Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Who is to blame, Bangalore?

"Bangalore is not what it used to be anymore."

I have been seeing this statement over and over again on my news feed over the past few days. Everyone is expressing outrage over the horrors of the New Year's Eve incident at MG Road. Several women were molested, harassed, and groped by an unruly mob, that could not be controlled, despite 1,500 police personnel patrolling the road that night.

Just when the city was recovering from this grotesque incident, another equally disturbing one came to light. Following the ghastly New Year's Eve debacle at MG Road, a woman was molested and assaulted by two men on a scooter just few hours into the new year. As she resisted and fought back, a group of bystanders witnessed this incident in silence until the perpetrators threw her on the road and left.

Image Courtesy: Newscrunch

I have somehow immersed myself in reading dozens of the news articles around these incidents (clickbait, did you say?) - because, yes, it does outrage me; but mostly, it befuddles me.

There are three main perspectives of the several online keyboard warriors out there. Many of these are also shared by everyday people in my life:

1. "She was out late at night. WHAT was she expecting?"
Ah, classic victim blaming; always takes the number one spot. The opinion that the women were responsible for what happened to them is the most popular one on social media. Their clothing, their drinking, the fact that they were out late at night, their audacity to be on the roads on new year's eve with all the men seems all worthy of molestation. Strengthening this opinion is the endorsement of our ministers like Abu Azmi and G. Parameshwara who have conveniently blamed "women in western clothing" for the mob molestation.

2. "It's not ALL men. It's SOME men."
It astounds me on how many men have hijacked this colossal issue on harassment and made it about themselves. Every time any woman has even tried to talk about this issue, there is always a man who has swooped in and announced how HE hasn't raped/harassed a woman, so they should not all be branded as molesters. It flummoxes me how male ego and fragile masculinity has been prioritized over cases of actual sexual harassment and assault. How the argument by these educated, aware, and articulate men online has been over a case of semantics than calling out their gender on disrespecting women.
I guess we're supposed to be handing out awards to those men who don't harass a woman now. What an achievement. Woot!

3. "Bangalore is filled with outsiders now. Real Kannadigas will never do this."
Are you a real Bangalorean? Because apparently, real Bangaloreans don't harass women. Only outsiders do. I genuinely don't know what either of those terms mean but akin to our #NotAllMen scenario, this has also hijacked the issue to make it about the goddamn place where the molesters are from, because you see, that is of utmost importance.

Most of the top comments on the articles and opinions shared by people have revolved around these three perspectives. It's incredible how people have completely missed the real issue: that a mob of men have molested several women and gotten away with it successfully despite evidence and eye witness accounts. That these men didn't care about how they attacked a woman. That these men felt entitled to touch a woman's body without her consent. That these men took advantage of a woman in a crowd. That these men were fearless and molested women in the presence of police personnel.

How is it that these concerns have taken a backseat while petty issues like where the molester is from is a topic of discussion? Why is there no shame to be taken in these men having committed such a horrendous crime but shame in our women being out late at night?

The conversations need to change. 

I read Rega Jha's article on Buzzfeed about how we aren't raising our sons right and are endangering our women in the process. That piece struck a chord with me.

A child in India grows up watching Bollywood movies that romanticizes stalking women. They grow up watching shows and movies where women in revealing outfits are considered to be immoral and of 'loose' character. They grow up watching a taxi rape news report on TV and listening to their parents chide the woman for being out late. They grow up watching ministers and people in positions of power blaming women under the influence of western culture and alcohol for being molested. They grow up being told that they shouldn't 'involve' themselves if they witness a case of sexual harassment in public. They grow up in a toxic culture that chastises women for exercising the same liberty that men do.

When they grow up consuming all of this, they tend to align their thoughts similarly. Sure, they might not actually be rapists or molesters, but being raised in a patriarchal environment instils a lack of empathy and sensitivity towards gender issues - more importantly, it conditions them to view sexual harassment and assault as something that women primarily need to be responsible for.

