Let me tender my apology, at the very onset, to enlightened readers, especially the female readers. I could have roped in a more reader-friendly title than such a shocking heading. However, any attempts to do so would have defeated the very purpose of writing such a shocking piece. In my eyes, only hypocrites would call it vulgar, and naturally bring in use the trash button. But even if they decide to use the trash button, I would like them to read the article and try to be on the par with the essence of the whole article. The people around us are day and night bombarding the ear drums with such shocking epithets, and we have, apparently, stopped treating them as offending. If that’s the case then I think there is no point in raising hue and cry about article being objectionable and crude. But the sad reality is that it really hurts when one hears such epithet. So what’s the motive? To make it clear that let’s not make abuses part and parcel of routine conversations. It’s, indeed, a very shocking experience if someone hurls it at you all of a sudden, making you taken aback. If we can use better phrases then why we have made abusive language part of our conversations? And if one is not ashamed of using abuses in conversations then I don’t think one should find anything objectionable in reading them onscreen in an article format!
Another reason why I have written this article is that I love to bring darker aspects of life in open. Let’s get realistic and be not ashamed in reading what we have become used to in our daily lives! One laughs loud to bluff it away or pretends that one did not hear it all when such words appear, all of a sudden, in the daily conversations. I don’t think that’s going to bring any qualitative changes in our mannerism!!!
My idea of writing this article first hit the mind some years back when I was in New Delhi. I came to anticipate these modern mantras very often there. Mind you not only the commoners were using but also the high and mighty uttered them proving that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even the teenage girls and boys let fly with tirade of abuses on small pretexts. In the evenings, we used to walk around PVR situated close to Jawahar Lal University (JNU). One gentleman there inquired about Photostat shop. On not being able to locate one he bursted out: “Behan Chod Sirf Cigarette Aur Beer Ki Dukan Hi Delhi Mein Hai Kya? Behen Chod Ek Din Sale Sab Marenge.” (These sister-fuckers have opened shops selling beer and cigarettes. I cannot find any Photostat shop.) He was not all wrong. I could see teenage girls and boys smoking and there were beer bottles scattered around all along the path. If you happen to commute by a DTC bus there, I am sure you would be surrounded by nothing else but choicest abuses. “Behen Chod Ticket Nahi Lega Kya” (Sister-fucker! Will you not have the ticket?) Or “Behan Chold Chal Utar Tera Stoppage Aa Gaya Hai”(Sister-fucker! Get off the bus. You have arrived at the destination.) Interestingly, one US citizen, who was traveling with me, could not resist himself from asking me what these words really mean. He opened his small notebook, wherein he seemed to have jotted down these abuses. I gave a smile and told him that these are foul words.
I had similar experiences when I was in Mumbai. A boy hardly in his teens from a well-to-do family was walking waywardly on a busy street .Obviously, he was drunk. He seemed to have a bitter fight with her girl-friend studying in class seventh! “Behen Chod Mere Saath Nahi Chalegi.Kutiya Kahi Ki ! Khud Dus Logo Ke Saath Ghumti Hai Tab Kuch Nahi Jata.” (Sister-fucker! She hates to be my side. Bitch! She had no problems when she moved with so many strangers.)
I don’t know what’s happening in the Western world but it’s quite clear that there too foul words have become integral part of their routine conversation. I would like to quote a certain excerpt from a dialogue, which took place on a prominent site that deals with publication of poems and short stories. I am also one of its prominent contributors. The best thing of this whole conversation is that it has taken place between two best friends, and that too in a lighter vain. Here is the excerpt: “You fucking idiot!! Tread carefully motherfucker, I can find you and I will not be nice, pray to your imaginary friend now asshole. AIDS? What the fuck do you know? You can only get that from people who are infected with the HIV and without a condom, you fucking idiot. Primitive minded mother-fucker. Go swing out of a tree monkey.” (It’s unedited version of the comment.)
