Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts

PIL To Prevent Discrimination Against Indian Gorkhas [Read Petition]

9:01 PM
Shedding light on stereotypes attached to people from the North-East and propagation via popular media, a PIL has been filed seeking the Supreme Court’s immediate intervention to check discrimination against the Indian Gorkha community.

The PIL sought measures to prevent anyone from making any derogatory, discriminatory, racist and stereotypical remarks, either through social media or through any other means, portraying them entirely as security guards or chaukidars and giving them names like ‘Bahadur’ ,‘OOO Sabji’ and many other names associated with it.

The PIL also challenged a recent advertisement by Flipkart, an online shopping company, for its alleged mockery of the Gorkha community, and for stereotyping the whole community as being chowkidars with ‘overly-exaggerated and highly offensive Hindi accent’.
PIL Seeks Steps To Prevent Discrimination Against Indian Gorkhas [Read Petition]

The petitioners stated that the advertisement ‘has gravely humiliated, defamed, defiled, denigrated and tarnished the honour and sentiments of the Indian Gorkha community’.

They sought a complete ban on the stated advertisement or direction to ban on the use of the traditional Gorkha “topi” and weapon like ‘khukuri’, which is the biggest religious and cultural symbol for portraying any person as watchman in any public platform like in movies and advertisements for the purpose of entertainment.

Order or direction of making an apology in public forums like newspapers and televisions by the company was sought. They prayed that use of words like “Bahadur” and “Sabji” in public domain be banned.

They also claimed that the Indian cinema is the biggest culprit, which portrayed Nepalese/Gorkhali as either the Khukuri- wielding Gorkha soldiers or the Baton-wielding guards.

‘Indian cinema creates a largely imaginary picture of witless Gorkha, used as a prop to evoke humour.’ They expressed ire at attributing two words ‘Memsaab’ and ‘Sahabzee’ to the community.

The PIL claimed that all this discrimination was infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. It highlighted violation of right to equality and right against discrimination. It stated, ‘Such discrimination has lowered the self esteem of the community making them a subject of ridicule in the eyes of the other communities that eventually discriminate them as “Bahadurs”. This case is same as calling people Untouchables and Sudras. If practicing Untouchability is violation of Article 15, then calling a person Bahadur and wearing the communities’ spiritual topi and weapon and making them part of a security guard’s uniform and degrading their respect and honour is also discrimination.’

The petitioners claimed that there is a serious threat to Article 21 of the Constitution as Article 21 guarantees the right to life of every citizen in a dignified manner. Several Sections of the IPC, including Section 295, 295A and 499, were alleged to have been violated, calling strict action.

‘One of the salient reasons for the present writ petition is the increase in the propaganda of racial stereotype against the Indian-Gorkha community people infringing on their fundamental right to live a dignified life and also discriminating the community by stereotyping them in a humiliating and derogatory manner by defaming the entire Indian-Gorkha community at large,’ the PIL stated.

The petitioners expressed regret over the highly internalised bias against the community that goes way beyond the confines of media. They highlighted the sad state of affairs exist despite display of courage and sacrifices made for the nation and sought immediate steps in the direction.

Read the full Petition Here
Source: livelaw

Flipkart's Relentless Racism Never End

9:58 PM

The Indian e-commerce company Flipkart which was ridiculed last year for sending a sexist email to female customers has done it again, this time with an offensive advertisement that reinforces the stereotype of Gorkha/Chowkidar. The advertisements designed to promote the recently launched “Flipkart Assured” customer loyalty service had insensitively characterized Gorkhas in the role of security guard.  Though it is true that the advertisements in question were tailored to remove the objectionable content (khukri sign from the Nepali Topi and suitably changed the voices of character) after a court case was filed against the company by Gorkha Youth and Students Association (GYSA) and Hamro Swabhiman trust. But the way Indian company has chosen to put their defense is highly questionable. Responding “In a note to our Gorkha brother and sisters” the company has argued that it has unintentionally hurt the sentiment of Gorkhas and the creation of such character was based on the fact that some of the Gorkhas are employed as the security guard. Here is what they have to say:

 “A security guard is someone we trust with our life, Every day. We trust our security guards to let the right people into our homes. We trust them with our children’s safety when they’re outdoors. We trust them to ensure that we sleep safe every night. The campaign drew from these codes of assurance to drive the key proposition of Flipkart Assured. It is with this intent that the character which the child portrayed was chosen to play the part”.

Now, where it has been written that while charting out a security guard character it has always to be a Gorkha? Also when more acceptable alternatives are present why the creators of commercial chose to reinstall the same stereotype? Perhaps there is no real reason whatsoever (there was never one) except for the fact that people who have made this offensive advertisement could see the humor in this when there is none.  The company would have done better had they not utilized their knowledge about Gorkhas, which is based on narrow and frequently incorrect assumptions picked up from the Indian cinema.

More importantly, the company should not apologise for the fact that Gorkha community was offended by the advertisements- apologies for doing it in first place by acknowledging that such portrayal was unacceptable.

However, Flipkart advertisement is not the first to stereotype Gorkhas as baton- wielding watchmen, look at this other advertisement ‘Nepali Watchmen’ by Carwale.com that came out in 2015. It uses the same set of stereotype – a guard with slanted eyes in his incorrect Hindi saying Kyun dar gaya na Shabzee. Then, who can forget Amir Khan’s popular “Coca-Cola ad” that came in 2003, where the Indian actor pulled off one of the worst stereotypes of Gorkhas ever done in the industry. Clearly, these highly unimaginative ads represent a dull reproduction of approaches which have now become a common feature of Indian advertisement.

In this whole episode what is most ironic is that when Coldplay made a music video ‘Hym for the Weekend’, many in India took to social media and accused the British rock band of reinforcing stereotype; rightly so. For days the narrative of victimhood was played over the various media portals. But in this case, when an Indian company has produced an objectionable advertisement mainstream media has failed to raise any questions, showing no interest in reporting about the issue.

Isn’t portraying Nepali people like this a form of racism and needs to be ridiculed. So much for sensitivity to the centuries of oppression.

Nepali Restricted to Clichéd Occupations
The Nepalese much like any other community makes living in a wide array of professions, but thanks to popular culture their portrayal is restricted to some clichéd occupation such as watchmen, domestic help, Gorkha Army and sex workers. Their presence in other spheres has been never seen and acknowledged.

