Shilpa Shetty, British Raj, Indian Psyche and Nepali Case

shilpa shetty big brother

Big Double Standard: Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty in British TV program Big Brother. Many Indians and the actress feel she was a victim of racism in the program. But do they know that given the opportunity Indians show big brotherly attitude to their small neighbors. BTW, if anyone feels I am anti-Indian after reading this blog, here is a pre-emptive clarification: I love Bollywood, I love Sachin Tendulkar, I love Hindi songs. [Guardian on Shilpa case]

This is more about WHO said what to whom then actually WHAT was said. The fact is that Indians were under British imperialism until 60 years ago. They fought hard for the freedom and they feel proud to have defeated the British raj. Even after six decades, freedom (ajadi) is one of the most talked about topic in Indian cultural, political and social scenario. Indians are never tired of comparing themselves with the growing Chinese economic rise and, as they are also having impressive economic growth, they are dreaming of being another engrej, at least in the region. They want to be in parallel with the English. Why do they rally behind the takeover bid of Laxmi Mittal? Because they see their own aspiration to be global in his efforts.

When an Indian goes to an English television channel and receives insult from the formerly gora saheb, the Indian pride of being free from the imperialism gets injured deeply. Indians have this inferiority complex and that feeling gets infatuated even by remarks of a 20 something Engregi gori who was stripped of the beauty pageant crown she won. Coincidently, the crown was passed to her closest competitor in the Miss Great Britain pageant with an Indian name. The question is: Would the Indian reaction be same if the bullying had come from an Ethiopian or Nepali in the program [in Ethiopian or Nepali TV]? No. Why? Have you seen American public vandalizing properties in Washington D.C. or in New York just because someone in Nepal says he hates the USA? That is why I strongly feel it’s about WHO said rather than WHAT was said.

While creating hue and cry on alleged racist behavior faced by them (Shilpa is merely a representative of Indian psyche) from English, Indians easily forget that, given opportunity, they demonstrate their big brotherly attitude to citizens from small countries like Nepal. Nepal and Nepalis are presented in bad taste in Indian films and books which is not in any different than any racist remarks. Interestingly and unfortunately, the Nepali reaction to such Indian big brotherly attitude is just as same and immature as Indian reaction to English bullying. Oh… how seriously we take any statements, said or unsaid, of Indian actors or any Indians for that matter, about Nepal and don’t hesitate destroying our own national property and killing ourselves while protesting. Remember the unfortunate Hritik Roshan episode a few years ago in which we organized several days of bandas and crippled daily lives of Nepali urban area while protesting what the Bollywood actor allegedly said about Nepal? Later, after property worth billions of Rupees was destroyed and an innocent 9-year-old girl was killed, we discovered that the actor in question never made any such remarks (“I hate Nepal”). What the hell even if he says he hates us? But our inferiority complex infatuated and we went on rampage. Even the government reacted and banned Hritik Roshan movies in Nepal.

I want to end my remarks with these lines from today’s editorial in Times of India: “The racist remarks against actor Shilpa Shetty are repungant and a justifiable cause for outrage amongst the Indian community in Britain. However, there is absolutely no reason for the Indian government to be required to respond…The insults hurled at Shilpa may well reflect a larger problem of racism in British society but should be tackled at the level of public opinion. Social issues can be debated in media; essays can be written about the status of the Indian community in Britain; the film industry in India can express concern over the abuse of one of their won. The government, however, should have no role to play.”

The only thing, I feel, the paper forget to add is this: such remarks don’t even deserve attention from the Indian public and shouldn’t have been dignified by creating waves of protest.


Published by Dinesh Wagle

Dinesh Wagle is a Nepali citizen, a blogger and a political analyst. More on

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  1. i COMPLETELY disagree with you….!!!!!!!!!!!!

    it WAS racist remark……and she DID not deserve it..!!!!!….that remark basically shows that racism still exists !!i do not,by any means,want to admonish you OR your ever so touching article,but i just wanted to say u seem to be sayn that what was said to her was justified,when it definately wasnt.


