Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 18, 2018-Sunday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

LINGOWISE | Politically correct terms

Has the political correctness fever gone too far? Lamat Rezaul Hasan probes the 'passion'.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 16:51 IST

We discussed some politically correct phrases and words in these columns the week before. We read about the term misguided criminals. The term, a replacement for terrorists, stirred a debate on the use of politically correct language.

The BBC was blasted for using a politically correct phrase to describe terrorists linked to the 7/7 London strikes. Political correctness, according to the dictionary, is the avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalise or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

But some groups argue that the political correctness fever has gone too far. Here’s an example: The ending of a popular nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, was changed in a bid to be politically correct.

So the last line of the rhyme Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the King's horses and all the King's men, Couldn’t put Humpty together again!was changed to Humpty Dumpty counted to ten then Humpty Dumpty got up again! Interestingly, Humpty Dumpty was not a person, but a huge canon.

During the English Civil War a shot damaged the wall beneath canon, and so All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn’t put Humpty together again! Another rhyme was branded racist and withdrawn. An ad showed four spoons with the words eeny, meeny, miney and mo.

The ad was withdrawn even though children still say eeny meeny miney mo to choose something. So what would the champions of political correctness call Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?Snow White and the Seven Vertically-Challenged Companions?

First Published: Jan 07, 2006 16:21 IST