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ADMIN posted a blog entry in FDF Online NewsHave you ever been irritated by the stereotypical portrayal of Indian men on international shows and movies? We delved into what causes this underrepresentation of Indian men in pop culture and western media. The Big Bang! I recently started re-watching 'The Big Bang Theory' and was aghast at what I had overlooked in my previous viewing; the terrible portrayal of Rajesh Koothrappali. © Warner Bros. Television Raj, played by Kunal Nayyar, is an Indian-origin astrophysicist at Caltech University in Pasadena. He is shown as a shy, sensitive and metrosexual immigrant who joins the other three scientists in their daily adventures. Or that is what they want you to believe. People can't pronounce his name (which is funny for some reason I don't get), he is weird, and as the series progresses his character become more dodgy, awkward and irritating. He is always saying the wrong things and is always given the worst end of the stick. via GIPHY Instead of showing shyness, like normal people have, he is shown as a terribly awkward guy who has selective mutism, an inability to talk to women unless under the influence of alcohol or medication. Moreover, this continues for six whole seasons. Are you kidding me? His clothes, hairstyle and his accent are atrocious, they seem to make him look fresh off the boat. He is perpetually sorry for his actions and is somewhat ashamed of his origins. In nearly every episode, he is demeaned by all the characters at least once, and mostly the jokes are about his immigrant status. Again, his character is the only one which shows no development, even after 11 seasons now. He is constantly ridiculed by the others, especially Howard, with racist humor, barbs at his sexuality or his area of expertise. His Indian accent is made fun of, with yet again Howard mocking him or the fact that his relationships never progress beyond two dates, yet the other characters, quirky enough but not desperate like him, manage to have a better life. I get it that his character is used for comedy relief but some of the dialogue is extremely offensive; like their comparison of him and Penny having *** to Catherine the Great having *** with a horse, where is the comedy here? Or the fact that all his cousins work in call centers or the help desk is manned by an Indian person. Humor and racism are both different things; a racist joke is not humorous, however funny it may sound. Don't even get me started on the way they ridicule Indian food as if it has nothing more to offer than gravy. For a show which has had such a long run, shouldn't it update itself with the status and heritage of the person you are portraying? It makes one wonder that if they pulled out his character out of the show, would it really matter to the plot? O Ganesha! Could We Have Some Curry? This got me thinking, that why even after so many years and stupendous technological advancements, the advent of social media, pop culture is still stuck with their stereotypical portrayal of Indians. Be it Apu from The Simpsons, Raj from The Big Bang Theory, Ravi from Jessie and more. Furthermore, they hardly have Indian women in shows, and even if they have one her fate is even worse than her male counterparts, case in point is Archie Punjabi as Kalindi Sharma from “The Good Wife”; her character started off as a new outlook towards Indians, with her bisexuality and bad-ass attitude and unaccented English, only for her to be kept away at the sidelines as the series progressed. Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) and Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) have still seen better success than their contemporaries but yet again these are only a few names. If you look at shows from the 80s to the recent past, Indian men in Western media seem to be stuck with tropes: A taxi driver, a nerd, an awkward guy with a funny accent, a shopkeeper or the first person to die in a thriller, or a call-center executive. Can't we have an Indian man who is a CEO or not a shopkeeper? © 20th Century Fox Television How many times have you looked at something or someone being shown as Indian and cringed inwardly at the conspicuous inaccuracy? No, we do not stuff our faces with gravy/curry every time we sit to eat or say “O Ganesha” with every sentence and neither do we bobble our heads to answer questions. In Hollywood, Anupam Kher, with his versatility, is still cast in stereotypical roles of either the old, Indian doctor or the archaic grandfather. © The Weinstein Company Irrfan in 'Life of Pi' was a breath of fresh air, but one needs to remember that the director, Ang Lee was Asian and better intimated with Indian portrayals. Yet after many movies in Hollywood, his acting caliber is yet to be used to its potential; he is mostly cast as the bad guy or some other supporting role. © 20th Century Fox Writers of these shows, sitcoms or movies seem to be stuck with their idea about Indian men in general or just don't care