Only a procedure

Okay so the damn website has crashed again. I give up. *bangs head on keyboard* Anyone able to recommend a good host that doesn’t cost the earth? And can handle the traffic?

And while you’re racking your brain I’m going to post about something that has been in the news for some days and no, it’s not the tsunami. It is about Jeev Milkha Singh’s coach, Amritinder Singh being asked to remove his turban at the airport for security checks.

I understand there has been a lot of outrage and living in India where Sikhs and turbans are common, I see their point. I could never imagine asking a Sikh to remove his turban. College years in Delhi were spent in a locality full of Skihs though and on Sunday afternoons it was a common sight to see bearded men sitting outside their homes on khatiyas drying their freshly washed hair. It would almost always end in a cricket match down the lanes and for the first few weeks after I moved there I was very confused to see tall, hefty bearded figures rush up and down the lane with beautiful, thick, shiny long hair flowing down to the waist, good-naturedly squabbling over whether it was a four or a six. Come Monday morning the hair would be bundled neatly into turbans and they’d be serious faced businessmen at the local shopping centre.

But, turbans and burkhas, while religious symbols, must all give way to law. There is no right or wrong – this is an area of legal and illegal. It is legal and well within the airport authorities rights to make us take off shoes, gloves, hats, caps, anything they want really. If I give them enough reason to, they might stick a finger up where the sun don’t shine and sadly, there is nothing I can do about it. It’s not polite, it’s not nice, and I may not be an internationally renowned sports person. But I have my dignity that is no less than yours or Shahrukh Khan’s and it bothers me if something beeps and they start checking if it is my belt or bra hook. And yet, I endure it, because we all need to bow before the law of the land, regardless of our personal religious beliefs. And this is a matter of security – is it right to allow our personal beliefs to jeopardise other peoples’ lives? I can’t think of a single country that hasn’t faced security issues and terror threats. Everyone has a right to do what it takes to ensure their personal and national safety just as everyone has a right to their religious symbols and personal dignity.

Why not make it easy for everyone concerned by just cooperating? Instead you object. They are simply security personnel doing their job so they  get mad. You get madder. The queue behind you is growing and fidgeting. It blows into an international incident. And before you know it, they are demanding that that PM of the country speak on behalf of all turban wearers. And I’ll admit that I don’t know the PM personally, but he seems to be the kind of person who would have complied in a quiet and dignified manner without it turning into a diplomatic situation, pulling rank or playing the I-am-so-famous card. I guess that is where real dignity enters the picture. No one can take away your dignity and self respect unless you allow them to. I have taken a very very long time to learn this lesson. And oh – what if it had not been a sportsperson and just some regular Sikh businessman on his way to Canada? Would we have entertained the protests? All this is just diverting attention from true racism, hate crimes and harassment.

Some time back there was a huge controversy about burkha photo IDs and only female staff being allowed to check the faces of women in burkhas. I think that is fair enough because many women are uncomfortable being stared in the face by a strange man. It is a small matter to take someone aside and give them some privacy. Perhaps a similar courtesy could have been extended to Mr Singh. If he felt taking his turban off in public was an insult, they might have taken him aside. Not because he is a famous person, but because this is a religious sentiment and one needs to tread cautiously. But if he felt that as a renowned personality he had a right to be exempted, I’m afraid I disagree. I mean even the far more well known Shahrukh Khan (with all due respect to Mr Singh) was detained and questioned for two hours. All because his Muslim name kept popping up on an alert list.  And he endured it because it was a law of the land and the authorities were simply following procedures. I can’t imagine us doing that to Brad Pitt or Will Smith.

Part of the problem in our country is that we don’t follow the procedures even though there are more than enough of them laid in place. All you have to do is claim that someone is insulting your religious symbol/pride and you’re let off. Or else of  course say that your father is a big shot (Jaante ho main kiska beta hoon?) and you’re through. There are sops and loopholes and allowances for everything. Sikhs don’t wear helmets and women in burkhas vote without once lifting their burkha for their identity to be checked. And then we expect that the rest of the world will go as easy on our feelings as India does. Not happening.

What do you guys think?

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96 thoughts on “Only a procedure

  1. Yesterday only RD asked me if you think it was wrong for the authorities to ask him to remove his turban and my reply was no it wasnt wrong..as long as it was asked properly and in view of security it isnt wrong at all…if its the law of the land you are going to, you have to follow it right? yes if they had been rude or made an issue or insulted the person in front of everyone, he has a right to create a hue and cry..but honestly, like RD put it, we Indians are getting more and more dramatic about issues which are really not very significant or life threatening!
    There are of course instances when the authorities have been out of line, but thats really rare na

  2. Its so difficult to say what actually happened at the airport..but yes there are many airports in the world , where a dark/ brown skinned person wearing a turban would be asked to remove it and not a white person and thats what is wrong..