Anyway, I must tell what’s happening in India instead of revealing the darker sides of Western world. Today we are hell-bent on improving the face of Indian police. I don’t know when that’s going to take place. I don’t know how many of us have encountered Policwallah (Policeman) speaking in a friendly way. He is one of the most dreaded species on earth. On very small pretexts, you will find him using foul words. They never miss an opportunity to turn you into a caricature. A friend of mine was returning from a late-night party with his sister. A policeman on the beat asked him to stop. The policeman went closer to them and asked,” Where are you roaming with this Laundiya (Girl)? ” You expect something better from a lady police officer. However, even they are also devoid of good mannerism, better words. They too find nothing wrong in using foul words. Look how they dealt with group of innocent girls brought to book for their alleged involvement in prostitution racket: “Kutiya Dhanda Karti Hai Aur Yeha Aakar Drama Kar Rahi Hai.” (These bitches are involved in prostitution and now they are pretending at the police station.)Well, one expects something better from women officials. But they seem to be setting new standards of degradation!! The lives of policemen hover around foul words, and, therefore, there are endless tales related with their intimate bond with abuses. Recently, some eminent sports persons in Varanasi were manhandled and treated roughly by the petty constables with choicest abuses.
Well, I can say that fast-paced life of ours has wrecked our nerves, to an extent that we have no control over our mouths. As a lawyer, when I first entered in the premises of Allahabad High Court, it felt really great. Indeed, it’s a great place. However, I came to notice that almost all the lawyers enjoyed close proximity with foul words. I came to notice that senior lawyers usually handled their juniors very roughly. Being a rebel of some sort, I refused to be part of this chain of events which my friend tell that it’s essential to face such trials and tribulations to turn into a more practical guy. My other colleagues told me that they (read senior lawyers) are reshaping your tendencies in order to overcome rough moments with ease during the proceedings. However, I ignored their advice. But what they said had an element of truth. If you have witnessed proceedings in divorce related cases, you would come to notice that words like “Kutiya” (Bitch) “Chinar” (Loose character women) , “Randi” (Prostitute) fly thick and fast from both the sides right in front of the Honourable Justice!
Looking this issue from a different perspective, I think that’s why women in our villages during marriage ceremony hurl abuses at the groom’s family when they come to have food. Sometimes they are used as tools to create intimacy, to create familiarity. I have heard that abuses hurled by saints are considered to some form of blessing. Even the prominent Hindi writers and poets are not ashamed in hurling choicest abuses whenever possible. That’s why I feel pretty uncomfortable in their company! But that’s something a natural affair for them. Even prominent Muslim writers like Taslima Nasreen(Lajja fame female writer), Ismat Chugtai and Saadat Hasan Manto have frequently used foul words .
But that cannot be used an excuse to provide an exalted position to Gaali (foul word) in our lives. Let’s come to respect the sense and sensibilities of each other. No doubt it’s very hard to rise above foul words during tense moments but we can certainly avoid making them part of our routine conversations. And some day, we will learn to say the unpleasant things in a refined language. There is no dearth of pleasant words in dictionary. Let’s learn to use them to convey both our good and bad feelings. If that’s not possible, let us use them in rarest of rare times.
Pic Credit :
I am no party animal. On top of it, the streak of introversion often keeps me at a safe distance from mass gatherings of any type. So when my friends learned about a party from my side, the news generated a sense of disbelief among them. Anyway, the party did turn out to be a reality instead of becoming a figment of imagination. Well, let me tell my friends that I love their company a lot. Few moments spent in their company are some of the most cherished moments in life. After all, life is never kind enough to provide such blissful episodes at a regular interval.
I realize that nature takes just few seconds to shatter all your dreams, shatter the order of things, leading to revelation of shades which one could have hardly conceptualized in the chambers of mind. That’s why I feel one should not miss to be part of some happy moments with near and dear ones if there arises some occasion. That was one of the prime reasons as to why I came to organize this event. My friends treated the event as some sort of occasion organized to celebrate the professional success but the only reason, if they could believe, was to see them together at one place after a long time.
So instead of getting trapped in “to be, or to not to be” dilemma, I decided to make it a reality. One of the participants, who lives in my neighbourhood, Arun Prakash Srivastavaji, District Librarian at Deoria, suggested that restaurant named Bikanervala, situated in the heart of city, Civil Lines, would prove to be an ideal location for such an event. His advice turned out to be perfectly true. I must appreciate him that he not only offered meaningful suggestions but also ensured that party remained above any unpleasant incident. He remained fully involved in happenings at the party besides enjoying the good meal. He deserves special thanks on my part.
