personal attacks on my research qualifications, my upbringing and what not.

    God, this is beyond ridiculous. I can’t believe that I’m arguing about a subject in which I’ve had 15 years of education with folks who obviously don’t know what they are talking about.

    Aap ki “aukaat’ nahin hai is barey mein bahas karne ki!

  99. I’ve never heard this bunkum in my life. Authenticity indeed :)!

    that means you have to study more. what you haven’t studied is not “bunkum”. here are some more papers which are about establishing trustworthiness in qualitative research. read these, instead of huffing and puffing about being a native informant.

    Altheide, D. L., & Johnson, J. M. 1998. Criteria for assessing interpretive validity in qualitative research. In Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.) Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials (pp. 283-312).

    Lee, T. W. 1998. The cardinal concepts of reliability and validity. In Using Qualitative Methods in Organizational Research (pp. 145-170). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Lincoln, Y. & Guba, E. 1985. Establishing Trustworthiness. In Naturalistic Inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, pp. 289-331.

    Kumar, N., Stern, L. & Anderson, J.C. 1993. Conducting Interorganizational Research Using Key Informants. Academy of Management Journal, 36 (6), pp. 1633-1651.

    Morse, J. M. 1997. Perfectly healthy, but dead: The myth of inter-rater reliability. Qualitative Health Research, 7, 445-447.

    Altheide, D.L. & Johnson, J.M. Criteria for Assessing Interpretive Validity in Qualitative Research. In the Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 485-499.

    Kirk, J. & Miller, M. L. 1986. Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

    Hammersley, M. 1997. Research note–Qualitative data archiving: Some reflections on its prospects and problems. Sociology: The Journal of the British Sociological Association, 31, 131-142.

    Lincoln, Y. & Guba, E. 1985. Case Reporting, Member Checking and Auditing. In Naturalistic Inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, pp. 357-381.


    I can’t believe that I’m arguing about a subject in which I’ve had 15 years of education with folks who obviously don’t know what they are talking about.

    even i can’t believe that you are imagining you are arguing. you are not. you are thumping tables and making personal attacks, occasionally shouting ‘trust me.’ i can see a clear pattern in your methods for ‘argument.’ your style smacks of petty quarrels, not arguments.


    Aap ki “aukaat’ nahin hai is barey mein bahas karne ki!

    i don’t know how far you went with your ‘aukaat.’ take a deep breath. don’t get excited. and when you have time, read these books. the Denzin and Lincoln book needs to be on your bookshelf.

    Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y. 2005. Handbook of Qualitative Research. 3rd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Because the method you are constantly harping on concerns the ‘native informant (without being able to convince your readers, of course),’ you might also read these:

    Atkinson, P. & Hammersley, M. 1998. Ethnography and participant observation. In Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.) Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry (pp. 110-136). Also in the Handbook of Qualitative Research, 1994 (248-262.)

    Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. 2003. Phenomenology, ethnomethodology, and interpretive practice. In Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.) Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry (pp. 137-157). Also in the Handbook of Qualitative Research, 1994, pp. 262-272.

    Van Maanen, J. 1979. The fact of fiction in organizational ethnography. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24, 539-550.

    Van Maanen, J. 1988. Power in the bottle: Informal interaction and formal authority. In Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography. University of Chicago Press, pp. 204-238.

    Whyte, W.R. 1979. On making the most of participant observation. The American Sociologist, 14, 56-66.


    apologies to the readers of this weird exchange. what i have done is called “argument by citation”. this is essentially telling a person — “go read these fifteen books, and then talk to me.” but, i had no other mechanism of exchanging information in front of dumb assertions by native informants.

    more hints: if you are serious about textual analysis — which is implied in your obsession with usage of the word ‘aukaat’ — , you could also use methods such as deconstruction. but text is not the only data in the video. there are aggressive body movements, sound levels, and dressing patterns to be understood as well. so what a viewer takes away from the video is a tacit knowledge of the exchange, which need not be fully explicated in words. but at least vasabjit has tried to explain what he thinks. you only thumped tables and said ‘trust me.’

  100. “Deconstruction” – heaven help us – the Po-Mo types have descended. Now there is no hope whatsoever. Teleos. Finis.

    You are being needlessly strident. I repeat, I truly believe in always being civil in my discussions (and Rishi, thanks for the heads-up, hopefully you were not being sarcastic).

