Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We Object -- All the Time!

One grouse I have with social groups (and when I say ‘groups’ I don’t mean always religions, it could also -- in fact more often is -- along state lines, caste lines, and language lines) is how ultra-sensitive they can be. I am all for one being sensitive about the failings of an individual, especially to his or her face, but the extremes to which demands for political correctness have gone nowadays is worrying.

Nowadays any movie that strays a little bit away from the poor boy falls in love with rich girl and rich girl’s father goes chasing after poor boy with a gun storyline is doomed to be banned in some state or the other.

Take the case of a certain movie about a couple who lived a long, loooong time ago. They lived such a long time ago in fact, that I would’ve thought people wouldn’t watch the movie, let alone care what was said about them. Imagine my surprise then when people started throwing stones at cinema halls and eventually got the movie banned in the state this lady belonged to. The contention: not that the movie had depicted them in a bad light but that the two historical people had been shown as a couple, whereas I hear these people say she was the guy's daughter-in-law. Now if the lady concerned had thrown stones at buildings herself I would've understood, because let's face it, it's gross to be linked to your father in law. But it being banned in a whole state because of it? Incredible.

Some ultra sensitive members of another community, though very happy to have representatives breaking into a good natured bhangra in every Hindi movie ever made; had a problem with two movies made in the last 5 years because the movie makers DARED to depict one of them with ‘negative shades’. Apparently villains can only be from majority communities.

Speaking of majority communities, one would think they would be secure enough to keep quiet about such things; but no. Deepa Mehta was forced to abandon filming ‘Water’ because she showed widows being starved, abandoned and forced into prostitution in Benares. Not on the grounds that it was untruthful, because we are all proudly aware that it’s been so for centuries; but for the sheer gall of the woman for making a movie on it. ‘We want it banned because there are no poor boys chasing rich girls, and dads going berserk with rifles’ I believe is the gist of their written complaint in High Court records.

Deepa Mehta finally took her business elsewhere, and ‘Water’ won the Oscar in the Foreign Film Category for CANADA. (“Haha, India” – Deepa Mehta is quoted as having said later.)

Another ultra-bizarre one recently is when Madhuri Dixit’s return vehicle hit an unprecedented controversy because of the lyrics of a particular song which referred to goldsmiths being more fortunate than shoemakers. The shoemaker caste objected to the lyrics being prejudicial, and the producers issued an apology.

I of course speak of the country I know, but a recent blog I visited (Thanks for the link Nisho) complained of ultra-sensitivity in other countries as well. Apparently, some employees of an organization in the UK or the US (I forget which…hehe aint that convenient?) demanded that their boss apologize for saying
“All the documents are going down a black hole” or something to that effect.

Best bit is…he did!


Rashmi said...

In London public sectors it is preferable to say that 'offices are closed during the winter break' rather than 'christmas break'. God forbid you think that a festival outside your practice will be stuffed down your throat!! I think all of this b******* actualy increases intolerance rather than encourage it.

Suchismita said...

I think it's fun to have so much objection going around...adds a bit of spice to the otherwise boring newspapers...and makes my day !!

shreyasi said...

People in the UK look very apologetically at me if they let slip that terrible word 'blackboard'(that thing teachers write on in classrooms)in my presence. The word is not remotely offensive but their reaction is, for three reasons: 1) They automatically assume you are a crazed zealot with a chip on your shoulder
2) They are missing the point of PC totally; real sensitivity has been lost in the jumble of window dressing that is political correctness inglis-ishtyle
3) Everyone who's not white is 'black', never mind that you're talking about billions of incredibly diverse people of every creed, culture, nationality, AND colour of skin but if that's not white you can just be lumped together as this vast alien mass of 'otherness'....
Ah well, that's enough for today folks...(folds up portable soap box and goes off to feed baby)

Ushasi said...

"Blackboard"??? You're kidding right? That makes censoring the words "Black Hole" almost logical!