We are all products of our environment. We tend to imbibe what we see and absorb it without questioning when we are younger. Which is why it's imperative that we have these conversations with our children.

All hope isn't lost though. There have been several men and women calling out the ministers and the trolls online to place the blame where it belongs - on the perpetrators. Some men have asked me how they can be allies. Some men have told me how articles on harassment and reading accounts of women have enlightened them and sensitized them to what they're facing.

Things are changing, for the best. Not at the pace I would want it to, truly, but they are. We need to fight this battle together.

Just pick your side wisely.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Not a good enough Alibi

We were having one of those Saturday nights, where we had a big group of people (from the Quora meetup) who decided to get out for a drink with last minute plans. As expected, we didn't really get a table in most bars and since we were a big group, we were desperate for a bar that seated us. Walking down Church Street, a friend spotted Alibi, the restobar and it seemed like they had a few tables that would accommodate a large group. My friends and I had a decent time for about the first two hours talking, eating, drinking and laughing.

While we were about to leave, and I was standing next to my table discussing with my friends about our cab options, I felt this guy's hand brush against my behind as he walked out. Startled, I wheeled around, and saw him walk off nonchalantly like nothing happened. I wasn't entirely sure whether his brush was accidental (because it was a narrow space between two tables that I was standing in) or intentional. Since he had already left, I didn't mull over it too much and ignored it (stupid, I know).

And while I was continuing to talk to my friends, this man returned only to grope my butt. I felt it this time, and it was no accidental brush. I caught him immediately and asked him what he thought he was doing. In response, he simply smirked. Infuriated, I got into an argument with him, only to be interrupted by his best friend who seemed even angrier because I falsely accused his friend of molesting me.

Seriously, WHY would I want to make this stuff up? Does anyone out there think women enjoy making a scene and involving multiple people in telling them how we were felt up?

The friend kept getting extremely defensive with every dialogue he spewed and began to yell, to which of course, I also felt an appropriate amount of yelling on my part was required. No one is going to tell me to shut up when someone violates my space.

Meanwhile, the molester is watching the argument between his friend and me spin out of control and stands as mute witness to the spectacle.

The head waiter, Sam (or so he claims his name was), steps in and hears both sides of the argument. He then proceeds to politely ask the molester to pay his bill and leave. When I protest at this extremely kind treatment meted out to the molester, Sam the head waiter starts bellowing at me, asks me to get out, and even threatens me by saying that he will make things worse for me. I asked him what he meant by that, and I said I was ready to go to the police. That's when he pretty much told me to get out. In the meanwhile the molester has conveniently slipped away and I was too engrossed in my conversation with the staff to notice. This happens while Sam is yelling the hell out of me - he literally gets 3 inches close to my face and his body language suggested that he might physically strike me at any moment. The Manager of Alibi then steps in, and then he starts yelling at me (it seems to be Alibi staff policy now) and says that I should have expected this because I was "dancing". He also explicitly stated that it wasn't the molester's fault. Pretty much all the Alibi staff members got together and started yelling at me and my friends raising a clamour, while the molester was treated as a gentleman till the time he left.

So let's get this straight, someone assaults me. I fight back. Management interferes, starts to blame me for what happens to me, tells me that it's not the guy's fault. Not just this, the management then misbehaves with me, while constantly bellowing at me because I was "creating a scene" and was "taking it too personally", and asked me to leave immediately. I was kicked out of Alibi by the waiters and management because I was molested by a man who happened to slip away while they were vociferously indulging in victim shaming. He got away scot-free and is likely to repeat it again because even when a woman did question him, he realized that everyone was going to blame the victim instead and it will be far easier for him to escape it. I, the victim, got treated like a criminal while the management treated the molester as a gentleman. Does that even make sense?