The Indian cinema is the biggest culprit which has portrayed Nepalese/Gorkhali as either the Khukri- wielding Gorkha soldiers or the Baton- wielding guards. To start with the movie Kasauti (1974), where Pran played the role of dumb- witted Gorkha to Paresh Rawal’s portrayal of a loyal and suspicious guard in Haseena Maan Jayegi (1999) and an ignoramus Chunkey Pandey from Apna Sapna Money Money (2007). In all these movies, mentioned above Indian cinema creates a largely imaginary picture of witless Gorkha, used as a prop to evoke humor. They speak in an unrealistic Hindi accent and there vocabulary to address other people is limited to two words- Memsaab and Sahabzee. Then there are another set of movies like Tango Charlie (2005) and LOC Kargil (2003), where Gorkhas are portrayed as savage, merciless and loyal officers. In fact, in LOC Kargil there is a scene where the commanding officer is giving a speech before the Kargil war and makes a reference to Hitler’s statement about Gorkhas that “I can have the Gurkha troops… I can conquer the entire world.” This personification of Gorkhas as the lethal, loyal and obedient race is a colonial construct and some Nepalese/Gorkhali themselves propagate this gullibly and walk into the trap of colonial stereotypes about the martial recruits.

In this highly restrictive portrayal of Gorkhas in Indian cinema, there are only two narratives- Gorkhas as the loyal guard or brave soldiers that exalt obedience as the highest virtue of Gorkha community. Further, there is a common thread in all these characters that is the presentation of Nepali community stitched around their nationality.  So Nepalese of Nepal and Nepali-speaking people of India are lumped together in one nationality with no clue that there is an identity of Indian Nepalese that is separate from the Nepalese of Nepal.

The mainstream media is not too far behind in installing such stereotypes. To get a perspective, look at some of these stories that appeared in leading Indian dailies. DNA carried a story in 2013 From ‘Bahadur’ to Security Private Limited about a Nepali man who started his career as watchmen but now owns a security agency. Likewise in June 2016, New Indian Express carried a story How Nepalis came to be the world’s security guard. It makes an extremely stereotypic effort to tell you the various reasons why Gorkhas are preferred all over the world for the job of security guard.

The most offensive of all them is the article that appeared on April 2016 in The Hindu with the headline The Gorkha and his Whistle . The writer, who is totally ignorant about the life of a watchman, makes an attempt to understand why that the Gorkha who works as a night watchman in her locality is almost invisible. She writes:

Where does he (Gorkha) live? Does he go into hibernation for the rest of the month? What does he do? Is it the same gurkha who goes to houses at the other end of the city or are there many gurkhas? Do they all live in a secluded colony, far from the disease of modern life and people’s prying eyes, like Matthew Arnold’s Scholar Gypsy ?

The fact is that stereotypes are so internalized that they go well beyond the confines of media, television, and cinema. Not to be surprised if they are officially sanctioned and state-adopted. For instance in 2014 Tamil Nadu state government notifications shamelessly advertised for the post of Gorkha- Watchman. So does the state of Andhra Pradesh which has enlisted various categories for the post of guards such as watchmen, chowkidar, gatekeeper, Night Guard, and Gorkha Watchmen.

But who is to blame when even the Indian Prime Minister portrayed Gorkhas as the loyal security guards of India. This is what he has said in 2014 while campaigning for the party candidate S.S Ahluwalia (currently BJP MP from Darjeeling district) in Siliguri:

 “Gorkha work as security guards across the country, people may not trust the police, but they trust the Gorkhalis, it is not a small job, it is huge respect, when someone can go off to sleep with crores of goods lying around, just because a Gorkhali is guarding it, this is not a small respect, this is huge honour, to be trusted, you have earned this trust, you have earned this respect”..

These limited and unbalanced portrayals of Nepali as a loyal subject is constructed by the people who have little understanding of Nepalese/Gorkhali themselves- and little foresight how such images impact the Nepali-speaking population in India.

Maanvender Singh, Ph.D  Scholar, Department of History, Sikkim University, Gangtok. maanvenders08@gmail.com


Gorkha Students JNU Call Out Flipkart’s Racist Ad In Strongly Worded Open Letter

9:16 PM

JNU’s Gorkha Students Call Out Flipkart’s Racist Ad In Strongly Worded Open Letter


To,
Flipkart

Dear Binny,
First of all, let us clarify that you are neither hallucinating nor in your dreams. It must be deeply disturbing and astonishing for you to reconcile with this fact that you are reading a letter written by a ‘bahadur’.

Shaabji, we are deeply sorry for not living up to your company’s expectations! We are sorry for this audacity that you may have never expected to see. But shaabji, we must shake you up from your mistaken notions about the Gorkha community.

Even the spirit and tone of your recent clarification letter does not reflect an iota of remorse and self-reflection.

We are hurt but, paradoxically, we are very thankful to your company for this unexpected opportunity to talk about the long history of denial of our political rights and the daily harassment and humiliation which we face on account of our racial identity wherever we go.

You have surely realised by now that your insensitivity and crass competition in the rat race has opened a Pandora’s Box. We argue with hard facts and not just rhetoric. In this letter, we shall be revisiting our political history and our present reality. We shall talk about our economy, freedom, struggle, rights, dignity and individuality. We shall also touch upon ethics (something you seem to be grossly lacking). We hope that you and your employees (including the advertisement team you consulted) are endowed with sufficient mental faculties to be able to follow our arguments in this letter and connect them competently enough to comprehend why Flipkart is guilty of vilifying the Gorkha identity.

The Gorkha community has suffered centuries of exploitation under the British colonial regime. While India celebrated its ‘independence’ in 1947, the Gorkhas are still battling for their rights and dignity. We have survived over sixty years of socio-economic and political subjugation under West Bengal’s blatant policy of internal colonialism facilitated by local stooges. The fetters that curb our right to self-determination are getting stronger by the day. Consequently, the region and community is ravaged by high unemployment, abject poverty and distress out- migration. While a handful of the privileged few always had access to quality education and opportunities to climb further up in the class hierarchy, for the larger majority in our community, formal education has been only recently accessible. A substantial percentage of our people are engaged in back-breaking work day and night to produce the world’s most expensive tea (Darjeeling tea). For the plantation workers, the reward for filling the coffers of tea garden owners and the government has been only a life plagued by poverty, morbidity and a slow but painful death due to starvation. The screams of suffering and death has been silenced and stifled by the continued indifference of a callous government and corporate houses that display the least regard for basic human rights of workers. Any intervention so far has been half-hearted and reflects charity and sympathy rather than delivery of rights and entitlements.

