Curry on Mullins, no depths plumbed

Poor Charlie Mullins. Well, the founder of London’s largest private plumbing company, Pimlico Plumbing, isn’t poor, but Mullins found himself at the wrong end of a punchline and had to apologise after Ranj Singh, a British doctor, TV presenter and celebrity dancer, found it insensitive – or as they say here in India, offensive. Poor rich Mullins, at a ceremony that awards Britain‘s top restaurants serving Indian (read: subcontinental) cuisine, quipped that India never won the World Cup because every time an Indian footballer is awarded a corner, he builds a shop there. In our reckoning, not only was Mullins inoffensive, but he was funny.

The fact that ‘Indians’ (read: subcontinentals) have a near monopoly of British cornershops – kiranas in British English (but that sell liquor) makes Mullins’ wisecrack a back-handed compliment. Much like Britain being called a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ – an ‘insulting’ epithet attributed to Napoleon but which was, actually, used by his Irish surgeon to describe an earlier France as a compliment. While Mullins has apologised for his supposedly racist joke, we wholeheartedly commend it. Although, we do find the name ‘Curry Awards‘ racist against all other food items served in top British South Asian restaurants that are not curries. The organisers should start by apologising to rich, poor biryani.

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