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Mind Blowing Monday – VII

April 12, 2010

Okay, I repeating a blogger here, but this time its with a completely different kind of a post.

I featured Bong Mom in Mind Blowing Monday – III with a yummy Nutella Chocolate Truffles recipe. While adding subscriptions to my Google Reader feed today, I came across this post on “What or Who is a Bong” which immediately prompted me to add it to my Mind Blowing Monday Series.

Read it to know why it is so special to me 😉

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2010 10:10 pm

    Must say, this is the first post of yours which I really disliked. Racist humour directed at people, communities, religions and the like has never been my cup of tea, and in my humble opinion, people who indulge in the same are, to put it mildly, insensitive. In this case, I can see that the post(s) you have referred to, and the bloggers who have written them, are trying to mock a section of the Bengali population and for that reason alone I find it quite disgusting, to say the least.

    I’ll also add here that I know many people (including family) who live in Kalna and Kolkata, and are just like the Bengali men/women described in the post you referred to, and the 1 it links to. It’s a fact that they are not as ‘sophisticated’ or ‘smart’ as your ‘look-I-am-so-cool’ NRI bloggers, but that doesn’t mean that these guys have the right to mock them at will.
    I am willing to admit that the lifestyle described in the posts are not perfect – they are most definitely open to criticism. However, one needs to know how to draw the line between criticizing something, with a constructive intent, and ridiculing it.

    And pardon me for making these personal, but I have noticed that ‘Dhoomketu’, the blogger linked to in the ‘Mind Blowing Monday’ post of yours, has this to say: “I haven’t spent more than 12 collective months of summer vacation in Kolkata.”

    It immediately reminded me of what Amartya Sen, his book, ‘The Argumentative Indian’, had to say about James Mill and his book, The History of British India.

    “Mill disputed and dismissed practically every claim ever made on behalf of Indian culture and its intellectual traditions, concluding that it was totally primitive and rude. This diagnosis went well with Mill’s general attitude, which supported the idea of bringing a rather barbaric nation under the benign and reformist administration of the British Empire…..How well informed was Mill in dealing with his subject matter? Mill wrote his book without ever having visited India. He knew no Sanskrit, nor any Persian or Arabic, had practically no knowledge of any of the modern Indian languages and thus his reading of Indian material was of necessity most limited.”

    Hope bloggers develop better taste and start reading works like Sen’s instead. It will be more enlightening, for sure. If anything, it will teach them that one needs to spend some time within/try to understand a culture/society/religion before one starts criticizing/mocking it.

    P.S. Do I also see an escapist here?? An attempt to dissociate oneself with the average Bengali, in order to prove his/her superiority? An attempt to prove that the NRI Bengali is, after all, superior to the ones in Kolkata or in Kalna?

    • debosmita permalink*
      April 13, 2010 8:36 pm

      My observations:
      1. Your comment is bigger than my post

      2. If I am to go by your reasoning behind why you disliked my post, then I must point out that you are wrong in saying that this is my first post which irked you. In the very first edition [https://debosmita.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/mind-blowing-monday-i/] of my Mind Blowing Monday post series, I featured Sidin Vadukut’s post of “racist humour” directed at South Indian men. I wonder why it slipped your notice. Is it because you don’t care about the jokes that are cracked at the expense of other communities but are sensitive when it comes to just you?

      3. Just like you know friends and family who are like the ones described in the post, all of us (including me) know such people; only because its Bengali community the blogger is talking of and both of us are part of that community. I fail to see any significance in this particular fact.

      4. You make a presumption when you say the bloggers are super cool NRI bloggers; I do not know them personally and so do you. For all you know, Bong Mom is as Bengali as you claim to be. It was a bad case of premature presumtion. If you are hinting that I, by featuring this post in my blog fall into the category you are talking of, then I am sure, you know better than that.

      5. Your quote from Sen’s book was a tad misplaced. Mill, being an outsider made presumptions in his book; of which you cannot blame Bong Mom at least. If you had taken care to read her “about me”, you would know what I am talking of.

      6. It was a plain and simple case of having a good laugh at ourselves. There was no ridiculing/mocking Bengalis of Kolkata or “Kalna”. When anyone from other communities make fun of Bengalis, I (and all self-respecting Bongs) jump to defend our Bonghood, but that doesn’t stop us from having a good dig at the same time. It seems you missed this point by a mile.

      • April 13, 2010 9:37 pm

        My replies:

        1. Your post has only 3 sentences. Any comment will be longer, no? 😉

        2. As for Sidin, I dont only think he’s a racist (one who thinks that South Indians are essentially superior to North Indians in everything but appearances) but I also feel that he treats his wife (a Punjabi girl, I think) as a bit of a conquest. See his posts on why South Indian men do not get girls and his experiences with his in-laws and their neighbours. This I have mentioned to other fellow bloggers, may be not you.

        3. When have I denied that there are many people like that in Bengal? My only point was that these people are worth respecting…they definitely do not deserve to be the subject of jokes.

        4. & 5. These 2 paras were directed at Dhoomketu and I mentioned that too. He himself says he hasn’t even a year in Kolkata.

        6. Haven’t I already explained why I think this is not about “ourselves”?

      • debosmita permalink*
        April 14, 2010 8:14 am

        Just a short reply:

        Please refrain from taking personal digs at any blogger in my blog space; I would have deleted your comment otherwise, but didn’t because you have said a lot more other things, too. If its not about ourselves (and people we know) then, your comment in the first place becomes redundant. No one was being personal anywhere to any specific kind of Bengalis. A lot was stereotypical and the authors know that, too. Again, I repeat – it was humour directed at ourselves (as a whole Bengali community) and no one else.

  2. sayak permalink
    April 13, 2010 9:06 am

    that ‘what or who is a bong’ page isn’t loading. alternate link?

    • debosmita permalink*
      April 13, 2010 8:36 pm

      I tried it and its opening… Try once again..

  3. April 13, 2010 10:28 pm

    Phewww debosmita, jhor tule fel le 😉

    • debosmita permalink*
      April 14, 2010 8:06 am

      tumi kicchu koro!! tomar jonno koto jhogra korcchi 😉 I never knew the shortest post of mine will invite such long comments!!

  4. Trencher permalink
    April 19, 2010 2:59 pm

    People say a lot of mean things about punhabis, but what I have always respected the most about them was almost all punjabi jokes came out of punjabi hats. Self deprecation is the safest form of hunour. sarcasm is often hurtful and irony is almost always missed and based on someones sorrow. Sattire can be way too controversial. Thus good humour increasingly is tending towards self deprecation, ” let others have a good laugh at my cost”. This sense of humour roots from a deep sense of belonging and a great sense of security.

    Hey it was a good Post Bong Mom and what the hell, Jhumpa Lahiri got a Pulitzer by doing something similar and yeah she really knew much less. Also come on, here is an author who writes…. if we don’t like, we don’t read…. why be so touchy and absolutely prove beyond reasonable doubt, that we are so truly heading towards perpetual decline as a race.

    Sorry for making the reply longer than the post…. but just wanted to defend a sense of humour that almost unfailingly entertains.

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