    • for one, we are in no position to question who they are checking or why. that is entirely their call because it is their job. house rules you know. you might be right about it.. but are there white people in turbans?!
      that said, this is going back to my earlier point. there is no right or wrong here. it is legal and illegal. legally they have a right to question every brown person and let every white person go so there is nothing we can do about it but behave with dignity and grace to make up for all the brown terrorists giving us a bad name.

      • yes, legally they have every right and so does someone who is someone have the legal right to cry about something when he feels he has been wronged ..who are we to judge till we have actually witnessed/ exp it first hand and not just read about it..

        • Errr… We are co-passengers who have every right to insist that everyone is properly searched for the sake of our safety?! If I as a woman am okay with a security personnel checking my innerwear and am not screaming molestation, I see no reason why another person should be exempted. The law is the same for everyone. Yes, he has a right to feel anything he chooses to feel and scream discrimination. But I also think as educated citizens of the same country, we have a right to hold what we feel is a balanced view. Tomorrow if we’re truly discriminated against, it would be like the boy screaming wolf.

          Today they will exempt his turban. Tomorrow someone who realises that turbans are exempted will put on a turban and carry anything they want in it…

          And are you seriously suggesting that one should not have an opinion on anything they have not seen first hand? In that case we could never have political opinions or any opinions on anything read in the news? For that matter this very blog I write, you only read about it right? But you often have opinions on so many matters that you only read about, including the OA’s decision to tackle a corrupt cop!

          come on, man!

          • Opinions r ok and one can have them.. its almost the judgement kind of tone is what i am objecting about..there is a concept called benefit of doubt..

            • The point is that in this situation there is no benefit of doubt. Would you be ok if someone (let’s just say he is wearing a turban just to carry a bomb and not a sikh) blows the plane because he has been given a benefit of doubt based on his hue and cry? We as people of the country should stop bringing religion into anything and everything. According to me if someone is unwilling to submit himself to law based on religion he is no different from the ram sena guys who mistreat women based on religion

            • Thank you. Precisely my point. There is no room for benefit of doubt in such matters. Young mothers get harassed while carrying baby formula on to a flight so I dont see why others expect an easier time.

            • okay, lets break this down and take it piece by piece to see where you read judgment.
              Where exactly did I fail to give benefit of doubt? The man has given media interviews freely, stating his opinion. This is not hearsay – these are his own words.
              Moving on.. I said that if it is privacy he wants, he could have asked. I also said that any request by the security personnel should be made politely.

              What benefit is it that you would like to give him? that the security personnel were rude or brusque? sure, that might be. but even if they are, they are still within their rights while making their demand. plus you have to start giving THEM the benefit of doubt too, because they arent native English speakers and some poor Italian security guard is not expected to know how sacred a turban is or who Jev Milkha is, let alone how famous his coach is. How about giving some benefit of doubt to a country that is only doing its best to safeguard its citizens lives, which is more than our country is able to, given the number of terror attacks we have faced.

              Beyond that, I believe I said that everyone is equal before the law. You want to challenge it, you do so to risk ALL of us. Now this is where you might accept that we have a right to take on a strong line because these are our lives. Someone changes this law and says let everyone walk in regardless of turbans, veils, heavy coats and next thing you know, it is your own life in jeopardy.

          • Hi MM,

            Haven’t written to you in a while but I do read your blog every day. Please please stay on wordpress – it’s nice no??

            I just had to butt in here and comment on ‘IMVI’s comments (not a friend of yours I hope!). I can’t imagine why anyone in their right senses and with access to daily news on TV and the newspapers and vaguely familiar with the name ‘Osama’ would have any problem at all when being security checked at an airport? So you were asked to remove your turban – so what? There may be a safety pin that beeped on the machine and they just want to confirm that it’s not a weapon? Or a trigger to a bomb? Or that you are carrying drugs? It’s not as if Security was abusive and called him a ‘motherf****r’ or spat in his face in which case I would have totally been on his side. But this is simple routine procedure that no one is supposed to read too much into. It’s so easy making a fuss – let me explain: I go through security at the airport and the guy wants me to remove my jacket before I pass the machine. I decide that he is harassing me and just wants to ogle at my butt and watch as his female colleague frisk me, so I make a huge hue and cry and state that I as a woman will NOT be stripped of my dignity and ask Sonia Gandhi to speak on behalf of all women whose dignity is assaulted every day! So easy! Or I am randomly selected for an extra search at a US airport and I decide that it’s because of my Indian passport and my brown skin – again, so easy! This is a complete non-issue and I think the guy was just trying for some sensation that’s all.

