India not a bundle of jokes, mind it…
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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 01, 2012, 16:17
  
I wonder what Westerners achieve by scorning Indian culture!

An outspoken TV personality from the BBC, Jeremy Clarkson made mockery of Indian culture in a Top Gear Christmas Special. He even took digs at our country’s way of clothing, trains, toilets, food and history.

Moreover, this racist guy even took off his trousers in front of two Indian dignitaries to show them how to use a trouser press on his show.

It was of course offensive for all Indians, and eventually he had to make a public apology for his misbehaviour.

Another incident happened when NBC anchor Jay Leno described Golden Temple as the summer palace of US Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Here also, New Delhi lodged an official protest with the US.

Earlier, in 2010, New Zealand TV host Paul Henry pronounced Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as Dick-shit by twisting her surname. This act of name calling was widely condemned and led to protests.

This episode happened when Delhi was gearing up to
host Commonwealth Games in October 2010 and during the same time, international media highlighted the unhygienic conditions in the Indian capital on their front pages.

Very recently, the Russian translation of Hindus’ holy book, 'Bhagavad Gita As It Is' by ISKCON founder AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada faced a probable ban for promoting "social discord" in the Siberian city of Tomsk. While a court there turned down the petition to ban the book, the row caused a major uproar in India, including in Parliament where MPs demanded government’s intervention in the matter, citing Hindu sensitivities.

In January 2012, an American television station, NBC Chicago’s website sparked an outrage among the Hindus by using the term "weird" to describe deities in a sports commentary. A Hindu statesman Rajan Zed then asked for immediate removal of inappropriate words from the website after protests from the community.

The controversies related to Hindu deities do not end here. Fashion designers from the West have a shocking penchant for depicting Hindu gods and goddesses in a negative manner, which in no way is tolerable. In one such instance, NBC night live show depicted Lord Ganesha as a sex act while in another Lord Rama’s image was imprinted on the shoes of French-based brand, Minelli.

The more recent example is of US Vice President Joe Biden who mimicked Indian call centre workers. He is known to have upset the Indian-American community in the past as well.

One of the reasons for the barbs could be that economies of western countries are in shambles, and India’s progress is giving them prickly heat. While we need to tell them to shut up when push comes to shove, the best way is to keep up our march of progress. That probably would be the best answer.

First Published: Wednesday, February 01, 2012, 16:17


(The views expressed by the author are personal)
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