    Why can’t you guys come up with a cogent argument that proves that I’m wrong? And why can’t you answer the simplest question of all – what’s the level of your education in Hindi? Surely that’s not too hard to do.

    I have very little patience with excessively citing theory – especially when concepts such as “authenticity” are being used to validate knowledge.

    I like reading Plato, Habermas, Popper and Jon Elster. All these other academic paper churning machines bore the hell out of me. So thanks for the reading list, but no thanks.

    Anyway, as chacha Ghalib once said –

    Aagahi daam-e-shanidan jis qadar chaahe bichhaye
    Mud’daa anqa hai apni aalam-e-takrir ka.

    Afsos, yahan par to daam-e-shanidan mein hi chhed hai, to mud’daa samjhega kaun?

  101. Vasabjit Banerjee September 12, 2008 — 7:44 pm

    @Thalassa: You cannot claim to be using a Post Modernist ‘native informant’ method, and then cry wolf when someone else corrects you on the framework’s own terms. You can argue against ‘naiverealist’ by using an alternative positivist framework. This is a normative difference, so, there are issues about whether the choice can be debated at all. However, I can accept your argument as is.

    You can then call for generalizability based on objective and replicable evidence collected from a representative sample, but, then again, the moment you do so, you encounter the problems I am arguing about above. The evidence (I even give up ‘facts’) your theory originates in (because it is an inductive theory that starts with different usages of a word and then moves on to finding common patterns) is unacceptable by standards of both positivist and PoMo research methods. Ironically, the weakness is best revealed in your denial other explanations: the evidence/experience cannot be replicated and/or observed by us. Why cannot it be replicated? This returns to your earlier problem: you alone are the evidence.

    What you have done is: forwarded your opinions as a theory backed by or based on ‘real’ evidence and claimed that it disproves all other explanations.

    We used to write QED after solved geometry problems,

  102. @ Thalassa
    Wha..what? Where? When? Sarcasm..nooo way.

    @ Yourfan2
    You are a great storyteller.

  103. The evidence (I even give up ‘facts’) your theory originates in (because it is an inductive theory that starts with different usages of a word and then moves on to finding common patterns) is unacceptable by standards of both positivist and PoMo research methods.


    thalassa knows the problems of inductive research. she likes reading POPPER.

    I like reading Plato, Habermas, Popper and Jon Elster.

    Didn’t Popper write a thick book called The Logic of Scientific Discovery to nail down the problems of induction? if the goddess (gender assumption etc.) has her Popper right, she already knows that her assertions cannot be falsified. that makes her methods of argument even more hilarious.

  104. Ab maine yeh tay kar liya hai ki is lekh par meri aagey ki tippani saari Hindi mein hi hogi.

    To haan mahoday – aap sab jo itne Hindi ke diggaj pandit yahan par baithey huey hain – zara in asaan sawalon ka jawab dijiye

    Yeh raha ek Rahim Khan ka doha –

    “Rahiman paani raakhiye, paani bin sab soon
    Paani gaye na ubre moti manus, choon”

    Is dohe ki prasang aur sandarbh sahit vyakhya kijiye. Atirikt ankon ke liye yeh bhi bata dijiye ki is dohe mein kitne aur kaunse alankaron ka prayog kiya gaya hai.

    Chaliye – shuru ho jayiye aur hum sab agyaniyon ke saath apne Hindi ke gyan ko baantiye.

    Aur Naiverealist mahoday – humein Popperian skepticism ka gyan hai aur hum Socrates, Montaigne aur Hume ke vicharon se bhi vaakif hain. Lekin sahab, yahan par kuchh mul siddhanton ki baat ho rahi thi jo ki sandarbh nirbhar gyan nahin hai.

    Udaharan ke liye – adhikansh log “kiraN” shabd ka ghalat uchcharan karte hain – “kiraN” ke bajay use “kiran” bolte hain. Kya adhikansh logon ke aisa karne se woh uchcharan sahi ho jaata hai? Nahin chunki Hindi vyakaran ke anusaar “kiran” ko “N” ke saath likha jaata hai “n” ke saath nahin. Isliye jab vyakaran ki baat aati hai to yeh sab aankdein bekaar hai aur is tarah ki bahas bekaar hai.

    Kuchh hadd tak mujhe aap logon par taras aata hai aur aapko dekhkar “Don Quixote” kahani yaad aati hai. Bas yahi hai ek shodhkarta chhatra ki zindagi – bas baaton ki ladai ladna!