            And who are we to really complain about discrimination? Don’t we all know how white-skinned foreigners are taken advantage of in our country? Have we forgotten the British girl raped and murdered in Goa? Do we not see innocent, trusting foreign tourists (white or otherwise) taken advantage of all the time by autorickshaw wallas and street vendors? Heck, we even discriminate amongst our own people (you just have to speak Hindi to an auto-rickshaw guy in Chennai to let him know that you are new to the city and he will rip you off to within an inch of your life). And don’t even get me started on the whole ‘outsider’ issue in Maharashtra. Gandhi’s country unfortunately has to take a good hard look at itself to see whether or not we have the moral authority to comment on discrimination.

            Also, I think this is your blog and you are free to express your opinions and nobody really has any right to whine that you have a ‘judgemental’ tone (hint, hint). Who are you hurting really??

  3. People have become experts in blowing things to extra ordinary proportions and demanding to be exempted from anything and everything these days in the name of religion. What they don’t seem to understand that even so many religions have put down laws on conducting oneself and no one is any happier in getting them away. Will anyone dare to step into Guruvayoor temple not wearing a dhoti (And the fact that they don’t allow people of other religion even if it is the prime minister of India is fodder for another discussion), or will anyone be allowed into Gurudwara without covering their heads. As people from the land that sees diverse religions most of us choose to respect the religious laws(even if it is of another religion), but when it comes to abiding laws of the land laid down for our own safety and security we pull all strings to protest.

  4. Okay, this is way off the topic, but when you mentioned ‘jaante ho main kiska beta hoon?’ I was immediately reminded of that scene from Jhankaar Beats where Shayan Munshi’s character asks the same question and someone replies “kyon? tujhe nahi pata tu kiska beta hain?”

    *snort*

    😀 😀 😀

    p.s. Wasn’t it the beanie’s birthday? Here’s a big hug and loads of good wishes for the kiddo. 😀

  5. I agree with you that religion must be respected but the times now are such that it has to take a backseat. It is also because of religious fanaticism that we have come to this juncture. Maybe separate booths can be put for sikhs wearing turban to be checked but then people will complain about discrimination. There is always someone finding outrage in some policy.
    I disagree about the example about SRK. He did make a hoo-ha about it and also tried to throw his name around.
    One can only hope that at least educated people see reason.
    On a different note, please do keep writing. Your posts are lovely(about family) or thought provoking.

    • I don’t know if SRK made a hoohaa, but he did go on to call it an unfortunate but necessary procedure. that is fair enough in my books. In this case, these guys want the govt to take it up because we have a turban wearing PM! I mean come on… let it go. What do you want the govt to do about this when we have bigger naxal issues and scams to deal with?

  6. As a non-burqa wearing woman, I feel that the law can be made to accomodate religious sentiments, not exempt them. A burqa wearing woman will not hesitate/refuse to reveal her face to another for identification, but she may do that if a man asks her to. Having women security personnel in such situations helps.
    But the problem is, we are a laaaarge population. We don’t have enough women working in such posts. Heck, we are short of even the male staff. No wonder that the security guys at airports are a grumpy sort. They are over-worked/under-paid. They are rude, not out of habit, but because of stress and exertion. If the security guard was rude to Mr.Amritinder Singh, he could be complained against. But demanding exemption on the basis of job profile shows Mr.Singh in very poor light.
    Unfortunately, a situation which called for grace was turned into a circus!

  7. I am with you MM.Unless otherwise the authorities asked him to remove turban just as a racial act towards the sikhs, this is just a procedure. I also hate it when people bring up the you-know-who-i-am and the likes. Now there are countries that are leniant towards religious beliefs and alter some security procedures, but you cannot expect everyone to treat you the same way. Take it or do not travel to those countries if you won’t comply.

  8. Totally agree with you. Why would / should some anyone believe that you really do not have anything hidden inside your turban? And this is how i look at it, no one forced you to go to that country. You wanted to be there, so abide by the rules of the country.

    • The thing is we’ve had men come in to commit acts of terror dressed in burkhas. your turban might be sacred to you but you have to realise that unscrupulous people out there will stoop to use that symbol of yours to commit a heinous act.

  9. Oh God!! not the same thing again!

    our ex president, Dr Kalam didnt mind being detained at the airport, but Singh Ji has issues? How would he like beeing blown up because a terrorist dressed as a nun hid a bomb in her habit and got on to his plane, playing the religiion card?

    Sorry for the rant, but seriously. While i am not saying people dont ever discriminate against sikhs/ muslims/ indians etc etc, i wish people would stop seeing discrimination where it just isnt the case. you are just cheapening the whole issue and making it so much more difficult for the real cases to be taken seriously.

