Bigg Boss: More drama off screen than on

Published: October 11, 2010

Veena Malik is one of the Pakistani contestants that Shiv Sena has an objection to PHOTO: VEENAMALIK.COM

Flinging accusations of fascism is usually a sign that you have lost a debate and are resorting to name-calling as a substitute for substantive argument. It has become an epithet, rather than a description of a certain political mentality and ideology. It’s a shame, then, that no other word exists that could accurately describe the antics of the Shiv Sena. The political party, which follows a strict ideology of Maharashtran supremacy, has been protesting the latest season of Bigg Boss, the Indian version of reality show Big Brother, for committing the cardinal sin of having two Pakistani contestants.

Never mind that accused murderer and self-professed dacoit Seema Parihar is also part of the show. The fascist mentality judges a person not by the content of their character but by their religion, nationality, ethnicity and skin colour. Even those who are of the right ‘breed’ must past a purity test. When cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had the temerity to say he considered himself an Indian first and a Maharashtran second, Shiv Sena knives were quickly brandished. Tendulkar thought he was just reciting an inoffensive homily, one that no sane person would consider remotely offensive. A day later, he was being burned in effigy.

Comedian Ricky Gervais, whose two TV shows, The Office and Extras, were a savage indictment of the reality-show culture, once said, “‘I watch reality shows to hate the people in them. Desperate wannabes.” This time, the desperate wannabes are making a nuisance of themselves outside the set of the reality show. It would be great if we could ignore them, the way we ignore reality-show contestants after they are ignominiously booted out of whichever house/deserted island/ corporate boardroom they were a part of. But when the wannabes have weapons and political power, they must be fought, not ignored.


Nadir Hassan

An Islamabad based journalist who tweets at @Nadir_Hassan.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.