The behaviour doled out to me and my friends by the management was reprehensible. Victim blaming is such a real and common thing, and it happens so often that we have become indifferent towards it. The management was obviously trying desperately to protect their reputation and wanted to get me out of there. But the fact that they had the manager vehemently believing that my dancing was a cause of the molester's vile behaviour and with one of the waiters screaming in my face because I demanded justice was deplorable.

I walked away, in absolute disgust. We have discussions, we rally at protests, we teach men to respect women, we ask women to never suffer in silence and make some noise, and when we do, this is what happens. It was simply far easier to take the side of the molester and blame it on the victim for her clothes, for being at a bar, for being out late at night, or in this case, dancing (seriously, at best case I was just 'moving' a bit. And I haven't seen anyone ever at a bar standing or sitting in attention position throughout their stay there while the music is playing).

If "dancing" is against the rules, so is sexual assault! Why are we continuing to defend such heinous acts? Why do we try to shut the women who do speak up? Why do we transfer the blame to the victim?

I feel violated. Disgusted. Cheated. And I shouldn't be. But I am. Millions of women go through far worse situations everyday and when we stand up for ourselves, this is what we get treated with.

So dear women of Bangalore, you must already be doing this for good reason, but just in case you do plan to visit Alibi, I suggest otherwise. If anything does happen to you here, be rest assured that the Alibi management will yell at you, get in your face and tell you that it's your fault (they might threaten to make things worse for you as well). And oh, the perpetrator will be let off no questions asked as long as they pay their bill. *applause*

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On clothing and respect

Dear Mom who's biting her tongue,

This open letter to you is simply a response to the appalling blog post that you published on your web site a few hours back. Yes, the blog post where you so kindly expressed your disgust over the fact that a teenage girl chose to wore short shorts to Starbucks.

First off, I a̶m̶ was a huge fan of yours. I find you incredibly fun and wonderfully real. Which is why writing this is tougher than I thought it would be. In your latest post quite admirably titled "Dear teenage girl who’s wearing hooker shorts", you say quite a few things. And some things that are uncalled for. And some things that are outright WRONG. Yes, wrong. Because you, like millions of people in this world chose to slut shame a young girl, a teenager, for her choice of clothing.

Imagine my absolute shock when I read this bit of your post - "Yup, somewhere in Utah there’s a boy who’s mentally undressing a girl who’s wearing a floor-length flannel dress with an ugly braid in her hair. All you’re doing by wearing less clothing is making teenage boys work less and training them to be lazy."

Are you serious?

Teenage girls choosing to wear what they want makes boys work less? Is that the best defense you have? Do you think the ONLY reason teenage girls wear shorts is to earn attention from boys? Do you remember being a teenager? Did you forget all those times you wore shorts because damn, it was a hot day? Because it was comfortable? Do you remember wearing tank tops? Do you think every time women wear something, it has to be for a guy? Did you forget she could choose to dress simply for herself?

And you say dressing in shorts makes boys lazy. And he isn't going to work for it. Enlighten me, what is your point here? That a boy is going to respect you more if your legs are covered up? That girls who show more skin are less worthy of respect purely based on their clothing? Is that the actual message you want to send out to girls (and their mothers) everywhere? And I'm curious, do boys actually respect you more if you're covered from head-to-toe? If how it holds is that the amount of clothing is equivalent to respect, I think we all missed the bus on that one.

It may have also escaped your notice, but girls don't exist to be an object of male attention. You can't jump in and say that the only reason a girl wore a particular outfit was to attract a boy's interest. You're a woman, haven't you dressed several times only for your sake and comfort and not for someone else's? And this was at Starbucks, a coffee shop. She has every right to be comfortable in her outfit. Why police it?

Even if the girl chooses to be sexually promiscuous or show off her legs to get attention from boys, it's none of your business. We shouldn't be shaming girls for the choices they make. I thought women were uniting worldwide in getting people to stop slut shaming, not blame clothing for rape, etc., but you seem to be doing a fine job yourself in choosing to be judgmental over a pair of shorts.