about their portrayal. Good material for these characters is seldom written. If it is written, it is never a valued opinion or another sexist/racist joke or a way to show that they are fed up with the Western culture. They are just introduced to keep the hullaballoo created for diversity and inclusivity of people of color in media at bay. It is their job to show the reality, unclouded by their judgement. Countless western shows still have a narrow and stereotyped view of Indian men on the TV. What they fail to realize is that it shows India as a country which has nothing better than free labor, call centers or cows. The exotic appeal of India is used for mostly spiritual realizations or a place from where you can outsource people for minimum cost. via GIPHY Indians are more than people with a funny accent or call center jobs, Indian men are more than awkward nerds or taxi drivers. These shows propagate a typecast image or their prejudiced version of Indians. It leads to the undue rise in bullying and stereotyping of Indian people. There were recent reports about a rise in bullying and harassment of people in the States because of how much they resembled Apu. Even beloved 'FRIENDS' was quick to put in thoughtless, unresearched Indian facts just for humor's sake. Remember when Ross tries to call posing as Phoebe's Indian ex-boyfriend, Vikram Mukherjee who is a kite-designer and glue-sniffer? Or Rachel thinking that a baby poops a lot of times because it is being fed Indian food? Apu from 'The Simpsons', who seems to be the forerunner for this horrible representation, has a funny accent and has as many Indian stereotypes as possible; his cow-worshipping, his food habits, et al. He seems to have furthered the view of all Indian men having the same accent and weird habits. Thank You, Come Again What is even more upsetting is that instead of roping in an Indian actor, actors of mostly American/European descent are chosen to play Indian characters, like Hank Azaria for Apu's voice. It isn't that there is a dearth of good actors in Hollywood; Kal Penn, Naveen Andrews (Lost), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes) who have the same ethnicity as the character demands, yet people of color hardly see success. Hollywood has been notorious for putting brownface make-up on actors for roles that could have been done by Indian actors. Fisher Stevens as Ben Jabituya in “Short Circuit”, Peter Sellers as Hrundi V. Bakshi in “The Party”. Though I am hardly someone to comment on their acting ability, (Peter Sellers did a great job) it would have been amazing to see an Indian actor, for example, Naseeruddin Shah to portray Mr. Bakshi, wouldn't it? © A Blake Edwards Production Remember that ad for Popchips where Ashton Kutcher showed up in brownface make-up, complete with a Sherwani, an accent and weird dance moves? He is a Bollywood producer named Raj looking for the most delicious thing on Earth. His portrayal rightfully garnered the ire of Indians and the ad was pulled down. © Youtube Movies and shows go on to further the stupid notion of India being a poor, illiterate country obsessed with Yoga, snakes, monkeys, cows and jewelry with streets filled with filth, ruffians and lecherous men and women with a purdah. Things that might have been okay some decades ago, they aren't relevant now. Fuller House had a whole episode dedicated to Kimmy Gibbler planning an Indian themed party; what she ends up with is an actual cow at the party with people in ridiculous costumes and a lot of outdated non-humorous Indian jokes. Seriously? Is that what India is to the world? Come on, it is 2018 and India is progressing on the World map. It is no longer the country of people who worship cows or drive taxis around New York or runs convenience stores in America/UK. Asha Kayam Hai! Aziz Ansari's 'Master of None' (S01E04) touches upon this exact topic in the series. The episode stresses upon the fact that certain people in the entertainment industry have a set of preconceived notions about Indian men and they will continue to do so, even if the reality is starkly different. © Universal Television In the episode, Aziz's character, Dev, is asked to speak in an Indian accent for the role of a taxi driver, even though he doesn't have one, which lays bare the fact previously pointed out. When confronted about it, the casting director iterates the sentiment that Indian people have an accent as though it's a fact. These shows need to make more efforts in researching and stop putting prejudiced opinions. We have a CEO at Google who is of Indian descent; he doesn't wear a lungi to office or speak with an unintelligible accent. It's high time these shows show the relevant picture. India has come a long way, it's imperative to show the people what it has achieved. Branding the men as awkward doofuses who only know how to work a computer and can't hold an intelligent conversation with a woman or can't speak to one is offensive and wrong. It might be funny to the viewers, but the real deal is different. Any