No industrial worker in the history of independent India may have suffered this plight. Adding insult to injury, we are casually and, many a times, deliberately called ‘foreigners’ by the so called ‘authentic Indians’ of our country. The starkest irony being that we are the same community which has time and again received showers of praises for bravery in armed forces by the Indian political establishments. We are again the same community that has been butchered by the same political establishment using paramilitary forces when trying to assert our basic political right to self determination i.e. separate state of Gorkhaland in 1986. Numerous real and fake quotes (from field Marshal Manekshaw, to Hitler and even Osama Bin Laden) valorising the bravery of the community in fighting battles has actually strengthened the narrative of Gorkhas as a martial race. Such a widely celebrated reductionist narrative of Gorkhas as a martial race has been internalised by the community itself without a critical reflection on how it dehumanises the community and encourages more racial stereotyping of the entire Gorkhas.

It is true that many men from our community are employed as security guards but there is nothing to be ashamed of this. We are not the only community in that profession. What matters is that we don’t judge any form of labour (if not forced) by its remuneration or its location on the workplace hierarchy. We leave such prejudiced and judgemental tasks to appropriate hands like yours. Only parasite classes, whose existence depend on sucking the fruits of others’ labour, fail to comprehend the dignity and importance of any form of work.

Apart from disregard for dignity of labour, a larger wrong which is very problematic is to divide and reproduce an entire community in the binary of either security guards or as blood thirsty ‘hyper brave’ soldiers. This kind of representation strengthens the already existing racial stereotypes among the larger population which draws its knowledge (limited) of other communities through popular culture propagated by media. We hope you can fathom the gravity of the damage that your advertisement has thus made by the stereotypical depiction of the Gorkha community as security guards. After watching such commercials and movies (like “Appna Sapna Money Money”), your sons and daughters are at the risk of not only imbibing such stereotypical views but also letting their interactions with Gorkhas in general be influenced by prejudice and bias encouraged by people like you.

Mr. Binny, by generalising such constructed attributes, do you not feel guilty of stifling free thinking, of polluting young minds and of depriving Gorkhas their freedom to express their individual identities and personal attributes that is so unique to each. Such vile attempts are condemnable in the strongest words. As the company head, it is your responsibility to avoid such actions, whether accidental or deliberate.

We do not intend to lecture you on values, but it is worthwhile to reflect upon the so called ‘core values’ upon which you claim Flipkart is based. Not forgetting that the values have been put in a framework to drive the mad rush of accumulation of wealth by a few elitists like you. Nonetheless, should we for a moment reflect upon the value of ‘customer obsession’ then, the said advertisement shows that your firm is far from being obsessed to cater to the needs of the Gorkha community. Instead, it has only alienated and humiliated us. Isn’t it ironic that the value of ‘ownership’ that you claim to uphold has blatantly disowned the contributions of Gorkhas in diverse fields of human endeavor? The ‘impact’ of the value has been such that we have been compelled to write this letter to you. While the value of ‘honesty’ has missed the prefix of –dis-assuming that you are not that ignorant of the fragmentation and ruptures that racism creates on the canvas of societies. Communication has indeed created the impact you wanted, not of content as you wished but the psychological attitude that you harbor. ‘Innovation’ on the other hand has been all but to reinforce the stereotypical mindset of the majoritarian ethos- concretised by the same acts that we condemn in this letter.

Knowing that sole purpose of the existence of your company, for that matter any company, is to amass profit at any cost, we are not in any form of illusion that you are here to address a pressing social issue which is tearing apart the social fabric of Indian society. After all, 200 years of colonial rule and the thousands of painful deaths due to the Bhopal Gas tragedy was a gift from a corporation like yours. Mr. Binny, it is no surprise that a corporation like yours thrives on the consumerism which disregards the very fabric that you feed upon. Far from a symbiotic one, with increasing fortunes, the dynamics of relationships takes a form of a parasitic one, that not only makes the poor poorer but even robs away the basic ‘dignity’ of people. The recent advertisement speaks volumes in this context.

Whenever our fellow Indians are abused and attacked on racial ground in foreign countries like Australia or USA, we were in deep pain and anguish and had pledged to fight against such racial stereotypes. We strongly believe that you and your company employees who probably often land in foreign soil, feel the same. Even after that we fail to comprehend why your company chose to promote such racial stereotypes of a certain community of our own country? Or is it that your principle to fight against racism is limited only beyond our borders where the elite likes of you are more likely to be potential victims? For within India, you are widely recognised as the ‘authentic and rightful sons of the soil’!

Just like a brother who kills his sister in the name of protecting a family’s ‘honour’ or an upper caste feudal lord who chops the hands of Dalit children for touching his field crops and feels no remorse; in your mad profit campaign, you too have failed to comprehend the intensity of injustice you have done by virtue of not being born in a certain ethno–linguistic community. You fail to comprehend the pain and humiliation in bearing the brunt of racial stereotypes as a daily reality.

At last one humble request from our side – expand and grow as much as you can and trade in various goods and services but do not try to thrive in your business by trading another community’s dignity. Your company cannot hold long if you try to flourish by vilifying another community’s dignity and identity.

Thank You.

Via youthkiawaaz

Gorkhas dissatisfied with Flipkart's response to protest of Racist Ad.

9:10 PM
Indian Gorkha Community is highly  dissatisfied with Flipkart's response to their protest against Racist advertisement. In their note to Gorkha brother and sisters which they came up with after a case was filed in Delhi by the community they have simple given diplomatic clarification and have tried to justify their advertisement. Gorkhas want outright apology and taking down of the advertisement.

Seems like Flipkart and its controversies will never end. They come up with flagship sales event and are surrounded by controversy - Big Billion Day. Their app gets downvoted after net neutrality controversy, had to pulls out of controversial Airtel deal, Flipkart sends empty boxes to customers, They even delivers stones. The company have already come under ED scanner and what not?

Gorkhas dissatisfied with Flipkart's response to protest of Racist Ad.


FROM FLIPKART, A NOTE TO OUR GORKHA BROTHERS AND SISTERS:

Last week we launched our new service ‘Flipkart Assured‘, a service offering that assures our customers of Quality Products and Fast Delivery. The service offering has been really successful. Lakhs of customers have tried Flipkart Assured since the launch and the feedback has been encouraging. You must have also seen the Flipkart Assured advertising campaign, featuring the famous “Flipkart kids”, which went live simultaneously and won love and appreciation from our consumers. The marketing and advertising fraternity also received it with positive comments.
Now, while we’re delighted with the positive response, we are aware that we may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of our Gorkha brothers and sisters through the depiction of one of the characters in the advertisement, namely the security guard.
In that regard, we wish to share our point of view.

