Justice comes albeit delayed

They got them in the Bilkis Bano case. Finally. I know it takes time, but 6 years is long and if we think it isn’t then there’s something wrong with the system. I hope those psychopaths get put behind bars for ever. Sadly the guys who incited them will probably get away. Such is life, we must feed on the small fish sometimes.

The Whole Cricket Scandal

Harbhajan Singh There was that huge controversy over Harbhajan Singh making racist comments about Andrew Symonds, it was all over the news, and edged out ethnic violence in Kenya, Intel’s war with the OLPC, and the near end of the high definition format wars. Quite strange really that Indians are so untouched by ‘monkey‘ but so outraged at ‘poppadam‘, it has to be something to do with the religion and Hanuman and stuff like that. One would think that the people who find it offensive if people of another religion visit their places of worship would be the first to stand up against racial comments. Odd that, I didn’t see any of that.

Cricket Itself

It’s a boring game, really, and not particularly exciting except for the last few minutes but people still play large sums of money simply to have the chance to sit under the hot sun along with other sweaty tired people like them and talk about how advanced their nation is because they’re good at cricket. Perhaps, it’s the whole thing about cricket being a gentleman’s game. Or perhaps not. It isn’t. Not to the wildest imagination. It is a violent game, filled with unsportsmanlike behaviour, lies, cheating and a stupid adherence to so-called tradition to the detriment of fair play. Even worse, it has never been a gentleman’s game at any point of time when it was played between countries. Really, even under the watchful eye of the cliché police one is forced to quote George Orwell. Get over it, cricketers, you’re no gentlemen.

Racism

A touchy thing, racism, and one that Indians are not amateurs at. We’re professional bigots, talking about the stupid dalits, evilly reproducing people from other religions who hope to take over India, white men who defile our temples, heck we’re Masters of the Art. However, I doubt Harbhajan Singh intended to make a racial slur. As Pipe pointed out, he probably said “Teri maa ki…” :D

Well, okay, maybe not, but one has to stop and think: are words like ‘poppadom’ and ‘monkey’ really so offensive? I mean look at them – one is a food item, the other is an animal. Here we are, the most intelligent species on this planet and we spend our time calling each other the names of food items and animals and then we let our tribal blood boil and unleash modern-day animal screams. Douglas Adams was right about the dolphins.

I used to be a great subscriber to this anti-racism business, before I realised how stupid it is. I am now an anti-bigot, too much anti-racism is fluff that covers up real events. And words… words… words are just that, words — they don’t hurt you unless they’re from someone you care for, they don’t kill you or maim you and they don’t rip out your soul. Harassment’s a different issue, bullying’s something else: If someone comes up to you every day and puts you down, it’s not the fact that that person uses particular words that’s bad for you, it’s the fact that it is repetitive harassment. That sort of stuff can hurt people, really, reduce productivity, and drive them to feeling unappreciated and depressed. If a bunch of white kids pick on a black kid because he’s black the real offence is in the fact that they’re picking on the kid, the colour of his skin is less important. Think people, grow thicker skins not heads.

Are we really so sensible?

A few days ago, when Bhutto was assassinated, I mentioned how there were countries worse off than us. The conversation veered to how Indians in general consider their culture rather great and illustrious. Adithya said,
Only the politicians and the press claim that we are upcoming super powers. Ordinary citizens like you and me know that it is not so.

Maybe, though I doubt it, but there’s more to it than just that. The majority of Indians I have met have an abnormal sense of pride in their country, and in its so-called ‘culture’. It’s almost unhealthy, the way people go around talking about how the Vedas contain so much information, or about how Indian culture is so much superior to other culture. I always suspected that this is not normal behaviour, and is endemic to India, and now the statistics seem to support that claim. The Pew Research Centre’s Pew Global Attitudes Project did a nice big survey over some 47 nations asking, among other questions, whether the respondents thought that their culture was superior to others. It’s hardly surprising that the people who you’d expect to be insecure score highest (click for all the results, the values are percentages, going left to right from completely agree to completely disagree)

Pew - Is your culture superior - survey - thumbnail

Such self-importance is unbecoming of ‘one of the oldest civilisations in the world’. It’s not surprising that there is so much fundamentalism in this country, such belief in superiority reinforces any nationalist tendencies these people may have. Really now, the only reason one should wish to support one’s country is the desire to defend the way of life that one wishes to have; emotional attachment to an arbitrarily demarcated piece of land and the people there is a throwback to tribal ways. One would hope that civilised society has passed that stage, but then, are we civilised at all?

It’s no surprise that the poorest of countries are also the ones who chose to believe that their ‘culture’ is superior to other countries’, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Nationalistic spirit seems to be a substitute for real development, the soul of soulless circumstances, to borrow a nice phrase. Unsurprisingly, these superior cultures are also the ones that seem to be in most danger of being overrun by unwashed philistines. The smart people at Pew wanted to know how many believed that their way of life needed to be protected, and guess what?

I’m not very surprised, though I am rather disappointed in those 2000 odd people who answered for us.

Update: Should’ve linked to the study straight. Here you go.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Benazir BhuttoAnd boy did they do a full job of the whole thing, two guys with ak47s shot her and then a suicide bomb was detonated near her car. They didn’t take any chances. I sent Marc a message asking for confirmation because I was at a wedding when I heard and it turns out it was true. Saw the rest of the story on the TV in the lobby, that Musharraf dude’s a live wire, you can’t just let him hold power. He’s dangerous, and not just to his own country. Pakistan’s one of those few countries worse off than us religion-wise, politics-wise…Heck! They’re just worse off than us. I feel sorry for the Pakistanis, but they’ve really let the religious fundies take over. Sucks to be them.

Here’s the BBC article on the assassination: Benazir Bhutto killed in attack.
A set of pictures they have: Life in Pictures