Now I really don't know why Mrs D'Costa is worried about going backward. Because by my reckoning, the country is only making rapid strides indeed, forward. And nothing can stop that. Not even the prospect of cutting down on the use of certain gadgets.
For example, it was only ten years ago that a painter called MF Husain painted the goddess Saraswati topless. In response, a man called Thackeray editorialized in the newspaper he edits that Husain needed to be punished, and to do that, his fingers "would have to be cut off."
Ten years on, a man in Denmark produced a cartoon poking fun at the prophet Mohammed. In response, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, one Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, told the press that "the cartoonist should be killed." He also announced that the successful killer would be weighed in gold and given a reward of Rs 51 crore (over $10 million).
Ten years: we've moved from calling for fingers to be lopped off, to offering huge rewards for killing artists.
Don't know about Mrs D'Costa, but to me, that definitely seems like progress, like going forward.
When a disgruntled starlet agrees to pay Rs 70,000 to a hitman to murder a Bollywood director, she gets arrested and charged under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 115 (abetting an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment) of the Indian Penal Code.
But when a Minister in a state government offers to pay Rs 51 crore to anyone who murders a cartoonist, he is not charged with anything. In fact, the Principal Secretary (Home), one Alok Sinha, says the Minister has only expressed "the sentiments of the people ... it doesn't constitute any criminal offence" (Hindustan Times, February 18 2006).
Must be that going forward stuff, once more. Who needs to use gadgets, eh?