Foremost, we’re proud of and grateful to the Gorkha community. They symbolize valor, reliability, integrity and loyalty. Many members of the Gorkha community continue to represent our nation in the highest echelons of their chosen fields – be it administration, sports, defense, academics, entertainment, etc. Some of them have also chosen this profession of a security guard.

A security guard is someone we trust with our life. Every day. We trust our security guards to let the right people into our homes. We trust them with our children’s safety when they’re outdoors. We trust them to ensure that we sleep safe every night. The campaign drew from these codes of assurance to drive the key proposition of Flipkart Assured. It is with this intent that the character which the child portrayed was chosen to play the part.

Over the last week we have diligently pored over every comment and post on social and offline channels and discussed the issue with our customers to understand their concerns in depth. While most agreed to the freedom of creative expression and choice of characters, we discovered that the primary angst arose from the use of the Khukuri insignia (a respected and cherished symbol of pride and valor), and the tone of voice used by the character.

In line with the feedback, we have updated the advertisements to remove the depiction of the Khukuri and suitably changed the voices of the characters. The films have been uploaded on our social channels and will be progressively updated across all other channels in next few days.

Flipkart has always been an inclusive brand for people from all walks of life. We truly strive not to be the cause for anyone’s angst but be the reason for their happiness, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality and strength of the community. We are fond of reflecting this in the stories we narrate and the characters that we bring alive. Our intent has never been to stereotype or typecast any community and hurt their sentiments in any manner. Rather, it has always been to celebrate the diversity and nuances that are unique to us as Indians.

We hope that our Gorkha friends will appreciate the updated advertisements, take note of the intent and extent of changes, and above all enjoy the innocent humor of the communication.

In reaction to Flipkarts above note, Ranjana Pradhan Rai, daughter of an Ex-Indian Army Officer wrote the following - 

Dear FlippedKart...Opps! Flipkart & family, you seem to have not reached the point of Agenda raised by the gorkha community. Thus, you need a little more research & education on the correction of propogation in the advertisement. Perhaps, your mindsets fail to reach the very basic point questioned here, Why not a Gorkha Soldier? Thus, we welcome you for a cultural trip to Gorkhaland or Darjeeling to really understand what we mean and you can perhaps understand the fashion statements a little better too! Northeast does't require either your yarns or yearnings for Market YOU need. We have our own brands that unmatchably rocks!!! 

So, when can we hear an genuine apology from your stakeholders as men of respect, who are expected to respond with egalitarian attitude. As your statement above clearly states that you associate Gorkhas as Chowkidaars or Guards when it comes to trusting the safety. We don't need such thankless recognition of the contributions our brave Officers & Soldiers have given to the very soil you have so comfortably parked yourself on. Perhaps, our great Cinamatographer Mr. Binod Pradhan could give you few lessons on how to touch hearts of people while filming appropriately, or I can do a better job than your copy editors or visualizers, but there's a price to my creative ability you might not be able to afford. So, muster up courage to a genuine apology instead of trying to gulp the choke and put your ego aside. Stop beating around the bush!!!

From a Gorkha Girl
D/o Ex-Indian Army Officer

Sanjeev Pradhan another Indian Gorkha wrote - M/s Flipkart, whatever you have tried or trying to clarify the consequences through this text doesn't make any sense to forgive you. When you travel around the country, you won't find only Gorkhas as security guards everywhere. Instead you will find lots of security guards from other different communities. So portraying Gorkha in your ad is strongly condemnable. You should apologize in front of whole nation for your wrong concepts without any debates.


Internationally acclaimed Author and Gorkha celebrity Mr. Parajwal Parajuly sharing his thoughts on racist Flipkart writes

FUCK FLIPKART

On my flight to Bagdogra today, I sat next to Shubnum, a young Nepali-speaking Indian woman from Darjeeling, so, of course, we talked about the Flipkart ad. It's an ad that breaks my heart and maddens me. It's an ad that ensures I will never order anything from Flipkart again. It's an ad that set me thinking.

I speak Nepali. I am well educated. I am rich. My family is well off. My family is well educated: lawyers and doctors and PHDs. There are thousands and thousands of Nepali-speaking people like me. There are thousands and thousands of Nepali-speaking families like mine. I’d love to see one depiction of a Nepali-speaking person like me in the Indian media. I’d love to see one depiction of a Nepali-speaking family like mine in the Indian media. Just one. Just one where we aren’t doormen, guards and cooks, which are wonderful things to be no doubt but not all that we are. We are so many other things. Just one depiction of these other things, of people like me, Indian media--is that too much to ask?
Parajwal Parajuly
Parajwal Parajuly 
PS Perhaps you, Flipkart, could take the lead and show everyone how it's done?

PPS I think I am rocking my Nepali topi.


Why I Am Not Bothering to Buy Stuffs From Racist Flipkart Anymore

8:52 PM
Writes: Jashoda Chettri

I am not much of a couch potato. So it was only natural that I missed the Flipkart advertisement on the telly few days back. The advertisement was racist claimed a friend who sounded upset and hurt. The Flipkart advertisement featured a kid depicted as achowkidar, wearing thebhadgaule topi with thekhukuri insignia, speaking Hindi in a funny way. But I could not jump the gun without verifying the facts. I looked up online for the ad presuming that the advertisement might have been pulled down after all the furore it created. But lo! It’s still there! The ad shows a boy dressed as a security guard (Gorkha). He asks “ Zootein ley rahe ho Shabzi’ The ad even has subs in English for reasons best known to Flipkart! When I tried to mimic the line, I had great difficulty in getting "zhootein" and "Shabzi:" right. Hats off to the man who did the voice-over. He pronounces those words in such a weird fashion that no Nepali will ever be able to pronounce it that way! And how come I have never come across a Nepali who says Shabzi.

Why is it is kind of taken for granted that Nepalis speak Hindi in a funny way and we look ‘different’. I have grown up watching scenes in our movies where a Nepali man comes running to the gate and says ‘shalaam shaab’. We do not; I repeat we do not speak like that.

I also dislike the way Bollywood projects the khukri like a play thing. For Nepalis, the khukuri is a symbol of our valour and courage. And of course our pride!
Why I Am Not Bothering to Buy Stuffs From Racist Flipkart Anymore
India's 1st field Marshall Gen. Sam "Bahadur" Manekshaw poudly wearing our Bhadgaule topi with Khukuri insignia

"The khukuri is the national as well as the religious weapon of the Gurkhas. It is incumbent on a Gurkha to carry it while awake and to place it under pillow when retiring."
- Maharaja Padma Shamser Jangbahadur Rana
(Prime Minister and Supreme Commander).

