There is nothing as deliciously idiotic as hypocrisy. The great lexicographer Ambrose Bierce defines hypocrisy as “prejudice with a halo”. And how many halos were on public display last week after film star Shah Rukh Khan got into a slanging match with a security guard, a cricketer was accused of molesting a woman and two other cricketers attended a party which was raided by the police.
“End of the world!” shrieked TV headlines. Irresponsible behaviour by role models said society watchers. Indian culture being ruined by IPL yelled various career miserables, who make their living by shouting on TV.
Let’s look at role models. Hmmm, film stars in India? They bash people and dance vulgarly for our entertainment. That is the extent of their “roles” and what they do with models is why gossip magazines exist. The glamour sections of newspapers are phenomenally popular and they pander to our seemingly incurable desires to know about these role models.
Only a fool (and I’m not denying we have many of them) would uphold a film star as an exemplar of fine values whom they want their children to emulate.
Many do indeed want their children to emulate film stars but not because of their moral fortitude so much as for their money-making ability and exciting lifestyles. Not because they think they children will get sainthood status. If people were so concerned with the morality of film stars, nobody would have seen a Sanjay Dutt film again after he was found guilty in the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts case. So why has Shah Rukh Khan’s behaviour at the Wankhede stadium upset so many? Khan neither hit anyone nor damaged property. He used the kind of language which is heard everyday on the streets. Up pops the hypocrisy flag.
Incidentally, I would really like to know how all our angry people on TV would react when faced with an uppity security guard. I think we all know the answer to that. Why hello, Shah Rukh Khan, how interesting to see us both on the same side!
And then there’s the presence of cricketers at a party. And once more, parties are responsible for ruining our moral fibre.
Shocking! Who knew that people behaved like this in a city like Mumbai! I’m quite surprised that the police raided this party at 7.30 in the evening. Closer to midnight and our moralistic posturers would have really had something to get hysterical about.
And then of course, we have the biggest moral hypocrites of all — the police. There’s nothing they love more than raiding a party — I have a feeling that they pick up all the booze for themselves, even if they do possibly have to book the drugs. A few weeks ago in Mumbai women at a pub were tagged as “sex workers” regardless of what they actually did and sent to remand homes to be rehabilitated. Their families are going through hell to get them back. This is moral high-handedness of the worst kind.
And finally, our great pain that the Indian Premier League is on a collision course with morality and cricket, because of parties, girls, drugs and other such morally reprehensible habits. It takes a great stretch of imagination to believe that a particular tournament can do so much damage and a sentimentally naïve nature to imagine that these same people would behave differently if they played in another tournament that wasn’t called “IPL”.
No one appears to behave worse than footballers and yet it remains the world’s most popular sport. So who blames the English Premier League alone when some football star is caught in a compromising position with his children’s nanny?
The best thing about all this is that those most publicly upset belong to our party-going classes. Noam Chomsky said this in a more serious context, but it still applies: “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” Which means, time to look in a mirror?