Why will Brahmins file a defamation case against Justice Katju

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Cracking jokes in India

Why will Brahmins file a defamation case against Justice Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju

Cracking jokes publicly or on the social media is dangerous in India, as most Indians have little or no sense of humour, and most have a short fuse.

I first realised this when I said on Facebook many years ago in lighter vein that since Pakistanis want Kashmir, we should offer it to them on the condition that they take Bihar along with it too.

Anyone with even a little common sense could understand that this statement was a joke. After all, who was I, a retired person, to offer Bihar to Pakistan ? And could it be offered at all ?

But no. It was taken seriously, and treated as a great insult to Bihar. A big hue and cry was raised against me by many Biharis. Processions were taken out against me in many cities in Bihar, in which my portraits were blackened, and my effigies burnt, and maybe if I had been present in Bihar I may have been burnt too.

Not to be left behind, the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, that trapeze artist who keeps swinging from party to party, depending on which way the political wind was blowing, condemned me for insulting the 'gauravshaali itihaas' of Bihar.

An FIR making a sedition charge against me was filed by a JDU leader of Bihar

Ultimately I decided to apologise to Biharis (for cracking a joke).

After this incident, some Odias asked me to write something about Odisha.

Consequently, I wrote this on my Facebook page :

''I was asked to write about the Oriyas ( Odias ).

What is there to write about these poor chaps ?

Ever since they got a thrashing at the hands of Emperor Ashoka in the battle of Kalinga they have been a dejected lot.

Now all they have with them are a lot of pots ( Patras ), big pots ( Mahapatras ), and supposedly intelligent kings ( Patnaiks ) .

And of course they have Lord Jaggannath, to whom they pray every day for revenge on the abominable Biharis

Hari Om


Odias, this is just a joke, so dont file a case against me ''.

This time I specifically mentioned at the end of my post that this was just a joke, so that a defamation case is not filed against me.

But again there was a hue and cry, this time by Odias, for being 'insulted'.

Some Odia youth of Delhi came to my Noida flat and gave me a 'get well' card.
Again I apologised

Some other jokes I cracked on many Indian communities are given here :

Another example is of a joke I cracked about Chaturvedis. Chaturvedis claim to be Brahmins, but traditionally a Chaturvedi boy can only marry a Chaturvedi girl. Other Brahmins of North India e.g. Shukla, Mishra, Dwivedi, Trivedi, Pandey, Vajpayi, etc do not marry a Chaturvedi.

So I cracked a joke that Chaturvedis are not Brahmins at all, but are Greeks, descended from the soldiers of the Greek army of Alexander the Great, who invaded India in 326 B.C.

This created a furore among Chaturvedis all over India who were very upset, and I had to apologise to them, clarifying that I was only joking.

Mimicry byKalyan Banerji, Member of Parliament of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of the Indian Parliament) Jagdeep Dhankhar, has resulted in a criminal case registered against him, cartoon of Mamata Banerji by Prof Ambikesh Mahapatra of Jadavpur University resulted in his arrest, as was cartoons by cartoonist Asim Trivedi.

And here is a joke about Jats
To conclude, let me tell this joke on myself.

I am a Brahmin, and I once said ''Brahman 60 saal tak ponga rehta hai, aur uske baad sathiya jaata hai '' i.e. 'A Brahman is a fool till 60, after which he becomes senile ''.

Those Brahmins who have no sense of humour will surely file a defamation case against me. My defence will be that since I am 78, I am senile, hence non-compos mentis!

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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