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Just brilliant, most of my thoughts poured in one comedic article!

Ashish Shakya

(Note: This is my HT column dated 31st May 2015.)

Earlier this week, a Muslim woman named Misbah Quadri alleged that she was forced to vacate her rented apartment in Wadala, Mumbai, because of her faith. This story came as a shock to exactly zero people, because if you’ve spent more than ten minutes in India, you know that bigotry and hypocrisy are our finest talents, second only to telling people that they’ve put on weight yaar.

But then came the twist: it was reported that the building she was evicted from houses other Muslim residents who’ve never faced such problems, and that she was evicted after a spat with her broker that had nothing to do with religion. If that’s true, then congratulations to Misbah for arming people with one more reason to turn down minority tenants.

This contradiction gave a bunch of people the chance to crow ‘SEE…

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Till Death Or Other Weird Reasons Do Us Part

Ashish Shakya

The Great Indian Wedding Season is drawing to a close, which is sad because I look at weddings the same way I look at getting tasered – it’s great fun if it’s happening to someone else. The best one I attended was basically a beach-and-beer party where there just happened to be a ceremony. However, recent news events have made me realise that you can do all the cool stuff you want at your wedding, but if it’s going to go through without anyone getting ditched at the altar, then don’t even bother inviting me.

The gold standard for excitement was set by a bride in U.P this week, when she canceled her wedding at the last moment after realising that the groom had hidden his complete and utter lack of education from her. She did this by pretending to be a human Captcha. No, seriously. She asked the groom…

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Mother Teresa, aptly described by Mr. Julio Rebeiro; as against Mohan Bhagwat;


Julio Rebeiro does not need any introduction. However, here is what Wikipedia tells us about him………..GREG

Julio Francis Ribeiro (born 5 May 1929, in Mumbai (Bombay)) is a retired Indianpolice officer and civil servant. He held increasingly responsible positions during his career, and led the Punjab Policeduring part of the Punjab insurgencyperiods. In 1987, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award for his services. Since retirement, he has served on corporate boards of directors and performed social work.


Did Mother Teresa want to convert those she found on the streets and took into her care?  I doubt if those poor specimens of humanity were in any position to understand her version of god.  I doubt if Mother Teresa could find an appropriate opportunity to preach Christianity to people who were starving, naked and in the throes of death. 

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Why do some people hate Mahatma Gandhi?

Answer by Abhishek Nisal:

I hate Gandhi. Hating Gandhi gives me a ‘cool’ feeling as I hate someone who is supposed to be loved by millions.Now I’m very different from a majority of others.

I haven’t read any literature on Gandhi. Not even his autobiography, my only sources of information are Facebook posts by random people and blogs written by attention seekers. It is from these people only that I learnt a good deal about Gandhi which then led me to hate him.

I am at a stage of age where rebellious attitude is present in me. I have grown up reading in school books how good Gandhi was and how evil Hitler was. So I want to show other people that I am not among the sheep.
Saying "I like Hitler for his strong will and patriotism. Hate Gandhi for partition and favouring Muslim community," has some shock value to it and people take notice of such statements.

I comfortably forget the fact that Gandhi’s independence movement was the world’s largest people’s movement and the entire nation rallied behind him.

I hate him because I’m different . And i am Cool Dude !!!

—      “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”     — M.K.Gandhi

Why do some people hate Mahatma Gandhi?

Sporting Rivalry and Jingoism

India just defeated Pakistan for the 6th time in the Cricket World Cup. It’s 6 wins out of 6, for purely sporting reasons it makes me happy but is totally overshadowed by the useless mocking of the nation associated which is beyond sports. There will be mocking, sporting rivals call for “rubbing it in the opponent’s face” traditionally and is acceptable to a sporting extent. But, when the rivalry is associated with something more and becomes a part of the derision it’s at least uncalled for.
A lot of Indians, considering recent form were realistically expecting India to lose the match but the comprehensive win pumped them up so match that many of them are ready to give it in writing that Pakistan can never beat India in a World Cup match. They are pumped up and it’s explicable but the emotions running so deep that people start making fun of Pakistan as a nation considering their social, moral, political and economic predicament is something where ideally a line needs to be drawn. That’s just general public, you can expect such reactions but when Indian media invites Pakistani media for conferencing so that both of them can make fun of each other and after the victory Indian media can deride them as a cricket team, their media and as a nation, it’s beyond unprofessional, it’s inexplicable.