But our pride has been hurt over and over again thanks to stereotyping and ignorance. Why do we Nepalis have to be projected only as chowkidars and maids when we have made our presence felt in almost all spheres? From martyrs to fashion designers who dress up powerful people to internationally acclaimed writers to sportspersons who bring laurels for the country, Nepalis have gone beyond guarding your gates. I dare companies to make an advertisement which has faces of successful Nepalis.

And as far as the funny accent is concerned, when I speak in Hindi people can’t tell if I am a Nepali. I am proud that I can speak the national language with ease. We grew up hearing and learning that ours is a country of diversity. Most of us wrote at least one essay on ‘Unity in Diversity’ in school. It is time we embraced the diversity instead of making divisive comments for commercial gains. Irresponsible companies should be answerable for divisive actions, be it Nepali or Bengali or Punjabi. It divides the country subtly but surely and creates hatred and jealousy where none existed.

And trust me; we have some very good lawyers in the Nepali fraternity. So think hard and think twice before you do something irresponsible.

By the way I wanted to place an order for a mouthwash but I am looking for something stronger, something that would wash down this offending taste.

Any idea when will it be available on Flipkart?

Don't bother, I found it on Amazon.com! Amazing!
...........................
*Jashoda Chettri, is a Gangtok based writer, poet, photographer and a social worker, she can be contacted at: chettrijashoda@gmail.com

Via TheDC


Bharatiya Gorkha Ekta Sangh Protests Flipkart racist Advertisement

7:45 PM
" BHARATIYA GORKHA EKTA SANGH – An organization based in MUMBAI Protests the Flipkart racist Advertisement depicting Gorkha by sending the following official letter to Binny Bansal – CEO Flipkart: "
Bharatiya Gorkha Ekta Sangh Protests Flipkart racist Advertisement



To,

Binny Bansal

CEO Flipkart

Flipkart

Subject:  Remove defamatory & racist advertisement depicting Gorkha.

Reference: 

·        Flipkart advertisement dated 22nd Aug 2016, front pages of National daily such as Times of India, The Hindu etc

·        Online ad :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWWAamxP-mw

Sir,

1.     We would like to draw your attention to your latest advertisement campaign in print and electronic media. The ad portrays a Gorkha boy as a Security Guard with a Khukuri badge in his Cap “Gorkha Topi”, the Gorkha Topi and Khukuri both are significant to our identity 
as a Gorkha and a cultural artifact which we proudly wear to identify ourselves. To add to the comedy element in the advertisement, the boy is shown speaking in a highly offensive stereotypical accent, directly humiliating and making a mockery of millions of Gorkhas residing in India and abroad. The ad clearly typecast us as the community of Watchmen.

2.     Sir, we take pride in our community. The word  “Gorkha” symbolizes valor and pride and holds an esteemed reputation in the world. Like any other progressive community of the world, the Gorkhas are hard working, sincere & honest citizens of the world. There are millions of Gorkha professionals working as Doctors, engineers, scientists all over the world. The contribution of Gorkhas to the world in every field is immense and cannot be put in one space. Tenzing Norgay Sherpa made world history by conquering the peak of Mt. Everst along with Hillary for the first time. Gorkhas sports persons especially in Football, Hockey, Archery, Shooting & boxing have earned laurels for India. The State of Sikkim is one of the most progressive & developed State of India and has won many awards for developments & other achievements. The State is mostly headed by able Gorkha ministers & Chief Ministers.

3.     There is a Monument of Gorkha Soldier outside the Ministry of Defence, City of Westminster, London. There have been twenty-six Victoria Crosses awarded to members of the Gorkha regiments. In addition, since Indian independence in 1947, Gorkhas serving in the Indian Army have also been awarded three “Param Vir Chakras”. There are so far 2,730 gallant awards to Gorkhas in world history. The Gorkha soldiers are the backbone of UN Peacekeeping force responsible for maintaining peace anywhere in the world. The tune of the National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana” has been composed by a Gorkha, Capt Ram Singh Thakuri and the epithet is never ending and it continues…..

4.     Gorkhas are blessed with agile body & brain, simple & clean heart, speed of cheetah, Strong Character of honesty, loyalty & faithfulness, enjoys the unquestionable trust & confidence of the world. Because of trustworthiness & honesty, Gorkhas are in high demand for high profile safety & security jobs, like security of VVIP’s & Royal families across the world.


5.     So stereotyping Gorkha as a watchman through your ad is a big injustice meted to Gorkhas. Due to lack of knowledge about our Gallant History, rich tradition & culture, you have exploited and demeaned our customs and culture for your own commercial gain, which is utterly offensive and unethical.

6.     Here, we the Members of Bharatiya Gorkha Ekta Sangh (BGES), appeal to you to immediately remove such racist ads as the awkward performance depicted in your ads may propagate a racist attitude towards Gorkha community in India.



Regards

Chairman, BGES


Dear Racist "Flifkart" STOP CALLING US "CHOWKIDARS"

11:43 AM
Open Letter to Flipkart in refrence to Ad film made by Flipkart 

Writes Bandana Rai

Dear Racist Flipfart Ops sorry "Flifkart!!!!!!! "STOP CALLING US CHOWKIDARS"
This is in connection with your recent ad wherein you in your blinded-by-lust quest for earning more, have 'over glorified' a great community which is known and respected equally worldwide for their simplicity, sincerity and bravery.

No wonder you made an excellent ad film which may be liked by many viewers who inherits your sick mentality towards my community which has made many supreme sacrifices to safeguard the future of ungrateful people like you of a great nation and might have increased your sale as well. But the gesture used in it has really hurted the sentiments of the Gorkhas (a Nepali/Gorkhali speaking people) spread across the world. Your yield at the expense of the dignity of this great community is not acceptable.



It is with a deep sense of humiliation that I have to say that your little frolicking can be a national shame. One should not take some one for granted just because the latter does not say a thing. So, stop taking us for granted.

Mr Flifkart, it seems like you have been living in a ghetto through out your entire not-so- peaceful-though life since you are totally ignorant about the world famous warriors - The Gorkhas. Or are you just trying magnify yourself as the smartest man on Planet Earth? And to be honest, I will not be amused if your reply is the second one. You very well know who the Gorkhas are. Don't you? But you either prefer to ignore or you really are a moron. To get you tuned in let me refresh your blunt memory.

The Gorkhas, the bravest of the Brave are famously known for their simplicity, sincerity and bravery world over.

