September 15, 2011

Stereotyping...tsk tsk!!!

I was just idling away, engaging in pointless banter, when a friend directed me to this link here.
Now, my first reaction was triggered off by the title of the post 'An open letter to a Delhi boy'. So the feminist in me was ecstatic---here was another of those 'Dear John letter' (only one more public) as a form of brainless entertainment to my otherwise mundane and boring day, or so I thought.

It was only moments later, that I realised that this girl here was missing the entire point---the 'Delhi boy' had mysteriously gone missing from the post and some mindless-girl insecurities seemed to be creeping up instead, bit by bit.

As I continued reading the post, the excitement turned into a strange kinda repulsion.
Here was this Chennai-born-Delhi-based (or whatever..don't sue me if I'm wrong, I couldn't care less about her exact lineage) girl thrashing away and generalizing all Delhi guys under the sun, just because somewhere down the line, apparently one (or few) of them managed to create that impression.
And wait, it didn't stop there. In came the families, the religious festivals, the physical attributes, the music idols, and whatever little of the Punjabi clan that was remaining.
Hmmm...clearly this girl had a problem...and it seemed like a pretty serious one to me!!

What was weirder was the reactions this post triggered off--while some comments were plain deleted, the ones that were not, seemed to be treading on the same line of foul language and insane temperament.
How typical, isn't it--our long-since-passed-over-the-ages Indian mentality of 'You scratch my back,  and I will try and stab your intestines out'.?

What particularly put me off this so called self declared 'MADrassan' was her exceptionally rotten and wilted flowery language.
While she spoke about Punjabi's being highly incorrect in their Grammar and accent, she was not exactly a role model herself. In fact, I would rather spend time with a person who mixes up genders in language than be with a foul mouth who apparently has mixed up values (low enough to talk disrespectfully about someone's mother/family) instead.

Shahana might have managed to make some fairly accurate points there about the bias some north Indians seem to show against people in the south. But the way she has put them across is not just utterly childish but really foolish too, and that makes me think twice about the intellect and maturity she claims to have, as part of her South Indian lineage. (I'm not going to commit the stupid folly of stereotyping like THE Shahana here, because I personally think that she could very well be an exception---perhaps just like the Delhi 'Sadak Chhap' she has come across who has inspired her to write off the whole Punjabi community.

Hmmm...OK. Now I need to turn the table around for a while, because frankly I've been looking at every corner of it and am clearly not impressed with not just the 'diners' but the 'table' itself in all its entirity.

But to my surprise, this piece which should have made it to the thrash can, has made it to almost every single Facebook wall, google status and website (of course not exactly in the way, Shahana might have wanted it to..but like a friend rightly put it---'I guess even cheap publicity is publicity enough for some.'
We are happy for you, journalist girl!

However, I cannot help but wonder why you changed your display name to 'Broken Morning' and removed off your display pic minutes after this revolution that you managed to stir?
Was it a shocking life-changing surge of modesty, or an expected lack of guts...or wait a min, have you fled the country??
Surprise us, will you? Take responsibility for your words, and call a press conference. We live in cloud-cuckoo-land---we believe in change of hearts, you know, unlike your Texas-chain-saw-massacre attitude.

What kinda surprised me a little was that this uproar created by this Ms Never-heard-before-journalist-turned-blogger, managed to infuriate many a North Indians..and to some extent this 'Ms Shahana'  has succeeded in creating a wave of hatred in the minds of every Punjabi around.

Just one question to you---why?

Why do you care about something you know is not true?

I have stayed in Goa, almost all my life..and I do agree when people act all smart-ass and place you in a stereotyped bracket, it angers. I have personally stopped myself from going and assaulting many a people for their bias---in much a "Forgive them, Lord..for they do not know what they are saying," kind of way.

I have heard Delhi'ites and Chennai'tes alike, those who have never even once visited this place, speak about Goa being this small town that time and technology forgot. And no amount of explaining can shake their vision of it being anything more than just the land of skimpily clad girls frolicking on beaches, cheap alcohol, Cocaine trade and Konkani slang.
All I'd say is 'As the bell clings, the fool thinks'.

Seriously, you people should learn from us Goans.
We allow people to think what they want believe what they want to...
Why? because we couldn't care less!
If some pig headed tourist (be it a Northie or a Southie) believes that Goa is the 'Las Vegas' of India and wants to die boozing and doping around here, we allow him to. Because in heart of heart, we know that the truth is that Goa (like every other place/region/state) is made up of TWO diametrically opposite sides, and the one you choose to believe just shows us the one you favor to live with.
The definition of good, bad and ugly changes from person to person.

