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It's just a kiss

  1. Apr 17, 2007 #1


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    Ok, I know this is the sensationalist type of news the media seems to thrive on, but it makes me frustrated and angry anyway.



    I really dislike all the nationalism and the "how dare you insult our culture :eek:? Die!" protests, and all the moral outrage that follows. Especially when they are from religious nationalistic groups, burning effigies and wasting everyone's time.

    First it was the wedding, then the national anthem & flag, and now this, all in the same month

    I'm sick of people complaining that something hurt their sentiments (religious, cultural, whatever). Seriously, If you get worked up over a comment or action which goes against your belief, it's time you took a look at why you believe it.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
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  3. Apr 17, 2007 #2
    Hmm, I hadn't heard of this one before. Doesn't surprise me though; I've noticed that there is a strong Hindu nationalist movement growing in India in the past few years...almost seems like the Indian version of the KKK. Unfortunately this nationalist movement also has negative implications for science. Have you heard of "Vedic science?" It's basically the Hindu version of creation "science," but with a racial supremacist twist. I kid you not: there are people in India who believe that the ancient Indians produced nuclear bombs, aircraft, and spacecraft, over one-hundred thousand years ago.

    Looks to me like these incidents just might be symptoms of the religious and racial nationalist movement in India.
  4. Apr 17, 2007 #3


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    Unfortunately, I've come across this Vedic (pseudo)science! My university invited some quack to speak on "Vedic Devolution".

    Meera Nanda has a brilliant article which points out this specific problem
    Postmodernism, Hindu nationalism and `Vedic science'
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  5. Apr 17, 2007 #4


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    This is an extremely self-centred viewpoint.

    Gere went over there as a guest, got up in front of millions of citizens and performed a highly offensive act with one of their most cherished celebrities, insulting the people and at the same time sullying her image. They might as well have had sex on the stage.

    This is NOT simply a few fundamentalists getting their noses out of joint over a small faux pas. Public displays of touching or kissing to Eastern culture is worse than public displays sex to us - it is simply NOT for public consumption. They do not show kissing in their movies - ever. Watch a few. (BTW, Asian culture is the same.)

    The Western equivalent might be for an actor to accept his Oscar nomination in front of the entire W. Hemisphere with a young Marlena Dietrich on one arm and a Swastika on the other.

    Besides, you seem to grant yourself the right to complain about something that offends you personally. If 9,999,999 more people felt the same way you do, would that mean you should shut up about it?
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  6. Apr 17, 2007 #5


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    Although Gere's assistants should have researched and informed him of proper etiquette, the reaction is blown out of proportion. They should realize that being a Westener, he might not be aware of all of their customs and realize that it was not done intentionally to insult anyone.
  7. Apr 17, 2007 #6
    This has actually been blown out of proportion by the news media, as Siddharth pointed out in the very first line. It's not something like a national protest going on. They do nothing but add fuel to the flame, making it a raging fire.

    Dave, I'm sure Siddharth has watched more than a few Indian movies. :wink: But I should tell you that of late movie makers have become "bolder." But most, if not all of these movies are as bad as, or worse than B-grade movies - sort of extremely soft porn :biggrin:.
  8. Apr 17, 2007 #7
    I think it is a overreaction from the hindu groups.

    It shouldn't be a given fact that every person that visits a country has to research every religion and/or culture associated with the country. Just as Richard Gere 'disrespected' and 'insulted' their cultural beliefs out of his lack of research, it should have been obvious to the Hindus that any westerner who visits their country doesn't know EVERYTHING about the country.
    Why on earth would the hindus think that he was intentionally trying to comprimise their beliefs? He came with good purpose, and yet the they still manage to make mockery out of him.

    It's an act of extreme arrogance on part of the Hindus if anything else.
  9. Apr 17, 2007 #8
  10. Apr 17, 2007 #9


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    Yeah. Sure.

    I'm with siddharth.

    And in some cultures you need to do a lot of kissing. Italiano!
  11. Apr 17, 2007 #10
    There are certain groups, supposedly spreading Hinduism, who specialise in these activities. For absolutely no reason, they start protests, burn and destroy stuff. For example, there have been instances where they have dug-up cricket pitches prepared for India-Pakistan matches! :grumpy: But of course, they don't reflect the opinions of the majority of the population.
  12. Apr 17, 2007 #11
    This isn't a issue of hinduism or islam or any other religion. A Pakistani minister got fatwas for kissing some paragliding instructor while celebrating.
    It's an issue of close-minded people hiding behind so called moral values/ religious values/ cultural values and what not.
    Media shouldn't encourage them by giving them publicity. This was on front page of Times of India, why? I don't see this as a news item deserving front page treatment.
  13. Apr 17, 2007 #12
    I think this is a ludicrous overreaction and the press over there is sensationalizing it to get more ratigns for their respective media outlets.
    Lets get one thing clear here first adn foremost the outrage should only be there if there was and I quote from one of siddharth's links "deliberate and malicious intention." in breaking the law or trying to insult their beliefs.
    This is the one thing no one ever makes clear in these situations highlighted by siddharth. Was there deliberate and malicious intent to break the law and insult specific religious beliefs? Now of course no one is going to come out and say "yep I knew that and just wanted to piss off you folks" but please, I'm sure none of these people did this intentionally.
    I have to agree with Evo on the idea that these peoples personal assistants should've done the research on the customs of the country they were in to see what crossing the line is but I think burning these folsk in effigy and wanting them to die or in the case of the wedding to be prosecuted for breaking the law is a bit of an overreaction don't you?
    If anything I think at the most a public apology could be made letting everyone know that there was no insult intended and next time they will make sure to defer to the customs of the country they are in.
  14. Apr 17, 2007 #13


