Monday, November 21, 2011

No Flatulence Zone

Our neighbor has such important things to worry about. Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA), the final arbiter of what is not permissible, has asked mobile phone operators to ban any text containing 1795 objectionable words. The idea presumably is to reduce spam.

Not bad. But wait. Apart from the dirty ones, several innocuous ones also feature in the ‘banned’ list. I will not talk about the foul ones (51 terms with the suffix a**), however some innocuous ones like ‘deposit, idiot, tongue, excrement’ are also off limits.

Now a patient in Islamabad cannot tell his doctor that he is suffering from ‘flatulence’. ‘Flatulence’ is a banned word and so is ‘period’. No farting in Pak.


A gutsy girl tweeted immediately after the ban.

Nida Jahen wrote: "So they're going to ban the word flatulence. Big deal! I prefer more expressive terms "thuss" and phusses any way."

Jesus! This is so funny.

Oops, sorry … you can’t type ‘Jesus Christ’.

Come to think of it, it is not a bad move. I mean with all the dirty words doing the rounds in our country, more so after Delhi Belly made it fashionable to DK Bose people; we should give it a serious thought. But damn our telecom industry! Oops ‘damn’ is banned. But our telecom industry is weathering a different storm. The neta log are busy landing in Tihar, one after the other. The way things are going, after Sukhram’s entry, a ‘Tihar telecom wing’ will have to be inaugurated by Mr Sibal.

Coming back to our neighbor, what is most intriguing is the painstaking effort, which some ingenious souls took to select the 1700 words. Hats off to their creativity and doggedness! With so much patience and effort, they could have solved several intractable global issues.

As a result you cannot call anyone in our neighborhood, ‘padosi ki aulad’ (neighbours offspring) but you can call him /her ‘kafir’(infidel).

How idiotic? Sorry, ‘idiot’ is not allowed.

I am also wondering, now that ‘butt’ has been banned, what will people call Salman Butt? Any ideas? When their constitution guarantees freedom of speech, why ban the written word? Who will control the tongue? Oops! Sorry ‘tongue’ is banned.

On a serious note, many words and phrases which Pakistan has banned were really offensive. Young girls must be relieved by this ban on abuse and offensive content. On the premise of liberty, there is too much dirt flowing around. But I am not sure whether banning is the right way to go about it.
Education is perhaps.


  1. tongue is banned ? Wow !! "Dirty" is in the mind of the beholder..or in this case, lawmaker ?

  2. I saw the list of banned words and laughed my head off. Hats off to those who thought of such ingenious ways to curb spamming. But I have thought of a way to overcome it. How about making some spelling mistakes? Like idiot can be written as idoit and tongue as tonuge.. Is that punishable?

  3. somehow floyd's 'another brick in the wall' suits the situation ;) btw about your neighbour( that banned?) *slow clap* hats off!

  4. Hats off to their ingenuity! Some lessons for our telecom people who are busy in cleaning Augean stables and clearing the litter of past!

  5. yeah I also read about these banned words...
    few of them r really funny, as u narrated well.... but at least they did something :D

    Nice read

  6. my god that is one mad list and madder are the makers!
    your conclusion contains the crux-if only they made half as much sense as you do Alks:-)

  7. Education, and not literacy is an answer to all problems! and offcourse banning is cowardice.

  8. RIGHTLY SAID! Education is the solution, not banning! So, we would call Salman Butt ass Salman Phutttttt??? LOL!!!

  9. OMG..!!! This is funny as well as strange..

  10. One must commend our ministry for not going about this exercise, but the reason could be simply that they are either trying to defend themselves or digging up muck to stick on the others. But don't you think it is an ingenious way of restricting text messages? It would be easier to pick the phone and call someone than wracking one's brain to come up with 'clean' words!

  11. When governance is taken care of the by the Army, what do the elected do!

    Must have been a back breaking job, creating a list this long.

  12. Dr Roshan....True.

    @Harish...Ha, ha I knew that brainy guys will find a way to circumvent the ban.

    @Maniachunter..:)Well said.

  13. @Rahul...The litter is piles up..even dead men are walking.


    @Suruchi...It sure is a mad list.BTW Bewakoof is also included. Kya bewakoofi hai.

  14. @A Grain of Sand..:)

    @Cloud Nine...Lol..Salman Phutt sounds good.


  15. @Zephyr...True...Those who are hell bent on abusing will either invent new phrases or indulge in verbal abuse if the written word is banned.They are trying too hard to be a Puritan state.