    PS: MM, much as i love the new site, and appreciate the effort that has gone into it by you and Deej, may be you could hang around here a little longer?

      • I really doubt a $12/yr hosting plan can handle your traffic..

        With your traffic, if you don’t want your site to crash… you HAVE TO spend on a decent server/hosting plan.

          • If you are looking at only the URL, then.. this might help – http://en.support.wordpress.com/domain-mapping/

            WordPress will take care of the hosting like it is now, but you use your own domain name.

            But, if you wanted to shift because the new site gives you more control – customisation, design, et al – then, expensive hosting it has to be.

            And, it is your blog.. personal, for the kids, etc etc.. so you may not want to.. But, if you are open to it, me thinks, a few non-obstructive ads should help. Not going all out, as another income source(something the poor me would have done :-)), but just enough to cover the cost of hosting. Just a thought/suggestion 🙂

  10. I’m still convinced that the whole Newark/ SRK incident was some publicity ploy that was exaggerated for MNIK. Which obviously didn’t work because that film was unadulterated rubbish. IMO, it was nothing more than formal questioning that was blown up by him and the media. I’d read in some US news column (don’t know how true or accurate it is) that when asked what was the purpose of his visit to the US, he replied something along the lines of ‘to meet President Obama. I’m a big fan.’ The officers understandably didn’t like the sarcasm and therefore, decided to subject him to extra questioning.

    I’m also not certain that the Brad Pitt/Will Smith analogy (who are truly global-superstars) works here. While we may like to pretend SRK is a world-famous movie star, he’s only really popular amongst South Asians and some Middle Easterners. Your average US immigration officer wouldn’t know him from Joe-Schmoe.

    I’m all for complying with security regulations. Superstar or not. Just let the goddamn plane take off already!

    • Quite likely that it was PR at work. Also likely that he pissed them off.
      My point is not whether SRK is a global star or not. I mean in our country, he comes in pretty close after the PM in terms of fame. I can bet you if I stop 90 people on the road they will not know Jeev Milkha, let alone his coach. So if one of our biggest names dealt with it, everyone else better suck it up too.

      • I guess I didn’t quite read it properly the first time. I thought it was more of a “American IOs harassed an Indian superstar while we would never treat a Hollywood celebrity that way.” Whereas you were comparing within the Indian context with the PM/SRK bit.

        This is actually a hot-bed issue here in the States with the TSA implementing the screeners. Something about the US Constitution and “unreasonable search and seizure.”

        • i read that… good to see something unreasonable is being questioned by their own people. its not half as effective as us screaming discrimination when they are having their private parts felt up without a murmur

  11. For some reason, the other blog feels impersonal. This blog has come to mean the mad momma… the header pic, the font & style everything is representative of U. So the new blog feels like a diff person. I prefer this one. Finally its for u to decide what to do…

    Each of us has a threshold at which we start feeling violated and this would vary. It is difficult for the authorities concerned to do their job properly and ensure not to offend people. There will always be people who take offense way too quickly and then its walking on eggshells. We have to understand that its for our security & ensure its being done appropriately. And not to get too touchy or take it too personally. I hate it when people pull rank… How can we be a fair society ensuring every person’s rights? If we allow a few people to get away with things?

    • i’ve shifted four times i think. each time the readers hate the new space for two months and then get used to it 🙂

      very good point. the threshold of offence varies. i know so many Sikh men who tie a ponytail and so many Muslim women who live in shorts.

    • I agree, feels at home in this blog, in ternms of look and feel.
      U have moved previously but the look n feel did not change, only the url !

  12. Idiotic controversy hai yeah! I mean, would the people who are so offended with what happened SRK or Jeev rather have a terrorist in their midst in the plane? And before someone jumps on me, I am not implying these men are. They are not. I am just saying, doesn’t it make you feel safer that the security people are doing their JOB just fine?

    And I don’t see the analogy between Will Smith and SRK. SRK is considered a big star because yes his fan following is greater than WS or BP, because well India is a big country! And do we really think that security cares about your fan base? This discussion is so ridiculous.

    • Two great points that I wanted to make but forgot. You’re right. i’d rather get strip searched along with the rest of the flight than die mid air, thank you very much.
      And yes, I think SRK has a massive fan base thanks to the size of the population. and finally yes, the discussion is getting pointless 🙂

  13. It all depends on how the individual handles the situation.. No bragging.. OK.. little bragging here.. this is what I have done at the same airport where SRK was held:

    1) I was taking an international flight, got checked-in, and was waiting to board ( with 45 minutes to kill), and smoking was not permitted. I asked a security guy and he refuses, I persists.. then he points me to one of those alleys where aircrafts park.. and says that smoke there.. I say what if the smoke alarm goes off? He says that he does it all the time. So I go, how about me and you both smoke? I’ll buy you a drink. At that point he said OK we will go outside and smoke.. so he takes me out.. all thru the security check while waving his hands to his colleagues.. while I am still carrying my checked in bag with me. We smoke, had a drink, he drops me at the plane embarking gate!! without any security/passport checks!!