Wearing short shorts does not mean someone is a hooker, and she definitely didn't deserve that name from you. What can you tell when you see someone wearing shorts (man or woman)? That it's hot and they felt like wearing it. Literally, that's it. I didn't think glancing at a teenage girl's clothing was sufficient enough to cast aspersions on her morality.

WHY are you sexualizing women's bodies so much? The media does it enough for us. Some stupid politicians do it for us. Weird rapping music stars do it for us. You're a woman so many look up to and respect in the social media scene and yet, you chose to shame a girl for her choices.

To top it off, this is the description you used to post it on Facebook:

Source: Official Facebook page of Baby Sideburns

Skanky slutbag. Wow. I'm younger than you and have probably never heard that phrase in my life but kudos to you for calling a teenage girl that on your Facebook page with nearly 200K followers.

What a girl chooses to wear is her business. Not yours, not mine. But hers alone. If her clothing bothered you so much, you should have just looked away. But you decided to write a blog post about how judgmental you are on a teenager's clothing.

The world isn't safe for girls, I agree. But what you're effectively communicating with this blog post is that a woman who wears less clothes isn't worthy of respect, isn't worthy of a man, and this might loosely translate into "Rape is caused when women dress provocatively". Not for you, not for me, but for someone else, it might.

The message shouldn't be "Cover yourself up". The message should be "Respect everyone equally". The more you propagate the former message, the more you let your kids and people around you believe that women's clothing is linked to morality, to promiscuity, to rapes and ultimately make them believe that women bring this upon themselves because of the clothes they wear.

You're witty, you're smart, you're beautiful. But don't choose to shame anyone for their choices in clothing (or anything for that matter). I can't remember the last time a teenage boy was shamed for wearing his pants too low but the comments on your FB thread clearly show how many people condemn a teenage girl for wearing shorts.

Shaming someone for their choices is never alright. Always, always remember that. And, while you're at that, maybe you could stand up for more women. We could do with some more solidarity.

A 25-year-old who loves to wear shorts and will wear them as long as she has legs.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye, 2013. Hello, 2014!

2013 comes to an end, and boy, what an eventful and interesting year it has been!
This year, I witnessed plenty of happy moments, exciting occasions and downright sucky times. Here's a random list of the most important events that occurred this year for me:

1. Partnered with a good friend to set up a food based business that was bound to work.

2. Shut the whole plan down after investing 4 months into it to finally figure out that it wouldn't work at this point of time, not with the finances that we had.

3. Went for the last 'army' holiday with the family to Manali, Kasauli, Shimla and Chandigarh.

4. Won the Subway Global Challenge - was one of the 5 winners from around the world, and seriously, this is the first time that I've ever won anything on such a large scale.

5. Dad retired after serving in the army for 34 years. Got a cake for him that looked repulsive, but he didn't care. He was completely gutted about retiring though, all of us were. Being in the army life made all of us who we were.

6. Lost my hale and hearty grandmother the day she left Bangalore. She was staying at our house for the past year and was the one who was most excited about my win. One of the nicest women I knew, she commanded a lot of respect from everyone in her city and society. The oldest of 9 siblings, she worked 5 jobs (first woman to work from her family) in the 1950s, to feed her entire family and educate all her nephews and nieces. 25 years later, she became the Headmistress of a school that always had a male Headmaster. She eventually became a speaker of women's rights in her town until my grandfather passed away. The past year with her was lovely and my only regret was that I missed out on spending time with her all these years.

7. Went to the U.S. for the very first time for the Subway win and travelled internationally by myself for the first time as well. It was one of my best trips ever. I met a lot of fantastic people, and learnt so much more than I could have ever imagined. The entire experience was very enriching and I was grateful that I was picked as one of the winners.

