The media seems to have taken criticism for being laidback about the Chennai floods to heart, for I see no other reason why a racist comeback to a less than humane comment would make headlines. Or is it the Angry Indian Goddess effect- we shall celebrate all that a woman says irrespective of its worth, lest we be labelled sexist? Otherwise why would this make headlines, flood news feeds (no pun intended), and trend on twitter?
So while the rest of the country, media included (think Rajdeep Sardesai), waded its way through Chennai’s flooded streets, two of our ‘finest’ youth decided to say not so fine things.
The first of them, one Ashish Chaudhary, whose past work experiences include being a Runner-up at MTV Splitsvilla, decided to wax eloquent. The man you see was baffled as to why a ‘land’ that did not accept ‘our’ national language, would seek help from the Hindi speaking ‘natives’ of the country. The poor chap seems to have been confused by Muttiah Muralitharan donating to the relief, and was ergo misled into thinking Chennai was in Sri Lanka. No? If he had stopped at that we could have all turned a blind eye to his not so sharp wit, and moved on. But then would we have this story? Mr. Ashish Chaudhary went on to declare that he wouldn’t mind if the Tamil people died. Tsk, tsk. His humanity along with his intellect seems to have decamped, much like he has from Facebook now.
What good would be a story if it didn’t have a hero (heroine? shero? or would that be sexist?) worthy of its antihero? Welcome Anusha Natarajan.
So her ‘fitting reply’ that started of sounding like the ‘biggest comeback in the history of biggest comebacks’ seems to have lost its way navigating her uninformed and sectarian ideology. Let me explain why.
- You got this one right Ms. Natarajan! You did pay more attention than Mr. Chaudhary did in class.
- I don’t think Mr. Chaudhary is Maharashtrian even though he’s a Mumbaikar. Chaudhary very ‘North Indian’ sounding no?
- Hindi language people is actually a thing (366 million people worldwide) as is Tamil speaking people, Kannada speaking people and now also BS talking people. All people, all talking.
- Will the ‘real Indians’ please stand up? Dravidian is a language group Ms. Natarajan, not a race. And Aryan is just a word that has the life out of it misquoted and mistranslated. Mr. Chaudhary has as much an ‘immigrant’s’ blood in him as you do. Hint: Your skin tone. Dravidian black skinned ‘race’ no?
- I’m guessing it took a lot more than English to become the CEO of big big companies. Imagine a résumé that read: Qualification: Embraced English. Hired?
It’s not your fault Ms. Natarajan; you probably did not think your post would make the sort of news that it did. And I do not blame the countless Tamilians who hailed you as their angel of vengeance; it is hard to be objective in the face of calamity and a scathing insult. But I do blame the numerous dailies that chose to add this to the Chennai floods hashtag. I blame them for ignoring the hypocrisy it reeks off. I blame them for failing to see that while the perpetrator seemed misinformed, insensitive and inhumane, the avenger had no redeeming qualities either. She chose to counter Hindi supremacy with Dravidian (read Tamil) supremacy. How is this ‘sharp’?
A ‘fitting’ reply would be to tell Mr. Chaudhary that it didn’t matter that he was so quick to condemn the Tamilians to death. It didn’t matter because the rest of the country wasn’t judging them by their language, or race or religion. It didn’t matter because the rest of the country was leaving behind families, and jobs, to help save a few lives. It didn’t matter because even though the government had failed them miserably, humanity hadn’t let them down.
Ayaṁ bandhurayaṁ nēti gaṇanā laghucētasām | udāracaritānām tu vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam ||
Discrimination saying “this one is a relative; this other one is a stranger” is for the mean-minded. For those who’re known as magnanimous, the entire world constitutes but a family. (Mahopanishad VI 71-73)