  105. Aur “native informant Uttar-adhunik hai? Tauba – aapne to poori anthropology ki hi dhajjiyan uda di. Kya kahein kala aur samaaj shashtra ki yahi durdasha hai – subah se shaam hoti hai aur yun hi baal ki khaal nikalke umr tamaam hoti hai.

    Abhi tak in dono mahodayon ne ek seedhey se sawaal ka jawab nahin diya – inhe kitni Hindi aati hai?

  106. Arijit Chatterjee September 13, 2008 — 1:52 am


    don’t play hide and seek. i do not need to have Hindi as my mother tongue to know the meaning of aukaat. and if others are following her antics, she was the one who bought up the usage of the word ‘aukaat’:

    Ok, so I just saw the clip. It seems that this “aukaat” business has been a bit misunderstood.

    The presenter didn’t use “aukaat” to mean class or social standing.

    and is harping on it ever since. did anyone ever say in the first place that the ‘class’ angle is because of the usage of ‘aukaat?’ now, she is giving lessons on how to pronounce N!

    I say, happy talking to yourself. And when you have time brush up your research skills.

  107. Arijit Chatterjee September 13, 2008 — 2:29 am


    i am sorry if the tone of my earlier post is too harsh.

    after seeing the entire video, i am more inclined towards an interpretation of the privileged social status of the host vis-a-vis the participant. i disagree with your interpretation that the exchange between the host and the participant cannot be seen from a ‘class’ angle.


  108. Arijit sahab – aap dhyan se lekh aur baaki tippaniyan padhiye aur dekhiye ki shreni ki baat pehli baar kisne uthaayi.

    Hindi meri bhi matribhasha nahin – lekin aukaat ka matlab samajhne ke liye Hindi ka thoda bahot gyan zaroori hai.

    Agar aapko Hindi ka thoda bhi gyan hota to aap jaante ki Hindi mein do “n” hote hain. Angrezi ke aksharon se un dono ka antar spasht nahin kiya ja sakta, isliye maine “N” aur “n” ka istemaal kiya.

    KiraN aur Kiran mein farq hai. Ek sahi hai, doosra ghalat.

    Aur shodh ke baare mein aap mujhe naseehat mat dijiye – woh kehte hain na, Dilli door ast. To zara aap sab mahanubhav apni apni PhD khatm kijiye phir aaraam se charcha karenge.

  109. Arijit – agar kisi ko bura bhala kehna hai to apna asli naam mat istemaal kijiye 🙂

  110. This video is actually quite sad. It’s not even funny. It’s just sad. What a waste of time and energy conducting these shows. And as far as that woman was concerned. She had no business slapping the poor fellow. She got what she deserved. Just because she is a woman does not give her the privilege of getting away with obnoxious behaviour.

    I haven’t read the war between Thalassa and Vasabjit to it’s conclusion, but for whatever it’s worth, as a native Hindi speaker and an expatriate of Delhi (yes, the same place where we take our sisters to the court), I say I agree with Thalassa. ‘Aukat’, necessarily does not mean social or class standing. It is used in many different contexts. It just means standing. The measure for the standing could vary from power, wealth, intelligence, talent.. anything.

  111. Vasabjit Banerjee September 13, 2008 — 3:44 am

    Ritu: I agree with you whole heartedly. The point is that Thalassa argues that ‘aukaat’ has no class or social status connotations. He chooses to focus on just one word: ‘aukaat’. Though my initial argument was about the show, which would involve all other actions, and the body movements etc. (see naiverealist’s argument). But I chose to play on Thalassa’s terms. Even on those terms, his logic meant there is one and only one interpretation, based on what, his own experience. Imagine the leap of scientific method it takes to say this.

    “‘Aukaat’, necessarily does not mean social or class standing. It is used in many different contexts. It just means standing. The measure for the standing could vary from power, wealth, intelligence, talent.. anything.” No problems with that because your statement says that there are many possible interpretations.”

    All that naiverealist and I have been arguing about is the existence of alternative explanations (you accept that) and that we need more proof than just his own experience (which your findings seem to add). However, because you agree that there may be alternative equally valid explanations, it completely undermines Thalassa’s argument that ‘aukaat’ has nothing to do with class or status, as well as his ‘native informant’ assertion about himself.


