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What the #@&$!

india Updated: Jan 11, 2010 22:07 IST

Hindustan Times
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Nothing like quoting William Shakespeare to get poor Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda out of a fix. The English bard in King Lear had written with noticeable cadence, “Degenerate bastard, I’ll not trouble thee.” So when the bard from Hassan district erupted when journalists asked him — with their usual cattle-prongs in hand — what the Janata Dal-Secular made of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa criticising him for joining a farmers’ protest even as Mr Gowda had cleared an ‘anti-farmer’ project, we didn’t quite see the veteran leader losing his manners. By calling Mr Yeddyurappa a “bloody bastard” and the more colourful term “bosudi maga” (that our sources say translates into “son of a bitch”), we simply feel the need to relook at our relationship with swear words.

The fact that Mr Deve Gowda’s language was ‘unparliamentary’ on Sunday doesn’t cut much ice. He wasn’t in Parliament, a place where people have made a tradition of turning far more aggressive than by hurling abuse. Mr Yeddyurappa, a polite manner who probably thinks of the words ‘bloody nonsense’ when he is really, really angry was understandably upset. By demanding that documents be furnished that would prove that he is an ‘illegitimate child’ — something that he isn’t — he showed how hurt he was.

The problem is that more son-of-the-soil personages like Mr Deve Gowda, Richard Nixon and us don’t have qualms about using a more ‘demotic’ vocabulary. Like the word for intercourse that we refrain from using unless...