    2) A friend of mine was going to India from Colorado. He had the connecting flight from this very same airport. He is inside ( what I call as Mahabharat’s chakravyouh.. where you cannot go without security check). I reach airport to meet him and he is not comfortable to come out. so I tap on on of the security guy shoulder, and tell him that I am here to meet my friend and he is scared to come out. That guy takes my cell phone and starts talking to my friend.. tried his best to convince him to come out.. no results.. and the other people who were checking in are now pissed at him. This guy then actually leaves his post, tells everybody in the queue to wait, escorts me to inside.. to my friend and his daughter.. with me carrying some pakora and sandwiches.. and leaves me all by myself.

    Bottomline, this Sardarji/Indian dude should be ashamed of himself that he could not manipulate the situation for his benefit. 🙂

    I have taken undue advantages all over the world from people who are stickler to their power throne.. ( it annoys my dad and my wife a lot) 🙂

  14. Another blast from the past: I am in here in US, while my wife and 2 kids are in India. They are on their way to the airport in Delhi, and I call my wife to ask if she has reached airport. She is terrified and says that in gurgaon they have been stopped by cops coz they think we are carrying too much baggages. I could here my kids crying in the background.. so I ask here to give the phone to driver.. this driver is f**king naive ( and was with us for the first time.. I alwys insists on the regular one).. so I ask him to give the phone to the cop in charge. I am like :

    Me: Haan Saab, problem kya hai?
    He: Problem kya.. aap log system ki ijjat utarte ho..
    (Me, at this point is totally pissed off at him with his indirect refrence to ijjat and my wife being there)

    Me: aapki duty to khatam hone waali hogi ( It was around 1:0 AM there and 2:30PM in USA)
    He: Haan.. tere ko isse kya?
    Me: App jab ghar jaate ho toh aapko apni family achchi lagti hai na?
    He: Haan.. toh?
    Me: Mere ko bhi apni family achci lagti hai.. aur main unka intejaar kar raha hoon… ( after a wait of 5-7 seconds I say to him).. aapko pata hai na ki intejaar karna kitna kharab lagta hai..

    He: (ater a long poise.. starts laughing.. and says) Mera naam XYZ hai.. teri family ko bagair kuch liye chhor rahan hun.. aglio baar jab yahan aayega to mere se mil ke jana.. bahoot mann kar raha hai..

    Me: Shukria Boss.. Jaroor milooga aur tafri bhi karoonga

  15. As for rest of the post, religion rarely does anyone any good. What a stupid controversy. In US/Canada, when you travel, you have to put your kirpan away with your luggage. You cannot carry it with you on the plane. There was some protest in the beginning but eventually, everyone had to comply with the rules. What makes this person any special? Milkha singh is my naani’s neighbor in Chandigarh. I shall go have a chat with him next time im in india ;p. hehe

  16. MM, I agree with many things that you and the other posters have mentioned. I want to make a couple points:

    1) In most cases, I agree with following the law of the land. But remember, it was when Gandhi started to protest against the law of the land (travelling in separate train compartment if you are dark skinned) that he actually started the effort against discrimination. So it is not simply that one should follow the law of the bland blindly.

    2. Strip searching everyone would probably ensure that no flights blow up due to terrorist activities in mid-air, but I would rather live in a slightly less secure world with dignity, than in a perfectly secure world in a police state. Even in US, there are plenty of people who complain against the TSA’s high-handed attitude, and downright lack of common-sense while implementing hotch-potch security procedures, that almost change on whim. (http://amyalkon.mensnewsdaily.com/2010/11/20/grabbing-peoples-testicles-for-a-living/, http://amyalkon.mensnewsdaily.com/2011/02/25/why-the-hell-are-ordinary-people-being-treated-like-criminals/)

    If we as citizens of the world, continue to give up our liberties in the name of security (while hardly being more secure in the process), we will end up in a police state and we will not even realize how it happened.

    • okay… i see what you mean about civil liberties, but i will have to disagree with you on your choice of example.

      Gandhi was being asked to do something that the white people were not. In this case if a man walks in wearing a hat or a helmet he will be asked to take it off too. A nun might be asked to take off her wimple. A muslim woman might have been asked to remove her hijab. the fact that it is a religious symbol doesnt make it less of a piece of clothing. when we were in school, the brahmin boys on the swimming team were asked to take off their religious threads because they kept getting caught in it. I don’t think anyone objected – they all knew that there was a genuine reason for it.