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    + frustrated ones, I'd add.
  15. Apr 17, 2007 #14
    Exactly, it's obvious the overwhelming majority of Indians and Hindus don't partake in those claims. Other than the very minute, but extremely virulent groups of Hindus, I hardly think anyone espouses such absurd views. Also, the comparisons of these groups to the KKK is far-fetched, to say the least. Yes, they protest in public regarding these 'romantic' borrowings from the West and grumble about a lot of things. But, you'll find that they are some of the most vocal supporters of Israel and America, which has a lot to do with their perception of Islam.

    To emphasize Shramana's point, here is an excerpt about a recent (yesterday) incident in Pakistan:

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  16. Apr 17, 2007 #15
    If you believe his viewpoint is ethnocentric, perhaps you might consider the perspective of someone who has some ties to Indian culture (i.e. me)?

    It is true that Indian culture views sex in a way similar to Victorian-era England or even America just a couple generations ago. But it's a bit much to say that public displays of kissing are analogous to pbulic sex in America. Much like the Victorian era in the West, the Indian conservative views on sex are quite superficial. People in India practice sexual promiscuity with about the same frequency as people in America, they just prefer to hide it. And besides that, India is becoming more sexually liberal every day. I am an Indian who was born and raised in the West, and I find that the sexual ethics I was raised with (basically: don't even look at a woman before marriage) are generally not shared by people I know who were raised in India.

    Now if you watch the average Bollywood movie, you won't find much kissing in the romantic scenes, and you certainly won't find any sex. But people in India are exposed to Western forms of entertainment as well. It's not as though Indians have never seen public kissing before. And the things I see described in the original post are most definitely overreactions on the part of Hindu fundamentalists, and, as Bladibla said, acts of extreme arrogance.

    I didn't hear about this until recently either, so clearly it isn't supported by most Indians. But apparently, Vedic pseudoscience has made its way even into the higher levels of Indian government. I'm told that some people want it taught in schools. Siddharth seems to have had some exposure to this, and perhaps he can point us in the direction of specific examples.

    Aryabhata was an Indian mathematician. The proponents of Vedic "science" claim that the Vedas contain scientific information and engineering specifications for the construction of advanced alloys, nuclear weapons, and other such things. Their claims are religious in nature.

    Well, so would I. I'm the one taking the position that Hindu scriptures contain no accurate scientific information.

    Since I'm the one who made this comparison, I should probably comment on this. I think the comparison to the KKK is quite apt. Have you actually spoken to these guys? I know a few Indian nationalists myself, and they most certainly hold to racial supremacist views. Many of these people actually think that the Indian race is intellectually and (formerly) technologically superior to other people. Maybe if these words weren't coming from racial minorities, they would sound more overtly racist. But we can't ignore the problem of belief in racial superiority, no matter who holds to it.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  17. Apr 17, 2007 #16
    It is somewhat interesting and amusing that you always seem to find and talk to these crackpots, while the rest of us never appear to get the opportunity.
  18. Apr 17, 2007 #17


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    The media blowing it out of proportion? They didn't just make up the effigy-burning. Incidents that result in effigy-burning are generally considered newsworthy even when not associated with the news-power of celebrities.
  19. Apr 17, 2007 #18


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    Good lord no.

    No celebrity would ever stage an outrageous and offensive stunt just because it might get them more publicity.

    Sinead didn't realize that tearing up a pic of the Pope might offend RCs, just as Jackson and Timberlake couldn't possibly have known that an exposed breast might offend millions of All-AMerican superbowl families.

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2007
  20. Apr 17, 2007 #19


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    Hold on. Let's put this in perspective. Richard Gere kissed her on her cheek. I completely fail to see how that's a "highly offensive act". The immediate audience was in no way offended. Also, remember that this was a part of an AIDS awareness programme. Richard Gere attempted to show that kissing and hugging does not spread AIDS.

    I have watched a few, and while what you say might have been true 20 years ago, it's changed now.

    I'm not saying that people shouldn't complain. What I'm complaining about is the magnitude of protests over such minor issues. Death threats, burning effigies, going to the police?

    In a secular democracy, which India is supposed to be, why does one impose his personal moral views based on some religion as a law? What makes it worse, is that this is not a one off incident. Such a mentality of "protecting Indian culture" happens quite often in many fields.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  21. Apr 17, 2007 #20
    Well...I'm an Indian, and as such many of my friends are Indians. Given that you'll find Indian supremacists only among Indians (by definition), I have a higher probability of running into these guys than most other Americans. As I said earlier, I only learned about the Hindu nationalist movement relatively recently. And after talking to my friends about it, I was quite surprised to learn that a few of them actually bought into such nonsense.
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