Tag Archives: hurt sentiments

The Theory of Hurt Sentiments

“Hurt sentiments” are a strange thing. X decides he does not like what Y has written, or said, or done, and then goes to court about it. It’s not as if he was thrashed by Y; more like he thrashed himself and then held Y responsible for his own actions. The idea of libel/slander/defamation, and (nearly) all censorship is based on this ridiculous notion. The Americans are the only people in the world who, thanks to the first-rate minds behind the First Amendment, enjoy some measure of protection under law when it comes to censorship; even they are not immune from persecution for libel. The rest of humanity is at the mercy of lunatics and barbarians.

The comment by a judge of the Delhi HC warning Google and Facebook that the judiciary would “go China” on them unless they get their act together is par for the course as far as India is concerned. Politicians and judges indulge in this behavior only because the majority of people in the country are in favor of such enforcement.

Mencken was right.


The one-eyed Scottish idiot, and other stories

You have to be careful who you call an idiot, what with the Barkha Dutt saga and all, but politicians tend to have thick skins. This is not about Gordon Brown, but about political correctness, and I am not writing anything about it; just pointing you to a long op-ed by Michael Bywater – “It’s PC gone mad! How did taking offence become a national obsession?”

The apology has become the defining gesture of the age. Russell Brand had to apologise for making off-colour remarks. Jeremy Clarkson – a man who would eat his own testicles rather than petition for an apology, even though he’d have to remove them from his own personal brain where they’ve been living for all these years – had to apologise for making a startlingly fine joke about lorry drivers, and, subsequently for calling Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” at a press conference in Australia. His calling Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” would probably have escaped much attention had it not been for the BBC – powerfully complicit in driving the Apology Culture – publishing on its website a video of Clarkson calling Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” accompanied by a story saying that Clarkson’s calling Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” had “provoked anger in Scotland”.


So much for anger, but what of the anger Clarkson supposedly “provoked”?

First of all, he didn’t provoke it. He didn’t sit there thinking: “I know: I’ll make Scottish people angry.” He sat there thinking: “Gordon Brown’s a clod. What a bozo. The fellow’s a complete dork. And I’m so going to say so.” It was the people of Scotland (and how many people do you need to be angry before you can talk about “anger in Scotland”?) who made themselves angry because the media told them they should be. But why? Clarkson didn’t say that all Scottish people are one-eyed. He didn’t say that all one-eyed people are idiots. He didn’t say that Scottish people are idiots. What he said was:
1) Gordon Brown is one-eyed.
2) Gordon Brown is Scottish.
3) Gordon Brown is an idiot.

Talk about eloquence.


Karachi is a city in Pakistan. And Pakistan is not a country the average Indian is too pleased with at the moment, the Mumbai terror attacks and all. But Raj Thackeray’s goons – with or without his knowledge – have gone a step further. They threated the owner of a shop in Mulund, Mumbai – “Karachi Sweet Mart” to change the name of the shop because its named after the Pakistani city. And the threat has had its effect because the cops of the city – the “heroes” – don’t want to do their jobs willingly. The owner of the shop has changed the name to “Jai Shri Krishna”-

A person close to the Sachdev family told TOI, “Sachdev is a 60-year-old man suffering from diabetes and continues to live in fear. He apprehends that his shop could still be targeted and he could be attacked while commuting from home to shop and back.”

Despite police arresting six MNS activists, including Deshmukh, and also providing security cover, Sachdev apparently took a “personal decision” to rename of his shop to Jai Shri Krishna.

People close to the family said he did not have faith in the local police, which had initially favoured the MNS. It was only after TOI wrote about his plight that the police did a volte face and gave him security cover. Sachdev and his business partner decided to give in to the MNS demands a few hours before Raj Thackeray was to address a massive rally in Thane.

The Indian police machinery is highly politicized and corrupt and you can’t trust them to protect you when you need it the most – they will sell you out to the goons the first opportunity thy get – unless the media spotlight is on them, of course. But that’s the least of the problems. The main problem is that we have too many donkeys in India, and most of them are humans. And as everyone knows, you can’t reason with donkeys. They will either bite you or kick you in the teeth.

If Karachi is in Pakistan, so is Takshashila. And its a city that’s supposed to have been established by Lord Rama’s nephew King Taksh. Maybe we should burn all history books that mention any Pakistani cities, or leaders, even if they have “Hindu” connections. We should compel Advani to get his birth certificate changed. Karachi is the capital of Sindh. Maybe we should force Sindhis to change their community’s name to something “Indian”. But Hindu, India and Indus too have their etymological roots in Sindhu. However that didn’t stop some crackpot from demanding that the Indian national anthem be modified and any mention of Sindh be removed from it – on the grounds that it infringed the sovereignty of Pakistan!

In another display of ass-headedness, a man has filed a case against AR Rahman and Anil Kapoor for “insulting” slum dwellers because their movie calls them “slumdogs”. Another case has been filed in Gujarat because the title is “demeaning.” Then the Shiv Sena has attacked multiplexes because the film hurts Hindu sentiments.

Sometimes I wonder what these people think they are doing. It seems their parents abdicated the responsibility of teaching them what civilized behavior actually is, they way they go about beating people, and troubling others so that they get their fifteen seconds of fame. I have been seeing incidents like these since I was three – starting with people running after each other with swords in their hands. Nothing has changed in all these years. You can’t reason with donkeys. The only language they understand is that of the big fat stick.

