sdavmor suggested there was a vast difference between Harbhajan's non-
lbw and Ian Bell's recall. And I agree, but it got me thinking.
Harbhajan was excoriated for reportedly calling Symonds a monkey.
Branded a racist, probably one of the worst tags to pin on a man
today. I for one believe he probably did use the "M" word (my issue
was that the burden of proof was not met, but thats not the subject of
this essay), and that if he did, it either was the traditional Indian
curse "maa ki" or done deliberately to get under Symonds' skin. But I
don't believe it was racist. In the context of India, monkey isn't
Cue, bazillions of articles, including one from jz (just remember this
one) that racism is defined by the culture of the recipient not the
broadcaster -- fair enough.
Fast forward to 2011 when Hussain called the Indian team a bunch of
donkeys or some such. Now, not for a moment do I believe Hussain was
being racist, that he was referring to the slow-footed Indian
But, in India *donkey* is a pretty severe insult. To be called a
donkey in India, is to be called extremely stupid, lazy, shiftless and
lacking in all social graces to boot (the fact that donkeys are
intelligent and hard working is irrelevant). It is not a pleasant
thing -- reserved by Indian teachers for the back benchers who are the
bottom 5% of the academic ladder. It stings deep into the Indian
Again, I know his intention was not to say anything like that, but one
could argue (on far far stronger ground than one could for Harbhajan)
that Hussain would be quite aware of the cultural significance of his
So, just wondering when the Harbhajan-hammerer's would apply the same
standard to this case. Or is it only the case that you would be
offended if the slur is one *you* find offensive, but ignore those
that other recepients would? That you would offer Hussain
forgiveness, but not Harbhajan, because you know Hussain's context is
not racist, and ignore all suggestions that in Harbhajan's context .
That somehow Harbhajan's offense is worse because it was against one
man, and Hussain's against some unnamed members (worse, IMO, because
it slurs the whole team -- think how someone like Laxman, a man who
was well on his way to becoming a doctor had he not convinced his
parents to let him try cricket for a year, and plans to continue his
medical studies, would feel about being called a donkey, given the
The post will probably bring out all the loonies who will scream about
racist Aussies / English -- I request you to ignore those, and focus
on this topic.