Anyway, some of my friends arrived right on appointed time instead of obeying the Indian rule of never arriving on time, especially at parties. I am a disciplinarian when it comes to event management. So I was too happy to see Sudhanshu Pandey, Advocate at Allahabad High Court, and Ashish Nigam, Advocate at Allahabad High Court, right on time. In fact, Sudhanshu covered a long distance to be on time, and that too, when I had informed him barely few hours back. So to see busy professionals making the presence felt on time really made me happy.
Since Asish was on time he found time enough to look at my recently published articles. I respect him for the fact that he really works hard to emerge as a good lawyer at a time when legal profession has been hijacked by blockheads. I remember he was one of the most serious students in our batch. It’s a matter of great satisfaction that he has retained that seriousness until now.
My namesake Arvind Kushwaha, who also happens to be qualified computer professional besides being a lawyer, happily decided to play the role of lensman at the party. The images which grace this post have been clicked by him and Ashish Nigam, who suggested some new angles to have better pictures. Arvind who never misses an opportunity to act as “Hanuman” for me in times of crisis is always seen in the company of Satyadhar Dubeyji, who besides being a lawyer plays several other roles with quite perfection. He is one of the few persons to offer most pragmatic advises in critical times- a reason why I am a frequent visitor to his home.
Few words about Sampanna Kumar “Sangharsha” and Pinto Jaiswal as well. They are the ones who became part of my life the moment I entered in Allahabad after a long stay in Lucknow. In fact, Pinto has been with me since Nursery days. I have shared with them some sweet and sour moments. It’s also a bare truth that both of them bear no resemblance at all to my approach towards life, the principles which form my life, the mannerism I advocate, and still, they happen to be part of my events. It’s mainly because I hate to avoid people who once shared the road with me and partially because nature sometimes dictate the course of events making you move with people diametrically opposite to your views. They also happen to be lawyers but Sangharsha, I must say, is a political lawyer, being more engaged in political activities, and Pintu, the shortcut lawyer at District Court, is always engaged in ensuring that laws do bring money whether or not they ensure justice. Avinash Srivastava, the lawyer flirting with spiritualism, and Rambabu, Advocate, remained silent for most of the time as their common friend Sangharsha’s nonstop chattering left little scope for others!
The sight of Rajesh Pandey, Advocate and Legal Correspondent for The Hindustan Times, at the party provided me great happiness. The get together was organized on working day but Rajeshji ensured that he arrives on time after day long tiring schedule at High Court’s Mediation Center, and later, finishing reporting task at The Hindustan Times office. He was my colleague for a brief period at The Hindustan Times office in Allahabad during my early days of journalism. I left the office soon but our friendship remained intact. He is extremely hard working and always running short of time. So he avoided the dinner and instead enjoyed the big glass of Lassi, which we enjoyed after the dinner but just the half glass since our tummies were already too full.
My parents had a good time with their granddaughters, who luckily did not throw any tantrums that day. Or else, they are genuine versions of naughtiness. They happily watched the sequence of events at Bikanervala in the company of his father and my parents. My brother and parents enjoyed the evening in an alien company which happy expressions on faces their clearly revealed.
The dinner was comprised of typical Indian food served at Indian parties like Dal Makhani, Paneer Curry, Pulaav, Raita, Paranthas, Sweet Dish and etc. Later we all enjoyed Lassi, which was very delicious but quite heavy weight one. I mean there was little space left inside the tummy to enjoy the big glass of Lassi prepared in special way with help of dry fruits.
The party ended on a happy note. It was a matter of great satisfaction for me since I came to share some good moments with my friends. Even in small city like Allahabad, the busy life of ours is not that kind enough to make friends see each other often. Obviously, a get together with close friends proves to be oxygen for relationships. This meeting with my friends shall stay in mind for a long time. As the time passes by, these are the moments which bring smile on our faces when we ever have a look in the olden days.
The statutes need to be carved in citizen-friendly language. The problem with most of the institutions functioning in India is that they have been set up on the patterns evolved by the Britishers. Whether they are elementary guidelines for the smooth functioning of the government run bodies or legal considerations to carry out the business of justice they are more often than not coined in expressions that remain Greek to ordinary citizens.
