17 June, 2021

All the World’s A Saifai

From Big B down, all our celebs are punch-drunk on servility

All the World’s A Saifai

As the election tamasha gets under way, many desi celebrities are doing what they know best: dance to the tune of rich and powerful politicians. There can be many reasons for this naked subservience—hard cash, an expectation of favour, or kindness (in case the celebrity finds him or herself in a soup). And, one might say, for some rather edgy souls, all of the above.

But at the heart of the chamchagiri is a faultline that lies embedded in our culture. The Brits left us over six decades ago, but the servility they encouraged and rewarded amongst the masses continues to thrive. We still like to fawn over gora visitors regardless of their social status in their own world. Even clean broke backpackers get undue attention in public places. But blacks, if they are lucky, get ignored, and if they aren’t, get humiliated. Unless we are dealing with a Barack Obama or an Oprah Winfrey, in which case, things change dramatically, because they happen to be rich and powerful.

It is the same servility that extends to our mighty netas. I have interviewed a number of...

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