      And you saying that checking a turban is discrimination? Or are you saying someone in a turban cannot possibly do wrong? As a traveller I would want everyone checked before they boarded a flight with me, no matter how long it took and how thorough it is. And where do you draw the line? the kada and the kirpan are religious symbols too. What if tomorrow someone walks in there carrying it and saying, hell, you cant make me check this in, its part of my religious belief system. I don’t mean to trivialise what it means to a Sikh. But I do believe people have to realise that if they are going to turn to the government to provide them security, they have their bit of the bargain to hold up.

      I guess we should agree to disagree on this one. My dignity isn’t flimsy enough to falter in the face of a pat down or a strip search if its a matter of security. Unless they decide to strip ONLY me and that too in broad public view. nowadays you go to a mall or a cinema hall and you are patted down, your car is searched and you bag checked. how then can we object to more stringent rules when entering a foreign country?

      As I said, a little courtesy and politeness goes a long way – on both sides. i read about the TSA’s attitude being rather high handed – but in that case its not a personal affront. If everyone took it, he should have done so too.

      And finally if everyone sees it as a civil liberties issue, why then lets everyone fight it. Why just those who wear turbans? Why should anyone of us take off anything?

      • MM, just to clarify, I was using that example to show that something simply being a law of the land does not necessarily make it right, and it is possible that there may be something objectionable in it. I was not trying to say that what happened to Jeev Milkha Singh’s coach was discrimination. Laws are made by people and people can be wrong.

        • okay. i see your point. And I agree. Laws are not necessarily right, and there is always the possibility of something being objectionable. In this case, a majority of us believe this is a fair law since we’re all equally subjected to it, having to take off jackets, shoes and other items of clothing. At the end of the day, a turban is an item of clothing that has acquired a religious significance. Just like a cross on a chain might have religious significance but is still a piece of jewellery. When you go into a steam room you are asked to take off all jewellery for your own safety, regardless of whether it is your engagement ring or a trinket.

          In this case, if he is such a great sportsperson I am sure he has travelled the world and is well aware of the possibility of being asked to remove various items of clothing due to increasing terror threat. I’d have imagined that a well travelled person would be likely to take this in their stride rather than scream discrimination and say that it is akin to being asked to strip naked.

          The objection would make far more sense if it came from everyone, and not just the turbanned person in question. Just like so many of us would object to gender discrimination in principle, even if we were not victims of it.

  17. oh come on, we are the new people. We changed our “Right to Speech” to “Right to whine” a long time ago. Just so you know, we also hate debates around these issues.

    See, if the man had indeed been hiding explosives in his turban, it gives us a talking point later on! Some entertainment for a couple of days and may be blog(45 comments!) about how useless the security guys are and why they should be rearing cattle, not managing security.(If they indeed went to rear cattle, we have a post for that too. we are never without opinions)

    It’s amazing the things we bother to stick to, when every goddamn religion says ,”love dammit, love. stop hating. everything else is pretty much expendable!” in frigging capital letters.

    • haha smartassbride.

      true that. esp the part where every religion tells u to love others ya di ya da, but unfortunately, every religion also has a subtext (for everybody who follows that particular religion piously) that says that it is better than other religions. Yeah, ppl are tolerant of others but, if religious, they do believe that they were born to the best religion there is (that, while they respect other religions too). be it sikhs, hindus, muslims … whoever … and that forms the base to many a religious stupidity that ensues when and if religious reverence is challenged.

  18. Bluehost has good recommendation(even from wordpress), it costs about 50$ per year. If you are okay with ads in the new site, then I guess it’ll more than cover the site cost.

  19. The TSA is pretty fickle minded (or so I think), and they will probably look at you more carefully if you are non-white. But no matter what your race colour religion, no one (in the present day and age) will let you pass if you are wearing something, that has the potential to hide something! Well atleast in Europe and America!
    And really, do you really want them to let that happen?? I mean for heavens sake there was even an underwear bomber!!!

  20. Nmind. You might want to move for more hosting space and creative independence. Ya 15 bucks with wordpress only lets you register ur domain name. You will have to host at a cost/month some place for the rest. Which you know awready. AN hosting – I’ve heard good things about.

