September 2, 2007

Heros and Villains

I disagree with several entries in the list of 60 heroes and 11 villains that Outlook India has published in its special issue on the 60th Anniversary of India's independence from British rule. Why is Arundhati Roy a hero, but not Minoo Masani? Why are Beant Singh and Satwant Singh villains but not Afzal Gul? The short descriptions that Urdhva Dhanurasana accompany the list are marvels of political correctness! For example, in describing the faceless terrorist as a villain, Outlook looks like it wants to adopt a perfect Urdhva Dhanurasana posture:

From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, his outrageous passion has been harnessed, sometimes with help from across the border, to promote three different causes—secession, retaliation against a perceived religious hurt, and economic liberation of the countryside from the rapacity of urban India.[emphasis mine]

So, SIMI's and the Maoists' terrorism is nothing but harnessing of an outrageous passion to promote a cause!

But, hey, it's Outlook India's list, and it's their prerogative to list anyone they like as a hero and anyone they dislike as a villain. If their jury wants to name a Tasmanian Devil as a hero and a Pomeranian Puppy as a villain, who has the right to question the choice? If Mr. Bal Thackerey's followers want it the other way, they are free to publish their list in Saamna.

The Shiv Sainiks' Vandalizing of Outlook's office in Mumbai is yet another example of the malaise that seems to be catching rapidly in India. Coming in the wake of the attack on Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad, it is the nth wake up call for the citizens of India. Everyone seems to be offended by something that someone drew, said, or wrote, and the next thing that we know is they take it to the streets and the courts, usually in that order. What next? Are the Mumbai police going to register a case against Outlook India for offending the feelings of thousands of Sainiks, as the Hyderbad police has done against Dr. Nasreen?

1 comment :
  1. I have always maintained that a country's civilisation is actually determined by the sacred right of its citizens to offend without fear.

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