Yesterday, Home Minister Amit Shah was diagnosed as COVID-19 positive. After he tweeted about it there were countless reactions and comments on social media. While most of them wished the minister good health and a quick recovery, some, unfortunately, were unable to hide their savagery and placed their own hatred, pettiness and anger out in the open.
One of them was journalist Tavleen Singh’s son Aatish Taseer. Taseer holds inexplicable anger against the Indian government, especially the home ministry. Showing an unusual amount of rage and hatred, Taseer tweeted in amusive tones, lamenting that he would probably have to show fake concern and wish for the speedy recovery of Amit Shah. He even called Amit Shah a ‘fat bastard’.
The reason for Taseer’s rage and hatred
Earlier last year, his OCI status (overseas citizens of India) was revoked by the government of India. Taseer has allegedly hidden details of his parentage and his OCI status was against Indian law.
The home ministry had stated that Taseer had hidden the fact in his documents that his father was a Pakistani man. Indian law does not allow OCI status to children of Pakistani and Bangladeshis. Taseer was even given an opportunity to submit his objections but he failed to comply. “Thus, Mr Aatish Ali Taseer becomes ineligible to hold an OCI card, as per the Citizenship Act, 1955. He has clearly not complied with very basic requirements and hidden information,” the MHA said.
Tavleen Singh and Aatish Taseer have been fuming, lying and constantly playing the victim over the issue. First, they tried to claim that the decision was wrong. When their arguments fell flat, they stated peddling a narrative that the Home Ministry has ‘exiled’ Aatish Taseer because BJP did not like his articles. Both Taseer and Tavleen had helped fan a narrative that the Indian government had ‘taken away Taseer’s citizenship’ and has ‘thrown him out’. However, in reality, Taseer never was an Indian citizen. He was a UK citizen and a person of Pakistani origin by birth.
When even those arguments failed, they started another narrative, that the ‘evil’ Indian government, (especially the evil Home Ministry led by evil Amit Shah, is preventing them from seeing each other. That was another big, fat (pun intended) lie. In reality, Taseer can come to India anytime he wishes, by applying for a visa the usual way. Similarly, nothing can stop Tavleen from going to USA or UK to meet her son.
So, why so much hate? The actual reason for Tavleen and Taseer’s constant lies and hatred is the sudden slap of reality. They had taken their privileges for granted. They revocation of OCI status will not mean much in terms of Taseer’s citizenship (which was British and is now American), it will not stop Taseer from traveling to India and meet his mother (which, for some unknown reason de has not done yet, even before the international flights were banned due to the pandemic.) The actual reason is the sudden, and very public realisation that their privileges were fake and are now gone.
Why did netizens object to Aatish using the word ‘bastard’?
Seeing the reactions to Aatish’ tweet on the microblogging site, one thing is clear. Many people have pointed it out that Aatish Taseer should be the last one to call anyone a ‘bastard’. The reason, as per common social norms, he is one himself.
Aatish Taseer was born as a result of a brief affair between Tavleen Singh and a Pakistani politician Salman Taseer. Salman Taseer is now deceased, killed by a radical Islamist for supporting the call for a pardon for Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was a victim of Pakistan’s archaic blasphemy laws. It is not known what was the nature of Salman Taseer’s affair with Tavleen and how long it lasted, but it is known that Aatish was raised by his mother alone and Tavleen and Salman did not live together as husband and wife.
Even today, defending her son’s public display uncivilised, hateful behaviour, Tavleen stated that she is the sole legal parent of Aatish.
Aatish’ own words for his biological father
In a 2011 article for The Telegraph, Aatish had written that for the most part of his childhood, he did not have any connection with Salman Taseer, a prominent political figure in Pakistan. He had written that when he visited him in Pakistan for the first time, his father had a young wife and children. Aatish’s book (Strangers to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands) is about his personal life and his journey to Pakistan mentions that his visit to Pakistan in his twenties was to understand his father, his country and his religion.
In that book, Aatish mentions how his father Salman Taseer was ‘just a photograph’ in his life till that time. Clearly, Salman Taseer, the prominent Pakistani politician who later went on to become the governor of Punjab province, did not have much of a relationship with his child from an Indian Sikh woman.
The word ‘bastard’ and children born outside of wedlock
Most societies, not just Pakistani, or European or Indian, for that matter, hold marriage sacred. Marriages are an institution, perceived by communities to bring order and discipline, to further the lineage and very rightly so. For those reasons, children born to unmarried women, children born outside of wedlock or socially sanctioned unisons of a man and woman have long been regarded as unwanted. It is a troubling reality of human societies. However, personally, I don’t agree to the vilification of children, or the usage of the word bastard as an abuse.
It is not the child’s fault that his parents did not get married. A child not the one who has any say in the matter. It did not decide to arrive in the world knowing that the mother who carried him in her womb was not married to the man whose sperm resulted in his existence. It is vile, almost inhuman to hold a child as an abomination, whatever may be the circumstances of his or her birth. Children are always pure, they are the gift of god, nature’s blessing of procreation and human laws do not mean much in nature.
