January 26, 2008

Agony of the feet

Republic Day, as I write this. May my country have many more.

I've been thinking, this is as good a day as any to give some thought to one Prakash Kumar Thakur. Described as a "social worker", this man filed a case against tennis star Sania Mirza three weeks ago. Why? Because she "disrespected the national tricolour by sitting in a manner so that her feet pointed at the flag, which he felt was derogatory and had hurt him." He concluded this when he saw a photograph in the press.

This, felt Thakur, amounted to an offence under the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act.

A Bhopal court admitted the case and has issued a summons to Sania Mirza.

So yes, I think this day on which we honour our country is a good day to think about the social worker Thakur. To think, too, about what truly insults the National Honour: Sania Mirza photographed with her feet pointed at the flag? Or a man who claims this hurts him? Or a summons that's issued based on this claim? Or the idea that there's something dishonourable about our feet?

Take your pick.


Grey said...

Some people are just pain in the ###... Anything for fame !

Sidhusaaheb said...

I think the most dishonourable thing is wasting the time of the courts. It is quite well-known that the justice system of the country is already over-loaded.

Cases like these, filed mainly with the aim of grabbing media attention, can mean delay in the provision of justice to so many ordinary citizens.

Dilip D'Souza said...

SSaaheb, I could nto agree more about wasting the time of the courts. Yet what I cannot understand is, why did the court entertain this? Why did the judge not simply fling it out of court, preferably even observing that this was a waste of the court's time?

Transmogrifier said...

This is bizarre. When people stand in a line and salute the flag, aren't everyone's feet pointing towards the flag? Where exactly was the flag? The judge must be a moron.

Anonymous said...

"Why did the judge not simply fling it out of court ?"

Come on! No male judge in his senses will let this priceless opportunity pass him by. If you want to see Sania' twins, what do you do ? You turn on the TV or buy a sports mag. Here Sania personally brings them to you! All of have to do is show up to work as usual, put some cotton in your ears to tune out the legal garbage & all day long you can stare at Sania's D cups barely 6 feet away from you. If I were the judge, I would have a small vodka tonic before the proceedings & gradually sip in the buxom beauty while transporting myself mentally to a tropical island, light breeze, blue waters & skies, no mankind, just me & SSania, just Sania and me, ohhhhhhhhh ... what what yes yes offence tricolor IPC 420 421 422 23 etc. 10000 rupee bail plus time already served you are free to go madam. Is she blowing me a kiss let me pucker up my lips too.

Anonymous said...

Sania in all probability would be more worried about the fatwas on her issued by Mohammedan clerics than this.

But then the Catholic had to single out the Hindu.

Anonymous said...

As far as the flag controversy is concerned, here is another one, involving a "hindu godwoman":

Read typical secular reactions

Muslim inhabitants of India baying for her blood

All because she is a "hindu godwoman"

Now Sania's pic is at least as offensive as above :

Anonymous said...

It seems DCubed has not written any posts on fatwa on Sania's head made by fanatical Mohammedan clerics


Anonymous said...

I'd go with the feet question. Really, it annoys me that feet are considered improper. Somebody should stand up for Feet!

shehla Masood said...

The bench of Justice Rakesh Saxena stayed proceedings against Sania Mirza and made it clear to hounds of publicity that law can not be used as a tool for personal fun at the cost of others life and career.

Anonymous said...

There is I think a provision to declare somebody a 'frivolous petitioner', used in my state against somebody called Nawaab Rajendran.


Mayuresh Gaikwad said...

To Shashi Mohan - The angle from which the photograph was taken is the cause of this unfortunate incident. Look at the size of the Flag with relation to Sania's face and you will realize the distance between the Flag and the feet. Did you notice the celebrations when India won the test match at Perth? Harbhajan disrespected the Flag a lot of times bu rolling it on the pole, not hoisting it right, etc etc. Maybe Prakash Thakur could file a case against him too. BTW,
Mr. Shashi, you too should be tired by the court. Reason - you did not capitalize the "F" in our National Flag. I take it as an insult as you are comparing our National Flag to some common run-of-the-mill flag (notice that I have a small "f" in all other flags, but have capitalized it in the National Flag)

Mayuresh Gaikwad said...

Why I am afraid to come near the National Flag?

Because morons like Prakash Thakur will sue me for insulting it. I do not even know the correct protocol/conduct/behavior to be put on while I am near the Flag. Every Independence Day and Republic Day, millions of Flags are maufactured and sold on the streets of India. I never know, it could be an insult to make money by selling the Flag, we probably should be patriotic enough to distribute it for free.

I am even more afraid to hoist on my building. Why? Because you never know when the government requires it to be flown at half-mast, there are extremely specific rules to remove the Flag and to hoist it, you have to hoist the flag at a height higher than all other flags and to the right of alll flags. Now, if the residents of the building on my right (which is taller than my building) decides to hoist a flag (and not the National Flag, as they too are smart enough and are aware of all these consequences), I am done for.
If the goovernment expects the common people to respect the flag, publish all rules regarding the respect / disrespect of it and make them easily available to all without having to go through any trouble, do not hide it in some obscure book in the government office.
Else have a psuedo-flag (like a tri-color without the Ashok Chakra) which can be hoisted by anyone as and when (s)he pleases and respect / disrespect it
Call me a coward, call me umpatriotic, but I refuse to come near the National Flag, leave alone hoist it, for fear such morons like Prakash Thakur whose only aim in life is to get me into a messy labyrinth/maze called the Indian legal System

Anonymous said...

On the larger question of our sensitivity to feet, there is some grey at least with pointing at people. Dont know abt objects/ flags.

Most people I know including me would be offended by somebody taking a sitting/ reclining position with the undersides (soles) of their feet pointed at them- unless there is some medical condition, or the person is transparently an 'other' or outsider. Also depends on the relative age of pointer-pointee and relationship. My parents can disposition their feet any which way w.r.t me and I am not offended.

I cant really explain why its offensive- its some inbuilt thing.
Maybe this is how feudal lords sat in front of their cringing subjects in times past.

Nobody would go to court though. If feet are pointed at elders, a chill develops, a small social boycott gets going and some buzz on the grapevine, an 'uncouth' image is (not undeservingly IMHO) cast.

Most of us dont put our feet up on our worktables either, on the same surface as our docu/ paperwork.

We work with ppl from other cultures including ex-Indian and Indian-origin types that are quite bindaas abt this.

We are generally Ok with it and havent felt a need to explain why we dont do that anymore than we expect an explanation from them why they do it.


Anonymous said...

"But then the Catholic had to single out the Hindu."
"DCubed has not written any posts on fatwa on Sania's head made by fanatical Mohammedan clerics."

good research, shashi. so i would like your opinion on who is not the "real indian" - sania, thakur, the clerics, the judge, ddcubed, you, other commentators or me??

Anonymous said...

And guess who has done more towards India's honour in the world of competitive international sports?