A regrettable concession to fanaticism


September 16, 2008

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In light of the recent furore in Bombay over the Jaya Bacchan remarks, here is a nice piece on Adi Marzban and the parsi nataks of yore.

Of what utility is the fundamental right of free speech if in reality there is no freedom after speech? The same disturbing trend is discernible in the furious objection to the remarks of a professor in St Stephens about Punjabi culture. Where is the need to get so worked up? Have we completely lost our sense of humour and consequently our sense of proportion? We all have our stock of Jewish jokes, Irish jokes, Sardarji jokes and also Parsi bawaji jokes. One of India’s finest playwrights, the late Adi Marzban, produced plays in which there were barbed jokes about the Parsis. The audience, Parsis and non-Parsis had a good laugh. No one gave a call to ban the plays or issued threats to Adi Marzban. It is tragic if we cannot laugh at ourselves.We must regain our sense of humour and also the spirit of tolerance and broad-mindedness lest this alarming trend intensifies and inevitably erupts into violence.

You can read the entire article here.