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'Monkey Isn't Even A Racist Term In Our Cultural Context'

'Calling someone a monkey is much kinder than the mother-sister variety of incestuous expletives Indians casually use'

'Monkey Isn't Even A Racist Term In Our Cultural Context'
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-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
N. Ram Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu
Mike Procter's report should be made public because prima facie it (three-match ban on Harbhajan Singh) seems a biased verdict. He has strictly taken one team's word against the other's. However, Bhajji did wave his finger and he may have provoked Andrew Symonds. Both Sreesanth and Bhajji must be censured because they are aggressive in the middle. And if Bhajji indeed called Symonds a monkey, then it was a racial abuse. Why pick on Symonds who has brown skin and long hair, why not Ponting? Also it appears that the Sydney Test was a balance of incompetent umpiring and hyper-gamesmanship by the Aussies. While there were some questionable decisions against them, there were more against India. Ricky Ponting failed to lead the team in the manner of his predecessors, someone like Mark Taylor, for instance, who were exemplary. But I don't think India should come back if the final decision goes against Bhajji. I've seen the display of jingoism on TV and this should not happen. Unpleasant cricket was played by both sides.

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Cho Ramaswamy Editor, Tughlaq
One should not be surprised by Steve Bucknor's umpiring. Perhaps he has lost the sharpness of eye and ear. That said, Bhajji's behaviour has always been atrocious— when he takes a wicket it's better to turn away from the TV than witness his indecent gloating. The Aussies are obnoxious on the field. But should we emulate them? I feel the ban on Bhajji was wrong. Besides, calling someone a monkey in the Indian cultural context is not racist.

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Dipankar Gupta Social scientist
Harbhajan say it or not? Even if he did, monkey is not a racist term here. Calling someone a monkey is much kinder than the mother-sister variety of incestuous expletives Indians casually use. Sports columnist Peter Roebuck said that Ponting is leading a team that is a pack of wild dogs. Is that racist?

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Arun Jaitley Senior BJP leader
Overwhelming circumstances indicate that Harbhajan did not make a racist comment. Indians generally have an ethos against racism. However, the electronic media has blown things out of proportion. The controversy won't affect cricket.

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Bal Thackeray
Shiv Sena chief Team India should not take any insults from Cricket Australia. It's a question of India's honour. Umpire Steve Bucknor was blatantly biased.

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S.P. Balasubramaniam Playback singer
I do acknowledge that there is a human error element in umpiring. But in the Sydney Test 6-7 umpiring decisions went against India. The match was played in bad spirit. But the Indian team should not call off the tour. We should go on and prove we are winners.
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