Stupider than thou: The idiocy of trying to bully a Bangladesh paper for the Indian cricket team meme

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July 2, 2015

A Bangladesh newspaper gets slightly carried away by their country winning an ODI series against India. And hoping to earn a place beside Grumpy Cat and Alok Nath in the great tradition of cultural commentary that is memes, they come up with one themselves.

July 2, 2015

A Bangladesh newspaper gets slightly carried away by their country winning an ODI series against India. And hoping to earn a place beside Grumpy Cat and Alok Nath in the great tradition of cultural commentary that is memes, they come up with one themselves.

It shows the Indian cricket team – including dandruff slayer and team stud Virat Kohli, captain-cum-demi god Dhoni – with her heads half shaved. Faced with the most daunting crisis to have hit the country after the disappearance of Maggi, India responded appropriately. While newspapers and websites gasped at how Bangladesh could 'stoop so low', others took to Twitter to say a loud 'chee chee' to Bangladesh. The sentiment in India ranged from 'how dare they' to 'grow up'.

So the ad-cum-meme was actually a pat-on-the-back to young Bangladesh pacer Mutsafizur Rehman, whose offcutters had spelled doom for the Indian doom on field. Hence, he was shown brandishing a 'cutter', which accounted for the half-shaved heads of the Indian teams. Silly, right? The kind of ad, if you don't like it, that should make you say 'gah' and move on.

But hell hath no fury, like a Indian cricket fan scorned and impossible to distract since there's no cricket match playing on TV. And on behalf of the clan, a radio channel in Mumbai decides to take the Bangladesh newspaper to task. So in the morning show of 104 FM, two RJs – one man and one woman – shudder and convulse at the so-called advertisement. Together, they also demonstrate the side-effects of watching Gadar more than once and without alcoholic supervision. "Doesn't your blood boil at the advertisement? Have they forgotten who their baap is?" hollers one angry young RJ. If you have thought that the RJ would calm down having established that Indian cricketers are the the 'baap' of their Bangladesh counterparts, you were mistaken. He raged on, "This man, he didn't even see his daughter's face and went to play for his country in the World Cup. How dare you shave his head off?".

Now while there could be no logical explanation as to why Bangladesh should turn all Dhak Dhak Dixit for Dhoni because he played cricket for India, logic is not a requirement to qualify as a 'fan' in India. Ask Anushka Sharma and Maria Sharapova, who missed suffering the fate of Maggi by just a whisker.

Anyway, the woman RJ, to make sure that no female cricket fan in India is denied the opportunity to die of embarrassment, joined the outrage fest. So she shouted, "We will get Bangladesh to apologize to India. It is not just a paper apologizing, it is a nation apologizing to another nation," she said.

See, till now I didn't have a problem with whatever they said. After all, as citizens of a democracy, these RJs have the fundamental right to be stupid and I am no one to question or oppose their right. But I have a problem, if in a public platform, with thousands of people listening in, your exercising of your right to idiocy also ends up defining what a 'true Indian' is.

So the duo went on, "If you are a true Hindustani, Maharashtrian and Mumbaikar, if you have a true Indian heart beating inside your body, you will not take this lying down." And then they pledged to make the Bangladeshi newspaper apologise. And immediately started to play AR Rahman's Vandemataram in the background. If there has been one thing that has been abused more than a 500 rupee note in perennially suspicious India, it has to be this song, surely.

They also decided to bully a person/organization because they didn't agree with a meme they have put out. Somewhere, Shiv Sena supporters snapped their fingers and smirked at all the 'liberals' crying themselves hoarse over 'freedom of speech'.

The FM channel and their RJs actually will not think they did any wrong. On this day and time, you can get away with any tomfoolery as long as you claim that you have done it for the dignity of the country. You are not patriotic if you haven't bullied a newspaper for publishing a meme. You are not patriotic if you don't stand up while the national anthem plays in a movie theatre. You are not patriotic if you care two hoots about Yoga. You are not patriotic if you think a 'chicken steak' shouldn't have to exist as long as cows do. You are not patriotic if you don't apply Fair and Lovely. You are not patriotic if you think paneer is a weapon of mass happiness destruction…

It is perhaps difficult to separate some amount of jingoism from popular discourses of nationalism. Maybe some excesses are even permissible, you know, like the slightly offensive and audacious Mauka Mauka that turned into an anthem during the cricket World Cup. However, when jingoism spews aggression of this kind, it is not just irritating, it is worrying.

The radio station actually called up the newspaper to say that the advertisement sucked. We are not sure what they exactly said, since their questions were played out live, while the recording of the paper's answer was played out. Apart from feeding the paper information like 'Dhoni is an internationally accepted cricketer', they also howled why that ad was published. A broken voice said, "I personally apologize." That bit was played many times over and the person on the other end of the phone line was not identified.

Revenge, extracted. "Now the Indian fans should get a smile back on their faces," announced the gleeful female RJ. Unless of course, someone feels glad to have outdone the Bangaldeshi newspaper in the silliness department, I don't see what we should be smiling about.


Courtesy: Firstpost