8. Met a close friend after 7 whole years. It was almost unreal, because she moved to the U.S. and her chances of returning to India were slim. I never knew when I was going to see her again, and I did this time. We spent only 2 days together, but it's like nothing ever changed. We simply picked up where we left off. We were still the same, just that we had a lot more to talk about.

9. Watched one of my best friends get married, and soon realized that marriage was all that my friend circle was discussing lately.

10. One of my best friends had a baby girl, and I became her godmother. Also, here's a fun statistic: 14 of my friends got married this year; 9 are now pregnant.

11. My work as a freelancer was expanding and more clients started to come in.

12. Moved after living in the apartments at MG Road for 13 years. That's more than half my life.

13. Collaborated with a friend who set up his company and handed one part of his business. This allowed me the independence and flexibility in my work, yet get a fixed salary and company protection in case clients don't pay up (as has happened with me before).

14. Wrote a blog about how Shahrukh Khan blatantly plagiarized from an earlier speech by J.K. Rowling. Got attacked, received threats, lost my mind, ended up having a nervous breakdown. Ended up in the news and 'went viral' for all the wrong reasons. Went underground for a while till the chaos passed.

15. Landed my biggest client yet, an international one. Expanded my work, worked endlessly, worked hard. Amazing experience so far.

16. Ended the year today with closing another big client and have clients give me excellent feedback on my work so far, and that they're looking to continue working for the next year as well.

It's been an interesting and a highly eventful year. Here's hoping that 2014 surprises me much more.

That's 3 generations of women in one picture. One of the last photos we took with my grandma.
She's in a better place and watches over us everyday.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When I was Cyberbullied

So I'm not sure if many of you know, but I was under fire recently for writing a very controversial blog post where I accused Shahrukh Khan on plagiarizing from J.K. Rowling's speech. What started off as an innocuous blog post to simply point out similarities on two highly acclaimed speeches turned out to be a massive hate campaign where I was heavily cyberbullied.

I didn't expect the story to go viral the way it did. I thought a few friends would read it, and simply say, "Well, that's a shame." But more than that just happened. People were sharing it all across Facebook and Twitter and the social media space was abuzz with it, and I thought that I didn't write anything wrong. The media soon picked it up, and I still thought that there was nothing wrong with what I wrote. People were just sending me random messages on how irrelevant the post was, or that I was a Shahrukh hater and I couldn't care less. If I really did hate him, I wouldn't be stupid enough to post a blog with my identity out there. I would have written an anonymous post and written whatever the hell I felt like about him. But I didn't.

Then came a blog post from Shahrukh Khan's representative that seemed to give wings to the desperate Shahrukh fans who really couldn't figure out a way to defend their idol. Instead of logically arguing with me on Twitter, I had fans who splashed that link all across Twitter while spewing all kinds of inappropriate words at me.

At first, I tried  to not let it bother me. I simply ignored the comments on the blog post, hate tweets and Facebook messages. But within an hour of that post being out there, I lost count of how many messages were actually coming my way that attacked me for not just being a woman, but on my looks, my age, my other blog posts, my education, my body type, my skin tone, and the quintessential accuse of 'wanting my 15 minutes of fame' (famously instigated by the Chief Digital Strategist herself).

I couldn't for the life of me believe the magnitude of hate and threats I received for writing a post on a PERSONAL blog wherein I was allowed to express my opinion. I reported several users, and I later found that many took down their  tweets as they realized that the media was also scrutinizing the backlash I received. I found a couple of the kinder tweets though:

I could only take in so much, and after a point, I ended up having a nervous breakdown. I have never been subjected to hate in such a heinous manner before and somehow, I couldn't cope with this kind of bullying. I apparently wasn't strong as I thought it was, and I was suddenly filled with fear.

Someone created a fake email ID under my name and sent out inappropriate mails to people (don't ask me HOW they did this, I'm still trying to figure this out, already reported this user to Google). I deactivated my Facebook account the moment someone sent me a message about my family member's workplace details. People were looking me up on the internet, waiting to get any iota of information to use against me. I received threats that were hurtful enough to not share here.

