Sarcasm is a technique to damage, attack or insult one’s image, character, reputation, social standing or personal belief. It is delivered through verbal outburst, facial expression and body language directly to the person concerned or through press and social media to the people at large. The idea behind sarcasm may also be to make fun, mockery or ridicule a person or group of persons. It may also contain double meanings to insult or hurt someone. Sarcasm is a distorted form of politeness intended to underestimate the knowledge, attack on self respect and humiliate the person. It may be the unsophisticated and least interesting form of irony which conceals scornful meaning. It is also a cognitive dissonance and emotional tool to test the limits of one’s patience, politeness and gentleness by sneering or making cutting remarks. It is also used to make scathing comments or down play the popularity or position of a person.
Sometimes sarcastic remarks make a huge impact on a persona and damage the cord of respect, belief, understanding and harmony. It may also result in mistrust and develop enmity. It has the power to destroy trust in relationships built over a period of time. Psychologically it may give rise to frustration and depression on whom the sarcastic remarks have been delivered. History has witnessed several wars between the factions due to the insult made through sarcastic remarks. For example, the Battle of Wagram was fought in the year 1809 because of the sarcastic remarks aimed at Napoleon Bonaparte.
Sarcasm has also brooded animosity between kin. It has a negative impact on the harmonious environment in a family or in society. Sarcastic remarks also demonstrate the ill motives and may prove the quality of education and understanding one has. It also demonstrates the character of a person and his distorted trepidation.
On the flip side, sarcasm can also be taken positively in expressing frustration against the system or governance. It may be an important tool to release anxiety and dissatisfaction. If delivered intelligently then it may also provide subtle message to improve one’s personality or thought process. A thoughtful sarcastic remark may help a person in overcoming their shortcomings. It can also help a person to think before making another move. And it can also dissuade the blabber mouth, or silence the boastful people.
However, sarcasm, sarcastic remarks or demonstration of sarcastic presentation through media or film on a particular race, religion or sects can prove to be a dangerous move in inciting people’s sentiments especially if it involves one’s belief in a particular religion.
Religion is a matter of personal belief through which people derive strength to combat their personal woes or thank the unknown for their blessings in successes and maintenance of their happiness. In a situation when known entity cannot do anything or does not want to help people or when people become helpless then having belief and praying to unknown, sails them through the tribulations of life. It is like clinching to the crest of the tempest and hoping for the unknown power to help them in navigating through the distress. This belief and hope in unknown (God) triggers all hidden strength and resources within the person to overcome their misfortune and sufferings. Therefore believing in God through religious practices is the most important tool for survival in the world.
In the past, sages and seers have experienced the existence of God and based on their insights, people have interpreted different versions of their understanding of God. According to them, Godly people or messengers of God have been incarnated in different periods of time and have tried to convey the message of God to people. Hence, the existence of God has been portrayed in different forms and figures, directly or indirectly or through pictures of their holy places. Some claim to worship formless God but they cannot pray in the absence of the form or picture of their holy places. Whatever route they adopt to pray God is the means to reach the same almighty.
Therefore, it is foolish to prove or debate whose version of God is more authentic. To my mind it is the personal belief and understanding which fortifies its existence. In my previous articles, I have already quoted the remarks of Karl Marx, the famous German philosopher and economist’s as - “Religion is the opium of Man”. I have also quoted the story of six blind persons and an elephant and how they have described the shape of an elephant by touching a particular part of its body and vehemently disagreeing with others experience. Therefore debating on religion or God may continue for eternity.
I was inspired to write on this topic after watching an Indian film called “PK” where a distorted version of religion and belief in God was sarcastically presented and that too by humiliating the belief of one sect of people and not taking into account of blind faith of people of other religions on the fear of backlash and repercussion.
This controversial film has been made on the face of the belief of the majority of the population of India, yet it has made record sales in the box office. This shows the bankruptcy of people’s belief and wide spread religious hypocrisy in society. The producer of the film Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Siddharth Roy Kapur have made a mockery of one of the oldest civilizations of the world and their belief system. They have forgotten that because of religious tolerance of the majority in India they are able to get away with the sarcasm otherwise they would have been persecuted.
Those who have not seen the film, a brief synopsis is mentioned here. To prove the non existence of God of one sect of people, the main actor of the film Amir Khan portrays himself as an alien from a different planet who lost his remote control for going back to the spaceship in a dessert of the western province of Rajasthan in India. In order to find his remote he visits all places of worship and everybody advises him to pray to God for the same. Therefore, he starts looking for God everywhere and prints flyers with ‘Missing’ headline having pictures of Gods of Hindu religion only. Thereby the producer, director and actor have tried to portray the non-existence of Gods of the majority population while not portraying or printing the photos of Gods of other religions due to the fear of backlash.
Many confused people and the so called intelligentsia have tried to see the positive side of the film and exposing of the so called God man in India. But they have forgotten that these God men are everywhere and in every religion. These God men play with people’s ignorance, sentiments and emotions by inculcating the fear of God. This is the reason that it has become a richest industry. In some cases these God men have been converting people throughout the world in the name of charity and social services and in other cases they have been inciting people to fight for a frivolous cause and induce them to commit suicide so that the inciters could gain political and religious advantages.
Therefore, this film PK has thrown sarcasm over the belief system of one of the largest populations in the world. The picturisation of the film has been very sarcastic and it has been an attempt to ridicule their faith and their belief in God. If producers of film were genuine in their motives to educate people about the non-existence of God or conveying the message of humanity then they should have adopted a balanced approach in projecting pictures of Gods of other religions as well such as Christ, Mecca, and Buddha etc in the flyers looking for the ‘Missing’ Gods.
I think people must wake up to protest and express their resentment over such sarcasm through films capable of insulting a large population of India.
I will look forward for your comments on the topic.
Wish you all a very Happy New Year 2015.
Suman S.Sinha, CMC
A pursuer of logical quest.