show where the Indian appeal is strong goes on to be branded an alcove show, more so if the characters are different than what TV has made you to believe. So, if the characters are not working for the show, instead of misrepresenting their heritage or using them for bland humor, do away with the characters. The pseudo-inclusivity is worse than misrepresentation. Though all is not bleak, with a re-invent in the story-telling capabilities and inclusion of people of color being pushed forward with greater vigor, Western media is taking baby steps. © HBO Entertainment Apu from 'The Simpsons' is hoping to see a better narrative now, with a few Apu-centric episodes and a better outlook towards his character. But would it be the case had an Indian-descent actor depicted him? And why so late? After a series of complaints, expedited by Hari Kondabolu's documentary “The Problem with Apu” , the series put out a half-hearted apology showing Apu with a card saying “Don't have a cow.”. With Dev Patel (The Newsroom), Rahul Khanna (The Americans), Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Riz Ahmed (The Night Of), Hasan Minhaj (Homecoming King), Naveen Andrews (Lost), and Karan Soni (Deadpool) holding the baton and changing the perception of Indian men and showing a true image, the media still have a lot of work to do when telling the story of these characters and changing the viewer's psyche and perception. We can see that a shift is upcoming, with a few shows and movies trying to rectify the stereotypical portrayals. Let's hope it's a perennial waterfall and not just a receding wave.
Disclaimer: No employee was hurt while writing this story. But this thread did hit us right in the feels. Did you know that in Austria, many companies have an 8 to 5 shift and people are encouraged to leave at 3 PM on Fridays? No? Did you know that the German government has certain regulations in place to ensure its citizens don't overwork themselves, such as not working more than 48 hours a week and no work on Sundays and national holidays? © Pexels Did you know that Amazon's India chief urged his colleagues and employees to stop responding to work mails or calls after 6 PM? No! Ok, do you know your boss might have bombarded your inbox with multiple messages and work mails as you read this story? Sadly, the latter happens to be the work-culture more of us are a part of. In this dynamic and fast-paced world with cut-throat competition, maintaining work-life balance is harder than that summer body you worked for. No matter how efficient you are in your job, there will always be something or someone because of which your boss will judge you and look down on you. This Twitter thread brilliantly documents the struggles of every Indian employee and the unrealistic expectations our bosses have from us. I absolutely despise how Indian companies and founders, with no concept of life-work balance, shame employees for taking leaves and having a life outside work. Calls on weekends, guilting a person during and post leave, infinite power games. Shameful. — Sukhada (@appadappajappa) August 26, 2018 It all started when a Twitter user named Sukhada, tweeted about how Indian companies have no work-life balance and shame the employees for taking leaves and having a life outside work, a scenario that most of us have experienced in our jobs. And of course, there are jerks who proudly claim that when they got married, they were at work THE VERY NEXT DAY. The day we stop having founders and bosses like this, we can perhaps *start* to talk about mental health at workplaces. — Sukhada (@appadappajappa) August 26, 2018 Her tweet opened a barrage of frustration of employees, which they had bottled up until now. I felt like I was back in a school atmosphere in my first job. Project heads the teachers and we the students. Also you either join in the company retreat or come to a empty office to feed biometrics 9 to 5. Also the brown-nosingð¤¦ — sakkir (@_whosane_) August 26, 2018 This is not just start-ups either. Established cos do the same - of course no one explicitly says 'come on weekends' but when the employees who take 1000 breaks & stay late to show off gets a promotion over those who work efficiently & leave on time, the msg is crystal clear. Sad — Maya Mahadevan (@mayamahadevan) August 26, 2018 I've had to report into extremely sadistic people. So this post is very triggering for me — Protima Rodrigues (@PEyogagirl) August 26, 2018 I guess 90% of professionals face this issue. When we work for them & sacrifice our woffs at times then it's OK with them. Few days of leave as if we asked for share in their shitty property. — NI3 (@NI3INDIAN) August 26, 2018 Do you guys love your job or do these stories sound similar to yours?
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogKARACHI: Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Monday that the rulers failed to deliver despite being in power for 70 years.Speaking in a public rally at Bagh-e-Jinnah, he said that there will be a positive change in the...