Sure, you might think they were empty threats, and I really had nothing to worry about. But did you forget about the episode where the two girls got arrested over an innocent Facebook status? I was paranoid. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat. I didn't leave my house for a good ten days, I'm not even kidding you. My face was everywhere, and it only took one crazy person to act in a deranged manner to do something if I was easily recognizable in public. I wouldn't rest until my family was back home in the evenings. I was checking up with my friends (whose pictures with me were on Facebook) whether they were alright. I asked friends who were rallying with me on social media channels to stop doing so in case they became victims of this callousness.

The last two weeks were honestly the most traumatic weeks I've undergone and I still can't believe how I was attacked by a plethora of fans for pointing out some basic facts against their idol. No one wanted to logically argue with me, but found it far simpler to attack a 24-year-old helpless blogger instead.

With social media today, it's so much easier to simply gang up on someone and traumatize them, without actually realizing what one is putting them through. I'm certain that none of those deranged fans who attacked me would have actually had an argument with me face-to-face defending their star, but found it convenient to sit behind a computer behind an anonymous identity and send hate messages instead.

Bullying's latest avatar is cyberbullying and it is even uglier than its previous form. It's mind numbingly easy to form groups and target people on the internet and bully them mercilessly. It's a collective effort, yes, effort, and that means actual work that these bullies put in to intentionally hurt the victims. This includes anything and everything from spamming the user's walls, creating fake email ID's, harassing the user online, gathering information about them and try to use it against them.

The experience was painful and harrowing but it was more depressing to learn that this is what free speech in this country means. It means that you cannot express an opinion that shows an actor/politician/cricketer/godman in poor light. It means that if you want to write about something that irks you in the society, you wouldn't be allowed to write it. It means that you need to keep your mouth shut about issues that need a voice. It means that if you lend your support to anything that is morally right but remotely controversial, you will be forced into silence.

I probably faced less than 1% of cyberbullying than most other victims around the world did. But that was bad enough for me. Enough for me to go into 'digital hiding'. Enough for me to stay locked inside my house. Enough for me to experience, for the first time, to fear for my life.

But I'm trying to put it behind me, and moving on. Still, I am cautious about where I go, what I do online and try to protect as much as information about myself that I can. This whole incident has been a huge learning experience, and I'm just trying to grow from it. To all of those people who supported me and stood by me through this ordeal, I just want to say a big thank you. That was a ray of hope that kept me together and I appreciate it immensely.

I just sincerely hope no one else here gets cyberbullied (or has physical action taken against them) for expressing a personal opinion ever again. Please think twice before sending out a hurtful message to anyone on the internet. It might seem completely innocent to you, but the victim experiences hell. You might not even realize that what you're doing actually constitutes cyberbullying.

No one deserves targeted hate. Bullying/Cyberbullying is NEVER okay. Period.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

From J.K. to S.R.K., word sure travels uncredited!

Yes, we've all been talking about Shahrukh Khan's inspirational speech at AIMA. Some claim that it was one of the best speeches of his career, and the humility and honesty expressed in his speech and demeanor make him the true superstar that he is.

I'm not a big fan of the man himself, but when I began to read the speech, I thought that it was mighty impressive (I was still on page 1 of a 3 page article). Then I read the second page, a part of which sounded eerily familiar, but I could not place it. When I finally came to the third page where Shahrukh Khan was concluding his speech, I was certain that I had read some bits of this somewhere.

It was from J.K. Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard in 2008, 'The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination'. I would have to say that this is one of my favourite speeches of all time, largely because Rowling talks about failure, and how she learnt to accept it and most importantly, how she learnt her lesson from it and grew to be a better individual. She talks about poverty, about her family, her broken marriage - about her failures, and the benefits that came with it that made her who she is today.

