Tuesday, February 14

Protest against the Shiv Sena #flashreads

The fact that the Shiv Sena is comprised of a bunch of uglyass muppets is not in question. Its truly filled with dunderheads who are lead by leaders who appeal to the baser instincts of their followers. Like sheep, they follow their leaders into violence and intimidation. Plus these morons managed to make Mumbai University complicit in their stupidity. Shame on you!

Do you remember these images? (and yes, I know about Godwin’s law). This is what is brewing in these people’s hearts and minds in Mumbai.


From Rohinton Mistry’s Such A Long Journey, removed from the Mumbai University syllabus after Shiv Sena members protested against and burned copies of the book:

Dinshawji: “What to do with such low-class people? No manners, no sense, no nothing. And you know who is responsible for this attitude—that bastard Shiv Sena leader who worships Hitler and Mussolini. He and his ‘Maharashtra for Maharashtrians’ nonsense. They won’t stop till they have complete Maratha Raj.”

Dinshawji’s narration had brought them to the main intersection of Flora Fountain, where the great traffic circle radiated five roads like pulsating giant tentacles. Cars were pulling out from inside the traffic island and recklessly leaping into the flow. … With the dead fountain at its still centre, the traffic circle lay like a great motionless wheel, while around it whirled the business of the city on its buzzing, humming, honking, complaining, screeching, rattling, banging, screaming, throbbing, rumbling, grumbling, sighing, never-ending journey through the metropolis.”

From Rohinton Mistry’s open letter about the targeting of Such A Long Journey:

In this sorry spectacle of book-burning and book-banning, the Shiv Sena has followed its depressingly familiar, tediously predictable scripts of threat and intimidation that Mumbai has endured since the organization’s founding in 1966. … A political party demanded an immediate change in the syllabus, and Mumbai University provided deluxe service via express delivery, making the book disappear the very next day.

As for the grandson of the Shiv Sena leader,  the young man who takes credit for the whole pathetic business, who admits to not having read the book, just the few lines that offend him and his bibliophobic brethren, he has now been inducted into the family enterprise of parochial politics, anointed leader of its newly minted “youth wing.”

What can -- what should -- one feel about him? Pity, disappointment, compassion? Twenty years old, in the final year of a B.A. in history, at my own Alma Mater, the beneficiary of a good education, he is about to embark down the Sena’s well-trodden path, to appeal, like those before him, to all that is worst in human nature.
Does he have to? No. He is clearly equipped to choose for himself. He could lead, instead of following, the old regime. He could say something radical -- that burning and banning books will not feed one hungry soul, will not house one homeless person nor will it provide gainful employment to anyone (unless one counts those hired to light bonfires), not in Mumbai, not in Maharashtra, not anywhere, not ever.
He can think independently, and he can choose. And since he is drawn to books, he might want to read, carefully this time, from cover to cover, a couple that would help him make a choice. Come to think of it, the Vice-Chancellor, too, may find them beneficial. First, Conrad’sHeart of Darkness, in order to consider the options: step back from the abyss, or go over the edge. Next the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali. And I would like to urge particular to attention to this verse:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
...Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

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