As a humanitarian, the state of affairs in Pakistan troubles me. A lot of people, especially in the aftermath of this win might call my statements sympathizing with Pakistan in way, an act of sedition but if a winning a sporting event where you had no role to play is your patriotism which is so extreme that you can’t stop yourself from mocking other humans who didn’t have any role to play in the sporting event either and are just somehow surviving in a dire state then I can totally understand why my statements will be considered sedition by you.

For once, I would be happy to see some positive non-sporting emotions like humanity become a part of sports. For instance, if an Indian feels happy if Pakistan wins the world cup, considering that it would provide moral and some financial boost to their country. That’s a long shot! But, among the brouhaha on social media, this image published by a leading newspaper is very encouraging.


Je Suis PK and All India Bakchod

Some really offensive events took place in India and the world in the last month. To begin with, some religious extremists could not tolerate some cartoons about their God and killed them. Charlie Hebdo, whose intention was to question the nature of this irrationality called religion went too far with their offensive cartoons. They made demeaning cartoons of Jesus, cartoons of Pope using condoms and then attacked Prophet for which their place were firebombed. Any other “strictly meaning business” organization would have taken the safe logical route of not trifling with religion but not Charlie Hebdo. They increased their attack on the ones who were insecure enough to retaliate and tried to beat the irrationality by being irrational in fighting a hopeless battle. The world knows how it ended on January the 7th. That didn’t stop them, they came up with another sarcastic cartoon saying “Prophet forgives everyone,” nor did it stop the world, it sparked a movement, an outrage which makes me wonder, was it worthwhile, was it more than a lost cause? It seems like it but it’s not, there are so many religious liberals afraid of religious extremism, they will let Charlie Hebdos do all the dirty work with passive support and will only show outrage in events like these only for a very limited time. Do I blame them? Not really, we all know, we have one life and so much we can do with it. If we can ignore the daily fiasco related to religion which we read in the newspapers globally to stay alive, why shouldn’t we? It’s the rational thing to do when there is so much talk about rationality.

Moving on to India, someone influential in India took on religion and spread the message of atheism in the form of a movie called PK. The medium was again humor to instigate logic and insinuate the underlying irrationality. They subtly pressed questions like how irrational is it to impose a certain religious tag on a child based on your beliefs, based on birth, based on a biological accident. I really appreciated the idea and so did many, although in the end, the movie tried to be politically correct in asking the viewers to have faith in god without being religious. I really don’t mind that, but the problem is, can it be done? If people start realizing that they don’t need religious institutions as a means of connection with god, wouldn’t they go one step further in realizing that they don’t need god? They can just be patient with the randomness in their lives. Once again, the movie attacked all religions, but the religion in majority in the country which has been spreading a false sense of insecurity and siege mentality among it’s followers retaliated. One religion couldn’t tolerate the mockery of their Gods and retaliated by demanding bans and vandalizing movie theaters running the movie. They became outspoken and demanded boycott of the lead actor of the movie who belonged to a different religion even though the movie director, producer, script writer and most of the other actors belonged to their own religion. Such is the insecurity that it was seen as a battle for religious dominion. How did the liberals react? They watched the movie and made it the highest earning movie in Bollywood history. It’s a good answer but once again without any lasting impact, once again we are being rational, allowing someone else to do the dirty work.

Then came the humor group called AIB (All India Bakchod) with some Bollywood stars with the Indian version of ‘Comedy Central’s Roast.’ AIB, who have risen from Youtube fame to set a benchmark in Indian comedy, have received a lot of accolades from liberal and intellectual people as being a quantum leap in the standard of Indian comedy. They have raised the level from politically correct and immature humor to brutally honest, crass, direct and offensive humor which mirrors the Indian society’s hypocrisy beautifully. Although, it was known that their humor can only appeal a few liberals in the country and is not for mass appeal, but when they tied up with famous bollywood stars, things had to reach the masses. They were audacious in their use of expletives which everybody uses and somehow everybody needs to hide the usage in public domain. They attacked people directly, subtle attack on everything nonsensical and hypocritical. I had just read an article that Baba Ramdev is selling products in Haryana to help women bear male child, was reading about right wing extremism and moral policing and I came across this and I kept on wondering, which India is real? They both are but how can they co-exist? If the former India finds out about the latter, wouldn’t they just mute them? My question was answered the next day. Every right-wing believer had taken offense in the indecency of the show. They displayed their hypocrisy by using the same expletives for AIB which they so blatantly opposed. People have filed official complaint and threatened ban on movies of the actors involved unless they apologize. AIB had catered to a very limited tolerant audience till now but this time the intolerant ones heard them and for the first time I heard their mass criticism because of a change in masses. That’s a good sign for me, that’s a growth, that’s a success in their right to offend. But, once again, all we can do is laugh at the humor and the hypocrisy which is opposing it.

