In a shocking departure from his invariably well-researched, articulate and incisive monographs, Dilip D’Souza in this article seems near-oblivious to the phenomenon of religion, its accompanying rituals and the psycho-emotional associations spawned by virtually every major system of belief (“Stand at the door and knock: There’s no blasphemy in a Mumbai pub’s use of Christian imagery”). In fact, D’Souza’s article seems to espouse a singularly utilitarian mindset which could be stated as: "Take from where thou wilt and repurpose as thou wouldst.”
In so doing, he joined the ranks of the interior designers and the proprietor of the establishment. The first thing that all the aforementioned have ignored is: context. This is a situation where a set of symbols – image, architecture, furniture, ambience – which are synonymous with a particular religion’s beliefs have been used for an endeavour that has nothing even remotely in common with that religion. If the use of same signifiers for a charitable endeavour, for instance, had provoked a similar outcry, D’Souza’s contention that the would be warranted.
The author’s analogy of an artist-couple who purchased a church-house which happened to be on the market falls flat. While one is the natural consequence of societal and economic forces, the other is a conscious decision by a designed to repurpose graphic and architectural lexicon synonymous with Christianity. Moreover, the language has no organic connection to the nature of this business or the experience it seeks to impart to its patrons. The concept of private space (as in the case of D’Souza’s artist friends) vs public space (as in the case of the rest-o-bar in question) is also relevant, but the writer chooses not to address it.
D’Souza would have us believe that railway waiting rooms, classrooms and church pews are close cousins. Perhaps he has not visited a functional church house for a while? Or perhaps he has been fortuitous enough to have come across classrooms and waiting rooms with special cushioned kneelers.
It is extremely disappointing to note that in lieu of a balanced response to the issue at hand, (clearly within his ken) Dsouza prefers to toy with semantics through his selective nit-picking of phrases from various communiqués of the objecting parties.
D'Souza has also assiduously ignored climate. In a day and age where Catholic religious monuments dating back several centuries are threatened with demolition; where, instead of Santa Claus, children wake up on December 25 to Man Ki Baat on Good Governance day; and where churches and cemeteries are sought to be demolished for road expansion, is it not natural for the affected community to be sensitive to any perceived attempt to belittle its existence? – Chetan Fernandes
Does the pub display any symbol like a cross that typically signifies a Christianity? The Catholic Church does not hold the copyrights to the bench- style seats or stained-glass images. Similar architecture is found in courts, libraries and universities. This is the typical Georgian or Edwardian style found across Europe. The church should be more worried about goings-on within their institution and stop creating a frenzy over purported religious persecution. – Kara Mirch
What were the owners thinking? Would they have dared have a temple or mosque-inspired interiors? This is a deliberate and demonic act by an anti- social and anti-Christian element! I demand that the authorities take cognisance of this and shut down the bar immediately. We are a peace-loving people and proud Indians who have every right to practice our faith in this country that guarantees freedom of religion. However, we should not be taken for granted. – Adrian Lobo
Those who opine that Christians should not have had an issue with the interiors should try putting their religion on the wall and see how they feel. Simply put, if you can’t feel the pain of others, don’t air your opinions till you have walked a mile in their shoes. – Pansy D'Souza
This is a very sad state of affairs, and the matter should be taken
care of immediately. Narendra Modi should get up and say something. If
this was a Hindu and Muslim problem, we would have probably seen riots by now. The Christians are peace-loving and tolerant, so they endlessly wait. – Jeanne Bonk
Just imagine what the consequences would have been if someone had used a symbol of Islam and linked it to alcohol. Would this be dismissed by the Muslim community? Now, imagine if they had borrowed from the Geeta and let their imagination run wild.
We appreciate art but not the kind that hurts people’s religious sentiments. So stick to art and do not cross limits to create chaos. – Anita D'Silva
These protesters are the weak in their faith. Your relationship with god doesn't change, even if someone pokes at it. As far as blasphemy is concerned, these people themselves are going against gods’ teachings and are blasphemous. – Susan
This was one of the best descriptions of The Newshour and the noise we called Arnab Goswami ("The phenomenon called Arnab Goswami is a caricature of our worst selves") It was this programme that dragged journalism to a darkest abyss of ignominy from loftier heights.
The rise of Arnab traces the journey of English news channels from class acts to crass acts.
Thank you for this piece. – Arindam Basu
This piece shows the author’s inferiority complex, his failure to achieve eminence of the person he is writing about. What is wrong with a mediocre person achieving popularity? Everybody tries to excel. Many supposedly average people have done wonders. I regret having read this article. – Krishan Sharma
This is a correct psychological assessment of Arnab Goswami. Unfortunately, our society, starved of any real entertainment or sport, becomes easy prey for people like him. Add to that a tailor-made panel that toes the line set by this television tyrant and the outcome is his daily prime-time show.
