Jason Overdorf writes in his column On India in the globalpost:
India has the world’s worst famous people. They want all the adulation (and perks like unmerited posts in the government), but none of the “baseless” rumors, malicious gossip and catty remarks. But this has been a particularly good spring for schadenfreude.
First, there was a long-running bit of journalistic comedy (yes!) after the Indian Express devoted the entire front page to a non-existent coup. (I know, I know: “We never used the C word!”… tell it to your lawyer).
Then everybody piled on to attack a rather clever, 60-year-old political cartoon in a stunning show of solidarity with India’s otherwise-mostly-still-despised erstwhile untouchables, the Dalits. (It shows B.R. Ambedkar, the Dalit politician who wrote India’s constitution, riding on a snail labeled “Constitution” while then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru urges the beast onward with a whip. The trouble is now it’s in the school textbooks, and people have decided it looks like Nehru is whipping Ambedkar, even though the Dalit leader is also holding a whip).
And, finally, today Bollywood queen bee and member of parliament Jaya Bachchan (wife of Amitabh Bachchan, mother of Abhishek Bachchan, mother-in-law of Aishwarya Rai, and an actress in her own right) reportedly blew a gasket because the state-run television channel, Doordarshan, kept showing her face during the induction of fellow former Bollywood starlet Rekha into the Rajya Sabha as well. (The honorable members of India’s version of the House of Lords later denied that Jaya made a fuss).
….The subtext here was that Rekha was always rumored to have a thing going with Jaya’s husband back when they were all stars. In all likelihood there was nothing to it, since Bollywood’s idea of PR is to leak rumors of such “link-ups” between the stars of upcoming releases.
Tell it to Shekhar Gupta, the once respected editor-in-chief of the Indian Express, who also seems determined to trash his own reputation. … For awhile some folks tried valiantly ….. But in the end it all turned into a big joke, which long-time Outlook magazine editor Vinod Mehta described as “the mother of all mistakes”…
Are Indians oversensitive? Was Nehru really that skinny? Why are there so many former pinups in the Indian parliament? Why are Bollywood rumors always “baseless”? ..And, of course, should newspaper editors really be fighting against free speech?
Read the full column in globalpost: Oversensitive Indians: From Jaya Bachchan to Shekhar Gupta, everybody is aggrieved
- Cartoonist Shankar, the legend of Indian cartooning (indologygoa.wordpress.com)
- Indian Democracy: Spare Us..Spare Us…! (indologygoa.wordpress.com)
- Bollywood diva Rekha causes a media frenzy as she is ushered through special entrance reserved for the PM on her arrival at Parliament (dailymail.co.uk)