In all the three scenarios, the reason was humor and the retaliation was insecurity. So, if you are so insecure about something, it further questions the need of that particular thing in your life and indicates that the people questioning it have made a vital breakthrough. I sincerely believe after these three occurrences that we need to have a right to offend as an extension of freedom of speech. I believe that people are taking something whose very identity needs to be discussed way too seriously and in their insecurity of losing their sacred belief which is under scrutiny they are counter attacking the ones who are trying to reason

Scared not proud of things I didn’t choose.

I recently came across a descriptive article about a symposium organised in National Auditorium in Delhi. A symposium organised by right wing conservatives to rewrite the Indian history solely to glorify the leaders who are considered Hindutva propagandists and who in their opinion have been ignored in the history taught in Secular India. I just had one expression after reading the article, the expression of horror. I wasn’t terrified by the denouement as much as the sequence of events which would lead to it.

This brings us back to the first basic question, when do we feel pride and what should be glorified? People feel pride when they accomplish something which is seemingly enigmatic to many others but can you feel proud of a random sequence of events which somehow goes in your favour? It’s a rhetorical question with a simple negation as it’s answer. So, you can be proud of getting an award for your accomplishment but would you be proud of your face? The answer might be yes, but then you can’t be considered sane at the same time. It goes with a simple explanation that you didn’t choose your face, you didn’t have a say and you can’t do anything about it. Similarly, when we think of things we didn’t choose and things we are proud of, we surprisingly find a long list which defies this basic theory. I didn’t choose Hinduism, I didn’t choose my caste, my region, my gender, my sexual preferences and I didn’t choose to be born in India. A set of accidents have ended up giving me these tags. I can feel happy about these tags but can I be proud of them? I guess not.

I keep on asking myself this question, why do so many people take so much pride in the tags they didn’t choose. The main point has to be the baggage carried by people since the inception of their lives. Acceptance of the fact that “something you have patronised all your life because you have been taught that by people you have patronised all your life is wrong” is difficult to say the very least. But this is hardly the beginning of craziness. The religious fanaticism and the jingoism comes with other implied tags of disrespect. An Indian implicitly hates Pakistan and similar feelings are reciprocated from the other side of the border. The same goes for some religions. Countries are just politically defined international borders because it’s not plausible for one governing body to serve the needs of the entire planet with so many diversities and magnanimous wealth variations. It’s the sense of insecurity among people belonging to various communities about their labels which cause them to look for aggressive expansion and spreading canards about other tags. Some are considered worse than others, I just see them as more insecure than others and the symposium in Delhi was an example of such insecurity. Words like, “Muslims should learn to behave, or we know other ways” were used. I am not a Muslim, I was born in a Hindu family, I am an atheist, I have denounced all my labels. Ideally, should I be afraid? No. Am I afraid? Yes. Because, when you give up the tags because you see them as evil, you feel empathy for the evil in minority who are being dominated by the evil in majority with a feeling of self righteousness. Because, everybody takes pride in their tags and according to them their communities are fine while other ones are evil. I don’t endorse Islam, I think it’s evil but I will never utter a word against it because I am afraid. I am afraid that others with misplaced sense of self righteousness will get an opportunity to misuse my words, continue the censure and in the process glorify their labels, thus spreading their propaganda. The same goes for Pakistan and every other insecure tag. Similarly, if I were to find a female or a lower caste individual or a homosexual doing something irrational, I would keep it to myself and filter it out so that males or upper castes or heterosexuals respectively don’t get an excuse to further establish their stereotypes. Moreover, I would want to glorify their achievements to break these stereotypes. The other aspect is that, if I don’t agree to the criticism of these tags, I will be called a minority appeaser, an armchair critic of all tags or in the worst case I would end up receiving that label.

Not taking pride in things I didn’t choose seemed to me like the only logical thing to do but now I have been shunned from giving an opinion about a world I will never fully understand. A world where atrocities on Kashmiris are justified by atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits and millions of other such examples are used everyday which only establishes the fact that individuals will never be viewed as individuals. You may denounce your labels but you can’t get independence from them and they will continue to define you from your birth to your death and beyond. It’s hysterical that nations celebrate Independence Day.