Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stop the Bashing, You Ignorant ......



 Disclaimer- I am not an Iyer, I am not a Tamil Brahmin, or a Brahmin nor do I have a girlfriend who is an Iyer, or a Tam-Brahm or a Tamilian.

Now after reading the above disclaimer if you are wondering whether I have gone bonkers, it’s because I am going to talk about an advertisement which targets a specific community- the Iyers of Tamilnadu, a sub sect of the Tamil Brahmins. For those who haven’t seen the recent Hero Honda Splendour motorcycle advertisement featuring people who are labeled Iyers in the ad, please do watch it and form your own opinion. For those who have already seen it, let me share my opinion of it. The advertisement (click here – for The Hindu’s opinion) is just absolutely tasteless and wrong in so many different levels. The first thought which popped in my mind was about damning with praise. By showing that only Iyers can afford to buy motorcycles in Tamil Nadu, the ad indirectly reinforces the image of the Iyer community, as being the only community which is rich enough to buy motorcycles on a whim. I am sure there are rich Iyers who can do so. But I am also sure that there lots of poor Iyers who travel by buses. And I am also sure that there are other communities of hard working people in Tamil Nadu who can also afford to buy motorcycles if they want to. By subtly indicating that the Iyers are the only community which can afford motorcycles the Hero Honda ad has laid the way for Iyer bashing in the near future. Which is quite surprising to see as Iyers are considered pretty much a calm and non reactive community in the real world and they are mostly seen lurking around twitter outraging all the time on non-issues. To label and scaremonger a single community as being immensely strong and powerful reminds me of what I read in history about the hoax on Zionist manifestos (Google- The Elders of Zion) of Tsarist Russia.



Leaving all that aside for the moment and come back to what the Advertisement Agency (JWT Ad Agency) which conceived this ad was thinking of. They are just propagating North Indian prejudices of South Indians. Ask any North Indian about what comes into his mind when someone mentions a south Indian and he would immediately say a dark, fat man, with a topknot and ash marks over his body and who talks in a funny Hindi accent and is named Iyer. That’s the extent of the caricaturing of  South Indians in the north due to the influence of Bollywood where every time a hopeless geek is needed, a funny tamilian character is pictured like Shah Rukh Khan's awful caricature in RA-one.  On the other hand, south India is a big place, its half a subcontinent for god’s sake, there are other states and other communities (other than Iyers), who are also South Indian and who are tall, fair, handsome and crop their hair and even recite spontaneous shayari in Hindi or Urdu better than many North Indians do (hyderabadi mushairas for one). So to label all South Indians as Iyers is insulting to the people of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra, Maharashtra, Orissa and also all the other communities of Tamil Nadu. But what else can you expect from ignorant Punjabi dominated Delhi'ites? Now if that hurt any North Indian who read it, let me assure you it was an harmless example to show how it hurts us South Indians, who are the other half of the subcontinent, to be ceaselessly lampooned as halfcrazy/halfgenius Iyers.  So stop Iyer bashing, stop Tamilian bashing, stop South Indian bashing and find a better way to sell your motorcycles. Sell them on their merits and not with such stupid ads which inflame communal passions. This is also a part of your Corporate Social Responsibility, HeroMotocorp. Get me?

6 comments:

  1. ha ha ..Let them not initiate communal partitions..That's enough..

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    1. you can never judge the extent of stupidity of some people...they keep surprising you

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  2. I do not understand the hue and cry. It did not convey that only One group is capable of something or the Rest aren't. When people speak of South India and Tamil Nadu the first thing that comes to anyone's mind (apart from the South Indians), is the Tam Bram.(Thanks to the Social Media) and Hero Hondo just used that theme. They say the ad is customized to suit the local audience, In North it is shown as Patil and Chauhan I guess, not sure of the names. It was meant as an ad and I don't see the reason why people have to take it as an offense.

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    1. i do understand what you mean Ashwini..and ordinarily i would have thought like that too..but sometimes whats not obvious on the superficial level is the subtext of the message is often glossed over. we know how differences are encouraged by vested interests using the flimsiest of excuses so its better if advertisements stayed out off such things too...and yes i totally agree that when people speak of south india they speak of tam-brahms only...something which can be changed by educating the ignorant in geography....and i dont think this is a recent phenomenon to be blamed on social media..check (google) Comedian MEhmoods act in Padosan in the 60's..

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  3. Good one.. I esp loved the disclaimer u give to North Indians... Lol!
    but qn - u condemn Iyer bashing coz the rest of the South Indian fraternity are inadvertently (or otherwise) tagged in it?

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    1. primarily i condemn bashing any group...whether they be caste based/geography based or race based..it doesnt matter...discrimination is discrimination

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