"If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha." Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Indian Chief of Army Staff (8 June 1969 - 15 January 1973) once famously said.
The Gorkha units are one of the most decorated outfits in the Indian Army not because of making mockery of one's simplicity but of their sheer courage. Gorkhas have played an important role in all the theatres of war and have won several battle honours and gallantry awards in Uri sector in 1947-48, Ladakh in 1962, Jammu and Kashmir in 1965 and 1971 and in Kargil in 1999. They were also a part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and even today are posted in the toughest frontier of the country. They have been guarding the frontiers of the nation.

The Gorkha Regiments have been awarded 3 Param Vir Chakras, 33 Maha Vir Chakras, and 84 Vir Chakras during operations. "Better to die than be a coward" is the motto of the world-famous Nepali Gurkha soldiers who are an integral part of the Indian Army.Gorkhas carry into battle their traditional weapon - an 18-inch long curved knife known as the Khukri. It is said that in the past, once a kukri was drawn out in battle, it had to "taste blood" If not, its owner had to cut himself before returning it to its sheath. Gorkhas are one of the most feared soldiers in the world and have won the respects of even their enemies. There are 7 Gorkha regiments divided into 40 battalions in Indian Army with around 70000 plus strength. Also, Paramilitary forces like, the Assam Rifles which has 46 battalions with approximately 25000 plus gorkhas as part of her fighting force are still serving with this elit paramilitary force till date. Likewise, Para commando units or most of the armed forces have a sizeable number of gorkhas in their. Overall more or less 150000 plus brave gorkhas are serving with armed forces not because they don't have anything to eat but because of simple fact that combat and loyalty are the inherent ingredients in their blood. Gorkhas were integrated with the Indian Armed Forces on April 24, 1815. Over the period of time, they have served in all theatres of war and won many military decorations. Here are some facts about the most respected regiment of the Indian Army.

The current Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh Suhag is also from the Gorkha Rifles. He was commissioned in 4/5 GR in 1974. And according to the 5th Gorkha Rifles tradition, one has to wear his headgear with the strap below the lower lip. Other Gorkha units wear the chin strap below the jaw which the General visibly seems to follow as an indication of respect for the regiment's ethos. The war cry of the Gorkha Regiments is ‘Jai Maha Kali, Aayo Gorkhali’ which he translated means 'Hail Goddess Kali, The Gorkhas Are Here.'

The latest ad film of yours has degraded our moral values, sense of self-respect and dignity, disrespected gorkha soldiers and martyrs alike leaving our bravehearts feeling nothing more than "CHAWKIDARS" which is very derogatory and wrong. Gorkhas will never accept this racial slur and will object.

Apropos, I, Bandana Rai, a very proud GORKHALI DAUGHTER OF HINDUSTAN and author of Gorkhas - The Warrior Race have as a sign of protest against your overtures, have decided to withdraw the sale of my book from the flipkart and I appeal the right thinking people of the country to follow suit.


Indian Gorkha Community Furious With Flipkart Ads - All you need to know

9:51 PM
Gorkha Youth and Students' Association of India (GYASA) filed Complaint against Flipkart Advertisement 

Complaint filed against Flipkart Advertisement which is defamatory, sacriligeous, communal, racist and hurting the sentiments of the Indian Gorkha community and insulting khukri emblem of the Indian Gorkha Brigade and Assam Rifles.

DETAILED COMPLAINT:-
To,
Shri Robin Hibu IPS,
Inspector General of Police (Delhi Police)
Nodal officer for Northeast
Sub: - Complaint against Flipkart Advertisment which is defamatory, sacriligeous, communal, racist and hurting the sentiments of the Indian Gorkha community and insulting the khukri emblems of the Indian Gorkha Brigade and Assam Rifles.

(Above) Flipkart advertisement dated 22 August 2016 front pages on national dailies such as Times of India, The Hindu and others.
1. In two advertisement posted online, for which we have shared the link below, as well as being shown in TV and print media,
https://youtu.be/sWWAamxP-mw
https://youtu.be/gUl00MwN9Oc

2. Description: We want to draw your attention to the racist advertisement currently being propagated by Flipkart. The ad carries a boy portrayed as a security guard wearing a belt prominently saying SECURITY along with a Nepali cap with a badge of khukris which denote that he is a Nepali\Gorkhali. Thus a security guard has been depicted as a professional icon of the Nepali community creating a stereo-type affecting all Indian Gorkhalis.

3. Their advertisement makes a mockery of the Gorkha community, and stereotypes us as being Chowkidars with overly exaggerated and highly offensive [which they may consider as being funny] Hindi accent. Stereotyping a community is the most basic forms of racism and by promoting their business using racist stereotyping; Flipkart has shown how insensitive they are and at the same time exposed the hypocrisy of our great nation. While we cry for blood when an Indian is ‘stereotyped and racially abused’ in foreign shores, we tend to silently accept stereotyping as an accepted form of comedy when it is done to the minorities in our own nation. Flipkart has insulted the Gorkhali/Nepali community of India by perpetuating across national media to 1.3 billion Indians that the Khukri bearers are a community representing mere security guards.

4. Sir, the Gorkha community holds esteemed status in the world as immortalized by the words of Late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, MC, Ex-Chief of Indian Army ‘If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or a Gorkha.’ The contributions made by Gorkhali community towards our nation building is unprecedented. In each and every sphere, the Gorkhas have always performed to the best of our abilities and contributed towards making India one of the greatest nations on earth. From Freedom Fighter Sahid Durga Malla whose statue adorns the Parliament grounds, to INA Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri who gave music to iconic INA songs like Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja and also to the current band version of our National Anthem, to Shri Damber Singh Gurung whose role as the member of Constituent Assembly in framing the Constitution of our great nation was highly praised by Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the Gorkhas have provided illustrious luminaries who have led from the front in helping get India Independence and ushering in democracy.

