Vartanama, Jun '17
Adarsh Gay Bhakt, Sanskari Homo, Adarsh NRI Homo . . . a quick search on Facebook will take you to some of these posts that have been doing the rounds recently. Quite a lampooning take on queer Indians who swear by the narrow nationalistic fervour sweeping across the country.
The posts, some of them pretty insightful and perhaps even cathartic for the writers, have attracted considerable likes, laughs and comments. All good in the spirit of freedom of speech, and some of these posts may even compel a few of the Adarsh Gay Bhakts and Sanskari Homos to introspect on their double standards and biased outlooks. But as they say, too much of a good thing need not be good.
The jury will be out on how much is too much, but it will be for each critic to make out the tipping point beyond which their criticism may lose its edge, stop being funny, or lead to a more serious retaliation. And that tipping point is important if we don’t want to shut the door on any kind of dialogue or retrieval.
For one thing, at least some of the ‘Adarsh queers’ are likely to be people the critics know well – in friend circles, at the workplace, on social media forums or even at home – in many ways, ‘their own people’. Will it be worth it to burn these bridges and leave those lampooned stranded on the other side?
How about also looking inwards? It will be a safe bet to say that the critics were not born perfect and arrived at their current convictions through a certain trial and error process. Why not allow that leeway to others? Moreover, who is to say that the critics don’t have their own skeletons to hide in terms of class, caste and religious bias?
I’m still waiting for the critics to crack a joke at themselves. Given that I have often been a critic myself, I might as well contribute this: “Adarsh Critic: Jokes endlessly about the bigotry of nationalistic queer Indians, but fails to wisecrack his / her / zir own implicit role in the systems or structures that create the bigotry."