  21. I am not agreeing here, MM! it is not the religous, oh! i am indian and am being frisked coz hey these guys are racist shout out from me…with the advancements in technology it is extremely easy to cater to the sensitivities of people…the funny thing is in the US ,frisking and strip searches are becoming controversial topics and are being debated in many forums..there was a documentary on 60 minutes about how the airports are not that secured and the employees have such easy access to everything within the airport to the carriers…so if we talk about the security concerns of having dangerous co passengers..how about thinking about the security breaches from within? a case in point when Camp Wood shootings happened..it was a person within the camp and nobody from outside..i know it is not exactly the same analogy but trying to show a parallel one?
    if we scour the net we will get umpteen sites that talk about how ‘pointless’ some security firsking is getting….

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/12/18/60minutes/main4675524.shtml

    http://www.funcrunch.com/newark-airport-security-breach-9246/

    • I agree. I read up on this a lot and the backscatter is beyond invasive – https://encrypted.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1280&bih=862&q=backscatter+x-ray&aq=1&aqi=g2g-s1g7&aql=&oq=backscatter
      I’d rather someone patted me down than put me through this!

      I think we’re mixing issues here. Just because there are safety breaches within, doesnt mean we stop doing our best to keep the country safe. No matter what measures security takes, there is always a smarter thief out there, who will find a loophole. That doesnt mean we stop trying. Also, measures are put in place by the govt and left to be carried out by personnel. At this point there is no govt out there who can ensure that everyone does the best job possible. A female security guard might be pregnant and tired and absent minded. A male might have an upset stomach and be rushing to the loo. There is always human error. Surely the argument cannot be that let us allow everything because you know, anyway we make mistakes!

      Should we protest at the growing instances of invasion of privacy? Sure. Should we after that complain if there is a terror attack? We won’t have a right to once we take away our own safeguards.

      • No MM, am not saying we must allow it…we must put to use the advancements in technologies in catering to the sensitivities of the humans that invented them ! after all the more you rub the sensitivities the wrong the more dangerous the world becomes no?

        • I have no issue with the form of checking they use, babe. As long as the checking is thorough. I have no desire to lose my life over someone else’s delicate sensibilities and I understand if other passengers feel outraged that someone is let in with a less than thorough check up. As for the technology you are suggesting, its in the middle of a big controversy. Just google the word ‘backscatter’ and look at the images it throws up. You’re practically naked in front of a bunch of security guards – men, women, children, everyone. The objections are molestation and perversion. I think I’d rather step into a corner with a female security guard and take off anything she wants me to than have every inch of my body scanned by a bunch of AGAIN – regular security men who really know no better. Apparently they take printouts of the better figures and pass them around.

          And oh – I cannot guarantee that everyone is being checked to the same degree, but can one turbanned/burkhaed person guarantee that no one else will use that religious symbol to sneak in something illegal? there is always room for human error and loopholes, but that is no reason to ask for exemption

      • Also i wanted to point out that these secondary screenings or the SS as how they mark it in ur boarding pass is not random after all! if we all think that as a co passenger you have every right that the other passenger or self be strip searched, will you guarantee me that ALL my co passengers have been frisked to the same degree as my turbaned friend?it is humanly impossible..so my question is why just rub the turbaned man in the wrong way and not my other co passengers? again, my point is, put the technology to the fullest use so that EVERY frikking psasenger will be frisked or strip searched the same way! dont need to even frisk or strip searched..have tem walk thru a full body scanner…so we are assured that everybody is risk free!

  22. arrey baba, why this discussion??

    There are rules and there are laws of the land.. you/me choose to go/visit there.. then obey them.. else.. stay put where you are. I do not want to even discuss the merits of it.. rules are rules.. obey them or get penalised (or have the balls to circumvent it). What I dont like is the whining.. you a man enough?? then stop the flight from boarding in the first place.. else F*** you

  23. Another blast from the past:

    (I and my extended family were travelling by train, with the whole couch reserved tous. A cop boards the train and then ask us to go the next ‘Thaana’ cause we were gambling ( in reality the ladies were playing cards). My uncles tried to ‘negotiate the price’ but at that point I was just totally F***ed up.. so I go to the cop and say:
    Kya saab.. kyon lafda kar rahe ho?
    He: tum log juaan khel rahe ho.
    Me: Paisa toh involve nahi hai.. aap dekh hi rahe ho ki sab kuch ‘family’ mein hi hai
    He: Pata hai.. mahabharat mein bhi yahi hua tha..
    Me: to agar yahan yudhishtir/arjun hua hota toh kya tum usko bhi pakarte?

    At this point he started laughing and left)

    Overall my point is to either accept the rules or defend.. do not whine

  24. hey peeps
    thank you for your suggestions re MM’s hosting woes. main prob is that everyone underestimates the insane louw she gets from you lot.
    I am with Bluehost too and would love to shunt her over there but at $85+/yr it isn’t cheap and it is the case of the cart/horse. Want to earn some money BEFORE spending it!
    Anyways, she has the madmomma.in now so for now, we’ll go with the space here, look at affiliate options etc.
    Meanwhile, keep ’em ideas coming! And thank you for the louw! She was freaking out when the site crashed AGAIN that you lot are going to leave her in droves!

