Friday, July 18, 2008

The largest hypocricy

"Son, what’s your name?"

"Good…nice name.

"Father’s name?" "Anvar Rasheed".

"Mother’s name?"

"Lakshmi Devi".
The headmaster looked at the parents and asked: "Which religion should we note"?

"No need to note any. Please mention ‘no religion’."

"Caste?" "

The same."
The headmaster leaned back on his chair and asked rather gravely: "What
if he feels the need for a religion when he grows up?"

"He can choose his religion if and when he feels so."

Rather progressive, probably to the extent that if it happens in India, I would have guessed that it would only be in the movies. But it so happens that his has happened in the 7th std. social studies books of the Kerala state board. But this piece of text has blown-up into a controversy engulfing the entire state.

Just like how Indian movies have a monotonous mix of six songs, poor dialogues, scantily clad heroines and an ill-fitting comedy track, I find that such controversies have their own formulae. Look for a reformative work, cook up a controversy and blow it out of proportion, take to the streets in protest without proper permission, throw stones at the police, burn a bus or two, call for a bandh, force the government to thwart the reform, wait till the next work of reform to pop-up.

M.F. Hussain's paitings, Parzania, Tasleema Nasreen, Khushboo, Kashmir land transfer and the list goes on, but the story is the same. This is the best we can do in exercising democracy. Vandalize public property that was built with our own money. Paralize public life and incur losses that will come back to bite us. Thwart reform that would one day make us a tolerant society. Amidst all this the parties concerned (M.F. Hussein, Tasleema Nasreen, Kushboo) are often conveniently forgotten. The learning curve is absolutely flat.

I find perverse amusement to see the striking similarity between the poor wisdom of us Indians in understanding the quality of movies as well as democratic values. But that is who we are. A bunch of morons who can play cricket, write software, but somehow simply can't learn to resolve differences by proper democratic channels. If we say that we are the largest democracy, we actually become the largest hypocricy.

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