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The Angry Indian’s hate list: What offended the country this week

From Priyanka Chopra’s comments on Sikkim to a Jawed Habib ad featuring Goddess Durga, things that offended India this week.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2017 17:39 IST
HT Correspondent
Sikh groups have demanded a ban against TV show Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashma for depicting the tenth Sikh guru.
Sikh groups have demanded a ban against TV show Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashma for depicting the tenth Sikh guru. (Still from the show)

Indians are no strangers to outrage. As the backlash against Taslima Nasreen or MF Hussain’s paintings has shown, we are very vocal against anything that we deem remotely offensive to our sensibilities or our religious beliefs. At times, the outrage isn’t limited to critique or protests but spills over into a violent display of displeasure.

From getting angry at portrayals of divine figures to an actor’s erroneous comments, here is a list of things that invited backlash from angry Indians recently:

‘Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashma’ and the Sikhs

According to a PTI report, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) demanded a ban on TV serial ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma’ for its portrayal of the tenth Sikh guru.

SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar issued a statement saying the serial had hurt the community’s sentiments by depicting a living character of Guru Gobind Singh, which was “against the Sikh tenets”.

“No actor or any character can equate himself with the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. Such an act is unpardonable,” he said. The apex religious body of the Sikh warned the channel and the director of the show from showing “blasphemous” content.

Priyanka Chopra’s take on Sikkim

Actor Priyanka Chopra found herself neck-deep in controversy when she said Sikkim was “troubled by insurgency” during an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The actor made the comment while talking about Pahuna, a film produced by her company, which she added was the first to come out of the region – another statement that irked several from the state.

The actor faced harsh backlash, as people were quick to point out that Sikkim remains “one of the most peaceful states” in India and named some of the compelling films that came out of the region. Chopra drew widespread criticism, including from the state’s tourism minister Ugen Gyatso and footballer Bhaichung Bhutia.

Priyanka later apologised, saying her comments were “miscontrued” as she was only talking “in the context of her film”.

Jawed Habib’s cut on Durga

A print advertisement for famous hairstylist Jawed Habib’s salon sparked a furore with Hindu groups who attacked it for caricaturing the goddess.The newspaper ad issued by the salon in Kolkata showed many Hindu gods — Durga, Ganesh, Karthik, Lakshmi and Saraswati — enjoying a spa day at a Habib’s parlour. The tagline read, ‘Gods too visit JH salon’.

Angry mobs went on a rampage, vandalising Habib’s salons in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkand to express their outrage at the insult. Also, the Hyderabad Police registered a case against the celebrity hair stylist based on a complaint by a local advocate. However, things were quieter in Bengal as many argued that artists in Bengal had a long tradition of depicting the goddess in different, even unusual, avatars during Durga Puja.

A beef-eating Ganesha in Australia

Habib’s wasn’t the only controversial advertisement that upset Hindus groups recently. Last week, an advertisement for the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) showed Lord Ganesha eating beef at a barbecue which also had Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Thor and Zeus as dinner guests.

Indian Society of Western Australia spokesman Nitin Vashisht called the ad insensitive, and asked it be taken down, saying, “I don’t think they realise how revered a God Ganesha is within the Hindu community and by and large the Indian community.”

The Consulate-General of India in Sydney took note of the matter and wrote to the MLA, urging them to withdraw the advertisement. The advertisement appears to have been taken down in India.