    Purba...Hats off to their perseverance and in-depth research...

  16. thats weird.. agreed that they took some steps to curb the problem but then is it enough??? Creative geniuses will definitely find a way to circumvent this situation :)

  17. Don't know what prompted them to take this step. I guess the SMSs in Pakistan were getting really dirty by the day :)

  18. Leopaw...Welcome here...your name is fascinating. Are you a Leo?

    @Purvi...Weird it is.

    @Gautam..Welcome here Gautam. True, but ingenious people will know how to circumvent any ban...

  19. Alka,

    I work in telecommunication and had proposed this function in the equipment to delete 'Dirty' or unacceptable words. Machines do fairly good job. Keep adding the words that are not acceptable and machines will remove them. It is not hard to design & Pakistan is probably the last country to use is being used in the USA for several years but not necessarily for text messaging.

  20. Tongue? Why tongue?? Pfft. This is quite strange. This law.

  21. well ... Dirt should be removed from dirty minds first before text...
    I dunno .. wht ban will do or not...But basic civic sense needs to be cultivated in minds and thoughts!

  22. @A...If it works as you say then it will be a boon for a lot of harassed girls.



  23. Thats the way it is dear. Now they have started with some words, later all languages will be banned

  24. Alka,

    Someone must have been too VELLA and to prove his or her worth came up with this idea. I agree some offensive words to need to be moderated but this is so ridiculous. And at times it is annoying. I used to blog on another site earlier and whenever I typed breed of our dog, Cocker Spaniel, there used to be a pop up saying " Abuses are not allowed."

    Take care

  25. I too have heard about it, you have written it nicely :)

  26. Why must one need a BAN to ensure that foul language is not used?

  27. @PestoSauce...A true puritan state.

    @Jack...that is really funny.


    @BKC....Exactly my point.

  28. They do that in pakistan :-/ Seriously? What on earth is happening to this world. World would have been a better place if Pak had used the energy to ban Osama Bin Laden.

  29. Banning something that is considered bad can never be the ultimate solution to prevent it.

    "Education is perhaps."

    Till not very long ago, I used to think that education can curb a lot of problems. But now I wonder what exactly is the 'education' that can do the job...

    If education means the levels of academic proficiency a person aquires, then I doubt if it really affects one's mindset/morals/attitude.

    For a small example, taking the case of objectionable language, the best place to get an earful of the choiciest expletives today is any renound institute of higher studies (including Medical colleges, IITs & IIMs).

    And one cannot get away with an excuse that the highly 'educated' people in such places use such language for just fun between friends.

    A person builds his or her personality from the surroundings while growing up. And it includes one's home, school/college and friends. Only education, however high it may be, cannot ensure an ideal growth of personality.

  30. I don't know how much of this banning helps. Especially in the times when there are waaaaay too many ways to go around that ban.
    It is like how sex education is considered a taboo in our country and because there is no such education, people are repressed there are incidents of sexual nature.
    You have to educate the masses, which both the neighbours lack!

  31. @Shobhit...You have made a very valid point. Children who never utter expletives, start using them in college...
    It is the family culture, the atmosphere at home and the family background which matter most.Parents also lead by example. But someone who never abuses at home feels he/she has to use abusive words among friends, just to be a part of the brigade.
    But by education I meant culture not degrees. Also after Delhi Belly it is 'cool' to abuse.

  32. I am not sure which words to use in my comments. So I will play it safe, love this post. Hope the word love is not banned, Alka ;)

  33. Words being banned .... eh.....quite silly I tell you. But 1700 words? The amount of free time some people have. But I am sure, new ones will be invented.
    PS Maybe Salman Butt will change his name to Salman Derriere

  34. its foolish thing to ban anything.

  35. !Snow Leopard...Ha ha, love the name...


    @Rachna...Not yet, love u too.

  36. Might be a way of boosting the landline industry :))) Who knows- there might be a secret lobby for that there. Chinese suppliers might just be dumping the landlines in their favourite 'backyard'.

  37. Some of the words banned are absurd. I guess fundamentally it is not wrong, but execution borders on the bizarre.

  38. @Sri....Could be the hidden agenda to boost landline revenuers...If Mr ten percent (Zardari) gets his share from there..

  39. I am so late :)
    banning has never helped .. and yeah education is must ..
    sometimes too much politcial correctness is wrong too .. I got to say a Colored Person rather then black or white ...


  40. Pakistan and its laws and policies. Enough material to write parody and humor posts for a life time.