  2. U SEEM to have sumthing against indians…….i mean uve justified against this by saying you like sachin…….a little lame …fer such a provocative article…..this article was discussing about shilpa shetty & big brother…..havnt u deviated???….uve talked about everything from our economy to our freedom struggle…amongst other things…..i do not mean to say that you’re article wasnt right in a way…but maybe you shoudnt let you’re problems with india resurface so much in this article…i think that would make a more suitable article….


  3. Well achita, I have nothing against Indians actually. Yea, I was discussing about Shilpa Shetty and racial comments against her in the Big Brother program. What I have tried to say is that the huge uproar that was created in India against those insults was not necessary. Plus, it was more about What was said than Who said that. If similar comments were made by a Malaysian, then that wouldn’t have the same impact. And that is because Indians, I feel, still have this feeling of inferiority complex when it comes to dealing with their former colonizers. Something similar could be drawn in to our own context as well. We Nepali people become somewhat skeptical about the Indian establishment when it comes to certain issues. We feel India is behaving like a big brother in the region, disregarding the feelings and sentiments of the people of smaller neighbors etc. Thanks for your comments.


  4. In a chinese restaurant in Amsterdam a black man entered and was asked to pay for his soup before eating. I was not asked to pay for soup and noodle. Another black man said I already paid, then the man got his soup and said I am not eating this bad soup.
    And I felft obliged to say I would have done the same in his position. So this chinese owners decided whites pay and blacks don’t like, in between a beggar entered and ate that free soup so he got lucky.
    this really happened. So muchfor trusting customers.


  5. i dnt agree vd at all….even i m nt a racist… i dnt hav a problm vd ny1…b it british\us\pakistan\ or ny other country,… n i still feel dat wat was said and how it was said was wrong.. n buddy ur article shows dat u urself dnt like India…or hav som problem vd it… before COMPLAINING or jus making a REMARK over nything jus check urself first…..many people vll find wat wrote offensive…becos..i dnt knw abt u..but v value our customs, our culture n our history a lot….


  6. it WAS racist remark……and she DID not deserve it..!!!!!….that remark basically shows that racism still exists !!i do not,by any means,want to admonish you OR your ever so touching article,but i just wanted to say u seem to be sayn that what was said to her was justified,when it definately wasnt.

    poda natharingala….poye yethavathu polappa paruda bemani….


  7. i thnk shilapa was lucky to win such competition and rise in world after that bitch screemed upon her. she became the figure of pity from world, mainly India and Nepal. thus she won!! good for her.

    i heard now her fee per cinema has also rose by 1 crore. she was not established before and was satisfied in monor and unnoticed roles. but now rose to top ranked actress.

    Ye sab daibaki lila hai dosto. picture abhi banki hai!!!!


  8. I think his observations are correct to an extent. If a Nepali has said such a thing to Shilpa, the level of outrage in India would have been much less.
    But its not because of any inferiority complex vis-a-vis Britishers, but more so becuase of their (Britishers)arrogance and perceived supperiority complex. Its human nature to feel offended by somebody’s arrogance especially when its hurting you.


  9. I am just trying to draw a parallel here between racism and potholes. Nobody likes potholes but the truth is, they exist. You just try your best to avoid them but you may not always be successful. Nobody likes the jolting experience of driving over potholes but you just have to learn to live with them. Racism exists, its ugly and nobody likes it but we just have to learn to live with it. Try to avoid racists and if you are unfortunate enough to encounter one, IGNORE them and their remarks.

    The mind of a racist is diseased and they are no different from the mind of a criminal. The racists of this world need medical attention.

    However I would also like to add that not just racism but all forms of discrimination is detestable. Forget about what a foreigner says or thinks about us, how do we treat our own fellow Indians? Does a south Indian like a north Indian or vice versa? Don’t we all hate it when people from other states come and take our jobs? Don’t the Tamilians and the Karnataka people hate each other over the Cauvery river problem?

    When we can’t live peacefully with our own brothers and when we don’t have good things to say about our own brothers, how then can we expect a foreigner to say good things about us and treat us right. Therefore the real problem is not about how the Americans or the British treat Indians but HOW DO THE INDIANS TREAT INDIANS.