Their makers simply forget that they are living in a country dominated by rural population. The very fact mocks at obsession to employ bombastic expression to create a statute. In fact this is something which has allowed the lawyers to exploit their clients time an again.
The common man simply choose to grope in ignorance than to get trapped in verbosity of the lawyers which going by the complicity of legal affairs appears to be a greater blunder in the eyes of former. Unless we stop evaluating a man’s standard through the prism of western perceptions nothing exceptional could be achieved.
This realization must dawn upon us that mimicking foreign accent or dealing in complex clauses is not going to benefit the underprivileged. A bond can only be established with them by being honest towards their concerns in a language that gives them the feeling of being part of the whole process in an intimate way.
I am presenting excerpts from a well known writer’s work that will enlighten the readers about categorization of “common man”. It would let you know all why common man has been deliberately kept in ignorance to fulfill the needs of people in power. I had to present these excerpts in order to reveal the prejudices against the common mass and only then we can understand why the road to justice for the common people is full of obstacles.
I also presenting excerpts from another well known writer’s work to establish the Gandhian truth that let’s borrow Western world’s better ideals but let’s not subject our conscience to their rotten beliefs. There is no point in conducting our affairs on borrowed concepts.
These excerpts I am sure would help the esteemed readers to grasp the issue raised in my post quite well.
Democracy was born in the city states of Greece. Athenian democracy has been called a men’s club, because women were excluded from the right to vote. So were slaves. Greek citizens themselves could qualify only if both their parents were Greek. Within these limits, democracy ensured direct participation by the citizen in running the state.
From Greece to post-colonial India, we have come a long way. From Latin we got the phrase, “Vox populi, vox dei”. This was not really a pro-democracy slogan; it was part of a plea to Emperor Charlemagne from one of his associates that he should not trust those who chanted this slogan. As in other parts of the world, society was divided into haves and have-nots. The Romans institutionalized this division by drawing a line between patricians and plebeians. A patrician was one born of a noble father. The plebs were the common people, the artisans, the workers. The dictionary equates plebeian with unrefined, coarse, and vulgar.
France became a bastion of democracy in the days of the 1789 Revolution. In place of patricians, there were the first estate or the nobility and the second estate or the clergy. The common people, including artisans, peasants and the bourgeoisie, formed the third estate. The revolution marked the rise of the third estate.
In the name of democracy, we glorify and sometimes deify the common people. Ironically, we also brand them with new names that express contempt rather than admiration.
In Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, the the Prince of Arragon, who has to pass a lottery to win Portia’s hand, refuses to be aligned with the common people, “the fool multitude”. He says: “I will not jump with common spirits and rank me with the barbarous multitudes.” Shakespeare brings him down to earth by rewarding him with a fool’s head instead of Portia’s hand.
If you want to pour contempt on people, use a foreign word or phrase. “Hoi polloi” is one such, an exotic-sounding Greek phrase which can be translated as “the many”. But the attitude is the same. The phrase refers condescendingly to the riff-raff or the rabble, who lack education and cultivation. No wonder the snobbish aristocrats said they wanted their children out of the company of the hoi polloi.
The language of deprecation soon came up with a phrase with greater sting in “the great unwashed”, which referred to the multitude. That is as physical as you can get with insulting people. The thesaurus is liberal with synonyms for this expression: base born, ignoble, lowly, vulgar. Unfazed by the social stigma intended by the term, two brothers, David and Hamish Kilgour, named their music band The Great Unwashed!
Like hoi polloi, the word “lumpen” was borrowed from Europe and refers to the mob. The word is a shortened form of the German-French compound, “lumpenproletariat”. Marx used the word to refer to the unemployed and unproductive sections, who lacked class consciousness. Today, the Marxian sense has been diluted into the general sense of “uneducated, unenlightened, unrefined.”
The vocabulary of vilification, expressing our prejudice against the common people, conflicts with our faith in the sovereignty of the people. It was Carl Sandburg, American poet and Pulitzer laureate, who gave the most articulate expression to the disillusionment of the people. In his poem, I am the People, the Mob, he protests the snubs and slights that the common people are exposed to. Speaking for the people, he says: “I am the working man, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.” In an outburst of anger, he warns that the patience of the people will soon run out. Then “there will be no speaker in all the world/ say the name ‘The People’ with any fleck of a/sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision./The mob—the crowd—the mass—willarrive then.”
