Monday, February 20, 2006

Sometimes I almost wish I were wrong / who's your doggie now?

A couple of weeks ago, in comments to a post about the whole Danish cartoon thing (a comments track that I never managed to keep up with - sorry!) I expressed my horror at discovering that India actually had laws (laws, mind you!) that allowed people to be prosecuted for actions that give offence to religious sensibilities. My argument was that this was absurd, because (among other things) religion was fundamentally illogical (or rather infra-logical) anyway, so there was really no saying what might constitute an offense against it (my comments to that post have a longer discussion of this). You could effectively throw pretty much anyone in prison by arguing that he / she had insulted your religion in some way or the other.

Then today morning I see this post by Uma talking about how a journalist got thrown into prison for submitting a story about the name of a film-star's dog, because some zealot somewhere found the story offensive. Doesn't that sound like something out of a Kundera novel? The scariest part about the whole thing is the way the newspaper report Uma links to tippy-toes around telling us what the article actually said or what the name of the dog was that gave such offense - presumably for fear of having more of their reporters hauled off to prison. So much for freedom of the press.

Meanwhile, if someone does know what the alleged name of the dog was (even if it turned out not to be true - and I wonder if it became not true after the original article got published) would you mind telling me? I don't read the ToI in general, but I'd love to know. And if it offends some random fanatics out there, so much the better.

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16 comments:

ozymandiaz said...

What if your religious sensabilaties were offended by the fact that someone doesn't participate in your religion? What could be more offensive than that. Wouldn't that make just about everyone guilty?

dhoomketu said...

I, with great shame, must admit to reading the Mumbai mirror everyday. (It's not all bad, as it has Pearls Before Swine in it)...

I think Raveena Tandon's dog, which made front page news, was called Rambo. However, I am not sure whether Stallone is a religion in the country yet. Let me check.

Heh Heh said...

i think all hindus should be thrown in prison for naming one of their gods after one of our religious invocations.
Ramen!
~ Friendly neighborhood pastafari.

Falstaff said...

Oz: Oh, I don't know. With some people I'd be offended if they did participate in my religion.

dhoomk2: you do know that you can read Pearls Before Swine on the web at www.comics.com, right? Maybe it was Ram-bow. Do you think Raveena Tandon's capable of getting puns?

heh: Begone infidel! Say'st though Ramen is pasta! Know that the true pastafari recognises no such false noodles in his pantheon of gods! Go hence from our blog! May the heavens rain meatballs of wrath upon thee! May thy blood flow like marinara sauce!

P.S. If you think the Hindus are guilty, what about the Christians with their adoration of the Maggi?

Anonymous said...

I think I could perhaps shed some light on this! I guess it was Manisha Koirala's dog, which was supposedly named after the prophet. Then apparently, some commotion ensued and she got bodyguards to protect her from 'untoward incidents'. Not before revealing to the press that she does not infact own a dog. Quite baffling isn't it?

Did plan to post on the riots on my blog. Really quite disturbed by it all, All of a sudden it's like we're all walking on eggshells. Actually, I'm NOT going to get on the 'Freedom of speech' bandwagon. I mean, the muslims were probably offended that someone trampled on something they regard sacred. Having said that, it's ridiculous to put laws asking newspapers to show a little sensitivity. It's even more ridiculous to actually go out there with ammunition in your hands to protest the depiction of muslims with ammunition in their hands.

Freedom of speech is given a lot of importance and rightly so, it would be disastrous to stifle or censor what the media portrays to the public. Still, I cant help wondering how it is that a major publication overlooked the fact that cultures/values/priorities differ country to country and sometimes ppl believe that a little sensitivity to another's belief is more important even if you think that u have a right to express yourself. One could always temper one's words (Altho I really wonder how you'd do that in a cartoon!) All in all, they did apologise, so it's really ridiculous that the fighting's still going on.

Lavanya
http://360.yahoo.com/paranoid_1999

Sorry about the yahoo link, I don't have a blogger id :-S Wandered across your blog tho. Brilliant stuff! Altho I have been intimidated by the sheer length of some of your posts. Yes, I havn't read the whole thing yet *looks sheepish*

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