Mr. Shahrukh Khan also talked about his family, his poverty and also about his failures and the benefits that came with it in his speech, which were a little too similar to that of Ms. Rowling. No, scratch that. They were exactly the words of Ms. Rowling.

Excerpt from J.K. Rowling's speech where she talks about poverty:
Source: Harvard Magazine
While Shahrukh Khan also talks about how poverty is not an ennobling experience at all:
Source: The Times of India

And J.K. Rowling concluded her speech with these wise words:
Source: Harvard Magazine

And Shahrukh Khan decided that he will too:
Source: The Times of India
I hope your humility is helping you survive your failure's vicissitudes, Mr. Khan. Because this is B.S.! Stealing someone's speech is deplorable and keeping mum about its source is downright disgusting.

I know many of you are probably thinking that it's just a few lines that have been ripped off, but the man literally quoted those lines verbatim and didn't even credit her for it. He came across as this humble and honest guy who spoke from his heart, while a couple of parts of his speech were clearly stolen.

I don't know if his speech writer messed up or he intentionally stole it; either way, I don't like this one bit. And even if he did want to use parts of Rowling's speech, the least he could have done was credit her or maybe paraphrase some of those lines, but no. The man concluded his speech with the choicest of words plucked from Rowling's speech that earned him a standing ovation.

Maybe he did have an impoverished childhood. Maybe he did live in poverty. Maybe he became the best that he could be after his failures. But does that justify blatantly stealing someone's words without giving them due credit? This to me, is despicable and is honestly very insulting to Rowling. I hope the media stops singing praises of his speech and actually points out where the parts of brilliance in his speech actually were from.

You can watch the original speech of J.K. Rowling here (I highly recommend it):


*disgruntled* *annoyed* *needs a hug from a fellow Potterhead*

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

God bless Miss America!

Yes, we've all been talking about it. It's on the news feeds of our social media pages, and there is no escaping it. Nina Davuluri, an American of Indian descent was crowned Miss America 2014 and some Americans took to Twitter about how upset they were. Let me emphasize on 'some'.

These were some very classy tweets.


This whole story went viral, probably because of Buzzfeed's post. But the number of Indians and Americans both equally upset over this was something to really see. Americans were upset that this is how they were portrayed - racist, bigoted and highly ignorant. The Indians were upset that a beautiful woman of Indian origin was humiliated online.

To be fair, both sides do have a valid argument, but there were some pointers I just wanted to add.

1. Not all Americans are racist and ignorant. These were 20 odd tweets that made the news, but that doesn't represent the entire American population. If we're trying to avoid generalizations, we shouldn't be associating the racist tag with all Americans.

2. My Indian brethren, while it is right that you're upset over Nina Davuluri receiving online hate, do realize that if the Miss India winner was the daughter of Bangladeshi Muslims/Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants, we would be having much worse things than just racist tweets in our country. It's very likely that we'll have a certain party protesting against crowning a Muslim the Miss India title, and there would also be a good chance of the pageant getting boycotted.

3. Also, we all know very well that Nina Davuluri's gorgeous dark skin tone would have served as the first obstacle towards her winning the crown. Since we are a country that are obsessed with fair skin, the poor girl would have been frowned upon in the first round itself. She's not even 'wheatish' which would make her skin tone acceptable to most Indians, but dark. Sorry, Nina. No chance for you here. Unless you're willing to undergo skin bleaching treatments and apply Fair & Lovely five times a day.

4. Let's not hate on America about how intolerant they are. These tweets by some people might make you make that general assumption, but it isn't true. Let's remember that all these racist idiots are only a small part of the country that crowned her Miss America in the first place, respecting her individuality.

5. I am mighty surprised that this show is still watched by many Americans. With all do respect, I thought the fad with beauty pageants ended a decade ago, but I guess that's just me.

 You go, Nina! You're awesome. Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.

Source: USA Today