Yesterday I met a couple of friends on dinner. One of them told me that he was disillusioned with an actress (of yesteryears) when he heard her using MCs and BCs. “It really put me off especially because she had a screen image of being very feminine and innocent!”
I was not surprised to hear her name!
Once, angry at an article, she had called the office of ‘The Daily’ (or was it ‘Blitz’?) and gave a mouthful to the sub-editor who had the misfortune of attending to her call.
“Arre baap, she was more abusive than the machhiwallis!” the editor who had heard her abusive diatribe told me.
It didn’t color my opinion about her but I found it amazing that the character she played on the screen was so warm, friendly, loving and innocent. The actress is Maoushmi Chatterjee.
I see an interesting paradox in our attitude towards 4-letter words.
Some people find four letter words in the mouth of a baby cute – yes, believe me! – and even teach some harmless swear words to their kids.
A few years ago I found reviewers treating the cuss words from Shobha De with kid gloves but lambasting me even for rather harmless four letter words. I was told that dicks in the mouth of a beautiful Shobha De, sound sexy but motherfucker with my byline wasn’t!
Another point: An English cuss word is okay but a Hindustani gaali is not…unless it gets a label of realistic cinema like Bandit Queen which had more gaalis than in the mouth of Moushumi Chatterjee.
Rape law reforms: Legalize Prostitution
The legal pundits are questioning the validity of government’s ordinance on rape laws as the parliamentary session schedule is already announced and may drag the ordinance to court. But even if it is considered valid, it is only a part of the recommendations of Justice JS Verma Committee. P Chidambaram has assured that the rest of the points would be debated.
And if this all seems enough to them, I notice a serious lapse on the part of everyone involved. There is no take on prostitution. Okay, to be politically correct, I found nothing about sex workers in the debates, amendments, proposals and discussions.
I believe that freeing the oldest profession in the world from the hypocrite attitude of society and the government (committees are a part of it) can go a long way in ensuring the safety of women.
We need a commercial sex workers sector. It is necessary as it would serve as a safety valve for millions of immigrants who come to cities, leaving behind their families. They leave behind the conservatively dressed women in their villages and suffer a cultural shock as they see women who dress provocatively. They see the semi-nude, sexy girls on the hoardings selling everything from toothpaste to cars. They see porn on their mobiles. They are potential rapists.
Not all the laws in the world can stop them. The countries where they have capital punishment, public floggings and death by stoning have failed to curb crime. India is no different.
Along with everything else suggested by Justice JS Verma Committee, making sex worker easily available in designated areas and protecting the prostitutes from exploitation by police, pimps and dubious NGOs is necessary.
An interesting legal situation is that prostitution is legal but soliciting is not. A prostitute can’t advertise her wares. Of course, you will see thinly guised ads in all the newspapers but that is a different story. Pimping (Soliciting business on her behalf, on commission basis) too is illegal.
Removing these lacunae, ensuring healthcare for the prostitutes can provide a healthy option to potential rapists. So long a woman gets into this profession as a free choice; they need to be given protection and opportunities to run their business freely.
Why so servile?
Last week, I posted on facebook:
Why the fuck people are so servile that they almost do sashtaang pranaam to celebrities and film stars?
I almost puke at the way they thank them ‘for accepting them as fb friends’ and their monologues. Arre whatever fb says you are not their ‘friends’! You are their fans, admirers, followers and chamchas.
And there is a lesson in it for the celebrities too. They are not only YOUR fans. They ogle at Salman Khan, Vivek Oberoi, (even) Abhishek Bachchan and Johny Lever lekin they don’t necessarily buy the tickets of their films.
Abhishek Bachchan ke liye bheed hoti hai lekin theatre hamesha khaali hota hai!
To answer my own question about people being so servile, I find an answer in the questionable custom of touching the feet and 200 other reasons (including feudal mentality) which I’ll talk about later.
I, personally, abhor this practice. I was 12 when I refused to touch the feet of our family guru and questioned the system of respecting the old age. My argument was that you can’t equate age with experience and wisdom – there are many old fools and in fact, the old people whether Morarji Desai or LK Advani or for that matter Manmohan Singh have no business being in politics, leave aside ruling the destiny of hundreds of millions. Just compare our old fogies with the ever alert Clinton or Obama and see the bad jokes our leaders become.
Even otherwise, Indians don’t age gracefully. Look at the normal looking Harrison Ford and laugh at Dilip Kumar’s jet black hair or the wig of Amitabh Bachchan.
(An exception that I admire is Rajanikanth. By the way, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and mine is email@example.com but that is where the similarity ends.)
I once asked PV Narsimha Rao: how do reconcile the talk of 21st century, computers and modern world with the ages old custom of touching the feet.
This was when, after shaking his hand I sat next to him and saw several people coming, kneeling in his front and touching his feet.
He appeared irritated at my ‘foolish’ question but said, ‘I don’t see any paradox in this. It is an Indian tradition.’
I have privately sniggered when I have seen twins of an actor-politician touching his feet before leaving for school.
But I have started realizing that may be I’m the odd one out! Though, I continue to have the same beliefs.
But not to digress, I return to the Indian habit of sashtaang pranaams and daandvaat pranaams.
Or the way, people address the leaders in letters.
Worse is the way the eulogize the leaders, past and present. Sunil Dutt is addressed as Vishwa Shanti Doot though neither the world knows about him – even Jimmy Carter, the American President he used to meet suffered from Alzheimer’s.
And less said about the media the better. I happen to be an exception who has written biographies. Otherwise, ours is a land where every writes hagiographies! As ridiculous is the use of crown prince, nawabs, rajasaheb in the news-stories. Has everyone forgotten that India is a democracy and that privy purses, states and titles were abolished?
I have seen the nawabs referring to the people living in what was once their riyasats as raiyaat or subjects and everyone accepting the description with ‘bilkul sahi farmaaya nawaab sahib!’.
I guess it all has to do with the feudal outlook. Often our gods and the kings are the same. Like, Ram.
So, we treat rulers as gods and gods as Rajahs who can grant us all the boons provided we maskofy them with aartis, saashtaang pranaams and use all the adjectives in their praise.
May be it has something to do with the Moghul rule and British rule. Baa Ba-adab, ba-mulahiza, hoshiyaaaar.. nigaah-e-rubaroo, Zill-e-subhani.. tashreef la rahay hain and the curtsies that our older generation witnessed may have something to do with the way even our ministers behave in front of the Caucasian leaders when they visit India.
A political psychologist like Ashish Nandy can analyze it better but the poor guy is already in trouble over his corrupt Dalits theory.