5. Following the promulgation of our constitution, Gorkhas have worked tirelessly in each and every sphere to make a name for themselves and our nation, as reflected in Gorkha icon Shri. Pawan Kumar Chamling the longest serving Chief Minister in India ever. Be it in the form of legendary football player Chandan Singh Rawat representing India in Olympics at the Helsinki (1952), or in the form of iconic Indian National Football Team Captain Shyam Thapa, to the current Indian National Team Captain Sunil Chettri, Olympian and this year’s Khel Ratna awardee Jitu Rai to Arjuna Award awardee Shiva Thapa, from former Indian National Hockey team Captain Bharat Chettri to Ms. Chung Chung Bhutia of the Indian National Women’s Football team,the Gorkhashave excelled in the field of sports. In the form of award winning scientists Dr. Sunita Pradhan and Dr. Sarala Khaling, to the internationally acclaimed Artist Ms. Hemlata Pradhan, to noted social worker recently felicitated by the Hon’ble President of India Ms. Rongu Souriya to Internationally acclaimed author Ms. Jyoti Thapa Mani,the Gorkhali women have made immense contribution towards our nation. In the world of arts and entertainment who doesn’t get mesmerized by the works of National Award winning actress Ms. Gitanjali Thapa, or by the works of India’s top cinematographer Mr. Binod Pradhan or Mr. Nima Namchu the Chief Creative Officer at Havas Worldwide, or by Mr. Danny Denzongpa one of the most illustrious Gorkhali sons in Bollywood. In terms of bravery and patriotism, there is no parallel to Gorkha contributions in keeping our nation safe. If we start listing the name of the Gorkha brave-hearts, it would take us at least 2 years to write them down, suffice it to say the Gorkha Regiment, has, as of today won 6 Theater Honors, 18 Battle Honors, 3 Param Vir Chakras, 5 Ashok Chakras, 28 Maha Vir Chakras, 75 Vir Chakras and numerous other honors and citations. India’s first Field Marshal Gen. Sam “Bahadur” Manekshaw was a Gorkha by creed, and so is India’s current Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag.

6. From academics to entertainment, from sports to defense of our nation, the Gorkhas despite our low numbers have contributed immensely towards nation building. Yet, Flipkart has chosen to show Gorkhas as Chowkidars with funny accent, thus sullying the image of our community.

7. Flipkart uses Gorkha religious and cultural artifact (Bhadgauley Topi/ Gorkha Hat) with Khukuri insignia as part of security personnel Uniform. The advertisement sends out a perception that the cultural Gorkha topi with Khukuri insignia is a part of the security uniform and everyone wearing it is chowkidar.

8. Much like what Pagdai and Kirpan mean to the Sikh community, the Gorkha topi and Khukuri are the biggest religious and cultural symbol for the Gorkhas, and every Gorkha, irrespective of theirstatus in the society - be it a watchman, teacher, sportsperson, or the army takes pride in wearing our topi. To use such articles of immense religious and cultural significance for derogatory advertisement and making a mockery of the accent in which Gorkhalis speak Hindi,is a deliberate act of stereotyping the entire community as only security guards and watchmen who cannot speak Hindi normally, thus establishing our community as either being uneducated or foreigners who cannot speak Hindi properly. Also This is a cheap exploitation of culture and customs for commercial gain and it is utterly offensive and unethical. Most of all, insulting the Khukri which is the sacred weapon of India’s seven Gorkha Regiments (the 1st GR, 3rd GR, 4th GR, 5th GR, 8th GR, 9th GR, 11th GR) as they are deployed in defence operations across the most hostile terrains and situations across India. Even the Chief of Indian Army General Dalbir Singh Suhag wears the khukri on his hat as he belonged to the 5th Gorkha Rifles.

9. We want to understand the intention of Flipkart in using thereligious and cultural symbol of a community to subtly depict the entire Gorkha people in a bad light. How did the ‘creative directors’ of the advertisement even think that the Gorkha Topi and Khukuri is a part of any security uniform? And that Gorkhas can only speak Hindi in a very offensive accent?

10. We have also found out that Flipkart has in an earlier advertisement depicted children with mongoloid features as being beauty parlor workers, while round eyed “Indian” [according to Flipkart norms] looking children as their rich patrons, thus stereotyping the entire NE women as being beauty parlour workers (https://youtu.be/-JpjpiC0ZpI)

11. Given the repeated instances of Racist portrayal of our Gorkha community, as well as racist portrayal of NE communities, we demand that a case of hurting Gorkha religious sentiments under Indian Penal Code section 153(A) and racial discrimination and promotion of racism under Indian Penal Codesection 295 (A) be immediately filed against Flipkart CEO Binny Bansal (Corporate Address - Flipkart Internet Private Limited, Vaishnavi Summit, Ground Floor, 7th Main, 80 Feet Road, 3rd Block, Koramangala Industrial Layout, Bangalore – 560034, Karnataka, India, Ph - 0124-6150000) (Email – ceo@flipkart.com and Virat Tandon CEO, of Mullen Lintasthe Ad agency which created these racist advertisements.

12. In addition, we demand an immediate public apology from Flipkart across various platforms - online, on TV and Print media for hurting the sentiments of over 12.5 million Indian Gorkhas and removal of these highly offensive advertisementsfrom all forms of communications immediately.

Sincerely,
Lt. Col (Retd) Sukul Pradhan
Jyoti Thapa Mani (Author – The Khukri Braves)
Rajen Pandey Chhetry – Gorkha Social Activist
General Secretary - Nepali Sammelan Delhi
President - Gorkha Youth and Students’ Association of India (GYASA)
Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC)
Hamro Swabhimaan Trust
All India Kirati Khambu Rai Association
All Manipur Gorkha Students’ Union (AMGSU)
President – All Manipur Gorkha Students’ Union, Delhi
ARNOVA
D.M College Gorkha Students Union, Manipur
Gorkha Foundation India

Copy To:-
1. Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Minister for Information & Broadcasting
2. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble MoS Development of North East Region, MoS PMO
3. Shri. SS Ahluwalia, Hon’ble MoS Parlimentary Affairs, MoS Farmers Welfare, Member of Parliament Darjeeling
4. Shri. Pawan Kumar Chamling, Hon’ble Chief Minister Govt of Sikkim
5. Shri. Bimal Gurung, Chief, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration
6. General Dalbir Singh, Chief of Army Staff (COAS)
7. Shri. Justice H L Dattu, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission
8. Shri Naseem Ahmed, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities
9. Shri. RP Sharmah, Member of Parliament, Tezpur
10. Shri. PD Rai, Member of Parliament (LS), Sikkim
11. Shri. Hishey Lachungpa, Member of Parliament (RS), Sikkim
12. Shri. Benoy Roychowdhury, Chairman (ASCI)
13. Lt. Gen Shakti Gurung (Retd) – Gorka Kalyan Board, Uttarakhand
14. President, Gorkha Janmukti Students Union, Darjeeling
15. President, All Assam Gorkha Students Union,
16. President, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)
17. President, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP)
18. President, All Manipur Gorkha Students Union
19. President, Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, Darjeeling

20. President, Gorkha National Students Front, Darjeeling

Why The Gorkha Community Is Furious With Two Flipkart Ads

Remember the last Gorkhali character you saw in a Hindi movie? Yes, the same one who played the watchman?