  112. Ha ha ha ha!!!

    Vasabjit ji – apne shabd mere munh mein mat daliye. Maine yeh kabhi nahin kaha ki “aukaat” ka shreni-bhed se koi sambandh nahin hai. Maine bas itna kaha tha ki is video mein “aukaat” ka istemaal “taqat” ya “zor” ke maayne se kiya gaya hai, shreni bhed ke maayne se nahin.

    Aur Ritu saaf saaf keh rahi hai ki woh mujh se sahmat hai. Phir bhi aap isko apni taraf modne ki koshish kar rahe hain? Tajjub, tajjub!

    Aapne abhi tak ek seedhe saadhey sawal ka jawab nahin diya – aapne Hindi ki padhaai kahan tak ki hai?

  113. vasabjit
    Ki boss..kichu likhle na. Did u get my mail?

  114. Vasabjit, while I agree with your premise that ‘aukaat’ can potentially have different interpretations, including in this context. However, I too think disparity of social standing was not a issue in this case. (Honestly, anyone who wants to associate with a show like this most probably shares a social setup too, the whole thing is very wannabe). His usage of Aukaat to me, was more to do with power equations. I also think it was to do with the wimpiness of the victim. Here is an effete type of guy who dares to slap a woman and a macho kind of fellow is reminding him of his ‘aukaat’, which he is more than introduced to after he is beaten up. Poor fellow!

    btw GB it is ‘Aukaat’ not ‘aukaad’. And the bit about Nina Gupta and Hawkins – LOL 🙂

  115. We are a bit Concerned September 14, 2008 — 2:41 am

    We love our Mathrubhumi Bharat. We will defend it with our blood. Rishi has done a lot for Bharat jagaran. He is an asset. We care for his safety. Why is Banerji, a communist from Bangaliasking for his email? Is this a last effort to foil the N deal which will bring bijli to millions of our beloved countrymen? We have requested the Indian Embassy to step up the security around Rishi. Interpol has been alerted too.

    We are indeed… very deeply concerned.

  116. @ We are a bit concerned

    Huh!!! You got the terminology all messed up. You should go through this site to get ur sarcasm right.

  117. Vasabjit Banerjee September 14, 2008 — 3:19 pm

    Rishi is in the fashion business, so, I was enquiring about what shade of Red will be the most macho to wear to the next Alimuddin street picnic. 🙂

  118. I think that contestant was aptly correct in slapping that bitch……How cud she do that…..N biggest As***** is the host of the show who feared the guy but was out at him once other holes came on the stage…That host should get his sister on stage n show her his abusive vocabulary….
    Worst Channel and worst host n worst concept. The contestant is real time hero.

  119. Indians in India seem to want to be more American or western than those of us who live in America. Its fucking sickening watching these losers try to imitate the worst aspects of the west(e.g. reality tv). There a fucking shame to all Indians. Just watch Indian television for 1 hour and you might have to run to the toilet to vomit.

    All the people on this show should be ashamed of what they do to the values and pride of Indian people. Their job,whether they like it or not, is to degrade all of us.

  120. the damn host with the red shoes needs his ass whipped…

  121. the host should be sued and band from hosting any shows…moreover the producer should compensate the victim and the so called goddess or wotsoever she thinks should apologize to the victim publicly and personally..

  122. Sameena Mohamed March 24, 2009 — 6:19 pm

    THis man is an unimaginable wuss. I wanna slap him silly and make him my bitch! He needs a real life dominatrix and lord knows I can give him what he deserves- my warm golden nectar right on his girl-beating naamard face.

  123. @ sameena
    and the background music can be this:
    mere pyar ka raas jara chakna ….oh sajna

  124. Sameena Mohamed April 7, 2009 — 3:58 pm


  125. Man!!! believe me if I were to be the contestant who got slapped then I would have slapped her back so hard that she would have lost her hearing sense fo ever….Bitch!!! and punched that MF host in his nose….and sued the entire team supporting that bitch …..

  126. Arnab, do a write up on the new show being aired by Bindaas : Love Lockup or something.

    Basically I was quite shocked by the kind of huge posters in the city I live in.

    It’s like these guys want to promote filth and degradation.

    You won’t believe how badly such things affect teenagers and the younger crowd.

  127. Hangalian “Itna sannata kyon hain bhai” — Now, that’s funny. I laughed hard – very hard.

    The male host of the TV show and his sidekicks are criminals, and they should be in prison.

    Hats off to the contestant, who slapped the female anchor. He displayed more guts, more honour, and a greater sense of fairplay than anyone else I have seen.

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