Update 18th August 2008: BIGG BOSS 2 Nemesis strikes..Jade part of Bigg Boss in India!
Update: Channel 4 plans to apologise to Shilpa Shetty for the ‘editorial misjudgements’ before the start of its new season of Big Brother..Is it genuine or a crafty sense of diplomacy to ensure viewer ratings, is a matter of conjecture.
When news , information, snippets, trivia, sensationalism, abuses, cynicism over an event begins emerging from the woodwork like termites, my instant reaction goes something like ‘ “I dont want to write on this one..its all over the net, channels, literally coming out of my ears”. A strange resistance to comment on the issue seems to take over, for reasons that have to do with disagreement rather than concurrence with populist sentiment. It seems like a wasteful exercise, and that ‘patient, mature, watchful,’ aspect of my nature ( did I hear a chuckle! how terribly mean 😦 ) takes over and orders a pull back till an opportune moment.
It has its advantages too..not writing in a ‘jumping the gun’ kind of alacrity.. The details which are by then ubiquitous, can be spared. I need not write of the Big Brother format of Channel 4 whose previous chief was Farrokh Dhondy, a self confessed manipulator of senationalism to garner trp’s, serpiginous morality at work or that Jane Goody was a racist , bully, and an unculutred wannabe, who along with model Danielle Lloyd and singer Jo O meara revelled in frigging the daylight out of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, competing with each other on who could be more venomous, crassy, foul mouthed over a ‘pink chicken’..and that Shilpa won the show by 63 per cent of the 4 million plus votes, in keeping with 45,000 complaints received against the Briton..Psst..Did I mention not feeding details? Humph..old habits die hard!
Well now that the deed is done by the British, Indians and Goody, Shilpa Shetty is richer by not just 100,000 pounds in prize money, plus 350,000 pounds for participation..Good for her. It irked me no end to listen to remarks which scoffed at the concern over the treatment being meted out to Shilpa on the show because she had been paid a hefty amount to participate. That wasnt the deal was it? It was not a pay off to bear the brunt of humiliation from illiterate cretins! Had she been pre- warned? Was it part of her contract?
The soothing balm most definitely was the fact that right minded Britons were ashamed, appalled and disgusted by the behaviour of Jane Goody, in equal measure if not more, as much as other Asians in Britain, and the world over. The universal condemnation of her behaviour did testify to the guilt that Britons feel of being branded a nation, yet intolerant and prejudiced towards the color of the skin.. I have no doubts on that score.
Goody unwittingly dramatised what the real attitude is towards Asians in Britain..This for one, was the living up to the ‘reality show’ nomenclature. Real as real could get!! And it was not about Shilpa Shetty, or the money.. it could have been any other female from India..I doubt the result would have been any different. In fact it would have only gotten worse. Why?
Consider this. Had it not been a high profile actress who was part of the show, perhaps the interest of the media would have been luke warm. The incident might have gone unnoticed to the public at large, The furore would have been miniscule..result, she would have continued to be bullied and maybe, just maybe, Jane Goody might have even won!!
What Channel4 did not foresee was the tumultous wave of disapproval the show would elicit.. The clippings aired, incited such rage among viewers from Asian origin and shame from the British counterparts, that it was as if the ‘The Emperor wore no clothes’ was revealed at last!! It was there for the whole world to see, undiluted, in its strongest, purest, potency, not in a gully, away from the prying eyes of the world..once and for all. A racist tirade! Shilpas poise further magnified the disparity of behaviour between the two females, and outrage gained strength and momentum
To my mind, Channel4 is as much in the fray. They have a rather strict code of discipline for participants to do with eating, sleeping, washing, bathing, daily routine. Then Why- o- Why had they not imposed a ‘nonracial stance’ stricture as well? They perhaps were in the mood to grin their way to their accounts, all prepared to churn out a distasteful vignette of racial slur, resignedly in the mode of ‘shit happens’.. Sure it does..sometimes right at your doorstep.
Channel 4 desperately in need of Chanel 5 !!!!!( my absolutely favourite perfume) (laughing myself silly at this one)
Ahh but well.. going by the aftermath, the vigilant response of Blair and co., and the hurried harried apologies floating around from the perpetrator herself, the Right Venerable Ms. Jane Goody, all teary eyed, remorseful, cowering under the onslaught of ostracism and general hatred, to the Channel who cleverly manipulated Shilpa to pour oil on troubled waters and nillify ‘racist abuse’ allegations, it seems as a catalytic event, bursting forth with opportunities for solution of a looong standing predicament that has doggedly dodged Asians for aeons now.
Police investigations are on for a racist song alleged to have been penned. ” The words were written down by a senior employee at Big Brother makers Endemol on the back of a production running order for Channel 4 and anonymously handed to the police, the newspaper said.”
Yours truly, too had turned down her scholarship to be educated in Britain. On topping Mumbai University I had received a scholarship to continue my subjects of Constitution Of England, but the ‘racial abuse’ stories quite put me off. Ofcourse others went..and continue to do so. But that does not mean I cannot decide whether or not I want to be racially discriminated against!!
I know there are the whole lot of nay sayers, as is ,on every issue under the globe, who contend with stands like’ But what about India? We are racist..look at this that and the other”..blah, blah, till kingdom come. So? Do something about it. If you feel strongly..react. It does not translate into NOT condemning one incident because you were too resigned/lazy/disinterested/apathetic to have failed to condemn another!! Just where is the rationale!! On a global platform a fellow citizen was being humiliated..why does that not make your blood boil? It does mine..and how?
And apparently does so to well meaning, morally upright, analytical, hopelessly veracious, poignantly candid, futuristic Britons as Martin Jacques in The Guardian. This is a fantastic read, which vindicates my averments without a shred of doubt.
“It is also testimony to profound weakness, a measure of how little distance we have travelled as a society when it comes to understanding racism. For if the truth be told, we are a society that is dripping in racism.
This is not in the least surprising. For the best part of two centuries, we British ruled the waves, controlled two-fifths of the planet, and believed it was our responsibility to bring civilisation to those who allegedly lacked it. There is now a belief that all that is long gone, dead and buried, history forgotten in a tsunami of amnesia about our past. But these attitudes live on in new forms, constantly reproduced in each and every white citizen of this country.”
But all said and done.. Goody did her bit of Good.. she was not all bad.. after all. The issue has come to the fore. For Shilpa personally it was a great victory, for Asians it is a mirror for the disgruntlement they have been victims of for aeons . The average Briton will be wary of openly discriminating, in future . Whether or not, there will be an internal change of heart remains to be seen. But most definitely, our cultural roots of grace, tolerance, and dignity have spoken loud and clear.