  25. HI MM,

    Another interesting topic!!
    From Australia we don’t have any of the serious cultural issues related to dress.
    There are some issues with the future of the burqua but I don’t think we will go as extreme as France and ban them.

    Up here in Cairns Australia there was a local Sikh who made the newspaper with his dialogue with the police over the last 10 years and how he made the front page of the newspaper with his crusade to substitute bike helmets for turbans. It created alot of discussion at school and is a great story of sense prevailing n the end!

    The other issue we have is with people NOT wearing shoes. This practice is generally frowned on by mothers and in airconditioned shopping malls there are the usual OH+S concerns raised. In my opinion if your feet are tough enough, no problem with bare feet!

    Equally we are really happy to be bringing up our girls in a city which is so safe and has so much freedom. It is old style compared the the big population centres of down south in Australia.

    If anyone has kids, please also feel free to drop past our family and kid friendly blog.

    http://beourbest.blogspot.com/

    Euan

  26. I’d rather know that my kid and I will be safe and arrive in one piece than create a big ruckus about a security check. I want to live! and if the security guys are doing their job sincerely, we’re all safer for it. Do you know how innovative those terrorists are getting?

    Good to be back….catching up on your older posts now!

  27. Weekends are free from MM blog, hence the delay..

    I get what you are trying to say MM , but what happens when the security person knowingly or unknowingly touches inappropriately while doing a body check, surely one shud object and if possible take the pain of making this an issue such that a common person might be spared the next time .do your duty by all means but dont forget about my dignity.. and i am in my opinion this is just not a simple case of checking , maybe the manner or behaviour of the security person was not correct to warrant such a hue and cry from Jeev..

    PS:As per anewspaper article, the italian ambassador has apologised for the incident which he would not have done had he been sure that teh security person was 100% not at fault and just doing his duty..

    • yes sure.. if someone touches you inappropriately, i’ll sit on them while you beat the crap out of them. asking you to remove your headgear for a security check up does not fall into that category. we’re discussing this particular instance not molestation options.

      Speaking of benefit of doubt, do we know Jeev so well as to know what he’d create a hue and cry about? Everyone gets over emotional if it is something to do with their religion. He’s only human, he could be too.

      i havent seen the follow up, but i am guessing the italian ambassador has a little more dignity and political sense than some coach. no one wants to make a diplomatic issue out of something small when there are bigger issues to deal with on a daily basis i am sure. i too often apologise for small things because i havent got the energy to waste on debating it. (ahem – clearly this comment will not serve as a good example). so i don’t think i would take it for granted that the apology came from guilt.

      the entire point of ambassadors etc is to smooth over such issues and ensure peace. a small apology goes a long way. so would a little cooperation from the right-wingers

      • Its happened again to our dear coach by the same man..just wondering do all the sophisticated machines they have at the airport stop working , the moment they see someone in a turban ?
        And i see that you are giving our Italian ambassador the benefit of doubt..

        • I think you’re missing my point. Its not as though I am personally interested in having all Sikhs remove their turbans. To each their own religious sentiments, really. But if after all of us have pointed out that security measures need to be taken more strictly and less personally, you don’t agree, then why don’t we just agree to disagree?
          Also, I’d love to see the news article that says it was the same man again. Was he informed about the memo saying Mr Singh should be allowed through with headgear as a special case?
          And I am not giving the Italian ambassador the benefit of doubt. I don’t think that particular phrase fits this situation. it is a an ambassador/diplomat’s job to be diplomatic. It is his job to ensure that it doesnt become a diplomatic situation when a mere security guard simply does his job while a coach who has the media at his disposal turns a molehill into a mountain, bringing the PM of his country into the fray.
          If the ambassador hadn’t given the apology, it would be a huge issue and then we’d have to give him benefit of doubt. Right now there is no need to make excuses for him because really, he’s doing his job, just like the security guard was.

          • MM, looks like your strong opinion on this issue is making you miss my point on this..
            Its all over the net now with more details this time .. also it seems against the rules..

            • if its against the rules it is fine. I would still not see your point if there were no law backing it. but i’m all for following the law and if that is the case, i’m all with Mr Singh

  28. Loved the last line of the post! You know, this reminds me of one very good (and sensible too) dialogue from ‘My name is Khan’ – “Allah samajh lenge..yeh log nahi samajh paayenge..”

    • i’m glad it is being debated…. i wouldn’t want to be stripped either. but neither do i want to be xrayed. on the other hand, when you object to a certain system, do you have a better solution?

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