What I'm trying to drive home here, is that it does not depend on the region, religion or family lineage.
It depends on your mind set.
That is why we get to see journalists and other so called 'intellectual' people still stoop down and bad mouth when given a chance.
Speaking of mind set, this is not about taking sides..not at all.
In fact, later in the day, I was directed to another post by Chintan Gupta, a fellow blogger here, who decided to give the self-declared 'mad'rasan a piece of his upset mind.
And what did she do?? write an equally abusive post in an attempt to get even...sigh!

I am not!
Disgusted? yes!

I must admit I might be all game for this battle of Gaali Galoch (though I'd still prefer wit and sarcasm any day..but if you insist too hard, I can slash you to pieces too), had this been a personal affair.
In fact, I am not someone who can take a foul word against me, without ripping the other person to shreds, be it physically or mentally.

But in matters like these, when the family values and self respect of the whole nation is at stake, dont you think it is better to stay level headed?

Coming to level-headedness, where exactly is the audience supposed to go, in these kinda debates?
the silent readers who are confused whom to side, since they have had no personal experience either ways? the staunch loyalists (of course for their part of the country only) who seek opportunities like these to voice their spineless and equally baseless opinions? and needless to forget, the trying-hard-to-stay-level-headed ones who are provoked to leave their brains behind and go straight for the kill...blindfolded!?

Well, there is an answer to everything---the Southies support the Southies, and the Northies, follow the Northies..simple, isn't it? NOT!!!

If the reader response is based on cultural divides and regional differences, then how short of a 'Jihaad' are you? Think about it.

This whole 'Uttar Dakshin' fiasco reminds me of a famous dialogue from a movie I'd watched not such a long time back
"Iss desh mein do bharat baste hai..." The only difference is, this time it's not about reservations.

In fact, it is an issue much more serious than that.

Stereotyping is for the weak, by the weak, and of the weak.
For heaven's sake, get over these petty differences.

It is high time we moved beyond the 'North' and 'South' of things...


Misterio Vida said...

well...its a complex issue...sometimes we meet like 2 or 3 people of a particular region, cast, area, religion and accidentally they are all bad, so we form an opinion that the whole region, area, cast or religion as bad...but as anybody knows, there are always bad and good people... everywhere... so probably that girl just posted it in a fit of rage.... nice reply by you... thoughtful post :)

Suchismita said...

I live in Goa and the image you are talking about is actually true. Time and technology did forget this place, and the cocaine trade and cheap alcohol do exist :)

Meghana said...

loveeeeeddd ittt..!!!! and i rest my case :)
i knw wen u spk of GOA cos wen i say to anyone in south (being a south indian by birth - mind you) that i am from Mumbai.. their outlook, behaviour etc etc takes a complete diff take on me :P
do i care any better or less.. nopes i dont have time to bother abt ppl who regionalise other or are judgemental.

I have been following the comments on Shahana's blog and sad to say ppl r still bothering to even react to it.. DONT PEOPLE HAVE WORK TO DO.. Responsibilities/duties to be fulfilled..
Dunno why i stayed away from all the drama being caused n felt the need to comment on urs instead :)

why??? COS this was the only blog on this atrocious topic that made any sense to me :D

Pri said...

@ muhammad israr
what shahana has done is unforgivable, muhammad..have you read her post? if not, please do and you will see what i mean...
she has taken this cultural disparity issue to a whole different level, and a very crass one at that.
if she had some personal grudges, she should learn to deal with them or sort them out...she just cannot speak for everyone---esp if this is how she speaks.
i expect atleast that much maturity from someone claiming to be a journalist, and that too from a 'defence' family background...hell! i expect that much maturity from anyone, actually :-|

Pri said...

@ suchismita
that might be partly true..but what im saying is that goa has a lot more than just that...every place has its own positives and negatives..
but unfortunately some people dont really want to look beyond the rigid picture that is created---ive seen this mostly amongst tourists who think 'cheap daaru' and casino's are the alpha and omega of goa.
but you staying in goa, i expected better from...

neverthless, i wont harp on it..cos this post isn't about 'goa' :)

Pri said...

@ meghana
thanks for commenting, glad you are with me on this :)
and yes, i like your approach the best...two hoots to those so shallow minded.

you go girl!!! :)

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

I was tempted to compliment her for having created such a wide reader base just for one post and I even wanted her to write a book after having creating so much controversy. But then, my network decided against it and gave me a wide grin with "Problem loading page" while the post comment was clicked.

She doesn't need advice, don't give her publicity either if you are against her :)

Blasphemous Aesthete

Pri said...

@ blasphemous aesthete
im not just against her, but im against everyone who has a similar mentality.
we gotta learn to laugh with people, not laugh at them.
As far as giving her publicity goes, like ive mentioned in my post, i agree that shahana shouldn't have got the attention she is getting---all the posts written around blogsville, in her honour might just have served her purpose.

