Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Did You Say

Case 1:
A few years back in 2008, during a cricket match between India and Australia, a balle-balle spinner 'is supposed to have' referred to Symonds, an Australian cricketer as a 'monkey'. Incidentally, Symonds is a Caribbean by birth who was adopted by Australian parents; which seems to give him all the required reasons to feel bad by this name-calling. This incident was discussed widely as a racist-spur and as a lowly act by the turbanator.
When I read that, I couldn't help laughing at the possibility of misunderstanding what was being said and a diversion that worked well for everyone at that point of time.

  • First of all, an Indian cricketer who knew so much to twit(?!) Seriously???
  • Second, the possibility of not being heard correctly during a multilingual meet in an international arena and
  • Third, a more possible word that was used that perhaps was best left misunderstood in this situation that rhymed the same as 'monkey.'

Considering the fact that the turbanator (as he was fondly referred to), was a boy from a middle class family from rural India with an educational background not exceeding school-level who played galle-cricket, the word that must have popped out during the moment of frustration, as suggested by the local dailies (and promptly removed later), must have been the common verbal abuse used in the Indian context-'makhi' and not monkey as cleverly reported later.
Surely Bajji must have thought that a word against the mother must be more offending than the racial slur inflicted - a point to be considered from an Indian perspective. While perhaps Symonds, from another perspective, would have been better entertained had he gotten a chance to understand the actual meaning of the word used than the altered word later suggested for all that he must have undergone as a kid. However...

Case 2:

This is what a 'Fakir' a.k.a 'holy man' from India looks like:

This is what Gandhi looks like: 

Any resemblance between the one above and the one below cannot be counted as coincidental unless the person perceiving so, is either a deliberate fool or completely blind. 

The point in focus is when Sir. Winston Churchill referred to Gandhi as a 'half naked Fakir'. 'Half naked'-by the measure of the khadhi cloth waggling on his body, agreed. Referring to him as a "Fakir"?! makes me reach the three point question once again:
  • First of all, a Brit who knew so much about Fakirs(?!)
  • Second, the possibility of not being heard correctly during a multilingual meet in an international arena and
  • Third, a more possible word that was used that was felt best left misunderstood in that situation that rhymed the same as 'fakir' that perhaps would be synonymous with the Biblical, 'Go forth and multiply' statement - if you know what I mean.

These words come from the same guy who in 1937, told the Palestine Royal Commission: "I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

The same guy who during his role as minister for war and air in 1919 on being criticised for advocating the use of chemical weapons - primarily against Kurds and Afghans said, "I cannot understand this squeamishness about the use of gas; I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes".

This is the same guy who said that Indians had to be blamed for the Bengal famine and quoted that "Indians breed like rabbits".

Churchill told the cabinet on another occasion. "We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the Empire if he died." This about Gandhi.  And do I still believe that he would be good enough to refer to Gandhi as the 'fakir' when he could have jolly well called him with another word sounding similar in terms of rhyme and rhythm?! 

Interestingly, Gandhi is said to have regarded Churchill's expression as a compliment. He felt unworthy of being called "a fakir and that (too) naked - a more difficult task." He then implored Churchill: "Trust and use me for the sake of your people and mine and through them those of the world."  
If only he had understood or read between the lines, I wondered... or what if perhaps he did... 
What a diplomatic escape and a political opportunist he must have been either way...

No comments: