Idiot in Her Head

Sagarika Ghose has a blogpost up that can be summarised as follows:

“I went to St. Stephens. I enjoyed it. Therefore I know that the education system is fine, and that all you philistines who did not go to St. Stephens should stop talking about how much the education system sucks, otherwise you will become a nation of idiots.”

When the poor woman has stopped hyperventilating about how appalling it is that her hard-to-obtain education is being devalued by a mere movie, can somebody please tell her that being snobbish about having gone to St. Stephen’s is so twentieth century? These days, you can be snobbish about what you buy if you’re a yuppie, what you do if you’re a hippie, or the size of your SEZ if you’re a lala. Or, given that we’re in the Great Recession, about how frugal you are. And if you must resort to education, please bring at least an Ivy League degree or a PhD to the game. St. Stephen’s just doesn’t cut it any longer – I mean, even Shashi Tharoor went there.

(Note: haven’t actually seen the movie, which is why I’ve refrained from an argument about whether it’s accurate or not.)

The Upstart Pink Chaddis

Continuing my grand tradition of blogging about things long after they take place, I draw your attention to some astoundingly dumb MSM commentary about the Pink Chaddi Campaign.

First is this Pioneer editorial by Kanchan Gupta. It isn’t even worth a fisk – just three questions:

  1. Did Kanchan Gupta even bother to visit the facebook group before he wrote this?
  2. Does Kanchan Gupta seriously think that the Coalition of Loose etc. Women is actually promoting alcoholism and promiscuity or does he suffer from sarcasm deficiency?
  3. Does Kanchan Gupta even know that something called sarcasm exists?

Then, there was Sagarika Ghose’s editorial in the Hindustan Times (linking to IBN site ‘cos the HT site is throwing errors). After spending a considerable amount of time trying to extract meaning from her ramble, I have concluded that she is accusing the Pink Chaddi Campaign of being frivolous,

Which is why the battle for freedom and the battle for progress must be a sensible and a rational one; it can’t be a trivial battle where we fling coloured underwear at maniacs.

the modern youth of today of flaunting their modernity and youth,

Maybe India’s young instead of trying to be like characters from Sex In The City, should try to emulate Sarojini Naidu and Jawaharlal Nehru. While the ghastly cultural hoodlums must be dealt with sternly by the law and handed out exemplary and speedy punishment, the lifestyle norms we choose, especially in public places, must be attuned somewhat at least to our surroundings.

and for good measure, suggests that everyone follow in the footsteps of the elites of the 1950s.

We must learn from the Nehruvians of the 40s and 50s who were incredibly westernised, but deeply rooted; many of whom were rich but lived modest tasteful lives. They drank, they smoked and they romanced, yet they were discreet and embodied a tradition of Indian elitism that was rooted in both excellence as well as tradition.

I suppose that as the senior editor of a channel which has popularised the SMS poll as a form of discourse, and maniacs screaming at each other as a form of debate, Sagarika Ghose is well placed to comment on the frivolity or triviality of a particular exercise.

As far as the point about flaunting modernity or being discreet is concerned, I think it’s a remarkable idea and should be followed to the hilt. If you are fortunate enough to have liberal parents, or rich enough to own your own farmhouse where your servants can tend to all your guests, you can enjoy your drink. If you’re merely aspiring middle class and need to go to public spaces for your leisure – you know, like most of Sagarika Ghose’s viewers – you should just suppress your urges or you might spark off a revolution. (Note: Ravikiran has plaigarised my blogpost and backdated it. Cheater!)

Anyway, to ward off painful arguments in the comments, let me also say:

  1. The dichotomy of alcoholism-promiscuity / sobriety-traditionalism was started not by the Pink Chaddiers, but by the Ram Sene. In that case, if people respond to it by saying that they’d pick being drunk, promiscuous and ridiculous to being suppressed and not allowed to exercise their freedom, that’s entirely justified.
  2. Yes, the Pink Chaddi Campaign is frivolous. So? Indian public protests are usually trivial and accomplish nothing. At least this one was amusing and creative, which got it much more footage and participation than it would have otherwise. And who’s to say that it won’t be the platform for something much more productive some time down the line? A collection of passionate people has its own value.
  3. In case you plan to use the “how would you feel if it was your sister!” argument, please note that a) I don’t have a sister, b) what my hypothetical sister does on her time is not your concern, c) what my hypothetical sister does on her time is not my concern, either.