FAQ

Frequently Angry Questioners, please read this

Would you do this to the Koran, the Bible or the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? 

No. I would not. I choose to parody the culture I grew up with and I am quite aware of the violent repercussions possible from fundamentalists of all denominations. You are free to call me a coward for my selective choice of subjects.

Aren’t you then taking undue advantage of the freedom and tolerance inherent in our religion?

It isn’t freedom and tolerance if I cannot take advantage of it. If you say “How dare you take advantage of our tolerance?” then the logical fallacy inherent in that statement causes it to collapse on itself.

You are just exploiting our sacred culture for some cheap thrills

Yes I am. A big aspect of online self expression is to derive cheap mileage from likes, RTs, follows, shares, comments and views. Unlike in the era of Doordarshan, you do have the choice to not read the cheapness I purvey.

You are trivializing something sacred. What good can it bring?

It will bring absolutely no good, but to be fair, it will do absolutely no harm either. Indian epics and religious texts have survived millennia of oral transmission, foreign invasions, reinterpretation and translations and still continue to be relevant to people who find them sacred. If you honestly believe that some random blog on the internet will dilute its sacredness, I am afraid you are giving me too much credit, and in that process, insulting the eternal sacredness of the said text.

You are making fun of something that you do not understand properly. Do you even know Sanskrit?

Let’s be clear on this. I make observations about people. The references to religion, culture and so on merely form the background that I use to make my point. Yes, I do not know much Sanskrit, but, to quote from a famous joke in Tamil movies, Sanskrit does not know me either. If my poor understanding results in a complete failure of this blog to deal a death blow to the sacred purity of our culture, then that would be quite OK no?

You know, you aren’t really funny at all

Ok. Would you like some filter coffee?

5 Comments

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  1. In your post of yesterday, you urge us not to be conservative in our relationship to the English language, and to accept innovation and evolution. But many of the language examples you give in your post of yesterday are irritating precisely because they are linguistic fossils that have resisted all such evolution. English is the most dynamic and improvisational language in the world today, in great part because it draws on such diverse and dispersed experiences. Much of what you defend, on the other hand, is a relic of a clubby British slang that was entirely sealed from such global influences. Which is more interesting?

    It is Indian English, not, say, American English, that is conservative and plodding. What is the reason for this? It is that India’s various language traumas of the C19 and C20 – of which the arrival of English was itself one – significantly dented the linguistic confidence of this part of the world. Having to speak a colonial master’s language, rejecting – in north India – one’s Urdu in favour of “Hindi” – language itself, as an object of interest, became tiring. Fastidiousness in language fell out of fashion – no more those punctuation debates of Urdu poets! – and imprecision was everywhere celebrated – including in your blog. Juddering superfluities – your own “let’s order for a pizza” – were pronounced charming because “we are like that only” and after all “we understand what we mean”.

    This bewilderment in the face of prepositions – on which much of the language’s subtlety is based – or even mere articles, definite or indefinite, is not a sign of the innovative energies you pretend in your piece. It is a sign of great linguistic uncertainty which, precisely, precludes innovation. In a language you do not feel the master of, you are obliged to follow what rules you know and to make great use of set phrases you could never have invented yourself. The Wodehousian throwbacks and prepositional pile-ups you quote are therefore parts of the same thing – a linguistic malaise that is at its heart quite painful.

    The dream that a people can take back language for themselves is bigger than just saying “anything goes: you are not supposed to master language, so anything you say is good enough.” *This* is the elitist position. Everyone should own language, and owning means understanding its workings intimately enough that one can deploy it and bend it to one’s own ends. The examples you give are the opposite of this freedom.

    The cheap jibes that the privileged launch at those who master English less well than them are of course empty and pathetic. But it is no better to pretend that nothing matters in language, and anything passes. This is to perpetuate the indifference that protects that same inequality.

  2. Hi. I have no idea how to contact you personally (Okay…..Might not exactly sound right but hey that’s the best I can put it). Please visit http://www.readmuse.blogspot.in and use the mail ID mentioned there to reach me. I’m looking to interview you. That’s it!

    Jan

    P.S. I don’t believe in niceties. That blog should help know enough about me. Not being rude here. That’s Just me

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