Friday, April 27, 2007

The Grand Poobah of Cultural Policing

Excuse me while I throw up. (

Everything I would like to say about this particular episode (the Gere-Shetty ‘kiss’, for the people too lazy to click on the link) is being said, Thank God. It is being said that the law is being made a mockery of and India is behaving like a banana republic and/or the Taliban. If the Indian judicial system reacted with such alacrity for genuine sexual assaults and rape cases, the country would’ve been a much safer place for women. We will be the laughing stock of the world, especially since none of the erotic ‘push and shove’ language which this illiterate magistrate has used actually happened; they were doing a good-humored enactment of a ‘Shall we dance’ scene. And most of all, we should bow our heads in shame that we have to pick on someone who is only trying to help the world by doing his bit for the fight against AIDS, an enormous problem in India.

Since all of this is being said, I will only commend the speakers and ask them to carry on their good work. My point here is more general and broader in scope.

This incessantly repeated term - “Against Indian Culture” grates on my nerves like fingernails down a blackboard. I would dearly love to meet some of these self-appointed Grand Poobahs of the Exalted Domain of Indian Culture. After I’ve finished doing several nasty things with very sharp knives to them, I will ask them one question. “Tell me what you KNOW about Indian culture.” I can bet any amount of money they won’t be able to speak 10 minutes on what it IS, only what they so incessantly cry it ISN'T. Ask them to name one poet from a state different from their own, and I’m sure they’ll look at you like you’re crazy. Ask them who composed the national anthem, and they’ll probably not even know all the words to it. Ask them to point out Mohenjo-daro on a map and they’ll be looking in South India.

You know why I’m so sure of all this? Because a truly cultured person could never be so narrow-minded. He could never luxuriate thus in this sea of righteous indignation for such an obviously ridiculous cause. Truly educated people (and I mean this in the cultural sense, not an engineering or law degree...we all know degrees don’t always equal education) would never indulge in such tomfoolery.

Indian culture is so all-encompassing that it boggles the mind. Do we honestly know what goes on in the cultures of people speaking over 1500 languages within the borders of this country? Do we agree on what moral code to follow? Dowry is fine with some people here, is it fine with others? Matriarchy is followed in some tribes in the hills; can the people of the plains in their wildest dreams think of following it? Some people practice polygamy without falling foul of the law, would we call that Indian culture? What IS Indian culture?

I would also ask these (by now severely bleeding) watchdogs of Indian culture why they don’t spend their free time chiseling the erotic sculptures off the Konarak Temple walls because it’s contrary to Indian culture. Why they haven’t rounded up every copy of the Kamasutra and burnt them by now. Why they pay good money to go and watch Indian heroines execute complicated pelvic thrusts in the rain while their male counterparts do every conceivable sexual thing to them BUT kiss them on the lips. (Because they respect Indian culture, of course, and wouldn’t dream of kissing a lady on her lips.)

What I love about Indian culture is that it is so many things. It involves zillions of people, their different religions, social mores, traditions, recipes, literature, music. They all disagree with each other and yet have been living side by side for thousands of years. If I can think of only one label that applies to our culture, it is ‘Tolerance.’

That has been our culture for gazillion years and I announce a fatwa, I mean, er… an arrest warrant for those who don’t practice it. Watch out you ignoramuses…Ushasi, the Most Exalted among Grand Poobahs of Indian Culture, is watching you!


Debsena said...

good one, ushasi - this thing is really getting out of hand. there is a limit to infringement on personal freedom... movie censorship, valentine's day 'raids'... this tunnel has no end.

know what - i just found your hitlist on the net. enjoymaadi:

and here's some secondary reading:

i'd say i'm pretty lucky to be where i am - goa's way more tolerant than other places around the country i've been to. :)

Debsena said...

dunno why the full link didn't show up. here's the hitlist again:

Ushasi said...

Thanks, db! If they start disappearing mysteriously, you'll know whom not to mention to the cops!;)

Prog Power said...

Empress Poobah! Take a bow!

After reading this stuff, I might as well outsource our song writing to you.. your posts REEK aggro!

Hail Tolerance,
Hail Violent Ushasi!

Ushasi said...

Yes, Prog...finally proof that the female is deadlier than the male. Atleast that's the case with the Basus!;)

Diya said...

humble peasant girl to empress poobah : i couldn't possibly agree with you more. people here ask me about the incident a lot - and i just say - don't waste any more time discussing it, it's ridiculous. and why the f do they keep burning effigies? first for big brother, now for this. and what exactly are they burning?! on another note, imagine shilpa shetty's claim to martyrdom - she's been "racially abused" on big brother and now "publicly kissed" by a white man. the poor dear.

Ushasi said...

I know my heart goes out to the helpless lass...such a victim, like all us hapless women.

Nisho said...

Wow.. you just took the words outta my mouth! This is exactly what I wanted to write in my blog... now I have nothing more to share to the world.. :-(

Great post by the way :-)