A radio talk show host in New Zealand is out of a job, because he made fun of Sheila Dixit's name. Two Australian cops are suspended, because of email they sent out that's offensive to Indians. In each case, India's foreign office protested "strongly" to authorities in those countries over the actions of these men, issuing "demarches" to their High Commissioners in India. Comments I've seen on any number of news reports about all this are full of righteous invective from Indians against Aussies and NZers. e.g. One of 410 (!) comments here asserts that "the Australian way of life as it is now, is disgraceful and not an honorable way."
Yes, that's "disgraceful and not honorable" -- prompted by email between cops.
I'm not sure how to react to all this.
At one level, I have little sympathy for guys who make what they think are jokes in this vein.
At a second level, I'm reminded of our own star cricketer Harbhajan Singh. One day in Sydney, he didn't call Andrew Symonds "monkey". But he did say "teri maa ki…" to Symonds. And when Symonds thought he said "monkey" and got riled and it turned into a disciplinary hearing, Harbhajan's teammates and the cricket board and most Indians actually and vociferously defended Harbhajan's use of an epithet that most of them would have found offensive anyway. Because it wasn't "racist" as "monkey" would have been. No matter, it was still offensive, wasn't it? (Please don't try to argue this Harbhajan case if you don't agree with me about it, I'm not interested).
At a third level, at least one Indian media personality chose to make remarks that ended up offending another country too. No word on whether s/he is out of a job.
But at a fourth level, why this extreme sensitivity about names and stupid remarks anyway?
Doesn't everyone make fun of names? For one example consider the anonymous playing around with "lund" that happened here. For another, how many times have you heard the tired puns that involve "Bush"? Should the people responsible for these lose their jobs?
And consider the travel contest entry I once ran across that had this to say about some fellow bus travellers: "[they were] low income African Americans. Their size and perpetual scowls can be quite intimidating." Did this person lose their job?
I'm sure you have more examples. My point: should India really have been so officially offended by the incidents in Australia and NZ? Should you? Are you?