Isn't it problematic that the above sentences could be referring to any Gorkhali character in any Hindi film and would still be factually correct?

It is in common knowledge that mainstream Hindi films and advertisements tend to stereotype Gorkhali people as watchmen.

Indian Gorkha Community Furious With Flipkart Ads
Now, Flipkart has joined the list of offenders by endorsing the mothballed stereotype. The company recently launched 'Assured Flipkart', a campaign that seeks to apprise its customers of their extensive quality checks that "guarantee a superior shopping experience".

If you are familiar with the previous Flipkart ads, you know that they have a bunch of kids backed with adult voiceovers, making simplistic ads seem cute. The two new ads are of the same kind.

In both the ads, two watchmen try to warn the sahebji and the madamji from ordering online because one cannot trust these online portals. To this, the sahebji and the madamji say that with Assured Flipkart, there is ensured and fast delivery of the orders. Of the two watchmen, one is Gorkha and is seen wearing the traditional Bhadgauley Topi, a hat that the Gorkhas wear.

What Flipkart didn't foresee was that these ads would offend the Gorkha community. The portrayal of the watchman was not taken lightly by the community.

A complaint letter submitted to the Delhi Police by the Gorkha Youth and Students' Association of India (GYASA), said, "Their advertisement makes a mockery of the Gorkha community, and stereotypes us as being Chowkidars, with overly exaggerated and highly offensive [which they may consider as being funny] Hindi accent."

It added, "Stereotyping a community is the most basic forms of racism and by promoting their business using racist stereotyping; Flipkart has shown how insensitive they are and at the same time exposed the hypocrisy of our great nation. While we cry for blood when an Indian is 'stereotyped and racially abused' in foreign shores, we tend to silently accept stereotyping as an accepted form of comedy when it is done to the minorities of our own nation."

Speaking to HuffPost India, lawyer and Gorkha Rights Activist, Roshni Rai, said, "I stay in Mumbai and people here refer to watchmen as Gorkha. Many people from the community do not want to disclose their identity because of that. People don't know that there are Nepalis in India. They think if one is Nepali then they must be from Nepal. But we are Indians and proud to be. This kind of advertisements really hurt the sentiment of the community. So, people are filing complaints against Flipkart. We demand an apology from them."

The complaint by GYASA also mentions that the ad shows the kid-watchman wearing the Bhadgauley Topi or the Gorkha Hat with Khukuri insignia indicating that it is part of a security personnel's uniform.

Speaking to HuffPost India, Dinesh Sharma from GYASA said, "What I found personally very offensive is that a cultural artefact of my community has been used to portray that this is what watchmen's uniforms are. Like a Kirpan for the Sikh community, no one can depict the topi so derogatorily. It is very demeaning. Gorkhas have a history of defending he country. When you show that this hat in TV and pop culture as something that security guards wear, it is demeaning. This hat is our pride. We give this to dignitaries. It holds high value in my community. I would have laughed at a caricature of a Gorkha person because I don't object to the portrayal of members of my community wearing the security uniform. This is the premise of our protest."

The complaint letter also mentioned a previous ad by Flipkart that "depicted children with mongoloid features as being beauty parlor workers, while round eyed "Indian" [according to Flipkart norms] looking children as their rich patrons, thus stereotyping the entire NE women as being beauty parlour workers."


In addition to an apology, GYASA has filed a complaint against Flipkart with Delhi Police and the complaint has been handed over to the Nodal Officer for Northeast.

Why I Don't Agree with Flipkart Advertisement and will Protest?

By Dinesh Sharma

The recent advertisement by ‪#‎Flipkart‬ has drawn a new debate within the Gorkha community and the Northeast region at large. This is not the first time that Flipkart has indulged people with a subtly racist message in their advertisement. A previous ad by the same company has some NE lookalikes as massage and beauty parlor attendants. So, when I say I protest, it is not for this one ad, but the continuous trend of negative stereotype of the Gorkhas and the NE region portrayed in Indian popular media.

Many amongst my own circle of friend see nothing wrong with the ad. they question my progressiveness and broad mindedness when I say that such ads should not be encouraged. I am often accused of letting my emotions rule over practicality. That, I have no 'sense of humor' and I lack the basic progressiveness of the 21st century.

Okay, I accept and be it so. But, let me state my position clear.
A journalist friend asked me "Gorkhas have been depicted like this in popular media for a long time now. Why this protest now?"

Perhaps the very reason that we never complained about such negative stereotyping, today we see this trend of ridiculing and stereotyping culture and people. Nobody actually bothered to think about the deep repercussions such negative portrayal will bear on our today and future. Such popular media gimmick creates the impression that someone donning the ‘Bhadgaule’ hat or ‘khukri’ is a security guy, watchmen, or a domestic help.

This topi and Khukuri is something very important to my identity as a Gorkha and a cultural artifact which we proudly wear. Be it politicians, sportspersons, intellectuals, or a common man, we all take pride in wearing a Gorkha topi. It holds a cultural significance to us and we also gift the topi as a token of love and appreciation to guests in our villages, festivals, and social gatherings.

Now when these media start portraying that Topi and Khukuri are for security guys, it is a personal insult to me. This is clearly demeaning and the negative stereotyping is a wilful malice intentionally directed against us. Would these ads dare to use a 'Kirpan' or 'pagdee' as something for security? No, because their arse will burn and they know it.

When a world-class company shows this level of cultural illiteracy, it is pertinent to question their achievements and success level. They may be financial giants, but they seem to lack those basic human values of RESPECT and DIGNITY which are the pillars of any civilized world.

I protest this ad because if I don't do it today, I will lose the pride of wearing my Topi tomorrow or talking about the amazing Khukuri.

I understand that there are thousands of Gorkhas working a dignified life working as Security and domestic help around this country. I also know many more Gorkhas who are leading this nation in sports, academics, defence, art, and culture. Would you treat them as security guards when they wear their cultural artefact?

If I don’t protest, the kids will forget all our achievements and contributions to the nation saying we are all security guards and watchmen

If I don’t protest, my community stands at the risk of being labelled as security and the funnily accented Chinese momo and chowmein.

If I don't protest, they will trample all our achievements in military, Sports, art, and culture and bring it down to the level of heavily accented "Saabji, bolo Saabji"

If I don’t protest these popular media will trivialize my proud cultural heritage, and our history saying we are nothing but watchmen and guards.


Sources GYASA and huffingtonpost 


 
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