Sometimes I ask myself profound questions. Sample this: Why do we take a show that spells Coffee with a K seriously? Personally, as a self-respecting caffeine addict who cares more about correct spelling than how the celebs rate the three Khans or the hotness quotient of each other, I refuse to watch it. Yet week after week, I am confronted with blaring headlines popping up like pus-filled pimples on my Twitter feed or Facebook timeline about the latest transgressions committed on the aforementioned show pertaining to a certain unfortunately named cricketer who certainly lived up to his name and whether or not he deserves to be pilloried for being crass when Deepika Padukone was let off the hook despite being upfront about her partiality for a perfectly proportioned pelvis or something equally inane.
Despite my best efforts and no thanks to my lack of self-control when it comes to social media usage, it has come to my attention that heads have rolled because a couple of young guns recently elevated to demigod status in cricket-obsessed India felt free to be every bit as obnoxious as everybody else on that thrice-damned show.
Which brings me to my next question. Our penchant for intellectualising stupid drivel aside, when did we become so prim, propah and obsessed with political correctness? I am all for cultural sensitivity, treating women with respect, and all things woke. That goes without saying and yet, in our zeal to keep fanning the flames of outrage which is the fuel on which social justice warriors thrive, we run the risk of becoming small-minded, mean-spirited individuals who squabble and squawk over superficial stuff without actually giving a crap.
Besides, while sensitivity is a wonderful thing, over-sensitivity is a pain in the patootie. It is all well and good to be passionate about a chosen cause but an excess of idealism and self-righteousness does not necessarily make one right about everything, especially since it seems to impair the ability to look at the bigger picture and place things in the proper context. And it is never a good idea to bully people into saying progressive things and bay for their blood if they don’t, even if you are married to the liberal agenda and have taken the trouble to memorise and look up the 71 gender options presented by an increasingly farcical Facebook. Because that would put one on the same footing as the right wing zealots who begin their day with a steaming cup of gaumutra, take an excessive interest in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s cinematic execrations and threaten to chop off his leading lady’s nose.
The problem with an excess of political correctness is that it prevents a meaningful exchange of ideas and leads to a phobia of giving offense especially when jobs and lives hang in the balance given the ugly trend on social media where it is very par for the course to give a dog a bad name and hang him or her. That said, I apologise to irritating talk show hosts, callous cricketers, liberals, Hindutva types, dogs and Facebook in case I was being excessively insensitive.
Author of Arjuna, Kamadeva, Shakti, and Yama’s Lieutenant