Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Nasty responses to Diwali greetings

I used to phrase my Diwali greetings blithely, either something simple like "Happy Diwali", or something more elaborate.

Then, a couple of years ago, I got my first shock:  someone on my list of friends wrote me a rude reply.  Of course, I immediately rang him to find out what the matter was.  He explained that he had stopped pretending that he wasn't ex-untouchable, and that he was now taking on the fight against upper-caste people like me who had oppressed his people through the centuries.

Well, he knows the history of my family, knows that I am anti-caste.  So why the vitriol for me?  "Because Diwali is a festival that celebrates the oppression of my people.  If you are anti-caste, you should not be celebrating Diwali or sending greetings and best wishes on this day".

When I mentioned this to friends, there was a kind of unbelief that this should be so. However much we may protest that we don't believe in caste, I guess that unbelief indicates how few of us have friends from the OBC and Dalit communities.

Anyway, since then, I have become very careful how I phrase my greetings on Diwali.  This year, my greetings said:

"Happy Diwali! 

I hope that you are not one of those Indians who are against this festival!                                                                                                  

I was brought up on the philosophy that every excuse is good enough for a celebration and for not only wishing but also encouraging us all to fight against casteism, and work for peace, prosperity and happiness.

May I wish you and yours a wonderful year ahead


However, no matter how carefully you phrase your greetings, some people still want to send you tart responses.

Here is one and, even though it is not particularly literate, it is all the more powerful for that:

"bad diwali !!!!
how pollution produced ?
how sound pollution?
how many death ?
how many time waste ?
why celebrate ?
who was ram which year come to his house?
what ram has work for all people.
why the kill sambuk beacuse of sudra taking education.
fullish dewali."

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