I dont have any personal reason to be angry or infuriated at her...but yes, if she really has that mindset and refuses to do anything about it, i do feel sorry for her :)
Now you tell me, if noone told her she was wrong, how can we give the poor girl a chance to improve, eh?

sometimes, a reaction is necessary, not to bring down someone or help them serve their sadistic purpose but rather, to let them know that they cant crap up with everyone's sentiments and get away with it...just my thoughts!


Unknown said...

I too hate her article but that does not mean that i love yours.

In fact, i didn't understand why are you feeling so strongly about it. Let her feel and write what she likes. Also, to write your heart honestly is not an easy task. She is really daring. And i am sure, that it is pretty clear by reading the article that it is not written for publicity. When you think of publicity, it becomes difficult to write with our heart because intrinsic motivations changes to extrinsic.

And it seems that you are too much worried about her publicity.

Btw, i am also from Delhi but that articles does not disturb me. Stereotyping is an error that distorts our perception. Anybody can be the victim of it. Presently, she (Broken morning) is the victim of it. That is it.

One line from your article "Why do you care about something you know is not true.

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan said...

i was shocked seeing the number of comments !!

and ya, somewhere along the way, shes forgotten the point she wanted to make in the first place...

Pri said...

@ rachit aggarwal
ok firstly, you wouldnt understand why i feel strongly about it cos u are new to me and my blog...i feel strongly about a lot of things---infact about everything that disturbs me and the people i care about.
i dunno about you not being affected by her post...but a lot of my friends were.
and i think its just not fair that she craps out about northies like that and gets away thinking she has cracked the world's biggest joke.
you can read my reply above to blasphemous aesthete---probably will help explain my stand better.

secondly please dont get this wrong, im not in the least bit worried about her publicity...i thought you'd understand the sarcasm in that part of the post...but seems like u missed the point there.
anyways, i dont blame you.

lastly, if you read her post and check out the comments, you would know how many people have lost their temper over it---i know she is wrong but her warcry is definitely not worth losing your cool of mind over---and hence my contexttual statement "Why do you care about something you know is not true."
...having said that, i wouldnt say it is something to be laughed at, either.

but then again, these are my blog.
let me write what i feel like (as long as i dont breach the limit of decency, i guess that shouldnt bother anyone) :)
I hope ive justified my stand to you.
Whether you agree with me or not, is entirely upto you though...mindsets differ, so do opinions (and like i said earlier, as long as they dont cross the level of decency, it remains a friendly debate) :)

Pri said...

@ pythoroshan
if she had just limited the post to one particular 'delhi boy', it wouldn't have been as much an issue--cos that becomes a personal issue then, and she has every right to talk about it the way she wants..noone would care.

but the problem here is she is generalising...which i agree a lot of people do.but it still doesnt change my impression of it being immature and disrespectful.

Sarah malik said...

There is no point generalizing the whole of North or South/Madrasi or punjabi!

In this era of advancements and intermingling of culture stereotyping on such basis is not at all a wise thing to do!

good post!


Unknown said...

It is alright that it is your space and you are free to do anything.

But, perhaps, i thought that this space of making comments is ours and we are also free to write unless we don't breach our limit. Please correct me if i am wrong.

Also, like you may be that girl also thought that it was her blog and she is free to write anything and may be her decency standards are little lower.

BTW, No offense. These are just views. Keep it to perceive level and don't take it to felt level.

Pri said...

@ subtle scribbler
i couldn't agree more with glad you understand my point :)

Pri said...

@ rachit
no offense taken, rachit...none at i said, a friendly debate is always welcome around here:)

the 'let me write what i feel' part of my comment was entirely taken from your comment...since you said the same thing about shahana..i was just experimenting with sarcasm around there ;)
but you tell me, hurting sentiments of people, disrespecting their families, values, religious sentiments----all because her standards of decency are a BIT lower (as per you) that really fair?

that attitude doesnt really make much sense to me...but i guess, to each his own!

again, nothing personal..just trying to make you understand the seriousness of the situation...when so many are hurt by her rascist idea of humour, it no longer remains just a joke, does it? :)

Unknown said...

You are right that it is not acceptable but i was just referring to, "Dogs bark, but the caravan goes on."

Pri said...

@ rachit
hmmm...yes thats a good way to look at it.
but even in the metaphorical situation of the dogs and the caravan, sometimes the person travelling should take the time and shoo the dogs away, just to show them that he is not afraid...

but i agree with you in the sense, that he should not waste too much of his time over it..
afterall, he has lots to travel ahead, they dont :)

Reflections said...

Didnt hear/know anything abt this issue. Will go chk it out now. Thanx for sharing:-))!!!!