We Indians have the thinnest skins in the world. We are very easily offended while at the same time too trigger-happy when it comes to insulting others. Lack of understanding of nuances and subtleties only compound the matter.
We like to compare others to 'Hitler' and 'Mussolini' but we will be damned if anyone compares us to Ravan or Kans. This is mostly because of our failed political system that gives more value to grandstanding and demagoguery than the real content of an argument.
We immediately start sulking and even pouting the moment someone throws even the most benign insult at us. Innocuous fifth-grade bullying tactics like 'you look like a monkey', or 'you are a coward' is taken very personally by our fully-grown up adults, and particularly our politicians, who immediately make it a scandal of the Watergate proportion. Our feelings get hurt and we start whining like – brace yourself for another insult – a baby!
Our political history is full of examples when someone said something with no ill intention except probably to provoke a reaction or to grab a headline, but the person or the group at the receiving end goes postal because "how dare he call me a dog?"
Consider this example: Politician A is talking about Politician B: "You can't teach a new trick to an old dog."
Reaction by Politician B: Politician A called me a 'kutta'. He also called me an old man. By doing so, he insulted me, my family, and my entire caste.
Oh, the horrors!
Common expressions like "you old dog" (which simply means you are a sly/cunning person) are taken literally by our overly-sensitive netajis.
The recent 'DNA' barb by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, clearly a political rhetoric that most politicians indulge in particularly in the time of an election, was taken 'very personally' by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who treated it as if someone called him and the entire population of Bihar 'bastard'.
Is that an example of demagoguery? Damn right, it is! You know it and I know it. Nitish Kumar and his cohort Lalu Prasad Yadav also knew exactly what Modi meant but as it goes in politics – never let an opportunity slip away when there is a chance to exploit your opponent.
And who can forget the famous 'Cattle-gate' of 2009? In case you don't remember it, long before Nitish Kumar knew what Twitter was, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, with a vast experience in foreign relations, when asked by a journalist via Twitter how he felt about traveling "cattle class" in view of Congress' then austerity measures, Tharoor, inadvertently stirred up a political storm when he tweeted back saying "he would happily fly cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows!"
Oh no! Say it ain't so. You do not, and I repeat, DO NOT insult our holy cows. After all, 'Gai Hamari Mata Hai'. What the hell is your problem man? How dare you insult our mothers?
What ensued was nothing short of hilarious. While not surprisingly, the right wing Hindu nationalists immediately went after Tharoor demanding his skin, even his own party leaders joined the bandwagon calling for the resignation of the man who has more understanding of the world affairs packed in his little finger than all Indian politicians combined!
It is amazing that a word like 'cattle class' stirs up more political and religious frenzy than comparing someone to Hitler or Goebbels or Mussolini. Only in India!
Here are a few advices to our not-so-intelligent (another insult by me) 'netas' most of whom are not even fit to be city dogcatchers (damn that D-word again!) much less run a country or state:
1. Grow a thick skin. No not literally! Growing a thick skin simply means learn to ignore certain things and move on. There is no law in the world that says you must react to everything.
2. Stop incessant whining.
3. You are not in middle school anymore, stop with the grade-level insults.
4. Learn English language that relies heavily on nuances and subtleties. Not everything is insult regardless of what you think. And finally,
5. In the famous words of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States: "Get out of the kitchen if you cannot stand the heat." But for God's sake, quit whining, you big baby!