India’s national pastime

Mulla Nasruddin*, the Sufi scholar, returned home from a trip he had taken with his wife to find that his house had been burgled. The thieves had taken every valuable object in the house.

Nasruddin’s wife was visibly displeased. “It is all your fault.” she said to him. “You should have checked to make sure the doors were locked before we left.”

As she scolded him, a crowd gathered outside his house. A neighbor shook his head disapprovingly. “Why didn’t you lock the doors and windows? You shouldn’t have been so careless,’ said the neighbor.

“Your lock is faulty. You should have changed it before you left,” said another.

“You need new, stronger windows. Didn’t you know that?” said another wise passerby.

Nasruddin was flabbergasted. “Wait a minute. Surely, I am not the only one that should be blamed?”

“Who else should we hold responsible?” asked everyone in unison.

“Why, the thieves of course!” said Nasruddin.

The Scapegoat

These days in India, with every nefarious activity, you will find pundits eager to search for scapegoats instead of putting the responsibility at the door of the direct perpetrators.  I definitely advocate letting the judiciary reach a verdict in due course, but if and when the identities of those responsible are established beyond a reasonable doubt, justice should be meted out.

Is this happening? The direct catalyst for this post is the unwillingness on the part of certain power-wielding citizens to implicate the Maoists in the recent train-wreck in West Bengal even in the light of growing (and arguably, insurmountable) evidence.

Unfortunately, this is the new trend. So when Mayawati accepts a garland made from 1000-rupee notes and the media reports it, her champions come out of the woodwork to point a finger at upper-castes for discrimination. When Maoists take innocent lives through horrific acts of violence, the same armchair pundits blame India’s government for lack of rural development. The trend of justifying the acts of criminals because you feel sorry for the perceived injustices faced by them is unconscionable. I understand that voices need to be heard, but India is a democracy. Anarchy as a form of governance never worked. And definitely, shifting blame is not a sign of maturity in modern India.


*I read the original anecdote in one of Idries Shah’s books. It stayed with me, but of course, I don’t remember it well enough to paraphrase.


18 thoughts on “India’s national pastime

  1. This goat was supposed to carry the sins of the people and sent away to perish.Sad na for the poor goat and sadder still that the word means nothing than it being the mantra for the day everywhere.What to talk of bigger issues it is rampant everywhere…institutions,offices even our own homes where a weaker sibling is made one easily.
    Scapegoating was before internetting and before anything else.
    Mulla Nasruddin should have lived in Shani Shignapur where it is believed that no doors are locked and no theft takes place as the guarding Diety Shani protects the unguarded and punishes the perpetrator.Hope this one is read by Raja too…to come out with his.Surely some brilliant suggestions will see us lol and brush the sadness away.

    1. Thanks for reading. I was traveling and could not reply earlier. Agree there is no easy antidote, but laughter is the best medicine.


  2. Yeah…the “bakra” factor is so dominant.It is a kind of bullying which lets people get away with this kind of behaviour. The priority like you mentioned is never focussed on thr true cause. It is to pick up the tab at the expense of someone. Enjoyed usual !!

    1. One of the reasons we have chamchas is that they will often deliberately take the fall for the actual culprits.

      Hope all is well in your stretch of the woods.


  3. This act shrieks of irresponsibility on the part of the doer…Anything that works is mine and if nt, then its time to whine..Lame..really lame this attitude is

  4. I am pasting from my own blog here 🙂 : “It’s very important that we blame someone for the corruption, or riots, or……….whatever. The point is, we _should_ blame someone. It should be either very general, or very vague – like “media are to be blamed”, or “the system is to be blamed” etc. Now enjoy the feeling of relief – you have done your part to change India”

    I can’t make any specific comments here other than to agree with you. I’d love to see a much longer post on this topic from you.

    1. Good to hear from you. I would have written much longer, but decided to cut it short once I got the point across. Much harder to keep up with blogging while traveling.

      Take care.

  5. I agree. And the situation is very very sad. The question is, what should be done to rewrite status quo? Any ideas?

    Again, nice post btw. Love the way you always get the point across and how!

    1. I think as our media matures, much of this will go away. Part of the reason has to do with our culture, we prefer shrill high-decibel rhetoric instead of refined debate.

      What can be done? That is really a hard (but relevant) question.

  6. Politicians everywhere are master’s in playing the blame game. The only way, people will not be swayed is if they have the ability to see through the charade. This ability to see through can definitely be improved if people have access to unbiased information and a rational thinking process aided by education.

    I think politicians know this and hence will do anything and everything possible to deny people the above mentioned faculties. Unfortunate but true.

    Once again an excellent post by Anirban. Cheers!!!

  7. Actually, we’ve one more. Miya Fuskie! He is a stick thin guy in the court of the king and always boasta ‘We don’t fear anyone, we’re the king’s courtiers!’ but he is the one most scared of the situations.

    Nice post. Enjoyed every bit of it. By the way, I’m bringing out an eMagazine. Would you like to become a part of it?

    1. Thanks for reading. I would love to participate, but I’d like to read and encourage for the time being. My posting, reading of blogs, and commenting has gone down recently as you might have noticed and it will continue like this for the near future.

      Thanks for the offer. 😀

  8. Lost my comment.

    What I was saying was victim-blaming is our national pass-time, no doubt. Reminds me of Mrs Sheila Dixit saying girls in Delhi who step out of their homes late at night were being adventurous (and hence might get murdered).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s