ulta pulta
Playing Big Brother

Jaspal Bhatti

We were in the process of renovating our house. The contractor yelled out, "Oye, Bhaiyaji, why have you dumped the litter here?" The Bihari labourer replied, "Thekedar sahib, acha hua aapne hame bhaiyaji kaha.Sirf bhaiya kehne se humko gussa bhi aa sakta tha!" I told the labourer that he was too sensitive a worker. He said, " Sardar Sahib, haven’t you heard that the Indian government and many others have protested at passing racial remarks against our Shilpa Shetty on Channel 4 in UK. Shilpa Shetty has been called a ‘Indian’, ‘Paki’, ‘dog’ by her fellow contestants in the programme Big Brother on Channel Four. I asked the labourer whether he knew anything about Big Brother or if he had even remotely heard about Channel 4.He said, "Sir to tell you the truth I know only about aluminium channels, cement, sand, bricks, fodder and Lalooji. But I cannot tolerate anybody calling me a Bihari in a derogatory manner". He had a point. If Herschelle Gibbs could be banned from Test cricket for making racial remarks, why should we call somebody ‘Bihari’, ‘Madrasi’, ‘Sardarji’, ‘Miya’ contemptuously. Racism is so strong in our home ground that you often hear people saying, "O tan bhapa hai" or "O tan tarkhanan da munda hai (carpenters son)". We have all the reasons to be protesting for the racial remarks against Shilpa Shetty who is getting Rs 3.5 crore for that programme. But we must also respect our labour class and domestic servants who work day in and out for us for peanuts.