Source: V.R. Narayanaswami’s article ” ASK MINT/WORDS TO VILIFY THE COMMON MAN ”
Kishore Madhubani says: ” The Western mind is a huge world, but even in that huge world, you are actually trapped in a mental box. For those who live in the West, you assume that you can understand the world just by looking at it through Western perspectives, which gives you gives you a limited view of the world.”
” Let me give you an example to illustrate what I mean: You recall that one of the most successful essays that appeared immediately after the end of the Cold War was Francis Fukuyama’s essay The End of History. I found it amazing that an idea as absurd as the end of history could become so popular in the Western world. For a start, if you are going to have the thawing of the global order at the end of the Cold War, the logical result would be the return of history, not the end of history. And indeed, in the last ten years, we have seen the resurfacing of historical forces that were buried by forty years of the Cold War. Now, why did the Western mind believe that the rest of the world would transform itself to become carbon-copy replicas of Western liberal democratic societies? This is Francis Fukuyama’s underlying thesis.
But having asserted that the Western mind is trapped in a mental box, how do I document it? ”
” When you live in the West, it’s very hard to understand where the boundaries of the West are, because the natural assumption is that of Francis Fukuyama or V.S. Naipaul, that the West is a universal civilization, that history is a one-way street, that all societies as they grow and evolve will become more and more like the West.
What separates my life from many in the room is that I have heard conversations in Western living rooms about the world, and then I have been in non-Western living rooms, in an Islamic home, in Chinese homes, and I have listened to their conversations and how they see the world. You begin to realize that there are many different perspectives.
If the other societies succeed, what you will see is modernization, but not Westernization, as they grow and change. What exactly will it mean?
In the world of tomorrow, you will wake up and switch your television from one channel that gives you a Western perspective of the world to another which will describe the same events from a completely non-Western view.
Cities like New York City, like London will be the meeting places that bring these perspectives together, and that’s why you feel, ”Hey, there’s no big difference between them.” But if you travel outside and you go into these living rooms, you will find that there are still different worlds out there.”
” On the one hand, as the result of globalization, and the explosive burst of Western technology, we are shrinking the world into a global village, and now we are now sailing in the same boat. Sometimes I mischievously say this boat may perhaps be the Titanic. We have become one world. And yet, on this one ship you have 1 billion people living in first-class cabins, in relative comfort, and 2 or 3 billion people living in various degrees of deprivation, some in hunger and starvation.
I see daily the forces of globalization are generating greater and greater interdependence. Actions in one corner of the can affect a distant corner relatively quickly. Most people living outside the United States can feel and understand the impact of globalization. They feel the loss of autonomy each day. Most Americans do not feel this, or not yet. They live in one of the most powerful countries ever to have existed in the history of man. Sheer power and two huge oceans make Americans unaware of how the world is changing. The great paradox here is that the world’s most open society is among the worst informed on the inevitable impact of global changes. A tidal wave of change is already on its way to American shores.
In the world to come, if any force will save us, it will be the dynamism of Western civilization, which has carried the world to where it is today. All of the advances of human civilization are the result of what has happened in the West. ”
” Let me move on to another example of what I call possible instability in the same world. If we are all in the same boat, it is in our obvious interest to ensure that all the boat’s passengers become stakeholders in peace and prosperity, rather than in misery.
The only question in my mind is: Can a shrinking population of the West, which now makes up about 10 percent of the world’s population, carry the burden of the world on its shoulders? We need to have burden-sharing between the West and other civilizations to have stability. We need a fusion of civilizations rather than a clash of civilizations.”
” I can see the fusion of civilizations taking place in the Asia-Pacific, and my friends here can see it happening daily across the Pacific with East Asia and the United States cooperating in economics, politics and culture. I still haven’t been able to see how we are going to get fusion of civilizations between the West and the Islam, and that is where the problems will lie in the world to come.”
(The views expressed in these excerpts belong to leading thinker KISHORE MADHUBANI )
V.R. Narayanaswami’s article ” ASK MINT/WORDS TO VILIFY THE COMMON MAN ”
Kishore Madhubani’s Article