The events that unfold on his channel are disgusting, but people watch it in thousands to see how low humanity can go. It is a paradoxical but it fetches him TRPs. The popularity he enjoys is not a result of his talent or expertise but that of an Indian polity under distress and dejection who has unknowingly encouraged such an act. We become a bunch of fools though without knowing it.
In a society that encourages falsehood, abhorrent personalities thrive. This is very unfortunate for our democracy. These are the Hilters of our times. – Eapen Varghese
Arnab Goswami is the worst anchor I have seen. He has no honesty, is biased and crude. – Nusrat Khan
When a writer of the calibre of Shiv Vishwanathan writes an article on Arnab Goswami, it means that he has arrived. Unfortunately, many of us are responsible for the rise of this threat to democracy and journalism called Arnab Goswami.
Vishwanathan has done us a great disservice by writing this article, as he has given undeserved importance to this man. In fact, the only way to get rid of him is to completely ignore him. I fail to understand why even sensible people agree to participate in his programmes, knowing very well that they will not be allowed to speak and will be insulted. By participating in his programmes, we are only giving him legitimacy and importance. All sensible people should ignore and boycott him and he will lose his power and nuisance value. – SN Sinha
I appreciate this analysis. Arnab Goswami did not set the trend, he followed it. Encounter killings are welcomed as they win votes. We Indians are neither secular nor rational nor believers in rule of law. – Bikash Chakravarty.
This story rightly explains how violence fuelled by the political leadership leads to electoral gains (“How India rewards mass murder: A story of three tragedies”).
The BJP, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has perfected the art of projecting that they are innocent and the Hindus believe that they've been victim in their own country under Congress rule. The BJP is encouraging Hindu groups to take to aggression and the strategy is paying off in the Hindi heartland. – Nandlal Chaturvedi
This situation is neither unusual nor a rarity (“Named and shamed: In Uttar Pradesh, debt-ridden farmers have their backs to the wall”). It reflects poorly on the country that we are unable to arrive at a solution to the problems of farmers who are feeding India’s billion people.
We take pride in saying that India's rice exports surpassed that of Thailand and India's production of many agricultural products enjoy enviable global ranking, but the producers are least recognised, respected and supported.
The day is not far when India's food security will be under threat because fewer people will be interested in agriculture. – GK Ayitam
We strongly condemn the barbaric attempt made by the government to destroy the democratic set up of the country (“NDTV ban: Did the Modi government unfairly single the channel out?").
We hope good sense prevails upon them and they withdraw the action. – Ektar Khan
Whether or not NDTV India is at fault is not the issue. This matter proves that freedom of speech is not and shouldn't be granted unconditionally. I am a Muslim, and like many other Muslims I haven't been a terrorist at any stage of my life. Yet, when governments collude with anti-Islamic forces in talking ill about Islam and Jihad and our Holy Prophet, it hurts me more than the terrorists. Such freedom of speech should be curtailed.
Any government cannot claim to be a good government without being concerned about the sensitivities of its citizens – whether they belong to the majority or the minority. – Mujahid Jafri
It's well known fact that this channel and its English version have both indulged in anti-national activities, including highlighting and praising terrorists like Burhan Wani. How can they be a pillar of democracy? Their funding should be probed. – Ashok Gulati
NDTV and rags like Scroll.in should banned permanently. – Balwant Pande
The honest taxpayer is subjected to too much scrutiny (“Crisis of trust: Why Indians evade taxes”). As a business owner I believe taxation law, especially on direct taxes, is so complex that complete conformity is simply not possible. And the very reason they are kept complex is for extortion of money. Else, black economy would not sustain. Even the auditors I've interacted from the tax departments are of the same view.
Also, though about 1% of the population pays income tax, everybody pays a min of 17% tax on all mass-manufactured goods. And the taxes on fuels are much higher. If we do the math, we may find that we are one of the highly-taxed populations in the world. – R Karthik
Amit Shah rightly says that Narendra Modi is unfairly criticised and I believe that India is lucky to have Modi as prime minister (“Narendra Modi is the most criticised prime minister since Independence, says Amit Shah”). He has taken all criticism in his stride for years. The mainstream media imposes its views on others without finding out the facts. They sit in the luxury of air-conditioned studios and focus only on the national capital. – Shobhna Vora
Thank you for reminding us all of Dara Singh’s glory days (“When Dara Singh faced the greatest bout of his life and battled the Emergency and rowdy mobs”). He was the pride of the nation and the wrestling fraternity and a rare joy to watch in action. Many like me used to travel to Delhi from Jalandhar and other cities to watch Dara Singh to fight world-famous wrestlers. – Yashwant Rai