Photo: HT
Photo: HT

How the Lounge team is feeling this week

From the many questions around Mumbai's Aarey colony fire to the horrors of cow vigilantism, Lounge takes on the biggest updates of the week

Priyanka Chopra has the last laugh

Priyanka Chopra could have possibly sued for defamation—and this is one defamation suit we would have supported for a change. Only days after the actor’s wedding to singer Nick Jonas, a commentary piece surfaced on New York Magazine’s The Cut that managed to be racist, sexist and ageist, all at once. Many readers took umbrage to her being called a “global scam artist" but the underlying trope of her being a manipulative brown cradle-snatching gold-digger was deeply upsetting and regressive. “Nicholas Jonas married into a fraudulent relationship (with Priyanka Chopra) against his will this past Saturday, December the 1st, and I’ll tell you why," the writer declared. In the juggernaut of angry reactions from the Indian Twitterverse there were also statements of support from actors Sonam Kapoor and Chopra’s soon-to-be sister-in-law Sophie Turner (you know her as Sansa Stark). The Cut has since deleted the piece, and issued a satisfactory apology. In an interview with the Hindustan Times on Thursday, when Chopra responded saying, “I don’t even want to react or comment. It’s not even in my stratosphere... " she rose far above The Cut. —AG

Talk football, not twerking

Sexism is alive and kicking, more so in sports. And the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony on 3 December was a stark reminder. Host Martin Solveig had the chance to ask one question to the first recipient of the women’s Ballon d’Or award, Ada Hegerberg, and all he could manage was: “Do you know how to twerk?"

It can’t pass as a joke, as tennis player Andy Murray has rightly tweeted: “…to everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke…it wasn’t. I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal."

From Serena Williams to Mithali Raj, female athletes over the decades and across sports have worked extra hard just to earn similar recognition as their male counterparts. At 23, the Lyon and Norway striker has scored nearly 300 goals. She also has a hat-trick of Champions League trophies.

As the first female recipient of the prestigious Ballon d’Or, it was Hegerberg’s moment of glory, overshadowed by a misogynist’s arrogance. —PKS

Who lit the Aarey fire?

On the evening of 3 December, when a major fire broke out in the forested area of Aarey Milk Colony in Mumbai, there was a sigh of relief that there were no casualties. While environmental activists bemoaned the ecological damage it had caused, they were more concerned about how the blaze seems to be an annual event. Aarey has been caught in a tussle between real estate developers and government infrastructure projects on the one hand and tribal residents and environmentalists on the other. Some activists have claimed how this conflagration is a means to deforest the land and make it more viable for developers to pitch it as prime property. So far, no investigations are being carried out. But, as they say, where there’s smoke…—BF

Stop calling them vigilantes

The Bulandshahr violence, following alleged cow slaughter, is not even an extreme example of what happens when armed mobs are allowed to seek “justice" for a crime that is so esoteric that we should stop criticizing the West’s characterization of us as a land of snake-charmers. It is, increasingly, quite a common example, and is likely to be repeated unless we stop calling mobs seeking justice for cow slaughter “cow vigilantes" and start calling them what they are: murderers. Only when we treat the violence dispassionately, as crime rather than retribution, will we be able to let the law and order machinery take its course. —SB