“A culture of offendedness”

Alternative title: Insults, dissent, sentiments etc.

Mumbai Mirror carried an interesting story a couple of days back. A man affiliated with an NGO saw a girl from Pakistan sporting a tattoo on her back. The phrase was in Urdu – a simple “thank you” to God, and supposedly from the Koran. His “sentiments” were “hurt”, and so he went and complained about it to his mother. This lady came to the spot with her own gal squad and started slapping the poor girl till the mall (that’s where all this happened) manager called the cops. And this is what followed

According to Bangur Nagar police, Saba apologised profusely and said she hadn’t known that the tattoo would hurt anybody’s sentiments.

Danaji Nalavde, inspector in-charge of crime at the police station, said, “There was nothing objectionable about the tattoo and there are no legal provisions under which we could have booked her. But since the group of people were agitated we asked Saba to give her statement in writing.”

In her statement Saba said she was sorry and that she would get the tattoo removed through laser surgery in the next three days. Nevertheless, the cops referred the matter to legal experts to see if they could book Saba for hurting religious sentiments or under any other legal provision.

The cops didn’t throw the “social worker”‘s mother in jail on charges of assault, but instead asked the victim to give an apology in writing so that the “agitated” people could be placated. And to top it all, they took pains to see if she could be thrown in jail on charges of hurting religious sentiments. I sincerely hope someone dishes out similar treatment to the assailants – they deserve it. And shame on the Mumbai police for siding with the crooks on the matter.

Salman Rushdie gave an interview recently where he talked about a “culture of offendedness” that’s prevalent today-

The Ayatollah is long dead and Rushdie has stopped worrying about his safety, although the fatwa has never been withdrawn. On Sunday night, he questioned the accuracy of the Quran, used profanity when referring to Islamic leaders and bragged about once wearing a T-shirt that read, “Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime.”

But he believes that “a culture of offendedness,” in which any religious criticism is regarded as insensitive or even blasphemous, has intimidated others. Last year, Rushdie strongly criticized his own publisher, Random House, Inc., for pulling Sherry Jones’ “The Jewel of Medina” over fears that the novel would set off violence. (“The Jewel of Medina,” about one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives, was released by Beaufort Books without major incident).

Calling himself an early victim of attempted censorship, Rushdie likened his place in history to a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, “The Birds.” He recalled a scene in which Tippi Hedren spotted a crow outside her window. Hedren paid little attention until she noticed hundreds more had arrived.

“I think I was the first crow,” Rushdie said.

Geert Wilders will be prosecuted, the BBC reports. The judges in Netherlands don’t think freedom of speech is an absolute right. They have great company. Osama doesn’t think that either. Nor does the Canadian Human Rights Commission-

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders made a controversial film last year equating Islam with violence and has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.


“In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to… draw a clear line,” the court in Amsterdam said.

Mr Wilders said the judgement was an “attack on the freedom of expression”.

“Participation in the public debate has become a dangerous activity. If you give your opinion, you risk being prosecuted,” he said.


“The court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders,” it added.


Gerard Spong, a prominent lawyer who pushed for Mr Wilders’s prosecution, welcomed the court’s decision.

“This is a happy day for all followers of Islam who do not want to be tossed on the garbage dump of Nazism,” he told reporters.

Why is Nazism a rubbish dump? The holocaust didn’t happen, remember? Ask Ahmadinejad if you don’t believe me. And if we subtract the “imagined” atrocities from it, Nazism is plain old fascism/ nationalist socialism, and every government in the world practices it. Don’t know why Spong resents the comparison.

The Chinese government isn’t pleased with Barack Obama. He criticizes communism, and the suppression of dissent, and people cannot be allowed to hear such ideas. So – we censor it

Once again, Xinhua included the passage in full in its English version, but the sentence was taken out of the Chinese translation.

Similar changes were made to versions of the speech that appeared on other websites based in China.

And websites were not the only media organisations that struggled to report some of the comments made by President Obama.

China Central Television, the country’s main broadcaster, aired the speech live with a simultaneous Chinese translation.

But when the translator got to the part where President Obama talked about facing down communism, her voice suddenly faded away.

The programme suddenly cut back to the studio, where an off-guard presenter had to quickly ask a guest a question.

This paragraph from a government mouthpiece represents the entire idea-

“Given the popular American eagerness for a break from the Bush years, many wonder, or worry to be precise, whether the new president would ignore the hard-earned progress in bilateral ties.”

What is more important? Ties with a police state and upcoming superpower, or the idea of liberty. The ties, naturally. That’s why America is trying its best to emulate China when it comes to crushing liberty.

An Australian author has been jailed in Thailand for “insulting the monarchy.” The law under which he was convicted exists because “under Thailand’s constitution the king was above politics and could not publicly defend himself from personal attacks.” For whatever it is worth, the present king doesn’t support the law.

I was searching for a sound-bite where someone from the government had said something about the differences between “Western values” and Eastern ones; I think I read something like that very recently. Didn’t find it, but found this 1992 article by Kishore Mahbubani. Makes good reading.