Why Taseer himself used the word ‘bastard’?
Taseer, of all people, should have known better than to use the word bastard as a derogatory insult. In HBO’s superhit show Game Of Thrones, there is an interesting scene where the Bastard of Dreadfort, Ramsay Bolton, sends a threatening letter to Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell, calling him bastard multiple times.
Throughout the letter, an enraged Ramsay, who skins people alive for his enjoyment and is a cruel psychopath, repeated the word ‘bastard’ multiple times. Ramsay’s intention was to insult Jon Snow. He wanted him to know how he raped and tortured Jon’s sister Sansa, control’s their family property and holds their little brother hostage. Ramsay’s emphasis on the word bastard was a symbol of his own hatred, and deep rooted revulsion against the circumstances of his own birth and identity.
Ramsay’s whole life and his identity was centred around his being a ‘bastard’. His own father had narrated to him how he had raped his mother under a tree and almost had her and the infant Ramsay mauled by his dogs till he decided to adopt his son. Ramsay manages to get ‘legitimised’ by the king, but only after committing grave crimes, and even then, his entire identity, and his ownership of the Winterfell castle is dependent upon him being married to Sansa Stark, the ‘legitimate’ child of Eddard Stark, the former Lord of Winterfell.
Though Ramsay had probably inherited his cruelty from his father, his mad psychosis and savagery were woven around his identity, the stigma of being born a bastard, the result of a brutal rape.
On the other hand, Jon Snow suffered equal levels of social stigma and insults for being born a bastard, but he never takes that as an insult. As advised by Tyrion, Jon wears his ‘bastard’ status as an armour, acknowledging it and coming to terms with it to the level that he can never even dream of using the word as an insult.
The fact that Taseer used the word ‘bastard’ as an insult against Amit Shah is a reflection of his own resentment, his own negativities and hatred. We live in a progressive world where marriages have become almost trivial, and with it, the concept of a legitimate and illegitimate child barely hold any meaning at all. But to use the word as an insult, as Taseer did in his tweet against Shah, one has to truly believe that it is an insult. Taseer is aware that he is using the word as a derogatory, offensive term, he gave the clue himself.
Just after writing ‘bastard’, Taseer has written “who has done nothing but evil his whole life” in brackets. In doing to he is giving a justification to everyone, (and himself) that he is correct to use the word as a derogatory insult against the India’s Home Minister. Taseer’s only grudge against Amit Shah is that he took away his privilege, of holding the OCI status despite not being eligible for it.
So much hatred, so much anger, just for an OCI status revocation?
Taseer and his mother have both created a lot of melodrama over the OCI status. From telling blatant lies to peddling constant victimhood, using their connections to get the order reversed, they have done it all. The question is, why so much anger? Is it because the revocation was taken as an ‘insult’? Or their egos are so fragile that a simple order, which neither affects travel, or Taseer’s citizenship, has pushed them to such blatant displays of hatred and rage?
Tavleen once called Meghna Girish a ‘BJP troll’ and an ‘urban balcony class shedding crocodile tears’ over the death of Indian soldiers. Tavleen’s argument was that she is more patriotic and knows more about the Indian armed forces than a martyred solider’s mother because she ‘grew up near army stations’.
Taseer was also called out by many for his vile comments. However, like his mother, he defended them with impunity.
Responding to a critic who had objected to the words used by him, Taseer argued further to justify how him calling Amit Shah a basatrd was right. He stated, “Shah was as bad a man as there ever was”. And that what Shah did to him ‘pales’ in comparison to what he did to the ‘Kashmiris’.
Notice the exaggerations, the convoluted self-worth and the narcissism here. All Amit Shah ever did to Taseer was revoke a privilege that allowed him to circumvent the usual visa application process that common people go through. The fact that he will now have to apply for an Indian visa just like a commoner, and can no longer waltz into the country as he pleased has caused Aatish so much hurt that he has chosen relentless ranting. His sense of entitlement is so colossal that he takes the scenario of himself applying for a visa like filthy commoners as an insult. A grave offence, that is comparable to the worst of crimes.
And for Kashmiris, all Amit Shah did was to grant them all the rights and privileges that every Indian citizen enjoys, how very cruel of him.
Coming to terms with one’s own identity
It is not our place to comment about Taseer’s personal struggle and the pain of his childhood. That being said, we also need to be empathetic towards him over the issues. For such an educated, privileged and well-travelled man to use the word ‘bastard’ as an insult, with so much anger and negativity towards a person who has been diagnosed with a disease, must mean that there are some deep-rooted issues in his mind about his own birth and identity. It is wrong for the society to label innocent children with this word, when the sole purpose is to brand them as an abomination.
No one should use the word bastard as an insult. The sentiments behind the word and its expression are deeply offensive to the sacred process of birth, motherhood and nature’s laws of procreation. No child is born as an abomination. It is the rigid rules of society that labels them so. Let us hope that Aatish finds peace of mind. And let us hope that no innocent child, regardless of the marital status of his or her parents, gets called a ‘bastard’ ever again.