Cultural terrorism

This could be the time for the Government of India to think seriously about setting up a Ministry for Hurt Feelings. The suggestion was made by someone in jest on Twitter but since these days not a week goes by without some group or other feeling hurt for some reason or other, it could be an idea whose time has come. Once all those with 'hurt feelings' have been directed to seek assuagement from the new ministry, the rest of us may have a chance to get on with dealing with India's real problems.

A small example is necessary here. The groups that suffer most on account of the inexplicable inability of our political leaders to win the war against poverty are Muslims and Dalits because they, along with Adivasis, constitute the largest group of Indians below the poverty line. This makes it even more puzzling that they should care so much about the passing remarks of a sociologist and a film about terrorism. The Vishwaroopam controversy is beyond belief. In today's context the biggest terrorist problem in the world has been created by people who call themselves 'jihadis' so if Kamal Hassan has them play a villainous role in his film, so what?

Unfortunately, 'so what' is something the hurt feelers always seem unable to articulate. If only they would start feeling more hurt about the horrendous poverty and unspeakable squalor in which most of their brethren live. But, that is not something our political leaders guide them toward because then they would have to start delivering on their election promises. Much easier to distract the 'peepul' by encouraging them to vent their feelings against Salman Rushdie or Kamal Hassan so that the ineptitude of chief ministers can be momentarily forgotten in the excitement of burning cinemas and books.

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