    I plead of you my fellow Indians to first treat our Indian brothers right and stop freaking out about how some stranger treated an Indian. The stranger (Racial people of the western world) does not know us and what they do is out of ignorance and we can hope that some day they will not be so ignorant anymore. It really grieves me to see brothers fighting among themselves and hating each other. I assure you my fellow Indians that if we all stand united, the bully will flee. The bully looks tough but he is not and he does what he does not out of strength but out of fear.


  10. Yeah, unfortunate but the truth is ‘media made it big’. If it were not for the racism-issue, ‘Big Brother’ wouldn’t even get noticed… certainly, it hurts to be dominated but then i agree with the writer that “This is more about WHO said what to whom then actually WHAT was said.”

    About the Hrithik Roshan case, I remember I was in school then. And before it happened, I was a huge fan of him. At the very day, when we got to hear the remark of the actor about Nepal, I along with my little brother collected all the posters, postcards and whatever we had with Hrithik’s name and picture, and fired them on your rooftop. We enjoyed doing that…. but then now when I and my friends openly say that we hate USA, or Indians, we don’t feel a pinch of guilt… this is it. And unless you have a belief upon yourself, even positive remarks appear to be sarcastic.


  11. I don’t think it is right to judge an entire nation by the actions or words of a few of its people. Every nation has its share of rotten apples. You may hate Hrithik Roshan for what he said but It is simply not logical to hate India for what Hrithik said. He does not represent the views of the Indian people.


  12. The person who posted this article is an ASSHOLE – he obviously has self-hate issues as an Indian… as he has issues with wealthy Indians like Lakshmi Mittal. Well I for one am very proud of Mr. Mittal… he is the richest man and he refuses to be British – haha.. the guy still has his indian passport and there is nothing the UK can do about it. They cannot ask him to leave the country – he has had to deal with Racism here as well.. but you know what there is nothing you can say to his face. This is the POWER of money…

    The tables have turned now… 60 years ago Britain looted and plundered India – in a barbaric way… now Indians and other minority groups are looting and plundering the UK – in a far more CIVILIZED and intelligent way than the Brits ever did. Back then (and even now) the Briitsh were thieves – stealing everything from all over the world where they went – now they are Beggers… begging foreigners to move to UK and begging wealthy foreigners to invest here.. so their horrible economy can stay alive.

    There is nothing wrong with Shilpa or the majority of Indians – we are peaceful, calm, and DECENT people… the British on the other hand have always been AGGRESSIVE, hateful, horrible people – the world knows it and its no bloody secret..

    I also don’t think the original poster of this article is even Indian – since he spells “engrej” and uses other words like “Gora” “gori” in a context no indian would ever use… and sounds like an undercover brit posting it. But neverthless if it is really an Indian posting this article – then he is probably fighting racism in UK himself and trying very hard to “Justify” the reasons why it exists.

    As far as I am concerned – there is absolutely no racism in India – the day Britian has a Black or Indian prime minister then come talk to me about racism… India had a female prime minister 40 yrs ago… India had a Scheduled Caste President 20 years ago…. and now we have a Female President and a Sikh Prime Minister.. and the most powerful woman in India is an Italian – the 2nd most powerful Woman in India is a DALIT (an untouchable) – Madame Mayawati, Chief Minister of UP… So where are you pointing fingers at Indians being racist? There is no comparison – racism in the UK and racism in India are completely different… in the UK – MAJORITY of whites are racist, insecure dogs… in India only a FEW people are racist.. its impossble to be racist in such a diverse country like India… but yes there are a lot of Elitists in India – and I am an elitist as well… I hate poor indians like the guy who posted this article making fun of his own people and bashing them publicly to overcome his own bloody inferiority complex. I for an Indian am very proud of who I am….. proud of my rich heritage and proud of my country’s future which is getting better and better. Stop insulting and hating india – rather look up to where we are going – the world needs India more today than India needs the world. You are a typical self-hating probably dark skinned Indian who blames his misfortunes on his skin color in india – well look at Mittal.. he is no snow white and if he can become the richest Indian in the world.. then you need to shut up and stick a white dick up your ass to feel happy about yourself.


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