Protests are as common in India as the ‘Singh’ surname in the national hockey team.
On the face of it, it’s one indicator of a free society where every citizen can get his voice heard. But agitations like the recent one against a film crew for recreating parts of Chandigarh to look like a Pakistani city seem to create an impression of misplaced priorities (and some would say too much free time for the protesters).
Hindu radicals decried the Pakistan link; and not to be left out, a Muslim umbrella body said the movie about the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden showed their religion in a bad light.
Apart from Pakistan and religion, one also has to be careful in making public comments on topics which touch on caste, class, ethnicity, geography and gender.
The straight-talking and self-professed forward-looking chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Mamta Sharma, discovered the gender minefield when she said at a seminar that girls should not be offended if someone calls them ‘sexy’.