Father’s Day, Chetan Bhagat and Sacred Cows

Bestselling Indian writer Chetan Bhagat offends with a sophomoric Father’s Day tweet, leading to a broader discussion on propriety, respect, public expression and the like.

@chetan_bhagat Who cares if activist A has 20 mistresses or activist B is a gangster? The govt is corrupt and we need good laws.That’s it.

@PritishNandy I agree entirely. However, next time, dont call me activist A. My name will do fine.

@chetan_bhagat but all ur mistresses names won’t fit in a tweet. Pritish’s angels?

@PritishNandy Sounds good. Though few of them are angels, trust me.

At his best Chetan Bhagat (“the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history” acc to the NYT),  is a nimble, adroit tweeter, amusing to follow, with punchy exchanges aplenty, like the one above between himself and senior Man of Letters, Pritish Nandy.

Today he annoyed quite a few with a sophomoric tweet: Mothers give birth, but the coke belongs to the guy who puts the coin in the vending machine. Happy Fathers’ Day! “Don’t you feel ashamed of yourself?” demanded an irate @Taslimanasreen, the outspoken Bangladeshi author.

“I shudder to think how @chetan_bhagat wishes his mom on Mother’s Day,” remarked @rimeswithcya while @sidin quipped: I don’t know about vending machines. I have plenty of ‘self service’ jokes.

“At some point in time, the engg college hostel jokes should stop #notestoself” tweeted a chastened Bhagat after being berated left, right and centre.This was followed by a slightly bitter observation on his part: Amazing how a silly locker room joke causes outrage, but songs with expletives air on radio and painting gods naked is art expression.

Which last point I plan to expand on in my next post…it deserves a debate, the matter of MF Husain and his portrayal of Hindu deities…I don’t think we–secularists–can realistically argue for absolute freedom of expression to demolish people’s sacred cows in the name of an increasingly arcane concept termed ‘ART’. As @chetan_bhagat himself tweeted a few days ago: Does being secular mean not listening to the Hindu point of view, at all? Its a point worth considering–are secularists so intolerant that they’re violating their own liberal principles with their knee-jerk rejection of Hindu objections?

More on all this in my next post as I said. Meanwhile we in Jamaica had our own brand of irrational Father’s Day exuberance when popular singjay @MrVegasMusic saluted the day with: Big up to all a the fathers dem inna prison weh kill a man fi dem yute. I would too.

Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

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